Say no to cold calls: What the Do-Not-Call Registry means for your business

You might have heard of the new Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry, which kicked off on 2nd January 2014, enabling Singapore consumers to put an end to those irritating unsolicited calls, text messages, and should anyone still use them, faxes. While the much-anticipated DNC Registry rids the everyday Joe of pesky sales calls, concerned businesses that regularly employ telemarketing tactics now have to find new ways to reach out to consumers.

Under the new rule, organisations will generally be required to take the following three steps when contacting consumers:

1)   Check their marketing lists against the DNC Registry unless they have obtained consent from individuals or an exception applies.

2)   Provide contact information about the organisation that sent or authorised the telemarketing messages.

3)   Make sure the organisation’s identity is not withheld for voice calls.

An exemption applies to businesses that have existing relationships with customers, and they will still be able to share marketing offers related to the subject of the ongoing relationship through texting or faxing, but not voice calls, with the caveat that there’s an option for consumers to unsubscribe.

Fines and fine-print

The costs of phone number checks rack up – businesses have to purchase credits to run numbers through the database and each phone number costs between one and two cents depending on the bulk of purchase. 500 free credits are provided annually. From now till 31 May, the results of each check will be valid for 60 days, but will transition into a 30-day validity period after that date. This means businesses that choose to conduct telemarketing will have to run routine monthly DNC Registry checks.

Delinquent business will have to pay the price, with maximum fines of up to $10,000 per offence bound to make even the most unwilling of business owners acquaint themselves with the DNC Registry.

You can’t spam, but you can preach

Although consumers will spend less time politely refusing unwanted sales calls, non-sales related communication including service calls, reminder messages, market surveys, and messages related to religious or charitable causes are still allowed. Other businesses are also not exempted as B2B marketing calls are still given the green light.

In the grand scheme of data privacy, the DNC Registry falls under the Personal Data Protection Act, which protects consumers’ personal data and ensures it’s used responsibly by businesses. Enforcement for additional data protection rules will begin in July this year.

More details on the DNC Registry and its application in different scenarios can be found in the Advisory Guidelines.

What this means for your business?

The establishment of the DNC Registry reaffirms two facts – consumers value their privacy more than ever before, and most people dislike hard selling through cold calling. On the day the DNC Registry was launched, 400,000 numbers were listed, according to The Straits Times.

But many marketers still prefer to pick up the phone and speak with strangers on the other line, even though it’s proven to be ineffective most of the time. Cold calling doesn’t work 90.9 per cent of the time, costs at least 60 per cent more per lead and results in meetings only 2 per cent of the time, according to an article on Hubspot.

Help your customers find you instead

Consumers today don’t appreciate in-your-face marketing advances. Just think about the times you’ve hovered your mouse impatiently over the “Skip Ad” button on YouTube, or contemplated hanging up on a cold caller. The very people you’re selling to are smart, discerning individuals who can easily find out all they need about your product through Google, social networks, the media they choose to consume and your very own website.

Instead of bugging your potential customers, it’s more effective to let them come to you – and they’ll only do so when they trust your company and your products. That’s where content marketing comes in. There’s a deluge of information out there and you’ll not only need to be interesting, but also relevant to both your potential and existing customers for them to look to you.

What exactly is content marketing?

Creating engaging, targeted content to establish your company as a subject matter expert and thought leader is the way to go. This could take the form of social media posts, company blogs, how-to videos, opinion articles for the media, targeted newsletters for your existing customers, and much more.

The DNC registry marks the descent of cold calling and hard selling in Singapore. But businesses that have traditionally relied on such methods will find themselves better placed marketing through good content people want to read, watch, listen to and share – and this applies to any kind of business.

Just consider real estate agents, who frequently rely on mass texting. They can leverage other outlets such as social networks to share tips and answer questions on property investment, blogs to comment on the housing market, and relevant media to offer thoughts on the industry and position themselves as thought leaders. Keen property buyers are much more likely to seek real estate experts who have demonstrated industry knowledge, rather than blindly trust a name at the end of a text message.

There are numerous outlets available for you to share your brand, products and services, and the demand for interesting content and commentary isn’t waning anytime soon. Instead of slamming it down their throats when they least want and expect it, get creative and help them find you, on their own terms.

To find out how Mutant can help with your content marketing needs, get in touch with Joseph at [email protected]