My mantra for email marketing has always focused on sending the right message to the right audience at the right time. With new rules regarding email marketing being thrown at you from Canada, I need to add another guideline to the list: only send your emails to those who consent to receive them! (Want to learn more about the specifics of CASL? Visit http://fightspam.ga.ca to learn more.)
Here are three steps you can take to stay out of trouble with Canada – and, as a best practice, to keep all of your email recipients’ opt-ed in to your lists long-term:
- Update all lead collection forms on your website to display an opt-in check box. This measure allows visitors to give their permission to receive commercial email marketing messages from your company. The visitor needs to check the box themselves -- the box shouldn’t be checked by default.
- Capture opt-in and opt-out preferences in your lead management tool. For new website leads, make sure that you capture recipients’ permissions coming from your website. You should also require your staff to ask every in-store customer for permission to email them and add that consent to the customer record. (We recently added functionality to our FootSteps lead management tool to make this as easy as possible for ARI customers.)
- Update your customer and prospect database – (you can hold off for a while on this one: the grace period allowing you to send emails to your current contacts without explicit consent ends in 2017.) Chances are your database is full of Canadians that never gave explicit consent to receive your email marketing messages. Search your database for Canadians using country, postal code and email addresses that contain “.ca”. We recommend opting-out all Canadian contacts and sending an email asking for permission to continue sending them emails.
As a reminder, your marketing emails must contain an unsubscribe link and those that want to opt-out should be able to do so with a click of a mouse -- this is why it so important to approach email marketing with a strategy of delivering the proper message to the right person each and every time. When you continue to send content of genuine interest, you will enjoy a large list of happy email recipients!