On July 1st, 2014, Canadian businesses and organizations started looking at what we call today CASL compliant email marketing.
Whereas other businesses considered compliance a hustle. And considered reducing or eliminating email marketing as part of the solution.
Eliminating or reducing email marketing is a wrong business decision. With a return on investment as high as 42 to 1, email remains the most profitable online marketing medium for companies and organizations.
To help you keep your email marketing compliant and performing well, I’ll guide you through the following:
- What is CASL?
- How CASL helps improve your email marketing quality.
- 15 strategies for effective CASL compliant email marketing.
- Best cost-effective way to stay compliant with CASL.
Let’s get to it.
What is CASL?
Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) is the federal law dealing with spam and electronic threats.
CASL laws aim to prevent people who reside in Canada from damages and threats such as:
- Identity theft
When this law came into effect on July 1, 2014, it required all businesses to obtain and document consent to send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs).
This means even if your business is outside Canada and you have Canadian email addresses in your database, CASL applies to you.
As CASL presents more strict rules of compliance than GDPR or CAN-SPAM, it shaped a new Canadian email marketing.
The first step toward CASL compliant email marketing is to learn about your CASL compliance requirements as a business.
The aspect of your CASL compliant email marketing is how you manage your contacts’ consent.
Not obtaining express consent can shrink your email list over time. And for that purpose, you need a CASL compliant email marketing strategy to:
- Help you manage and automate your consent management.
- Prevent losing contacts because of expired consent.
- Send risk-free email campaigns for your business.
- Build trust and engage your audience.
How CASL Helps Improve Your Email Marketing Quality
After CASL laws went into effect, marketers’ new discussion became whether CASL makes or breaks email marketing performance.
Here is why.
CASL regulations state that you must obtain contacts’ consent before sending them emails.
Put it another way, this means you can only send emails to contacts who want to hear from you.
CASL compliant email marketing improves your email performance and quality.
Contacts that provide you with express consent are already expecting to hear from you, and they’re more likely to open your email campaigns.
And for contacts with CASL implied consent, they’ve already purchased a product or services from you. There is an existing transaction between them and your business.
CASL laws don’t prevent you from sending emails to your contacts. It just requires you to obtain consent before doing so.
Use CASL compliant email marketing in your favour to gain your contacts’ trust.
Which by the end would result in higher open and click-through rates.
15 Strategies for Effective CASL Compliant Email Marketing
CASL compliance does present a challenge for email marketing. But it doesn’t prevent you from launching well performing campaigns.
Here are 15 strategies for you to learn how to run effective CASL compliant email marketing.
1. Create compliant opt-in forms
When you start a lead generation campaign, always aim to obtain leads’ express consent.
CASL express consent is not subject to expiration unless the contact unsubscribe.
Once your subscriber provides express content, you’re allowed to send emails with no worry about their consent status.
To obtain express consent from your form submitters, use CASL compliant opt-in forms.
When you put up a form on your website or landing page, always aim to obtain leads’ express consent.
Here is the information that you must include in your opt-in form:
- State what you’re asking contacts to opt into.
- State that the recipient can unsubscribe at any time.
If you’re generating leads in Canada, I recommend using a Canadian CASL compliant email software that supports compliant opt-in forms.
Use Envoke’s sign-up forms to build and customize CASL compliant opt-in forms so you can obtain express consent from contacts submitting their email address.
This way, you’ll grow your email list, at the same time, run CASL compliant email marketing campaigns.
2. Offer multiple subscription options
By offering multiple subscription options, your contacts have a choice to opt-in and out of various subscriptions. Without revoking consent altogether.
When subscription preferences are updated, we require contacts to confirm or revoke consent. Most people confirm it at this point.
Here a CASL compliant opt-in form that provides multiple subscriptions.
3. Separate consent from subscriptions
Many people mistake subscriptions for consent.
Consent is the permission to send emails, subscriptions are the type(s) of emails subscribers want to receive.
You must differentiate between your CASL consent and subscriptions.
Broad consent request – Make a broad umbrella consent request covering all email communications.
Two or more subscriptions – Create more than one subscription type to allow your contacts to manage the types of messages they receive. Even if you only send one type of message now, come up with two or three very broad categories of messages you might eventually send
Under CASL, your consent request must be clear about the “purpose or purposes for which the consent is being sought.”
Mention the purpose of obtaining consent in your form’s’ checkboxes to help subscribers have the right expectations.
On one hand, it helps you build trust because the subscriber controls the emails they want to receive.
On the other hand, you grow your email list with quality leads and reduce unsubscribe rates.
4. Convert implied consents to express consents
Consent upgrade is one of the most neglected CASL compliant email marketing strategies.
Your email list is a valuable asset to your business and organization. And with the lead acquisition costs, every contact you lose is lost revenue.
If you have subscribers with implied consent, you should consider converting them to express consent.
