The new Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2014, will impact businesses all across Canada. The law prohibits businesses from sending promotional electronic messages without prior consent from the recipient—that includes email, text messages and messages sent to social networking accounts. Every promotional electronic message must now contain the name and address of the sender, as well as an “unsubscribe” option for the recipient.
Fines for non-compliance will be substantial, ranging from $1 million for an individual to $10 million for a business. Under CASL, any individual can initiate a complaint against spam. Once a complaint is filed, the onus is on the sender to prove consent.
Many small businesses choose email marketing as a less expensive way to reach customers and prospects, creating ad hoc databases with little “proof of consent.” Under CASL, this is no longer an option.
On top of CASL rules, Canada has a strict National Do Not Call List (NDNCL) that limits telemarketing as a tool for small business marketing. These consumer-friendly laws can create obstacles for small business.
However, small businesses do have options—especially with direct mail. While email marketing might be riskier under CASL, it doesn’t mean that tried-and-true marketing tactics can be abandoned. Small businesses know they must capitalize on every advantage to build strong and lasting customer relationships in a competitive marketplace. Direct mail offers many such advantages, including:
- Impact. According to Canada Post, 95% of Canadians read their mail the same day it arrives—and 68% read it as soon as it’s received.
- Creativity. From colour and graphics, to size and package variations, a small business can create a unique piece that will stand out in the recipient’s mailbox.
- Reliability. People trust direct mail, especially when it comes from a company with which they already have a relationship.
- Targeting. Small businesses can rely on direct mail to deliver targeted, personal messages to existing customers and prospects.
- Metrics. One of the best things about direct mail is that you can measure the ROI, a critical factor for small businesses that need to monitor every nickel spent.
Of course, small business can also deploy direct mail to help comply with new CASL rules regarding email permission. For example, a direct mail postcard sent to your existing customer base can serve as an appropriate vehicle to update your database of physical and digital customer addresses—while you simultaneously obtain customer consent for future email marketing. In this way, direct mail can actually make your email marketing more compliant with CASL.
Learn more about the value of direct mail.