Does your contact list keep shrinking due to expiring consent?

This article shows you how to maximize the number of contacts where you have a valid consent for sending email. Some of the features mentioned are specific to Envoke.

Brief history

CASL has been in full effect since July 1, 2017 after a three year transitional period. On this date some contact lists were reduced by as much as 90% because they didn’t have express or implied consent for their contacts.
Attention to CASL has faded since then. Many companies grew weary spending long hours (days?, weeks?) with legal counsel over a period of time that seemed like an eternity. Some were more than happy the transition period came to an end even if it meant a significant loss to their emailable contacts. They accepted the new reality. (Remember the fifth stage of grief?)
The focus then shifted to GDPR in early 2018. Even as we closely followed the effects of CASL we found ourselves talking more about implementing requirements set forth by the new EU privacy legislation.
But CASL hasn’t gone away. The rolling expiry dates for implied consent continue to haunt databases.

Time for a review of your CASL strategy

There is no silver bullet. No single solution converts amazingly but using a combination of features will have a measurable impact on the size of your confirmed subscribers.

Obtain express consent when contacts first interact with you

Duh! This is the most obvious suggestion. This way you have non-expiring consent and don’t have to chase contacts to confirm their subscription. Just add a consent checkbox to every form.
Simple, isn’t it? Sort of. There are two notable exceptions:

  1. Dedicated subscription forms: you don’t need to display a consent checkbox as long as you clearly indicate that contacts are subscribing to your list and they have the option to unsubscribe. This way you can assign express consent to anyone who completes a subscription form.
  2. Direct sales inquiry forms: it’s more important to get the sales inquiry than obtaining express consent. A consent request checkbox can dilute the effectiveness of your carefully optimized sales form. Leads will have implied consent for six months. This is not a major issue since they are already leads at this stage.

Related article: Tips about subscription forms optimization and related consent settings.

Audit your forms and email messages

This step is discussed in detail in a separate blog post: Useful tips which you can use to maximize consent and subscription on your forms under CASL.

Find out if any CASL exemptions are applicable

CASL provides a number of exemptions such as mandatory messages sent to association members, members of alumni organizations, recall notices, etc. It’s worth to investigate if any of the exemptions apply to (some of) your contacts.

Get the country field right

Mark contacts who are outside Canada. (You can do this using the country field in your database.) Expiring implied consent only applies to Canadian contacts and you don’t want to lose non-Canadians simply because they are assumed Canadian. You should also review your “default country” setting – it is used when contacts don’t have a country designation and we can’t determine it based on their IP addresses either.
Assigning a country also ensures that contacts from the EU will be handled in compliance with GDPR and contacts from the USA will be subject to the USA’s opt-out system.

Use the consent request bannered

The consent request banner is used to automatically solicit express consent over time: it appears on top of every email for contacts who haven’t yet provided “express consent”. Read more about the consent request banner.

Send dedicated consent request emails

Consent request emails are dedicated email messages to collect express consent from contacts. See our how-to article for details.

Automate consent expiry reminder emails

Envoke lets you send automated reminders to contacts whose implied consent is about to expire.

Don’t use legal jargon and explain what’s in it for your contacts

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. Include benefits / 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”.

Offer multiple subscriptions

This way 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.


Getting and keeping consent is a lot harder than it used to be before CASL and GDPR were implemented. An “unsubscribe” link was enough for a long time. Now there are rolling expiry dates and contacts need different treatment depending on their location. Keeping your list compliant can take a lot of time unless you can automate it all. This is where Envoke can help: We help you automate the majority (in some cases all) of the manual, mundane work to keep you compliant by providing default, location based compliance settings and allowing you to customize them to handle special cases.

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