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Rules & regulations relating to on-line marketing and advertising

How many business cards have you collected from people when you have met them networking over the years you have been in business ? And, have you subsequently sent them marketing emails or called them ?

Did you know …

  • You can’t just add them to your mailing list – you must ask them for permission to contact them by any means (e.g. email, post, phone, SMS) and give them the opportunity to decline.
  • You also need to get their permission if you want to send them offers or promotions etc.
  • Also, you cannot share their information with any 3rd party without their prior permission.
  • You must also provide a means whereby they can “opt out” from receiving your marketing or advertising material at any time once they have subscribed.
  • If you (or someone on your behalf) makes a telesales call, you must inform the person who you are and if asked, provide your address and phone number. The phone number you provide must be a freephone number.
  • You are responsible for checking that whoever you are phoning has not registered with the telephone preference service and asked not to receive such calls. If you don’t have their permission, you can be fined £5,000 for each unsolicited phonecall.
  • If you want to make automated calls using pre-recorded phone messages, you must get the permission of the individual or business first.

The same restrictions as above apply for direct mail, you can check this with the Mail preference service.

The same rules also apply for email and text contacts – they must have given you their permission in advance. Emails or text messages must clearly indicate:

  • who you are
  • that you’re selling something
  • what the promotions are, and any conditions
  • You are responsible for checking they are not registered on the Email preference service.
  • Every marketing email or text you send must give the person the ability to unsubscribe from further emails.


Hope this helps.

(Ref: guidelines)


Steve Wood owns and runs Scalar Enterprises based in Portsmouth in Hampshire. He offers a range of services including Web design and Internet marketing to small businesses and SMEs in Hampshire and the surrounding areas.

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