The last financial year saw the creation of over 500,000 new businesses in the US, while many more have reopened to provide in-person services. To stay afloat in such a competitive market, new and established companies rely on marketing to raise their profile, increase sales and build a reliable client base. While aggressive strategies and underhand tactics may generate more interest in the short-term, small businesses should take note of the regulations and laws governing advertising and marketing. These are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and other organizations, and are aimed at protecting customers from being misled by unethical and illegal advertising. Whether they are encouraging traffic on a healthcare website or attracting clients to a specialist legal practice, niche businesses must be aware of their social and ethical responsibilities and keep their marketing material within legal boundaries.
Producing Ethical Advertising For Law Firms
The regulations of Marketing Law aim to ensure consumers are protected from misleading advertising and services. In an increasingly competitive market, targeted and effective advertising is essential, but as a provider of legal services, it is especially important for law firms to ensure that their marketing strategy is legitimate and remains within admissible boundaries. Authentic and effective law firm copywriting addresses important issues that will attract genuine clients, while still adhering to the ethical and legal requirements of the American Bar Association and other individual state organizations.
Ensuring Compliance In Healthcare
Any healthcare business must also be aware of the rules laid out by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which can have implications for their marketing strategies. The act ensures that an individual’s personal health and medical information is protected, and any business that deals with such information must establish and follow security protocols to ensure HIPAA compliance. Privacy regulations may also prohibit the targeting of particular medical conditions in marketing services and goods. Where the advertising of goods is acceptable, companies that market health-related products such as vitamin supplements or over-the-counter medicine must back any claims with substantial evidence of a product’s effectiveness.
Limiting Pricing Strategies In Retail
Unethical tactics in general retail marketing are also frowned upon and in some circumstances may even be considered illegal. While it is acceptable for retailers to drop their prices and use loss leaders in their marketing material in order to attract more custom, the practice of predatory pricing is not allowed. This is when businesses lower their prices in order to drive out competition and then raise them again when they have successfully conquered the market. Similarly bait and switch advertising, where low-priced items are offered but turn out to be unavailable is illegal and considered a form of fraud.
An effective marketing strategy is an essential component of a good business plan. Authentic and truthful advertising content will not only attract more genuine clients for a niche business, but also ensure that it is socially responsible and legally compliant.