In the past two or three weeks I have noted that there is a steady stream of emails from various businesses that have me on their email distribution list asking me to confirm that I still wish to be on their list. The common theme is their need to comply with the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation which comes into effect Canada Day, July 2014.
For the authors of the bill this must be good news. Look's like many businesses are taking the steps to clean up their lists and to make sure that they have the pieces in place to be compliant.
Good news. There is still time to act.
In actual fact the requirements to have explicit permission do not aggressively come into effect on July 1 as there is a grace period for companies using email lists to bring their lists into compliance. This is good news for those who have not started yet. Of course the sooner you do it the less you need to worry about it and the less issue there will be. I also think that those companies who do this early will be seen to be responsible and most likely will have a higher renewal rate than those who lag behind.
What should you do? How do you do it?
There are several ways that you can take action.
You can send out an email broadcast to your list telling them that you wish to become compliant with the act and then ask those who open the email to click on a link to a form which accepts their decision. Ideally, this form should offer both choices; yes or no. The underlying list should contain the date that the choice was made, the ability to track this new list as a compliant list and have those who 'unsubscribe' set onto a permanent unsubscribe list.
Here's how one Canadian bank has attacked the issue:
KEEPING IN TOUCH
We think it's important to keep in touch by sending useful information that will help you to make financial decisions that are right for you. It's just one of the ways we're making money make sense.
Interestingly, they have chosen not to include the ability to unsubscribe on their email message and advise that for the time being failure to give explicit permission will not end their commnication (as provided in the act they can do this) but that it may do so in the future.
Here's how a cruise line has addressed the issue (American based):
"You are receiving this message because you are currently receiving our newsletters and/or promotional communications.
Canada's anti-spam legislation is going into effect on July 1, 2014. It requires
us to obtain your consent to continue sending you electronic communications.
Please click here to access our consent form.
We hope you have found our communications informative, and thank you for
You can include the message about the need to approve email communication in your regular email program.
"Canadian Residents — We need your consent to stay in touch
Canada’s anti-spam legislation is going into effect on July 1, 2014. It requires us to obtain your consent to continue sending you promotional and informational communications.
Access our consent form here.
We look forward to sharing more opportunities to cruise and save.
This is the manner in which another company has addressed the issue in their regular promotion flyer.
You can combine both approaches for some time.
This is probably the best long term approach but it takes some planning to ensure that you do not create a whole bunch of lists which then become a problem to manage. By doing some specific email campaigns requesting that people give their consent you will reach a percentage of your contacts. This helps to build the compliant list right away.
By including a message in all of your email communications that you are attempting to bring your list into compliance you can continue over time to collect names of other contacts who may not have opened your mass distribution, ignored it the first few times they saw it or who simply have not read your emails even when opened.
The headaches of managing this process are substantial but the results by building a new cleaner and more focused list can help you in the long run.
One thing that will be critical to this whole process. You will need a list management tool that clearly has the the capabilities to segment your list by compliant and non compliant contacts. It needs to track the date that people become compliant (express permission has been granted) and also tracks those who choose to opt out.
What steps are you putting in place to meet the requirements of CASL? Is it something you hope to ignore? Have you got the tools in place?
What's your answer?
Photo Credit: Holland America