Like an iron fist smothered in maple syrup, Canada is sticking it to brands with the toughest email marketing law in the land. And if your company deals in the Great White North, it may apply to you.
Effective July 1, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires businesses to obtain permission to send emails, text messages and possibly social media postings to customers or prospects.
Two Varieties of Consent: Implied or Express
Implied consent requires documented proof of a relationship with a consumer. For example, Jasper in Nova Scotia ordered a batch of squeegees last May and gave you his email address.
Express applies mainly to prospects, or any customer you can’t prove you’ve done business with in the last two years.
To gain the golden stamp of approval, you must dish out opt-in messages and compete with a flurry of others doing the same thing.
While mega brands like Ford entice customers with freebies – a chance to win a free Mustang – small businesses and non-profits don’t have the same resources.
Some experts believe companies will see opt-in rates of less than 20 percent without the help of an agency or digital marketing plan.
Whether you’re a global brand with customers up north, or considering business ventures there, it’s best to have an agency (and lawyer) on your side. Or risk stiff fines – up to $1 million per person, and up 10 times that for companies found in violation – and an email list worth less than a can of spam.
But for now, let’s just hope this crackdown doesn’t spread south of the border.