Storming the CASL

June 30, 2014

It is great that Canada has passed the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).  But it is like a single person becoming silent in a crowded stadium.  And, it is bound to create more confusion than solutions.

First, the law applies only to Canadian sourced communications, and the VAAAASSSSTT majority of email I receive is from outside the country – who knows from where but probably mostly from the United States.  So my spam will be reduced by maybe 5%.

The CASL rules are that companies will not be allowed to send electronic mail campaigns without the recipients’ agreement – effective July 1, 2014.  Happy Canada Day!

There is a grace period if you already have an existing business relationship with the recipient.  This established relationship may be as little as a request for a quote.

The grace period allows two years to gain an opt-in acceptance from your customers, suppliers, or even people who have asked for a quote.

Not included in this “opt-in” requirement are employees or members of your organization.  Their commitment is deemed to have been expressed by either being employed or joining your organization.

The last minute rush is on to gain agreement to opt-in from everyone with an eBlaster or access to one.

There is no reason for the last minute rush except for lack of planning.  Today my in-box and spam filters are full of requests for me to opt-in.

Too many organizations are treating this need for recipient acceptance as a routine legal requirement.  I believe they will be lost in the flood of requests.

When someone receives a legal request for cooperation, we are both empowered and annoyed.  And likely will do nothing to help the supplicant.

With so many organizations making requests, it is hard to stand out.  Compelling communications that get responses are seldom the domain of lawyers.

Our suspicions, rightfully, make us cagey about responding to legal sounding documents.  Leaving us wondering why we have been asked.

Certainly many people will actively use the opportunity to reduce their inbound email traffic.  As important as that shoe store seemed two years ago, I don’t want their sales bulletins any more?

Our counsel is to learn from the British Nudge Unit and from Direct Marketing expertise.  Use their approaches to stand out.  Make your message compelling and interesting.  Show the recipient why they will benefit from continuing to receive your emails.  And give them the requisite nudge to act.

If you are communicating with sellers of your products, remind them how the information you provide creates revenue for them.  If they are end users, remind them of the savings and product benefits they enjoy.  If they are prospects, remind them of the invaluable information you provide that helps them.  If they don’t act, these things will be lost.  So get creative!

Most of all, make the subject, headline and look of the communication interesting enough for the recipient to actually read.

The ones in my trash have titles like “help us continue to help you,”  “still time to confirm your subscription” and “don’t lose touch with us.”  How compelling are these requests?  Not so!  That’s why they are in my trash folder.

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