July 1, 2017 will be here faster than you think. That’s the deadline for the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation to come into full effect. What does this mean for you? In less than a year, Canadians can start filing complaints about companies who are sending them unwanted emails. Fines can range from $1 million for individuals to $10 million for companies who violate the law.
The best way to protect yourself is to get express permission from people on your list AND document it. Express permission means that someone has given you explicit permission to email them and that you have it documented in writing.
Here are four ways you can do this:
Ask for permission in your monthly email
At the top of each marketing email you send out, include a link that allows people to ‘consent’ to staying on your list.
An email marketing system like Constant Contact will keep track of this, saving you the trouble of documenting it.
Closer to next July, you can separate your database into two lists, those who have consented and those who have not. At that point, you may choose to contact people directly for permission or simply remove them from your list.
Send out a special email asking for permission
You may have received one of these in June 2014 just before the law first came into effect. It’s a short email sent to people on your database asking them to consent to staying on your list. The benefit is that it’s a one-click action, but the downside is that the response rate is really low. The promise of a discount or special offer can motivate people to click.
Start fresh; re-boot your list
When you set up an email marketing account, you have the option to require a ‘double-opt in’, which means that when people sign up for your mailing list (even through your website) they will receive an email confirming that they are interested in being on your list.
Removing your database and uploading it again with the ‘double-opt in’ system in place will ensure that your list is compliant. The downside is that your list will likely be significantly smaller as people might not opt in again. However, it’s very likely that the people who do re-join your list are genuinely interested in your business.
Pick up the phone
A little personal connection is never a bad thing. It’s an opportunity to connect with past clients and prospects and you may even generate some business! If you’re doing this, I suggest working with the ‘double opt-in’ feature so that you don’t need to keep track of who said yes. Hopefully, after a call from you, they’ll click and be on your list forever.
Please be in touch anytime if you have questions about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. I can help you feel more relaxed and confident, knowing that you’re fully protected.