Having an e-news list and sending out e-newsletters has always been an important part of most business’ social media marketing plans. But in this era of Facebook restricting views (unless you pay), e-newsletters are more important than ever. People are literally inviting you into their inbox–you have a direct connection to them. Use it!
Canada already has probably the world’s strictest anti-spam laws. But they are about to get even tighter as of July 1, 2014. CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Law) goes into effect that day.
Who is effected: pretty much everyone. Even if you live in the United States or another country, if you send emails using an e-newsletter program to Canada, your emails that go to Canada must be in accordance with the rules.
Timeline: although the law comes into effect July 1, 2014, you have 3 years to come into compliance.
Who needs to be concerned: anyone who hasn’t built their list through express consent. That means you have that person’s (written, or they have gotten on to your email list through a double opt-in procedure) consent to be on your email list.
Things that are NOT express consent:
- Gathering business cards at a trade show, and entering those email addresses into your database.
- Harvesting email addresses from websites.
- Harvesting email addresses from people who “like” your Facebook page or who are your LinkedIn contacts.
- People with whom you have done business with (for example, and online business that requires an email address for follow-up purposes or to email receipts to).
Here are some ways to get those email addresses in an express consent way:
- Create a signup list at your booth at a tradeshow, and ask people if they want to sign up for your e-newsletter. Alternatively have and iPad there so they can do it electronically through your e-newsletter’s online signup form. If you run a bricks and mortar business, you may want to do something similar at the point-of-purchase. Asking people for their email addresses at point-of-purchase is going to become a grey area, as there will be no record of consent, because it was given verbally.
- You can create a sign-up box on your Facebook page for your e-newsletter (here’s how), or add a check-box to any promotions you may run that require an email address (check box must NOT be set to be checked by default). You will need to keep any data pertaining to this in case you need to prove consent.
- Again, add a opt-in checkbox to any forms that people with whom you are doing business online can check and give consent to join your mailing list.
Implications for Charities: the rules are less stringent for charities, because the Government is aware of how deeply charities depend up on email to solicit donations.
All-in-all, at the end of the day, the rules and regulations are certainly more stringent. However, it’s a good thing. No one likes spam. Except the Hawaiians. They love that stuff!