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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Ensuring your marketing database is legal - checklist

Any business that handles and stores data and uses it for marketing purposes needs to make sure they're doing so legally. Our checklist covers your main obligations.

  • Review what data you collect, and why you need it.
  • Ensure that you do not collect any unnecessary personal data; delete any unnecessary information from your records.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what it means to your business.
  • Check whether you need to notify the Information Commissioner about your use of personal data and, if necessary, do so.
  • Train employees on how data protection principles apply to their work.
  • Make breaches of data security policies and misuse of data disciplinary offences.
  • Collect information fairly; to be sure, always ask contacts to opt in before adding them to your database.
  • Make sure you have a fully documented and demonstrable process for processing data lawfully, and that you've carried out a data risk assessment.
  • Include a statement of your privacy policy on your website.
  • Maintain a 'do not contact' list of individuals and companies who have opted out; check against this list before adding new contacts to your database.
  • Take steps to ensure that you input data accurately.
  • If you buy in mailing (or other) lists, ensure that they have been properly screened: for example, checked against the Mailing Preference Service, and that the list broker has obtained the proper opt ins if you want to market to the list electronically.
  • Give contacts the right to opt out from further communications whenever you send them mail or electronic communications.
  • Protect access to systems and data: for example, through appropriate building security and computer passwords.
  • Install appropriate electronic security: for example, a firewall and anti-virus software.
  • Restrict access to sensitive information to employees who need it.
  • Set up a system for updating your database, including removing information that is no longer needed.
  • Dispose of old records (on paper or electronic records) securely.
  • Ensure that you back up your database, and that backup copies are kept secure.
  • Set up a procedure for responding to subject access requests from individuals who ask to see what information you hold on them.
  • Check the legal position before you transfer or sell your database (for example, selling to a third party or transferring to an overseas office).

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