Got Consent? – You Better Get Ready!

So, you’re having a special promotion, a service offer, or you’ve got some really great new 2014 models coming in to your Dealership and you want to e-mail your customers and prospects with the big news!  After all, they probably want to know about this, right? Well, effective July 1, you can’t. That’s right; you can’t e-mail them and let them know!  It will be against the law. Ridiculous you say? I agree, but you’d better be prepared and, you’d better keep reading!

On July 1, 2014 a new Federal Bill that governs Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect?  This legislation applies to everyone – individuals, incorporated or unincorporated businesses, not for profit organizations etc., who send out e-mail messages for commercial purposes (they’re called CEM’s – Commercial Electronic Messages). 

We all get a little sick and tired of the barrage of e-mails we receive every day trying to sell us something so the government, in its infinite wisdom, has passed new legislation to try and control the flow of these messages. 

I am sceptical about how effective this will be when I think of the “don’t call” list they put in place to control Tele-marketers. I’m on that list, but I still get calls every night – how about you?

My other major concern is how in the world does the government expect to police this new law?  The only way I can think of is through consumers who write or phone in a complaint that have received a CEM.   

Personally I don’t see any benefit to this legislation especially for those, as I do, who take the time to provide an ethical and simple method for recipients to unsubscribe when we send a CEM.  What I do see, is another heavy chain around the neck of small businesses (like you and I) in Canada that inhibits our ability to communicate with our customers and potential customers. 

The problem is the mass majority of Spam we receive on a daily basis, originates outside the borders of Canada and therefore is not within the control of the Federal Government and the new regulations. Regardless, this legislation will come into effect July 1st, 2014 so there are some things you need to think about and put into place an action plan to respond to this new environment.

This link http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home will give you the basics of what this legislation covers and what you need to do if you send CEM’s.  I have no doubt that like most Dealers, you send e-mail promotions to your customers on a regular basis.

Effective July 1, you will need to get permission from your e-mail recipients (your list) to send them your information or promotional offers. 

It’s possible, that to comply with the law, you could claim that you have a prior relationship as outlined in the legislation. However, if you use an e-mail marketing service such as iContact, Mailchimp, Constant Contact or others, your list will be considered unacceptable unless you can show proof that you have received permission from the recipients of your e-mails to communicate your information and/or offers to them.

Of course you also run the risk of one of your e-mail recipients filing a complaint with the government and, if the system actually works, you could face a very hefty fine!

For my part, I want to be proactive well before the legislation comes into effect. Your Lifeline Business Solutions Dealer Newsletter is, in my opinion, on the border line of falling under the definition of a Commercial Electronic Message (or CEM).  

The primary purpose of my newsletter is to provide a channel for me to communicate with you and all Dealers, about subjects and information that you find useful and that is important in enhancing your profitability.

I do, however, invite you to contact me if you want or need help with any of the subjects I cover in your newsletter, or on other issues - so it would be considered a CEM and impacted by the new legislation – just as your own Dealership newsletters or promotional e-mails would be! 

So here’s what I’m doing to be proactive and to comply with these new (and, in my humble opinion) unnecessary regulations that significantly restrict how small businesses – including you and I – market to, and communicate with, our customers and prospects.

Starting shortly, in each of my newsletters, I will be inviting you to reply to my e-mail with your permission for me to continue to send you useful and important information in your newsletters. It’s a simple process; all you’ll have to do is click on a link and complete a 2 line form with your first name and e-mail address.

Judging from the responses I receive, Dealers enjoy and appreciate the knowledge they gain through a quick read of these newsletters.

It’s my sincere hope, that over the years of receiving your newsletters from me that you’ve gained some valuable insights on how to make your Dealership more profitable and that you’ll allow me the privilege of continuing to communicate with you in the future.

And don’t forget, you better be proactive and get ready too!

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