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How to Update Your Email Marketing Now That Canada Has Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in Effect

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The introduction of Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) last month has some businesses concerned about the fate of their email marketing campaigns. Fortunately, CASL isn’t as limiting as you might have been led to believe. Email marketing is still an effective way to generate quality leads when done properly.

The new legislation is not intended to punish businesses that are sharing quality content (such as blogs, articles or social media content.) CASL aims to reduce unwanted inbox clutter and eliminate the practice of purchasing email marketing lists.The fines are steep (up to $10 million for violations) to deter bad practices. As long as your business requests permission to keep in touch with subscribers, there’s no need to be concerned. Keep sending out quality content and reap the benefits of email marketing!

Ensure Your Email Marketing List is Legal Under CASL

Following the legal process is quite simple. The people on your email list must consent to receive emails from you. CASL states that everyone on your email list must have taken an affirmative action to provide consent.

There are two primary ways to obtain consent from new subscribers:

  1. Have a checkbox on email collection forms.
    Anywhere on your website where you collect emails, place a checkbox that requests your customers click to confirm that they want to be on your email list. The checkbox cannot be pre-checked, as the act of clicking the box is considered to be consent.
  2. Use a double opt-in registration process.
    Double opt-in registration is exactly as it sounds. When your subscribers submit their email to you (the first opt-in), your site triggers a confirmation email, which has a link that must be clicked to confirm the subscription (the second opt-in). This ensures anyone who submitted their email to your database confirms their interest before they are added to your contact list.

You may also get oral or written consent (such as through a paper form). Whichever collection methods you use, be sure to keep a record and proof of consent to protect yourself in the event of a claim against you.

Updating Email Marketing Lists Collected Prior to July 1st 2014

Under the new legislation, you must reconfirm all of your current subscribers would like to keep in touch. CASL gives businesses up to 36 months to update their lists, however it’s highly recommended that you do so as soon as possible.

To reconfirm consent from your current email subscribers:

  1. Send a mass email with a confirmation link (similar to double-opt-in). Remove the emails of those who do not click the link.
  2. Request that subscribers email you directly with their consent. Remove the emails of those who do not provide written consent.

What Types of Emails Are Exempt From CASL?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation is primarily intended to target corporate entities that are adding people to email lists without permission. These types of emails are permitted without penalty:

  • Responses to inquires, complaints and questions from customers or potential customers
  • Emails between employees within a company
  • Business to business emails, provided the two businesses have a working relationship
  • Transaction emails (i.e. receipts and invoices)
  • Legal messages (i.e. copyright notices, payment due notices)
  • Emails to people who you have an existing relationship with, outside of business
  • Charities may contact anyone who has donated within the past 18 months
  • You may send a single email to someone who has been referred to your business by a third party
Updating Email Messages to Comply With CASL

The following requirements are fairly straightforward. If you’ve been using best practices for your email marketing, you most likely follow them already.

  1. Use your correct name (or business name) in all email communications
  2. Include unsubscribe buttons or links
  3. Include physical contact information, including your phone number
  4. Use clear subject lines that reflect your content

If you’ve been using email marketing to share quality content with customers who have shown interest in your business, Canada’s anti spam law probably won’t affect your business much. CASL is all about promoting transparency in business to customer communications, not punishing businesses that have embraced email marketing.

If you’re interested in building an email marketing campaign that follows all the rules laid down by Canada’s anti spam laws, Eden Advertising & Interactive offers a full range of email marketing services. Our team of writers, designers and strategists create high quality content that grows your business by getting real results. Call us at 1-800-844-0106 for a free consultation.

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