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Marketing Tips
Illustration by Richard Downs

Marketing Tips

with Justin Seeley

Video: What is CASL?

Hello there and welcome back to Marketing Tips. There are, however, some exemptions to this.
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  1. 13m 40s
    1. What is CASL?
      7m 9s
    2. Five Ways to prepare your business for CASL
      6m 31s
  2. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome to the series
    2. How to send feedback
      1m 49s
  3. 15m 15s
    1. How to grow your email list with Twitter
      7m 21s
    2. How to run a contest on Twitter
      7m 54s
  4. 7m 2s
    1. How to claim your Google+ vanity URL
      2m 49s
    2. How to use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
      4m 13s
  5. 12m 44s
    1. How to run a contest on Facebook
      7m 30s
    2. How to use your Facebook Insights data effectively
      5m 14s
  6. 12m 32s
    1. How to create a Pinterest business account
      4m 16s
    2. Five ways to use Pinterest for your business
      8m 16s
  7. 7m 44s
    1. How to set your YouTube Channel URL
      2m 34s
    2. How to use tags effectively on YouTube
      5m 10s
  8. 10m 34s
    1. How to write better blog posts
      5m 59s
    2. Ten ideas for your next blog post
      4m 35s
  9. 5m 33s
    1. How to setup your Vine profile URL
      2m 28s
    2. Tips & tricks for better Vine videos
      3m 5s
  10. 7m 30s
    1. Creating a URL shortener with Bitly Pro
      2m 34s
    2. Five Ways to track your social media efforts
      4m 56s
  11. 6m 49s
    1. 5 Ways to use Instagram for business
      3m 9s
    2. How to run a contest using Instagram
      3m 40s
  12. 6m 3s
    1. Using Hootsuite to cross post your content
      2m 50s
    2. Scheduling posts with Hootsuite
      3m 13s
  13. 9m 51s
    1. Five Apps for social media management
      4m 53s
    2. How to reach your audience on mobile
      4m 58s
  14. 6m 13s
    1. Five ways to deal with negative comments
      2m 33s
    2. Creating a community around caring
      3m 40s
  15. 6m 26s
    1. Using Snapchat to engage customers
      2m 56s
    2. Six second story telling with Vine
      3m 30s
  16. 7m 23s
    1. Creating content for LinkedIn
      3m 43s
    2. Using the LinkedIn publishing platform
      3m 40s

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Marketing Tips
2h 18m Appropriate for all Jan 08, 2014 Updated Jul 23, 2014

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Stay up to date with marketing tools and techniques that will help you run your business more efficiently. Author Justin Seeley brings you the tools and techniques you need to have conversations with your customers, build community, track engagement, measure analytics, and leverage social media tools to grow your brand. Tune in every other Wednesday for new video tips to keep your marketing efforts fresh.

Social Media Marketing Marketing Content Marketing Small Business Marketing
Justin Seeley

What is CASL?

Hello there and welcome back to Marketing Tips. My name is Justin Seeley, and this week we're going to be talking about CASL, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, which is a really big deal for online marketers today. However, you might not be aware of exactly what CASL is, so let's first tackle that issue. CASL is a new Canadian law that went into effect on July 1st, 2014. And the law itself specifically aims to regulate electronic communications between companies and individuals.

But, what exactly does that mean for you as a marketer? Well, it means that your business, if they communicate with Canadian users, you must comply with this new law or face the consequences, which could include a fine between one to ten million dollars per violation. The first thing you need to understand is exactly how Castle classifies something called a Commercial Electronic Message or CEM. According to this new law, a CEM is any message that is electronically formatted including emails, instant messages, text messages and social media communication.

So, that means anytime you're sending an email to someone, a chat message to somebody, a text message that they've opted into, or even a social media communication like a Twitter Direct Message, a Facebook message, etc. Those are all considered CEMs, commercial electronic messages. This message must also be sent to an electronic address, which includes email addresses, instant messaging accounts, phone numbers, and social media accounts. So again, all of these correspond to the different types of electronically formatted messages that we just spoke about above. And also, the message must contain something that encourages commercial activity, which includes things like promotions of products, services, people, companies and organizations.

