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A New Sheriff In Town: Part 3

Sheriff Cop Car
We’ve been talking about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), Bill C-28, and its impact on email marketing. We’ve seen that the difference between expressed and implied consent is going to be crucial for associations, and that it will take some time database management systems to catch up with the new legislation.

But while we’re looking at best practices for email marketing, here are a couple of other points to keep in mind:

·         Every bulk email you distribute should include an unsubscribe link. It should be conspicuous, in a clearly contrasting font colour, so anyone who’s looking for the link can find it right away.

Your unsubscribe system should get the job done in a single keystroke. You don’t have to confirm that they really, really meant to unsubscribe, and there’s probably no need to ask them why they’re leaving unless the information will support your future work. (There’s a difference here between unsubscribing from a distribution list and letting an association membership lapse.)

You can prevent a share of your future unsubscribes by clarifying peoples’ content preferences as soon as they join your organization or subscribe to a list. If you send each of your audiences the tailored information they need, at the frequency they prefer, and nothing more, you’ll be more likely to retain their confidence and their participation.

Consumer preference isn’t a new concept, and neither is privacy protection. Both re-emerged as business communications issues when email surged into the market. But if you want to comply with CASL and do the right thing for your members and subscribers, “do unto others…” is a surprisingly simple place to start.

Go back to earlier installments of this series: Part 1 and Part 2.

A New Sheriff In Town: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation, Part 2

Database Maintenance
When Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), Bill C-28, was implemented in December 2010, it took most associations by surprise. Now, the challenge is to make sure your database complies with the legislation.

The first post in our New Sheriff series explained the important issue of consent in email marketing, but understanding the rules is just the first step. Here are some questions to help you align your database with the new law:

·         How do you capture the information that goes into your database?

·         Does every member file distinguish between expressed and implied consent?

·         After a member consents, do you keep supporting proof on file, including the statement to which they consented?

·         Do you have a double opt-in process to make sure your members are really signing up?

If your database management system was designed before CASL was introduced, it may not be set up to easily accommodate the changes it requires. If you introduce a new management system in the near or more distant future, you’ll want to build CASL requirements into your plans. Until then, you can use user-defined fields or text boxes to keep the best records you can.

Once your records are organized, the next step is a plan for encouraging your contacts to convert from implied to expressed consent. If that sounds like a chore, we can help.

Still wondering why this is worth doing? Apart from staying within the law and preventing future complaints, a permission-based strategy really does make you a more effective marketer and deliver better results. You might start out complying with CASL because you have to. But some day, you may look back and decide the legislation was one of the best things that ever happened to your marketing strategy.

Ready to read more?  See Part 3 of this series.

A New Sheriff In Town: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation, Part 1

Stop Spam Sign
There’s a new sheriff in town for anyone involved in email marketing in Canada.

Its name is Bill C-28. It’s been setting up shop over the last year. Its main purpose is to enforce the email behaviour that Miss Manners would always expect of you.

Except that, since the government adopted Bill C-28, the new privacy provisions known as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), this is one area where good behaviour is now the law of the land.

We’re not lawyers, but we’ve already begun helping our clients navigate Bill C-28. Most of them have never heard of it—when the legislation passed in December 2010, they were too busy running their associations or businesses to notice. The government and the Canadian Marketing Association are still working out details of how the bill will be implemented. But it’s time to get ready, and the difference between implied and expressed consent is a good place to start.

·         If someone has joined your organization, they’ve given you expressed consent to receive your communications. You’ll have a more satisfied member if you invite them to choose the topics, formats, and frequency of communication they want to receive from you, and periodically remind them that the choice is theirs to make. But under CASL, you’re covered.

·         If you meet a prospective member at a dinner or collect their business card at a trade show, you have implied consent to communicate with them—but only for two years. That means your booth representatives have to note the date of contact and your database has to track it.

·         Expressed consent is only valid if you clearly explain what your contact is agreeing to receive, and provide a link to your privacy policy. After they agree, you have to send them a confirmation email, and we strongly recommend using a double opt-in format to make sure they’re sure about signing up.

The same distinction applies to funders, exhibitors, and all your other partners. If they sponsor an event, buy an ad, sign up for a booth, they’ve given you their expressed consent to communicate. If they haven’t signed up to a formal business relationship, the consent is implied, and the two-year clock is running.

On the surface, CASL sounds like a relief for anyone who’s been buried in a deluge of email spam. But implementation is complicated, and we’ve already begun advising our clients on the database issues that result. We’ll deal with those issues in Parts 2 and Part 3 of this blog series.

Greenfield Services to attend CSAE Tête-à-Tête

Ottawa Tete-a-Tete
On Thursday, February 9th, 2012 leaders of Associations, Not-For-Profits, Professional Meeting Planners as well as Government Producers will be heading to the Ottawa Convention Centre to attend 2012’s installment of CSAE’s Tête-à-Tête – and Greenfield Services Inc is thrilled to be joining them!

As a platinum sponsor of the event, Doreen Ashton Wagner (Chief Strategist & Managing Director) & Meagan Rockett (Director, Client Solutions) are looking forward to re-connecting with old friends, and establishing new relationships.

Every year Tête-à-Tête continues to grow, and 2012 is shaping up to be the best year yet!  For more information on the event, or to register, please click here.  Feel free to stop by our booth (#415), or contact us by email to pre-book an appointment.  We look forward to seeing you all at the show!