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Having a phone number list for your prospects and customers can be useful for many reasons. Whether you’re looking to run a telemarketing or texting campaign to promote a special offer or want to reach out to loyal customers to thank them for their business, having phone numbers in a database can come in handy. However, keep in mind that there are specific rules that businesses need to follow when it comes to gathering and using the phone numbers of prospects and customers.
Follow Telemarketing Sales Rules
The Federal Trade Commission, whose mission is to protect consumers and competition, oversees telemarketing rules which any business that engages in telemarketing activities needs to follow. The National Do Not Call Registry was created in 2003 and enables consumers to opt out of receiving most telemarketing phone calls. There are more than 221 million numbers currently registered on this list. While it may seem like it’s more difficult for businesses to reach consumers as a result of this list, the Do Not Call Registry actually makes telemarketing more efficient for businesses. Because of the list, businesses can see who is actually interested — and not interested — in hearing from them.
If your business calls a number that is listed on the Do Not Call Registry, you can be fined $40,000 for each call. In order to check whether a number is listed on the registry, you can visit their website at www.donotcall.gov. Make sure that you do not call a number on that list so that you can avoid fines and associated penalties.
There are additional rules you need to consider as well when adding phone numbers to a marketing list for telemarketing use:
- You cannot call consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- You cannot lie or be deceptive about your offer.
- You cannot ask consumers to pay via a cash-to-cash money transfer, or ask for a PIN from a cash reload card.
- You cannot ask for bank account information to create a remotely-issued payment order.
Convince Prospects and Customers to Add Their Number to Your Call List
One of the most effective ways to build up your phone number list for marketing purposes is to do it organically by offering something your prospects and customers value. If they trust you and want to learn more about your business, they will not mind providing you with their phone number. Building your list organically, as opposed to purchasing a list, ensures that your list has active, interested and engaged prospects. Many of the people whose numbers are on phone lists that can be purchased may not know about your company and may associate our business with spam if you call them.
In order to build your business list organically, you can ask your customers and prospects to opt in to marketing promotions and enter their phone number for telemarketers from your company. A simple form on your website or through an email campaign can collect phone numbers. Many customers are willing to provide phone numbers when participating in contests or in exchange for receiving special discounts. Be sure to offer consumers something of value when asking for their phone number.
Offer a Way to Opt Out
It is important to always provide your prospects and customers with a way to opt out of receiving calls and texts. Even if they have volunteered to submit their phone number to telemarketers to receive calls from you, they may later change their minds and no longer want you to communicate with them. If a customer decides they want to opt out from your calls and texts, you need to stop immediately. Otherwise, you may need to pay fines for each call or text you send after ignoring their request.
- Obtain quotes from marketing list companies for services to limit your expenses.
- Consider obtaining a subscription for appending services if you frequently use marketing lists.
- Keep track of your Do Not Call scrubbing activities to ensure you are in compliance with federal guidelines.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.