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Are Your Emails Compliant in Canada?

Posted on 9.29.2014

The Internet provides companies with a fantastic opportunity to constantly be within reach of their consumers no matter where they may live or what time it is.

Whether companies leverage email or text messages to communicate with their consumers they will now have to obtain express consent from those in Canada in order to send them commercial messages.

Below is a list of four guidelines for companies to follow in order to keep themselves out of the crosshairs of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).

Ethically Acquire Email Addresses

How companies acquire consumer email addresses has come under direct fire thanks to CASL. While companies that used best practices had long ago stopped buying email lists, CASL will officially put that practice out to pasture.

The new law makes it unequivocally clear that in order to send any type of commercial electronic message to consumers, companies must have their express consent. This means any company that is sending messages through SMS, social media or email for example must adhere to the new rules or they leave themselves open to an (up to) $10 million fine.

Identify Yourself

A simple concept that unfortunately needs to be repeated, do not lie about who you are or who you work for. Not only will lying leave companies open to the aforementioned fine but it will also ultimately cause consumers to lose trust in the brand if the company is not being truthful about who it is. 

In order to fully comply with the new law, companies, and the employees that are sending the electronic messages, must include their own email address as well as the phone number, email address and website address of the person or company on whose behalf they are sending the message on.

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Easy Unsubscribe Process

Perhaps the easiest part of Canada’s new law, whenever companies send an electronic message, whether it be on social media or text message, they must supply an easy unsubscribe method for consumers.

At this point, there is no all-purpose way to add an unsubscribe feature to all forms of electronic messages, each type of message leans toward its own unsubscribe features. For example, when placing an unsubscribe feature on an email a great place to do so is next to the sender address. By placing it there you are not distracting the consumer from the message and you are also adhering to the new regulations.

However, this will not work in SMS messages. There are two popular ways that companies can insert this feature in there SMS messages. The first is to provide a link to a dedicated landing page where users can easily unsubscribe. The second is to allow consumers to simply respond with a word that will automatically unsubscribe them like the conventional STOP. Companies can also combine the two to give consumers the easiest way possible to unsubscribe.

Always Tell the Truth

A seemingly basic rule but one that nevertheless needs to be reiterated, don’t lie. Any communications that companies send to consumers must not contain false or misleading sender information, subject matter, URLs or metadata. Not only will companies lose their consumers trust but they could potentially lose $10 million by sending false information, something that many companies cannot afford.

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