Four Steps to Becoming the King (or Queen) of CASL

Monday, July 14, 2014
Written By
Nicole Bulanda

On July 1, your marketing list became as valuable as your firstborn. After years of planning, revising, discussing and ratifying, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation is now in force. Many are bemoaning the fact that marketing now looks a lot different for businesses. However, this is not a time to complain—it’s a time to act.

As a result of CASL, brokerages will likely find email lists that were previously growing with little effort will now start shrinking. What’s a broker to do? Let’s examine four proactive steps you can take to comply with CASL while also continuing to grow your book.

1. Keep Them Engaged

Set the clock—contacts for whom you have implied consent (not express consent) to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) now have an expiration date. In the past, you could keep a recipient on your marketing list indefinitely. As of July 1, this is no longer the case. Generally speaking, if prospects don’t become clients within six months or clients don’t renew the relationship every two years, your ability to send them CEMs vanishes unless you have obtained their express consent to continue communication.

So how do you obtain express consent from recipients before they are gone for good? Two words: re-engagement campaign.

The trick to running a successful re-engagement campaign is to offer an incentive the recipient can’t refuse. Partners of Zywave have access to a 12-part CASL compliance toolkit that provides excellent “bait” and also positions them as trusted advisors.

Here’s a sample of a reengagement email you could send:

CASL blog1

Then, link recipients to a landing page on your website where they can download the incentive. Of course, prior to downloading it, they must enter updated contact information and grant their express consent to receive future communications from your company.

For a more low-tech option, simply ask the recipient to reply to the message with the subject line “Express Consent Provided” in order to secure their copy.

Your website landing page could look something like this:

CASL blog2

Make sure to track the replies. The onus of proving consent lies with the sender—a meticulous record of recipient consent will be critical for your compliance. Zywave Partners can track consent in our Account Management Center (AMC) product, a free companion to Broker Briefcase. AMC provides an optional field for each contact where you can monitor (and report on) implied consent expiration dates and note when express consent has been granted.

2. Welcome Them Aboard

Research shows that if you engage a subscriber right at the beginning of the relationship, you increase engagement over the subscriber’s lifetime. Start off your relationship with a bang—use a welcome program to both attract subscribers and facilitate CASL compliance by being transparent about messages you plan to send in the future. Mention the frequency of future emails and the content you plan to send. Provide clear directions that show recipients how to add your email address(es) to their contact book so your emails don’t end up in a spam folder. Most importantly, include a message in your welcome program that seeks to obtain a written copy of the recipient’s express consent.

3. Encourage Them to Opt Down Instead of Opting Out

Have you ever had a day where you just got fed up with marketing emails? I have. When this happens to me, I run through my inbox and unsubscribe from all of them. It’s cleansing. It’s soul-lifting. It’s a nightmare for marketers.

Do you know what always slows me down when I’m on an unsubscribe rampage? An email preference center. Preference centers offer the option to “opt-down” instead of completely opting out of communication. With a preference center, you can offer recipients the choice to reduce email frequency or only receive specific content, increasing your odds of keeping them subscribed and engaged. To remain compliant, make sure you also offer the option to completely opt out.

4. Get Them to Refer You

Almost every broker I speak with tells me they rely heavily on word of mouth and referrals to generate organic growth. Savvy brokers know there is an exemption for third-party referrals written right into the anti-spam law. The exemption allows you to send a single CEM to someone without consent, based on a third party’s referral. If used properly, the exemption will grant you one shot to open the door to new business and gain the consent needed to keep it open. Read my previous post to learn more about how to turn one email into a conversation.

Although CASL is now in place and enforceable, many companies are still in the dark about what exactly has changed. Taking proactive action now will give you a leg up on the competition and position you as a trusted advisor to your clients. Learn more about how Zywave can help you comply with CASL.

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