So, any time you're trying to get someone to buy something, to come to your store, to get engaged with a sale, to participate in a contest, anything like that, all of those are considered a commercial electronic message. There are, however, some exemptions to this. Messages to family or persons with established relationships between you and the brand, that is okay to continue to send them messages. Messages to an employee, consultant, or persons associated with you or your business, absolutely fine. Responses to customer who have already inquired about something within the last six months, it is fine to go ahead and continue to reach out to them.

Messages that will be opened in a foreign country outside of Canada, which does include the United States and most of Europe, to my understanding. Messages sent on behalf of a charity or political organization for the purposes of fundraising. Those are also exempt. And messages attempting to enforce legal rights or court orders are also exempt from this. And messages that provide warranty, safety, or security information related to a product or service are also exempt.

Continue with our exemption list here. We've also got messages that provide information about purchases, subscriptions, memberships, accounts, loans or other ongoing relationships with a business. So, if you're sending out messages regarding someone's account, someone's subscription, their loan information or any other ongoing relationship they have with you where communication is essential to that relationship continuing, you're okay. Single messages to a recipient without a prior relationship on the basis of a referral. However, the full name of the referring person must be disclosed in the message and the referer may be family or have another relationship with the person to whom you're sending.

So, there are some ways around this new law but as you can see, not very many of them are actually going to go hand in hand with email marketing. In order to send commercial electronic messages to your users, you must have one of the two types of consent that are outlined inside of the CASL documentation. You must have either implied or expressed consent from the user to communicate with them. But, what exactly is implied consent and what is expressed consent? Well, implied consent just means that the recipient has purchased a product, service, or made another type of business deal, contract, or membership with your organization in the last 24 months.

You are a registered charity or political organization and the recipient has made a donation, a gift, has volunteered or is attending a meeting organized by you. Also, a professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you or is conspicuously published. And who hasn't published or told you that they don't want unsolicited messages. Expressed consent is a little bit different. You must give users a clear and concise description of your purpose in obtaining their consent. So, it's basically like, do you want to receive these emails? A description of messages you'll be sending, so giving people an idea, we send you coupons, we send you discounts, I'll be sending you updates on my blog posts, things like that.

The requestor's name and contact information, physical mailing address and telephone number, email address, or website URL, must be present within the message. A statement that the recipient may unsubscribe at any time must also be in there. Now, most of those are going to go hand in hand with most of the traditional email services like MailChimp. Most of those already do that, so chances are, most of that is already in compliance. However, if you're not 100% sure if you're CASL compliant at the moment, that's okay. There is a three-year grace period in effect, which gives you ample time to get all of your affairs in order with CASL compliance.

So, exactly how should you prepare for this? Well, the first thing you need to do, is you need to read the terms of service of your email marketing provider, whether that's MailChimp, AWeber, whatever the case may be. You need to read their terms of service and ask them specifically if they are CASL compliant. And if they haven't already publicly responded to that question that is, because most of the time, they are. MailChimp already has statements out on this. I've read through that and made sure that you know, they're going to comply with this so everything looks good on their end. You should do the same for any other email marketing service that you use.

Also, you should study the, quote unquote, letter of the law by actually reading the CASL documentation, that way you know all of the subtle nuances of the legislation and how to make sure your business is compliant. If you're not sure how to read that, or you don't want to take the time to read it, my suggestion would also be to consult your in-house counsel, an attorney, or just go outside and find an attorney to read through and make sure that you are compliant as well. And finally, you should also prepare your customers for any necessary changes. If you need to reach out and explain some changes that are happening to your email marketing system, or how you do business with email marketing, or Facebook messaging, or whatever it is that you are doing to send these CEMs, you need to reach out to your customers and let them know.

Now, I have bookmarked the full legislation documentation for CASL here at for you to review. Remember, you've got some time, so there's no need to really freak out right now. You just need to take it slow, walk through the law, understand it, and make any necessary adjustments, and you should be just fine.

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