Email Marketing and Spam Laws in Canada

This post is about two of my favorite things: spam and the law.

Sales Of Low Cost Canned Meat Spam On The Rise Amid Rising Food CostHaha! Ok, but seriously now…

Small business owners who use email as a marketing tool will want to pay close attention to Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation, the majority of which comes into force on July 1, 2014.

Now I’m no lawyer (and we all know why) but from what I can gather from the government link above, if you’re sending bulk emails for commercial reasons, and you don’t want to break any laws, you should watch out for 3 things:

  1. Make sure you have verbal or written consent to send someone your bulk email newsletter. In other words, don’t send them unsolicited email, get their permission first.
  2. Identify yourself in your email, so the recipient knows exactly who you are and how to reach you.
  3. Give them an easy opt-out so that if they want to unsubscribe from your email list, they can.

Are you worried that these restrictions will dampen your email marketing efforts? Stay calm. These parameters will only make you work smarter and become an even more awesome email marketer. Just remember:

Be a sharp-shooter – It’s always better to cultivate a targeted list. Whenever possible, have some kind of relationship with a person before adding them to your list: maybe you met them at a networking event, or they were referred to you by an existing client. This way, they are far more likely to open your email than if you just “cold-emailed” them. Sure your list will be smaller and take longer to grow, but it will be a solid list. Would you rather have an email list of 10,000 that few open and generates 3 excellent leads, or a list of 100 that everyone loves to read and also generates 3 excellent leads? Exactly.

Help, don’t sell – Kind of hard to call your email newsletter spam if you’re targeting people who need your expertise AND you’re offering them sound advice, making them laugh and inspiring them to be better versions of themselves.

Be in a relationship – Don’t e-blast your way into people’s in-boxes, make a quick sales pitch and then disappear. Use your email campaign to encourage conversations. Invite your readers to events so that you can meet them in person. Direct them to your Facebook and Twitter feeds so you can stay in touch. Your email newsletter should feel like the start of something special, not a one-night stand.

“It’s not me, it’s you” – Look, breakups happen. Don’t be afraid of offering an easy opt-out, such as an unsubscribe button. If it didn’t work out, it’s because it was a bad fit. Remember, it’s not the size of your list that matters, it’s the quality. Let the wrong people bow out gracefully. Do not obsess about losing readers.Obsess about finding the right readers.

Need some guidance with your email marketing campaign? Need a ghost-writer to create your e-newsletter? Need a Constant Contact tutorial? Let me know how I can help out your small business! – Nishi

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