Ready For Canada’s Anti-Spam Law?
What you need to know – now.
Canada’s sweeping new anti-spam law, CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation), comes into effect this fall and companies that don’t comply could face BIG penalties.
We’re talking million dollar per day penalties for soloprenuers and 10 million for big companies.
If this is the first you’ve heard of it, don’t panic. The new law not only makes sense, but it has the potential to strengthen your online marketing activities and help you see better returns.
If you’ve ever sent an e-mail newsletter or e-blast, print this article out and tape it to your wall – this is info you need to be acting on now!
This new legislation currently applies only to Canada but the world is watching. Canada is considered a pilot country and it’s expected that the new law will expand across North America and Europe.
The framework is surprisingly simple:
CASL applies to email, instant messengers (including BBM), text messages & social media
- Anyone marketing within Canada or to Canadian recipients must comply
- CASL differentiates between implicit and explicit consent. Your goal is to gainexplicit consent by having your audience opt in for receipt. If they sign up for your online newsletter, that’s considered explicit consent.
- If someone gives you their card at an event, or asks for a quote, that’s considered implicit consent and you may online market to them for SIX MONTHS
- Anyone who is your current client is considered to have granted implicit consent and you may market to them for TWO YEARS
- You have a THREE YEAR grace period to receive explicit consent from your existing list (but any new names are not included and must comply with CASL)
- There’s no minimum number of e-mails or texts to be caught by rules – a single errant newsletter is enough to ground your entire online marketing program
There’s a lot of debate about the impact of CASL. Some feel it will spell the end of online marketing, but at Growth Path, we think it will usher in a new era of strategic, targeted online communications. We’ve outlined four main areas where we’ll feel the impact the most:
1. Database Maintenance
Under CASL, you have to track exactly when a recipient entered your database and exactly when they should be deleted. Both implicit and explicit consent, and multiple timeframes for qualified marketing won’t make things easy if you manage your own database. But there is some good news: many e-mail marketing systems and companies already comply with the new law.
2. Quality over Quantity
Growth Path’s philosophy is that 100 of the RIGHT subscribers will bring better returns than 1000 subscribers who don’t care. Most organizations will end up with smaller distribution lists over time. We think this is good because those left over are those whowant to hear your message! Your subscribers may be fewer, but they’ll l be more likely to buy from you. Getting to know them will help you strengthen you create better products for your target market and help strengthen your customer relationships.
3. The Rise of Social Media
We’ve seen social media rise in dominance these past three years but CASL crowns it king. Social media is already opt-in so you can market all you want on Twitter or Facebook and never have to worry, Provided your content rocks, they’ll also be more likely to subscribe (provide explicit consent) to your newsletter.
E-mail is already considered obsolete to the under 20 crowd, so we expect to see companies focus less on e-mail and more on social media marketing.
4. Content – A New Standard
CASL will bolster those marketers using killer content that recipients appreciate and will weaken those that use sub-par content that recipients hate. This is great news for both recipients and content creators.
For once, recipients that unsubscribe from a list because of irrelevant content (or any other reason) have somewhere to turn if they continue to receive emails. Marketers that have for years tried to convince clients that producing relevant, informative content is the only way to get heard won’t have to shout as loud. The case for content is won.
Over the summer, Growth Path met with every one of our online marketing clients to make sure they understood the new law and to ensure compliance.
If you have an existing online marketing program, we encourage you to take a good look at your systems or have a good talk with your marketing company and make sure that, when CASL comes into effect this fall, your program is 100% compliant.