If you're a business or organization using e-mail, text messaging or social networks to promote products and services Canada's new anti-spam law probably applies to you. Once it is in force, (July 1, 2014) compliance with the law will be mandatory, and following the new rules will help businesses and organizations build and maintain the trust of clients and customers.
So how do you get ready? Here's a few things you can do:
- Determine if your electronic messages are commercial in nature. The law applies to Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) only. A CEM is defined as encouraging participation in a business transaction or activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit
- For all electronic messages you have determined to be commercial:
- Get the consent of your recipients, and keep records. The legislation requires obtaining "express" or "implied" consent. Express consent means that a person has clearly agreed to receive a CEM before it is sent - you cannot request consent in a CEM. Consent may also be implied in certain situations, for instance if there is an existing business or non-business relationship. In all cases, keep detailed records in case you are ever asked to prove that consent has been received.
- Identify yourself and anyone you represent in the message. Provide contact information including your business name, postal address and either a telephone number or e-mail address. This information must be accurate and valid for a minimum of 60 days after the message has been sent.
- Include a working mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe from receiving additional messages. This must be at no cost to the recipient.
- Ensure that no part of the CEM is false or misleading, including the sender's identity, subject line, any Web links, or any other material part of the message's text or data.
Here's an infographic summarizing the above four points. Print it and Post it. :)
This law applies to new contacts immediately (you need their consent and each CEM must include your information and an unsubscribe mechanism) and within 3 years for those you already have a business relationship with (during the transition you have implied consent to continue sending CEMs to existing contacts, with unsubscribe options), so depending on the list you have built over the years, it may not be necessary to send out one of those "please reconfirm your interest in receiving emails from us" emails.
It definitely is a good idea to use an email management system to keep track of consent, ask for double-opt in, and allow for automatic unsubscribes.
You can learn more about the law at www.fightspam.gc.ca. Every business owner, manager and employee is encouraged to examine the legislation to see how it will affect their marketing campaigns.
Pinnacle Communications & Media Inc has helped dozens of clients with their email marketing from set up to list management, and producing the marketing messages and more. If you'd like our help, contact us today and get ready for the new legislation. PS. You can even sign up to receive our eNewsletter! or start your own email system here free.