This is the third story in a series of articles, which will look at different software solutions to help marketers comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). While CASL came into force on July 1, marketers still have a three-year transition period, giving them the chance to convince their customers to give their express consent to receive commercial electronic messages.
Head on over here to see the first story in the series, featuring Envoke.com’s solution , or to read the second story, featuring Elite Email.
For Constant Contact, working with its 600,000 small business customers means helping them handle their email as quickly and as simply as possible, while keeping an eye on costs. So long before CASL’s enforcement date came and went, it was important for the company to be able to help its customers figure out how CASL would affect them.
A lot of the rules outlined in CASL were already part of Constant Contact’s email marketing solution, says Lisa Kember, regional director for Canada East at Constant Contact.
“What we’re doing is enhancing features we already had in the system for many years,” she says, adding the main difference now is that Constant Contact now focuses much more on documenting getting consent from consumers, as part of CASL compliance.
“We’ve been preaching and mastering permission-based email marketing. Much of what was in CASL – we already encouraged that.”
Kember adds that Constant Contact automatically turns on CASL-related features in its product for its Canadian customers.
Here are some of the features of the Constant Contact solution, targeting CASL:
The confirmed opt-in email feature:
For marketers, one of the most popular ways to get express consent is from their customers is to send a mass email asking for that consent, often asking customers to click a link to show they are giving it or opting in.
However, Constant Contact has built a feature that places limits on that kind of message. Once that type of email is sent, the marketer cannot send any more emails to that customer if the customer hasn’t responded. The idea here is to help marketers clean out their lists and remove customers who no longer want their messages, Kember says.
“We’ve had this system for years as we’re very strict on permission,” she says. “Clients need to clearly indicate if they have consent.”
For example, if one of Constant Contact’s customers was accused of sending out spam, the company might ask them to do this to do a spring clean of their lists. However, Kember says she wouldn’t recommend this as the first course of action for marketers looking to get express consent for CASL.
The template email to confirm subscriptions:
For small businesses, it can be hard to draft their own versions of CASL-compliant emails that ask for consent. Constant Contact has built a customizable template email featuring a business’ own logo and all the right language to ask customers to confirm their subscriptions and give express consent. Anyone who clicks on the link in the CASL template will be documented as having given express consent, Kember says.
A way to keep track of contacts who have given consent through .CSV imported files:
For small businesses who have stored their contacts in a .CSV file, they’ll be able to export them and put in implied and express consent fields, making it easy to quickly see which contacts have given consent and which haven’t. This system will be available on July 18.
Website sign-up forms:
When visitors come to a small business’ website and sign up to get updates or newsletters from the business, they fill in several fields – including all the fields that are necessary to get documentation of express consent. The bottom of the sign-up form will also show information on how to unsubscribe from the business’ list, if a customer wants it. This feature also comes out July 18.
Giving customers the option to update their preferences
For customers who want to choose which types of emails they receive, they’re documented as having given express consent. So it’s handy for marketers to be able to email customers to ask them to update their profiles and express those email preferences. This feature will also be available July 18.
For the full list of Constant Contact’s CASL-related tools, head on over here.
And for Constant Contact customers who have questions about CASL, they can call a dedicated hotline where Constant Contact will explain how the legislation affects them. The company has also set up a CASL Resources page, linking to blog posts and videos explaining how to comply with CASL.
Pricing for Constant Contact’s solution hasn’t changed since the company added CASL-compliant features. It starts at around $20 per month for basic email campaigns. Full pricing plans are here.