On July 1, new laws that govern email, text messages, and any other electronic correspondence will take effect. These laws prohibit businesses from contacting people that have not expressly consented to receive their messages. This means that business owners of all sizes will need to ensure they keep diligent records of their subscriber sign-ups. Here are some tips for helping sure that you will be ready to comply with these new Canadian laws:
Document Offline Subscribers Formally
When you attend trade shows or other events, we often ask people to leave their business card as a means to subscribe to our e-mail newsletter. This is no longer sufficient under this new legislation. We recommend that you create a formal sheet of paper (it can be as small as a quarter of a page) where the subscriber can provide the date and their name, email, and a signature that confirms they are aware they are subscribing to your newsletter. It may seem like a bit more work, but it should cover your liabilities. You will also need a safe place to store all these subscriber forms in case you need to produce them. A great idea might be to scan them as a backup.
Use a Professional Email Service
If you are managing your email newsletter list manually by simply sending out email to client list from your inbox, you are going to need to ensure you have a subscriber form for every member as we discussed above. However, if you use a professional email service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact the necessary records will be stored each time someone subscribes to your newsletter online.
MailChimp for example stores all the fields your request on your sign up and the timestamp and IP address of when and where the person confirmed their subscription. If you ever need to produce your records for government officials, you will be able to export your subscriber list and all their opt-in data into a handy spreadsheet.
Use a Computer or Tablet to Subscribe Users
If you are in a situation described above like an industry event or trade show, you can allow users to join your mailing list using a computer or tablet. MailChimp has an app for the iPad specifically designed to be set up at events to capture email addresses. Collecting emails this way will remove the worry of keeping paper files. Each user who subscribes will be sent an email in which they still need to confirm their subscription. Their corresponding IP and timestamp will be collected at that time.
Confirm Your Existing Subscribers
One last recommendation is to take a few moments to confirm your existing subscriber base by sending out a message asking them to re-enrol. This can be a difficult process because you may loose subscribers in the process, but it is will also protect you against liability. Failing to adhere to the legislation could land your organization a 10 million dollar fine so the trade off could very well be worth it. You can read more about how to reconfirm a mailing list on MailChimp.
Are you building your business through the use of an Email Newsletter? Find out how we can help you grow your subscriber list and customize your mailing campaigns.