And the sooner, the better because once the implied consent expires, you can’t send them emails anymore.
You can convert implied consent to express consent with a CASL transactional email like the following from Udemy.
How to keep track of the expiration date of implied consent?
Use a CASL compliant email software where you can automate CASL expiry reminder emails to prevent list churn.
You don’t have to keep an eye on implied expiration dates, you set up your consent reminder emails, and it will be sent automatically to contacts with implied consent before it expires.
You can also add a reminder text in every email you send. This is a unique feature to Envoke, called the “consent request banner”. It’s a customizable piece of text and button that only shows up for contacts who haven’t provided express consent yet.
Once express consent is confirmed this banner will no longer be shown in emails. This way the consent request banner converts contacts from implied to express consent automatically over time as you send emails to your list.
5. Record consent data of each contact
A considerable part of CASL compliant email marketing is recording the consent data of your contacts.
Under the umbrella of CASL laws, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) requires individuals and businesses who send CEMs to document and record consent.
Whether implied or express consent, you must record and track your consent.
Good CASL consent record-keeping helps your business stay on the right side of laws. It enables you to:
- Identify and prevent non-compliance issues.
- Have a clear overview on contacts’ CASL consent examples.
Here is the data that you must record and track:
- All evidence of express and implied consent (e.g., audio recordings, copies of signed consent forms, completed electronic forms) from consumers who agree to receive CEMs.
- Documented methods through which consent was collected.
- Policies and procedures on CASL compliance.
- All unsubscribe requests and resulting actions.
There have been many challenges for organizations to demonstrate and prove that they have obtained consent.
Use CASL compliant email software to solve this challenge and collect, track, and record consent on autopilot.
6. Audit your email template
If you haven’t updated your email templates, consider auditing your existing email templates. Include the unsubscribe option and sender contact information.
Create email templates that include required information such as:
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- Email address
- Website URL
Here is a common mistake to avoid.
After you audit and create your CASL compliant email template, make sure to make it accessible for your team to avoid anyone sending non-compliant emails.
Here is a CASL compliant email template created using Envoke.
7. Segment your contacts
Among the top strategies for CASL compliant email marketing is contact segmentation.
Email segmentation is splitting contacts into different groups to deliver targeted marketing content.
Segmentation makes it easier to send personalized emails based on contact data.
For CASL compliant email marketing, we recommend segmenting your contacts based on their consent status.
By segmenting your contacts based on consent status, you can use dynamic email content to insert consent reminder banners to convert implied consent to express consent.
Dynamic content allows you to display consent banners only to contacts with implied consent status.
If you’re an Envoke user, you’re familiar with segmenting your email list and sending messages based on contacts’ interests.
This type of segmentation allows you to send instead of two, only one email with different copy based on contacts’ data.
8. Personalize email campaigns
Email personalization is an overlooked strategy when it comes to CASL compliant email marketing.
Compliance is indeed a higher priority for Canadian organizations. Yet, your business can’t afford to miss the benefits of email personalization.
And the statistics are shocking! 70% of brands fail to use personalized emails.
When only the subject line is personalized, emails have an average open rate of 7.4% and a click rate of 4%.
When content only is personalized, emails have an average open rate of 18.8% and a click rate of 2.1%
A higher open rate leads to a higher click-through rate, and that results in higher conversions.
Contacts with implied consent would provide you with express consent if they can relate to the content of your emails.
Don’t treat email personalization as a luxury; it’s a foundation of performing campaigns.
Your contacts are different, do not treat them all the same.
9. Nurture new leads
A lead nurturing email sequence is an automated drip campaign intended to help new contacts learn about your organization.
Use your automation drip pre-written emails to deliver any opt-in promise:
- A coupon
- Email digest
- A lead magnet, etc.
You can use the same email sequence to establish a positive relationship with your new contacts and obtain their express consent. It’s best to:
- Introduce the organization or company.
- Introduce the team behind it.
- Share what contacts can expect from you.
- Present your products or services, etc.
Here is an example of a good lead nurturing campaign:
Email 1: Confirm opt-in and welcome new contacts.
Email 2: Send valuable content that matches with subscribers’ interest.
Email 3: Introduce yourself, your organization, and the team.
Email 4: Present your product or service and how it could help your contacts.
When you send multiple nurturing emails in a short time, it would seem like spamming your contacts.
Place waiting periods between emails and give your contacts the time to learn more about your organization.
10. Confirm contact subscription
To confirm contact subscription, send transactional confirmation emails that are triggered based on customers’ interaction.
In your confirmation email, it’s best to ask your contacts to confirm consent if a consent checkbox wasn’t checked.
According to Sleeknote:
- Transactional emails receive 8 times more opens than a regular bulk email campaign.
- Confirmation emails have one of the highest engagement rates, with an average open rate of 65% and a click rate of 17%.
