Here’s a 9-point CASL summary so you can get CASL compliant if you aren’t already:
- The crux of the new CASL law revolves Commercial Electronic Mailing (CEM) - which refers to emails that encourage participation via coupons, promotion or a sale. If you have a great content strategy to build relationships on your e-newsletter, you are likely infrequently communicating along the hard sell lines of “commercial” content, so you should just focus on making sure your’e building good relationships via e-newsletters, following the copywriting best practices for e-newsletter content strategy outlined in Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) - Do you Need To Panic?
- Regarding Consent: it can be given verbally or in writing. So if they signed a sheet specifically stating they want to receive your E-newsetter at one of your events or through your business website, they’ve already opted into your list. All former explicit and implicit consent is still legitimate after the July 1 2014 deadline. You don’t have to do it all over again.
- You’re not allowed to pre-toggle/pre-check-pre-tick the “I want to receive info” box anymore - you have to allow your future list members to select the box themselves. So that’s nice for all the trigger-friendly readers out there. Now you’ll only get the people who are excited to hear from you. You don’t want to annoy your prospects anyway!
- You’re not allowed to send emails nor unsolicited messages to social media inboxes. However, the CASL can only check email, not social media, rendering the point moot, but it’s good to know about for best practices. None of us like to get mass mailers on Linked In, so it would be nice if this stopped since they don’t ever offer an “unsubscribe” in those. I recognize their is implicit consent by being “linked” to someone on Linked In, but the “unsubscribe” option must be in every mass email.
- You must clearly identify the sender, sender contact info and an unsubscribe mechanism. We suggest you point out the unsubscribe mechanism at the top of the next newsletter, just as way of reminding them and showing our compliance - with a statement in the first paragraph saying something like ~ “You’re on this list because we believe we have your explicit consent to contact you because you asked to receive this kind of information [insert your e-newsletter’s summarised content strategy].” Regarding sender contact information: if you are using Constant Contact or Aweber, you are already providing your sender details etc.
- You’re allowed to have implied AND explicit levels of consent on your list. Implied can refer to an existing relationship (business or otherwise) between two individuals — but not between a corporation and an individual, nor an individual representing a corporation and an individual. All this to say, that “Implied” is a bit tricky if you are a corporation - stick with the best practices of “opt in” and it won’t matter to you. But if you’ve used your personal relationships to dump people onto your corporation’s business mass email list, you need to stop and start over.
- Individuals are allowed to write to people to obtain consent for future contact. This is good news for businesses. Let’s say one of my clients gives me a referral, I’m allowed to email them based on my 3rd party relationship my client. I will then ask the referral for consent to contact them, and they can say “yes” or “no”. However, this is really only for CEMs again, so if I just wanted to say “Hi” to the referal and ask them to book a time to talk, I’m still allowed to do this. So the Cold Calling 2.0 idea Aaron Ross espouses in Predictable Revenue will not die with this new law. Good news for business.
- Under this same issue, you’re also allowed to contact anyone who publishes or voluntarily discloses their contact details without indicating they don’t want to receive communications. SO, if you publish your email on your website and you don’t say “don’t add my email to your CEMs” - anyone could add you to their CEMs list, i.e. you are opening yourself up to spammers. Again, not a surprise, this is why Tangible Words has ALWAYS discouraged our clients from putting their emails on their website, except through the use of the contact form. Side note: there is some controversy as to how this affects Linked In - in that emails are connected to your Linked In profile. However, Linked In does not endorse you contacting people with whom you do not have a relationship. That’s why if you aren’t a “client, colleague, or friend” they force you to input an email address. However, Linked In burns their own ass by recommending contacts in your network to you - with whom you can connect without any email contact. Yet, this is irrelevant to CASL becuase your email address is not “published” it simply is “contacted” to your online profile. So in regards mass email on Linked In - it’s still a no-go because there is no “unsubscribe” option in my ruling.
- Keep track of how you obtained consent in the past, now, and in the future, perhaps by using the awesome “List” feature in your email service provider. You might want to include a statement explaining how you collected consent in a targeted email campaign to each list. If ever you were audited by CASL (unlikely) or someone filed a complaint (unlikely, but always protect yourself) you would have good consent records to defend your case.
Tangible Words only ever puts people on our Tangy Words e-newsletter because they filled in a form asking to receive information at a Tangible Words workshop; they made a request by email, phone, or the Tangible Words web form, to be on our mailing list. We have a separate list for our best clients - a “Clients Only" list- and they are put on there as a courtesy for customer relationship - and that’s because we disseminate privileged information on that list just for our busy clients to keep up with best practices and industry changes.
Hope that helps to show you how it relates to you - looks like business as usual for our best clients.