July 1, 2015 marked the first anniversary of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), making now a perfect time to look back on what we’ve learned. (Psstt…if you’re not familiar with the legislation, read our free guide Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and Your Business: Are You Ready? to get caught up.)
We hope you have secured consent from any Canadian recipients you have sent a commercial electronic message to since July 1, 2014. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to roll up your sleeves and become CASL-compliant! If you need a little motivation to get compliant, let us offer two main reasons.
You don’t want to learn the hard way
Since CASL came into effect, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has received 310,000 complaints. And, the number of CASL complaints has been increasing month over month, giving the CRTC plenty to investigate. We mentioned in our first post about CASL, published last year, that the potential financial consequences of being non-compliant with CASL are huge. A couple companies learned that the hard way this year.
A Canadian corporate training company, Compu-Finder, was fined $1.1M by the CRTC for sending commercial emails to consumers without their consent and not allowing them to unsubscribe.
PlentyOfFish faced a smaller CRTC fine this year of $48,000 for its failure to comply with CASL. The CRTC accused the company of sending emails to users with “an unsubscribe mechanism that was not clearly and prominently set out, and which could not be readily performed, as required by the legislation.” This fine is an excellent example of how simply having an unsubscribe mechanism is not enough. It is the responsibility of the business enterprise sending the email to enable recipients to easily and readily unsubscribe. All modesty aside, if you’re looking for a good example of a subscription center, you can look at our site: https://subscription-center.quarry.com (and while you’re there, feel free to review your other preferences and subscribe to some more publications!).
There is a silver lining—CASL can improve your email practices
Now it’s time to take a look at the bright side of CASL. We don’t want our previous point to scare you away from sending email. Evidently, CASL has frightened off many email marketers: 10% of respondents to a Cyberimpact survey said they have stopped sending commercial email as a result of CASL and 39% say it has hampered their promotional efforts. But on the flipside, in the “2015 State of Marketing” survey conducted by Salesforce, 73% of marketers believe that email is core to their business, and 92% of marketers reported that email helps drive strong ROI. The same study also found that the importance of email as a communication channel is not decreasing, thanks to smartphone usage, which allows consumers to have “a constant inbox in their pocket.” The message here is: “Ignore email at your peril.”
If the above paragraph was not enough to encourage you to keep sending email and therefore update your email practices to be CASL-compliant, then consider these other benefits of automating your database to be CASL-compliant:
Enhanced targeting and segmentation
Storing consent for those who have opted in to email communications allows you to enhance targeting and personalization of your emails. When someone opts in to receive emails, they usually provide some other key data about themselves. This additional information could include their name, their role in an organization or the content they have shown interest in. This information can be used in future marketing efforts for increased personalization, segmentation or lead qualification.
More actionable insights
By focusing on the right audience for campaigns, marketers can better evaluate the effectiveness of their content and campaigns. Since the metrics resulting from campaigns will only be from recipients who have opted in, they will not be diluted by segments of the database that are NOT THE RIGHT target audience.
Improved email performance metrics
At Quarry, we took on the CASL challenge and implemented an automated solution to manage our database for CASL-compliance last year. Since the change, our unique open rate increased by 24%, and our unique click-through rate increased by 31%. The reason is simple—email recipients are more likely to engage with your content when you have their consent. Furthermore, because we have a more targeted database of contacts, we have been able to perform more testing and gain key insights that have allowed us to continually improve our email marketing efforts with each new campaign.
Greater marketing efficiencies
Automating your database to be CASL-compliant can lead to greater marketing efficiencies by allowing you to focus your efforts on the audience that matters most—the people who want to hear from you. Your content and campaign development will only be for those contacts who have raised their hand and opted in to receive your communications. No more wasted effort trying to engage COLD contacts who have no interest in your product, service or content.
Decreased operational costs
Most email service and marketing automation providers charge based on the size of a company’s database of contacts. Therefore, many organizations are paying additional fees to providers by keeping a large database of contacts who are not even interested in receiving emails from them. By trimming down their marketing database to only the contacts who have explicitly (or implicitly) opted in to receive communication, organizations can save some cash in the form of reduced license fees.
In summary, becoming CASL-compliant can make your email marketing life easier (and happier) for both you and email recipients. If you need help tackling the CASL challenge, please do not hesitate to let Quarry know.