Besides the high engagement rates, send confirmation emails to reassure new contacts or customers.
As part of your CASL compliant email marketing, automate confirmation emails for contacts who:
- Subscribe to your blog.
- Download a lead magnet.
- Request a demo.
- Place an order.
- Book a call, etc.
Would you like to get in touch with new contacts?
Use Envoke’s email marketing automation module to build subscription forms, send automated confirmation emails, and get notified when a new contact fills a specific form.
11. Prevent scraped or purchased email lists
Don’t buy sketchy email lists from shady sources.
This one is self-explanatory. A purchased email list is considered the highway to CASL fines.
Not only to keep your email marketing CASL compliant but purchased or scraped email lists:
- It can’t guarantee the quality of contacts.
- It makes you appear as a spammer.
- Risk getting blocked by email service providers.
- Destroy your reputation.
- And you might end up facing significant fines and legal bills.
Buying email lists may seriously harm your business.
Here is what you can do to build a larger email list.
Attract your audience with quality engaging content and promote lead magnets in exchange for email addresses.
12. Automate CASL compliance management
Compliance management is not everyone’s fun task or responsibility.
And if done manually, you’d feel that CASL compliant email marketing is mostly compliance management.
Your business concern is to get emails in the right inboxes, increase customers’ engagement and revenue.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. In the end, that’s what your competitors are trying to do as well.
Automate your CASL compliance responsibilities to stay ahead of the competition. This way you’ can entirely on your email marketing and business results.
It helps save you time that you can spend on growing your business.
13. Setup a double opt-in process
First of all, the double opt-in process is not a CASL compliant email marketing requirement.
Does CASL require double opt-in?
CASL laws do not oblige you to set up a double opt-in process. But one significant benefit of using it is that you have a more engaged email list.
Double opt-in helps you know the people who join your email list and avoid collecting spam email addresses.
Because subscribers have to confirm their opt-in, they are less likely to report your email as spam or unsubscribe.
Your double opt-in email is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your implied consent to express consent.
14. Do not use legal jargon with your subscribers
When asking for express consent, avoid using legal terms.
For example, a button called “confirm your subscription” works better than “provide express consent.”
You also need to “sell” express consent. It would convince your contacts to provide their consent.
Include benefits or provide a reason why anyone should confirm the subscription.
For example, “Confirm your subscription and be the first to hear about product releases, contests, and industry insights.”
15. Define the emails on which CASL doesn’t apply
CASL provides several exemptions, such as:
- Mandatory messages sent to association members
- Mandatory emails sent to members of alumni organizations
- Recall notices, etc.
It’s worth investigating if any of the exemptions apply to (some of) your contacts.
Best Cost-effective Way to Stay Compliant With CASL
CASL compliant email marketing doesn’t require you to hire a compliance officer or set up a high budget.
A Canadian CASL compliant email software is your go-to cost-effective solution to:
- Run CASL compliant email marketing campaigns.
- Track and record your customers’ consent.
- Automate your CASL compliance requirements.
- Automate compliance repetitive tasks.
- Send campaigns and nurturing campaigns.
Envoke is a 100% Canadian owned corporation registered in Ontario since 2007.
Since the Canadian Anti-Spam Law went into effect in 2014, we’ve been dedicated to providing our customers with advanced CASL compliance features.
The software handles the nitty-gritty of CASL, while you focus on managing and growing your organization.
All consent changes are also logged for a complete audit trail.
It provides mandatory emails option. Allowing you to send messages to contacts who are contractually obligated to receive emails even if they didn’t opt-in.
Envoke offers the lowest price as a Canadian CASL compliant software starting at $49. And users’ data is stored in Canada, including backup.
Is mailchimp CASL compliant?
Mailchimp provides compliance management, which is more convenient for GDPR compliance and CAN-SPAM.
If you’d use Mailchimp for CASL compliance, you will have to manually manage your consent status updates. That includes:
- Upgrading implied consent to express.
- Preventing contacts with expired consent from receiving CEMs.
- Sending consent reminder emails, etc.
Also, you’ll have difficulties tracking and recording consent.
I recommend using a Canadian alternative to mailchimp. And register only to a software that strictly adheres to CASL regulations.
This way, you’ll have software dedicated to your CASL compliant email marketing instead of a workaround tool.
If your organization needs to store data in Canada, it’s best to use a Canadian email marketing software that stores data locally.
Whichever industry you’re in, your email marketing is an asset that helps you nurture your leads, increase sales, and maintain high customer engagement.
Understand the regulations and adjust to it. It’s the solution to running effective CASL compliant email marketing campaigns that:
- Grow your email list.
- Keep your leads close to your company.
- Engage, convert, and sell more.
I hope you found this guide valuable. Please write to us if you have any questions in regards to CASL compliance and email marketing.