How the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws affect IR communications


The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (or CASL for short) and their specific rules have been talked about a lot over the past few years, and many still have questions. How will CASL affect your public company, as well as your email lists? Are you staying compliant? This week’s blog breaks down the basics. For specific step-by-step directions, get a copy of our free Complete CASL Guide: how to keep compliant and grow your subscriber list.

Canadian Anti-Spam Laws affecting IR communications

What are the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws?

CASL is a set of laws that were passed in 2010 and went into effect in July of 2014. These laws are focused around keeping commercial messaging more truthful and less spammy. Three main government agencies are responsible for the enforcement of the laws, including the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), who will fine anyone who violates the new CASL laws. (yikes!)

What is CASL affecting?

CASL is aimed at regulating the way electronic commercial communication happens. That means sending emails, social networking messages, even text messages with a business purpose to clients, customers, or prospectives. We’re going to stick with the email laws, since that has the biggest affect on public companies. In terms of email, CASL dictates:

  1. The specific elements to include in each email sent for business purposes.
  2. Who you can and cannot continue to email based on whether or not they have given you express consent.

Get more specifics here: The Complete CASL Guide: keep compliant as you grow your subscriber list. 

Canadian Anti-Spam Laws affecting IR communications

What are the CASL rules for public companies?

If you’re a public company reading this blog, CASL will affect you! But let’s break it down. The CASL ‘Fast Facts’ site provides an easy three question survey on the matter of compliance. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these three questions, then yes, CASL applies to you.

  1. Are you using email, SMS, social media or instant messaging to send commercial or promotional information about your organization to customers, prospects and other important audiences?
  2. Do you install software programs on people’s computers or mobile devices?
  3. Do you carry out these activities in or from Canada?

Don’t worry, you have some time!

The regulatory agencies for CASL have set a three year grace period for all businesses to refine their email lists and get their subscribers compliant. So learn the steps and send ‘good with the law’ emails!

The Complete CASL Guide:

Here are some easy ways to grow your email list (with examples)

You’re writing great content, have must-see company updates, and now need people to see it! Before you consider shelling out some cash to pay for ad campaigns or promoted posts on social media, check out these quick tips you can implement almost immediately. Most of the time it’s just about being clear, having a great call to action, and making sure people see you asking for their email! 

1. Be impossible to ignore

Even if someone is interested in you, they’re not going to dig very far into your website or social media accounts to give you their email. A signup form needs to be super easy to spot on each page of your site. You don’t have to include a pop-up; include the form as a sidebar or have it (very obviously!) in the footer. If you are into the idea of being impossible to ignore, feel free to have some fun with pop-ups when someone visits your page. Check out how J Crew and Madewell captured their audience’s attention.




2. Tell them why they need you

Hubspot does this well: there’s 300,000 other people on their marketing email list, so why aren’t you one of them? Think about what makes your list special, and what those who sign up are going to get. Then sell yourself in the same space where you’re asking them to sign up.

Hubspot email form

3. Offer exclusive content only for people on your list

If you’re producing any type of regular content such as thought leadership pieces, marketing guides, whitepapers, or webcasts, consider offering the next one only for your email subscribers. Make sure it’s a topic that a lot of people would be interested in. And then, the most important step, make sure you PROMOTE that new, exclusive piece. Share the whitepaper on social media with the subscribe link, and let people know that, by subscribing, they’ll only get more of this great content.

4. Ask your existing subscribers to pass you along

There’s no harm in just plain asking. The Skimm daily newsletter does a great job of this. At the end of each of their emails, they ask their list to share them and they offer a possible Starbucks gift card as an incentive. If you’re not there quite yet, just do a simple ‘please will you’ message (and make it fun!).  Make sure it’s a breeze for a subscriber to click a link and share directly on social media or email with their own communities.

SKimm contest

5. Offer a special deal when people opt-in 

The opt-in form is a great moment to thank your new subscriber with a deal or gift. Offer a discount on their first product or a free assessment or service. If it doesn’t feel like the time to offer them anything substantial, then show them why their signup is beneficial with a list of everything they’re now receiving as a subscriber. Maybe they’re getting access to exclusive content, maybe they’re the first to get company updates. Whatever it is, let them know you’re excited and that they should be too.

6. Use social media to promote yourself

Show them exactly what they’ll be getting on social media. AKA: include an image! Share a nicely designed image along with the subscribe link to all your social media followers encouraging them to sign up. Here’s an example of a post we shared on Twitter with our subscribe link and an image of our newsletter.



Soak up some more of our knowledge

So now that you’ve got a killer email list going, how do you use social media to reach out and interact with investors? Click right here and find out.

Here’s how you can improve your email strategy (infographic)

Wondering what time of day you should send that email to maximize its chances? 

Recently we looked back at three years worth of data from our clients’ email blasts to their target audiences and learned some pretty cool things. We love seeing trends that could help you, and we also love infographics. See below to find out some ways our findings could assist your own investor email strategy. What is the best time of day to send an email, keeping in mind PST and EST audiences? What devices are people reading emails on nowadays? Also, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been the talk of the town over the past year. How has the new law affected your emails?

Improve your investor email strategy


The Key to Creating Email Newsletters that People Actually Read

Well, first of all, thanks for reading our Blender Online Magazine! This is our tenth issue and throughout these months, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to email marketing. Email is fast and versatile when it comes to delivering information to targeted audience. It’s a cost effective method that allows your company you reach specific individuals and track how successful the email was at engaging your audience. So how do you ensure that your emails are open and people are reading the corporate materials that you send? Here’s a list of tips we came up with to help you ace your email communications.

  1. Focus and fine tune. Just like any other project, when it is unfocused and it doesn’t have a clear objective, it just becomes a mess. What is the purpose of the email subscription? What do you hope to achieve? In order for the email to succeed and generate results, you need to give it a purpose. For our online magazine, we aim to keep our clients in touch with the latest news and exclusive insights that would enhance their investor relations strategies. This helps us stay focused and keep content relevant to our clients.
  2. Keep your content balanced. Second step is coming up with a content strategy. Make sure the content is informative and educational to the receiver. As much as they love you and your company, if they are not learning anything from the email, it’s likely that they’ll just delete without even glancing at it. Let it be face sheets, news, upcoming conference calls or webcasts, make sure it’s all relevant to them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-promotional content but it also kills the open rates of your emails!
  3. Get a subscribe button and landing page! How else are investors and analysts going to sign up if you don’t have a form or landing page for them? Once you’ve figured out the content and got email campaigns running, you’d most likely want to expand your reach. Rather than relying on referrals, a landing page with sign up subscriptions would help a lot. Give them a teaser of what the newsletter is like, and entice them to subscribe!
  4. Subject lines matter. Chances are, newsletters always have valuable content but we never read them because the headlines are not engaging enough. Here are five things to avoid when it comes optimizing your email marketing, check out a blog post we wrote earlier: 5 Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid.
  5. Keep design simplistic. Make content concise, key points ‘scannable’, and design minimal. When things are precise, it’s easy to follow. The design layout of the newsletter will make the content an easier read, and receiver would be more inclined to open and read it again.
  6. Make the un-subscription process easy. You know how annoying it is when you’re trying to unsubscribe for something and it takes forever. Don’t make your current and prospective investors hate you for an email campaign you send out. Tying them down with email communications that they hate would just make them hate the company. It’s sad to see them go, but think of it as keeping your email list healthy!