With exactly 1 week before Canada’s anti-spam legislation comes into effect, many small businesses are still trying to wrap their heads around the new requirements and hoping it won’t significantly increase their administrative work.
In this post, we will briefly review the key requirements for sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) and highlight what we are doing to help make you compliant.
CEMs are generally promotional messages sent by email, SMS or even Direct Message (DM) on social media platforms. To be more specific, a CEM encourages participation in a business transaction or activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit. If you are unsure whether your electronic communications would be considered CEMs, it’s probably best to play it safe and follow the guidelines as penalties for violations can be as high as $1 million for an individual and $10 million for a business.
CEMs sent after July 1st must include three general requirements:
Consent can be obtained either in writing or orally. In either case, it’s up to the sender to prove they have obtained consent to send the message. Since it may not be practical to have a witness on standby or audio recording of the consent, we recommend obtaining written consent which includes a record of the date and time. Also note that content must be express, not implied (no pre-selected check-boxes).
Presently, clients which book appointments with you are automatically added to the mailing list that syncs with your MailChimp account. Moving forward, consent will no longer be implied, clients must tick the opt-in box when creating a profile online which will automatically generate an electronic record of consent. If you create the profile in the backend, you must also tick the opt-in box on their behalf. Make sure you have received consent as the software will automatically send out an email confirming that the client has been added to your mailing list.
What about clients that are already receiving your newsletters? Luckily, the law contains a 36-month transitional period which you can use to obtain express consent. Sending an email asking recipients to confirm consent is an easy way to go about this. If you already have express consent, you do not need to complete this step.
This is the easy requirement: you must clearly identify yourself. If this cannot be done in the body of the correspondence (for example because of space restrictions), then a hyperlink to a webpage containing this information is acceptable.
You must offer recipients the possibility of opting-out at any time. The process must be simple, quick and easy. You must ensure the request is resolved within 10 days.
Presently, recipients can opt-out at any time through MailChimp (which is actually sending out the newsletters). You may also unsubscribe someone by ticking the box on the client profile in your CalendarSpots account (which impacts what information is synced with MailChimp). Moving forward, clients will also be able to unsubscribe via their client profile in CalendarSpots.
What’s in it for you?
While the requirements may appear to be burdensome at first, this is a great opportunity to clean up your mailing lists and make sure that only individuals which are interested in your products/services are receiving CEMs. In fact, these recipients will be the most responsive to your communications. Remember that the quality of your campaign is not the numbers but having high quality recipients.