A Guide For B2B Marketers On The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
One of the challenges facing modern B2B marketers is how to be CASL compliant while generating equal or better marketing results. Only 8 months after the CASL fine was implemented, the first violator of the legislation was issued a $1.1 Million fine, while a second violator was fine $48,000 just a month later. It may be time to brush up on your CASL knowledge.
CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) is an anti-spam law that applies to all emails sent in connection with commercial activity. Its key feature requires organization to receive consent from recipients in Canada before sending messages.
In the long run, CASL should benefit B2B marketers by reducing the amount of spam cluttering prospect’s inboxes, but it can also cause major problems for organizations that aren’t properly prepared.
CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission), in March issued the first fine for violating the CASL law to Compu-Finder, fining them $1.1M for “flagrantly” neglecting the legislation. This is the first time a fee has been assessed in matters involving CASL that came into effect last July. The company had been warned about its practices and urged to only market to interested Canadian parties, and subscribed users for marketing campaigns, but after many notifications, continued the violations.
The second violator, PlentyOFish Media, Inc. was fined $48,000 after complaints that sent e-mails did not have a clearly labeled or easy-to-use unsubscribe option.
I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely something I want to avoid having to bring up in my next meeting with my CEO.
What is CASL?
CASL is a law that prohibits organizations from spamming Canadian residents. Consequences of violating this law involve large fines.
Under the CASL Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation a business cannot send an email to a Canadian resident without:
• An existing business relationship defined as a purchase in the last two years, within two years of the completion of a contract, or an inquiry in the last 6 months
• Including a clearly noted and functioning unsubscribe mechanism on all communication
How do I avoid a violation?
Is your email marketing team on edge yet? Not to worry, the more you know about you customers, the better you can avoid fines. Here are a few tips on how to avoid violating the CASL law:
• Use the best, most accurate data with up-to-date location information on each contact
• Identify the contacts in your database that reside in Canada (a .ca email address doesn’t always mean they are located in Canada)
• Develop more targeted campaigns using location information to enhance your marketing results and avoid blasting generic messages to large, unknown groups.
• Ensure that all emails contain a mechanism that the recipient may unsubscribe at any time, and perhaps more importantly make sure the mechanism works.
CASL ensures that marketers are keeping in mind the desires of their recipients. The legislation keeps email marketers focused on hyper-segmenting campaigns, and drawing in prospects through voluntary messaging. If there’s a silver lining, perhaps it’s this: With the introduction of CASL, a properly executed outbound marketing strategy will be more important than ever before.