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E-mail Marketing Rules are Changing!

February 26, 2014

 

Bill C-28 CRTC

Bill C-28 CRTC

E-mail newsletters and other electronic messaging formats are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most direct ways of staying connected to your clientele. Email marketing allows your business to keep your clients informed of company updates, changes, and promotions. If used correctly, they can be extremely beneficial to your business, but stray too far from the guidelines and you or your company could face heavy penalties.

The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (Bill C-28) is slated to enter into force July 1st 2014. It imposes new obligations and strict regulations on e-mail marketing, e-newsletters, and any other form of “commercial electronic message” (CEM) solicitation. It is still okay to send any email or text that is considered to be a part of conducting regular business and where there is no self-promotion or solicitation involved. This includes appointment reminders,

Post service follow-up instructions or special care information, thank-you messages for client referrals, and special order notifications. Client recuperation emails, newsletters, and all promotional offers are out of bounds and require explicit client consent before sending. Birthday wishes fall into a grey zone, so play it safe and keep it 100% promotion free.

It’s All About Consent

The CRTC prohibits the transmission of unsolicited electronic or email messages i.e. to people or clients that you do not have consent from. The CRTC defines consent as being either express or implied consent. By express consent, they mean the person receiving the commercial electronic message has agreed to receive these messages either vocally or by written consent. Implied consent is consent through the exchange of information that was requested

or is related to an agreed upon transaction between customer and company. Any person receiving unsolicited emails or emails with false or misleading information may take action within 3 years of the occurrence. The fine for such behavior is $200 per violation, up to a maximum of $1 million/day. It is also illegal to represent yourself or your company under false pretense in URLs, subject matter lines and message content. Always identify yourself and provide accurate and credible information in your messages. You are trying to build or maintain a loyal and trusting client-company relationship, so there’s no need to lie about anything or use electronic gimmicks to try and get your clients’ attention. When collecting your clients’ emails, we recommend that you get either written consent (where they select which types of communications they are willing to receive from you) or that you use an on-line double opt-in e-mail system where clients reconfirm their willingness to remain on your email list. You’ll gain more respect from your clients for being honest and your subscriber list will be more accurate, making your email marketing strategies that much more effective. In order to avoid getting slapped with heavy fines or penalties, when sending out any kind of CEM, the CRTC requires you to provide the following mandatory information: • Include your name or the company name to let your email recipients identify you as an accepted sender

  • Provide information that will allow the person receiving the message to contact you, the company, or a third party that is sending the messages
  • Include an unsubscribe mechanism that allows the recipient to remove themselves from your mailing list electronically and at no cost
  • Finally, keep records of your electronic mailing lists, including date and time that consent was given in order to reduce law infringement risks

The game is changing; it is now time to reset your database and rebuild it to meet the new standards and requirements. Start now; when the law comes into effect consumers will be bombarded with requests for their consent which means they will be reluctant to give it out to anyone.  You have until June 31st 2017 to fully comply to this new rule…40 months that will fly by quick if you don’t start right now.

For more info on this Bill C-28:

CRTC Bill C-28

New Canadian Anti-Spam Law

http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00050.html

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