New and small businesses, beware of scam telemarketers trying to switch your energy supply without your knowledge and authentication.
Over time, I will be uploading informative news posts on this blog regarding updates for Design Reaction work and services, tips and tricks on graphic, web design and basic SEO for beginners, and more to the point, help for new businesses based on my own experiences starting up your company from registration to online marketing. I am not an editor or author, so please don’t expect much of my posts, but I feel the need to share my findings, helpful or informative with others.
MY INSTIGATION ON THE TELEMARKETING SCAM
Design Reaction is a newly established graphic and web design company, and for the first few months, I had work coming in via word by mouth, therefore i didn’t bother with any marketing. When work started to slow down, and I didn’t have any strong leads to move onto, I decided to slowly begin my online marketing strategy starting by link-building using relative and quality directories. Within a couple of days, I began having many calls, not from potential clients, but from telesales, different numbers each time, as much as up to 24 calls in 2 hours!
Obviously, I started to get really annoyed with this, and began leaving the calls filter through to voicemail, not knowing if I was missing out on some potential work in the hope they would leave a message. After a week, the calls seemed to go away, only to realize that within another few days, the calls started again!
I began answering these calls to find out where they were coming from and if there was any chance of stopping them. After answering a handful of calls, a pattern soon began to evolve, all of these calls came from different energy companies (at least they gave me different company names), stating that I was paying over the odds for my energy supply and that they could find me a better deal. I looked into this and came across some news articles published in June 2010 based on exactly what was happening to me. This is Money published an article on this small company energy scam over a year ago, and it seems that these companies are still up to their tricks.
Advertising my contact details online via selective directories was a major part of my online marketing strategy, I was left with the thought of do I carry on submitting, or forget about it! In the end I thought well I’ve started, so I’ll finish, and yes, the calls kept coming, but did eventually die down.
Unfortunately, publishing your telephone number, email and business address online is only going to lead to marketing calls as there isn’t much you can do about it. However, if you are going to put your information online for everyone to see, here are some tips to help you limit the annoying marketing ploys:
email address: if it is your own site, use a secure contact form rather than your email address in text form to prevent bots from searching the web and receiving certain spam. Using CAPTCHA will also help. If using WordPress, using the plugins Contact Form 7 and Really Simple CAPTCHA is a fast and effective way to build a secure contact form, which I will write up a tutorial at some point in the near future.
It is also good practice to have a separate email address from your personal and main business address for your marketing, so that you can use as your spam address, and when you get a chance to read through the hundreds of letters, forward on the relevant content to your desired address (e.g. Business address: firstname.lastname@example.org, personal address: email@example.com, marketing address: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Telephone numbers: If you are in the UK, register with TPS as it is the law that companies are not meant to contact these registered numbers regarding marketing without approval. You can register a house and mobile number with TPS, and registering will take up to 28 days to authenticate.
Registered Business address: In relation to TPS, there is a service called MPS. In a similar way to TPS, you simply visit the website, submit your address, and wait for the submission to take effect.
I hope you found this article of use and will prevent marketing calls to a certain extent. I will soon be writing up a guide on registering a business basics from the beginning, as I am sure there are many like me who is unsure what procedures are needed to be done to start a business from nothing.