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3 Ways to Grow Your E-mail List Without Being Spammy

An e-mail list is one of the most important and valuable assets to an online or bricks and mortar business.

When Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation came into effect in 2014, this had a chilling effect on the e-mail marketing efforts of many small businesses.  Many business became afraid to send e-mails for fear of breaking this law. This legislation is federal and applies across Canada.

The general rule is that if you are sending “commercial electronic messages” which include e-mails, you need the consent of the recipient of the message.  Whenever you can get this express written consent from a client or prospect, you should record it and store it.  This could include having them check a box electronically on a website, or on paper ballots or contest entries.

The good news for small businesses is that there are several useful exceptions where you have implied consent if you have not obtained express consent (permission in writing).  These will help you to grow your e-mail list without being “spammy” or violating the law.

  1. Existing Business Relationship – A business has implied consent to send e-mails to their clients who have purchased services and goods from them within a 2 year period of the e-mail being sent.  Prospects who have made an inquiry about your goods or services can be sent an e-mail within 6 months of the inquiry.  An example would be a business owner who signed up for a training course and provided their e-mail address.
  2. Conspicuous Publication of E-mail Addresses – If another business publishes their e-mail address and does not indicate that they do not wish to receive marketing messages at that address, you can send commercial e-mails to this business e-mail as long as they are relevant to the role of the person (use common sense here).
  3. Business Card – A person gave you a business card or their e-mail address in a business context like a networking event.  You have their implied consent to send commercial e-mails as long as the message is relevant to their role and they did not indicated that they do not wish to receive marketing messages at that address.

Whatever the type of consent, the onus is on the company sending the e-mail that the business has consent.

The business also has to identify itself (including address) and provide an unsubscribe option.  This is best done using an e-mail marketing application such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Drip etc.

For further information on this topic, you can check out the FightSpam website.  Happy List Building!


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