CASL hasn’t cramped the email marketing style of Canadian businesses: survey

Nearly one year after Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into force, a new survey shows Canadian businesses rely on email marketing as much as ever to reach new and existing customers.

New research from email marketing firm Constant Contact indicates that, despite the hype around CASL and several high-profile payouts for CASL-related infractions, it remains business as usual for most Canadian businesses.

According to the survey, 70 per cent of Canadian small businesses have continued to use email marketing as they were before. Some nine per cent have increased their efforts, and six per cent have begun email marketing for the first time. Just 13 per cent have decreased their level of email marketing since CASL, and only two per cent have stopped all together. List sizes are also largely unchanged – 65 per cent said their lists have stayed the same, while 10 per cent have seen an increase and just 25 per cent a decrease.

“CASL is rooted in the best practice of permission-based marketing, so it’s not shocking that small businesses have not seen an adverse impact on business,” said Lisa Kember, regional director for Canada East at Constant Contact, in a statement. “While some modifications may have been necessary initially, it seems that one year out, the impact has been much less than previously feared and the value of email marketing remains stronger than ever.”

It’s wise companies are continuing their efforts around email marketing, as the survey also found a strong majority of Canadian consumers – some 68 per cent – still rate email as their top preferred method for staying in touch with a business. Telephone was well back at 12 per vent, followed by mail, in person and social media all in the single digits.

However, 40 per cent of Canadian businesses indicated they’re not using email marketing at all.

“Canadian consumers are saying loud and clear that they want to stay in touch with businesses, and that they want to do so through email,” said Kember. “This is major validation for the businesses that are already leveraging email marketing and a wake-up call for those that have yet to get started. When it comes down to it, email marketing is really the only channel where businesses own the relationship with their contacts. With email, unlike social, you are guaranteed to get your message directly in front of your audience—in their inbox.”

And consumers are spending a lot of time in their inbox – 1.2 hours every day, in fact. Some 84 per cent of Canadians said they check their email at least twice a day, and 38 per cent check their inboxes six or more times every day.

If a business wants to get into a user’s inbox and get them to subscribe to their mailing list, receiving discounts and special offers was cited as the top reason consumers subscribe, at 71 per cent. Taking part in specific promotions was mentioned by 38 per cent of consumers, followed by staying informed on an ongoing basis at 36 per cent.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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