We work with a lot of businesses both large and small. One question we’re often ask by SMEs is how they can keep on top of marketing compliance. This can be something of a minefield but it is critical to comply with the UK GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). Therefore, today we provide some tips on how you as a small business can do just that.

Be open and clear with customers

It is important to embrace clear communication from the word go. Your customers should know that you are simply trying to deliver the best possible service levels. Be clear that you want to directly market to them and give them the option to receive your messages. Whether it be via a regular email or newsletter, let them know what they can expect and ask them to choose how they are contacted if applicable.

By doing this, you are showing them that their preferences are key but you are also demonstrating a keen desire to embrace marketing compliance. As a business, your reputation is everything and you must do everything you can to maintain it. Part of this entails outlining your customers’ right to opt out at any point. Let them know how they can do that and also what information you will store from them and how you will use it. Transparency is very important – after all, it is their trust that you seek.

It should go without saying but if somebody decides to opt out, you must respect their decision and action it. Create an unsubscribe list to that end and always double-check it before sending any marketing material out.

Understand your customers and give them what they want

You will typically hold a lot of information about your customers. We’ll look at CRM in a moment but it is important to pay attention to preferential data. For example, your regular customers have a purchase history. Let’s say you own a pet shop and sell dog food to ‘Mr Vincent’ each week. It would therefore make sense to let him know about new canine products in an upcoming newsletter. That is perhaps the most basic form of using the data at your disposal for targeting purposes.

We’ll assume here that you have been open and clear with Mr Vincent from the beginning. You have let him know that you intend to use data to craft and guide your service levels for him. You have told him he can stop receiving your newsletters and shown him how to do that. It is therefore unlikely he will take umbrage from your efforts and you may even end up getting a new sale!

Practice good CRM from the start

Whenever you gain a new customer, this is the perfect time to start building a long-standing relationship. Find out what they are interested in and let them know how you can help. In the digital world, this can be achieved via opt-in check boxes and preference centres. Again, the key is to be completely open about your offering, your service proposition and your practices where data is concerned. Whenever you hold customer information, always make sure you keep it up-to-date. This is a must and will further help you to deliver a robust level of service.

Marketing compliance is vitally important for so many reasons. First and foremost, you need your customers to buy-in and have the utmost confidence in what you are trying to achieve. You are not simply ‘selling’ to them, you are instead attempting to deliver an excellent user experience. A willingness to achieve compliance demonstrates trustworthiness and helps to build a strong reputation.

If you are unsure about your own levels of compliance, CRIBB can help. Contact us with any questions and we’ll gladly try to answer them. Our cyber security experts are based in Hertfordshire but we have a global reach as part of theICEway ecosystem. We can therefore deliver results no matter the size or location of your company. IT security is growing in importance as digital transformation continues at pace. The more data you hold, the more risk there is of a critical breach. Cyber-attacks are on the increase too, with no target too small. How secure is your business?

Concerned about cyber risks? Read our article for some tips on how you can stay secure.