Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) – Do you Need To Panic?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) – Do you Need To Panic?

There has been a lot of talk about Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) coming into affect on July 1st, 2014 – but the real question is: does your business need to do anything different?

Our copywriting company has received a lot of emails the past two weeks with this general sentiment: “Opt in now! If you do nothing, we’ll kick you off of our list.” Hmm…this might not be the best approach. These businesses may be following the ‘next bad idea’ and truncating their list when it may not be necessary. Here’s why…

Copywriting Best Practices for E-newsletter Content Strategy

Firstly, as long as your business has been working with an email service provider like Constant Contact or Aweber, and you’ve followed their recommended process to build your list (what Tangible Words has always recommended) then everyone on your list should have already given you explicit (e.g. filling in a form) or implied consent (e.g. verbal) to receive your e-newsletters. Make sure to keep your records of any forms that gave you explicit permission.

Secondly, Businesses have 3 years to get permission for any ‘implied‘ consent. Why not call up your list members – creating a great sales opportunity – and talk to them about whether your email content and services are a good fit? If you’ve been trained in Sales like our Copywriting team has, you know this phone call could lead to great sales conversations, now and in the future — and isn’t lead generation the whole point of your e-newsletter anyway?

Are you a Business who didn’t get permission to add people to your Business E-newsletter List?

It seems to me, that basically the new CASL laws exists so that from now on everyone will be forced to use a mail provider like Constant Contact, instead of using Outlook.

Or CASL might finally stop those ANNOYING “low skill networkers” who go to an event, palm a bunch of business cards who they then load onto their E-newsletter list without asking permission (Very Rude, and a great way to prevent any relationship from blooming). On a side note diatribe: this is perhaps the world’s greatest content Marketing #FAIL. If you don’t understand that content marketing is about nurturing relationships  (not destroying them for solipsistic self-promotion), you simply should not be forcing your “non-content-marketing” down the throats of every puking recipient. Get a content strategy that works, call up your list members and see if they’re into what you can offer THEM—WIIFM, right?

So Hooray for industry changes: CASL is a ruling for laggards. It’s kind of like the new Google algorithm which forces people to use copywriter best practices instead of blackhat SEO. All of Tangible Words’ clients were already compliant.
But the worst reaction, most panicky, ill-advised reaction to CASL is to send them a one-time email saying, “Click or I’ll drop you.” It’s a well-known fact about e-newsletters that not every recipient opens and reads each issue. So get permission, but don’t only give them one email they might not ever see!

Instead, why not rebuild and strengthen your list in a relationship-building manner

A personalized needs analysis phone call to each company is one awesome prospecting idea. If somehow you don’t have the phone bandwidth to speaking with everyone on your list (maybe consider hiring a sales desk team who can – ask Alysha for a referral to an awesome sales desk in Ottawa) than how about a sales-friendly reminder at the top of your next issue saying, 
“We think you’re on this list because we have a relationship and you’re interesting in learning more about [insert content strategy of e-newsletter]. But if we’re wrong, you can “unsubscribe” here at any time now, and in the future.”

Now that we’ve covered CASL’s purpose, in the next article we will discuss a 9-point CASL summary so you can get CASL compliant if you aren’t ready.

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