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By now, you’ve likely heard of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation that will be rolling out on July 1st. If you haven’t, or if you don’t think it applies to your organization, reality check: it does, and it’s time to get brought up to speed. A violation can cost a company up to 10 million dollars, which is enough to run most small businesses into the ground.

This new legislation has been put into place for one reason – purging your inbox of undesirable marketing messages and spam. You’ve probably received some of these e-mails before. Special offers, new products, promotions…essentially any form of messaging with the intent to sell that you didn’t ever agree to receive in the first place. This can be through an e-mail, a text message, even social media. Chances are, you already have an e-mail or social media marketing campaign in place, which means you’re at risk.

So, how can you prepare yourself for the change? Firstly, you’ll want to re-examine your current marketing processes and form a strategy on how to embrace the change as of July 1st. Ensure that you have the resources and the technology to comply.

The next thing you’ll want to wrap your head around is the difference between “sending” and “pulling” information. I mentioned above that even using your company’s social media account could put you at risk. “Pulling” information, when the user makes the choice to gather information you have posted publicly, is allowed. “Sending” is where the violations could occur. If you use your social media accounts to privately send messages to your followers pitching a new product or service, and they haven’t given you their permission to do so, you’re breaking the law. Therefore, simply posting things publicly on your company’s Facebook wall or Twitter feed is a safe practice, and probably a more diligent one anyways.

If your organization has multiple departments that send marketing messages (for example: you own a shoe manufacturing company and have two separate e-mail campaigns for running shoes and dress shoes), it’s critical to understand that if a user opts out of one of those e-mail campaigns they are opting out of every e-mail campaign. Efforts will need to be made to ensure this is monitored and properly managed.

It’s also important that all of your advertising campaigns adhere to ASC’s Truth-In-Advertising laws. Under no circumstances should any of your messaging ever be misleading. That includes an e-mail subject line, the body of the text, and calls to action. Everything needs to be honest and clear.

Moving forward, there are two main actions you’ll need to take to protect yourself: reconciling your existing contact list, and implementing a double opt-in process on all lead generation forms for future recipients.

We suggest you mock up an e-mail that redirects all of your current contacts to a new double opt-in form. Not only will this filter out all the old and outdated e-mails (which are a waste of money to market to anyways), but it will also ensure that your new marketing list is safe and secure from CASL violation.

Should you have any questions about CASL, feel free to call Think Profits, or view the official CASL website.