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CASL: Six Name Recapture Strategies

by Randall Craig on July 4, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing

Tagged as: ,

The new Canadian Anti-Spam law (CASL) has recently gone into effect.  Canadians are (supposedly) no longer receiving non-consensual emails.  Yet spam continues to pour in from overseas – as do “legitimate” marketing emails from organizations outside of the country.  The only losers are the businesses that actually comply.  If your list has shrunken to a fraction of its former size, what can you do about it?

Of course ignoring CASL is still an option, but given the penalties, few might be willing to take that risk.  Waiting is also an option: perhaps the initial court cases will open additional exceptions.  Unfortunately, following a no-email strategy leads to a no-sales strategy, which quickly leads to a no-solvency strategy. 

The key to recapturing names is to recognize that there are four different groups of people on your list: 

  • Those who have given consent.  No action is necessary: they are already on board.
  • Those who ignored your request for express consent.  This group may have ignored your request for many reasons: they were flooded with requests, or their spam filter deleted your request, or they simply missed your email. Or, they may actually not want to receive your emails, and ignoring your request seemed easier than clicking on the “withdraw” link.
  • Those who have chosen to withdraw their consent.  They may have decided to withdraw consent only because they were inundated with consent requests, and may not have realized the impact of their withdrawal.  Or, they really don’t want to hear from you.  Recapturing someone who has explicitly said “no” is a 50-50, as it is impossible to know which  group they fall into. 
  • Those for whom CASL doesn’t apply.  If a particular person is not in Canada, then you may not require express consent.  (You may, however, need to follow their country’s anti-spam laws when sending to them.)

Here are six name recapture strategies:

1) Pick up the phone and call them, and get their consent verbally.  This is most effective for your “A” list of prospects.  If you do this, follow-up with a double-opt-in email for documentation.

2) Send them something – or many somethings – in the mail.  The cost of a few stamps is nothing compared to their revenue potential.

3) Meet them in person.  For the highest value prospects, an in-person meeting is the best way to strengthen your relationship – and get their consent.

4) Fish where the fish are.  This may mean seeing them at trade shows, industry events, professional association dinners, etc.  Get their express consent in writing, either on their business cards, or if it is your own event, on a sign-up form.

5) Look for opportunities to send them “exempt” communications.  If they make a purchase you are able to send them their invoice – this communication is exempt from CASL.  Within this transactional email, provide an additional incentive (a white paper or ebook) for them to provide their express consent.

6) Rely on implied consent.  For those who have not withdrawn their consent, AND who are clients or former clients, take advantage of the three year transitional period to continue to send them emails.  This ends on July 1st, 2017.

This week’s action item:  The effectiveness of these strategies degrades with each week that your contacts don’t hear from you.  This week, put together your own recapture strategy, and begin executing it.

Bonus marketing insight:  It is critically important to think of your list not as a dumping ground , but as a collection of individual people who have a specific relationship with you.  To recapture individuals means thinking of them as such – and making sure that your technology allows you to do this.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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