No reputable business intentionally spams people. But if you’re not careful, you still could be fined under the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) for sending email that does not comply with its requirements.
Just ask Porter Airlines, which was unable to provide the CRTC with proof of consent from each email address that received its commercial e-mails. The company was fined $150,000.
The legislation, which came into effect July 2014, requires that you obtain express consent from your existing Canadian email list and set up a new subscriber acquisition workflow.
But taking action to comply with CASL can be about something more than risk mitigation and regulatory compliance. In fact, it can be an amazing opportunity for your business to better engage your customers.
CASL forces businesses to reach out to their existing Canadian email subscriber lists and get each person to explicitly opt-in to continue receiving messages. Asking your email subscribers to take action can be difficult, even if it’s something as simple as their consent to receive messages they’re already receiving. You will see some attrition — some people will actively opt out, while others will take no action at all. Either way, if they don’t opt-in, you can’t email them anymore.
But you can make something positive out of CASL.
One approach could be to introduce email segmentation which enhances your marketing activities and campaigns with a better understanding of your audience. Over time, this leads to higher engagement levels — more opens and clicks, and fewer bounces and unsubscribes.
Segment for success
For our client Hobby and Toy Central, for example, implementing a CASL strategy presented the perfect opportunity to segment based on audience interest: Hobbies, Toys, Arts and Crafts, and Puzzles.
Hobby and Toy Central was experimenting with digital content, sending out regular emails throughout the year that touch on all of those topics. There were clear indications that some emails experienced lower open rates and higher unsubscribes than others. Hobbyists, for example, were not often interested in sales on baby toys.
By providing subscribers with a way to self-select what topics landed in their inbox, as well as how frequently they received them — weekly, monthly or seasonally — the CASL-mandated opt-in program shifted from being primarily about legal compliance to better understanding subscribers.
Quality, not quantity
As predicted, our client’s list shrunk initially. But more importantly, since the conversion to our CASL-compliant process, the open rate has grown 49.75%, on average, and the click rate is up an average of 114.11%. With this targeted approach, specific content is getting to the right audience and delivering on their digital strategy targets.
There is no question that in the short-term, CASL makes it a little harder to use email to market products or services. But through compliance, your organization can put in place best practices that improve your processes and targets the emails you send out to people who genuinely want them.