Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation comes into effect on July 1. If you're sending commercial electronic messages to your customers (e.g. email newsletters), here's what you need to know:
- You need consent from your recipients.
- You must identify yourself in your email message.
- You must include an unsubscribe method within the email.
While much has been made of this legislation intended to protect Canadians against spam, for the average legitimate email marketer it's pretty straightforward and will require little, if any, change to your current practices.
Let's break it down.
Do you have consent?
Consent means that your recipients have given you permission to send them marketing emails. This consent can be express - for example, they personally and specifically subscribed to your marketing communications through your website or social media page. It can also be implied, which means you have an existing business (or non-business) relationship with the recipient. This relationship can be no more than two years old or come from a business enquiry made within the past six months.
Regardless of the type, it is up to you to prove that you have consent. Therefore, it is important to maintain current and accurate records of your subscribers and how you obtained their consent. Your email marketing provider should provide the means to do this automatically within their email platform. Check to ensure this information is being captured.
Is your contact information in all your email marketing communications?
You need to clearly identify the individual or company sending the email communication along with a valid mailing address and contact information - telephone, email or web address. This information can easily be placed in the footer of your email marketing template.
Have you included the unsubscribe link?
All your email marketing communications must include a working unsubscribe option. It must be clearly visible and easy for the recipient to use. In most cases this will be a simple link that automatically removes the recipient from your list. In some cases - for example if you send more than one type of marketing communication - the recipient can be given the option to unsubscribe from a specific list only. In this case, there should always be the option to unsubscribe from 'everything'.
Don't make the unsubscribe function difficult to find. If someone wants to leave your list, make it easy for them. You don't want or need unhappy or unengaged subscribers.
For more information about CASL, visit http://fightspam.gc.ca/.