Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL) became effective July 1st. If you're not aware of what this law is and what it means for email marketing in Canada, you need to read this blog post by Bronto Director of Deliverability Chris Kolbenschlag right now.


The phones at Bronto have been ringing off the hook with questions around CASL. The most frequent one has been:

How do I obtain explicit consent from contacts that are already on my email list?

Great question. Keep in mind that we have some time here and there is no need to panic. Per CASL, you actually have up to three years if you collected implied consent before July 1, 2014 and two years if you collected implied consent after July 1, 2014. That’s plenty of time to get it right and test different “re-opt-in” strategies. You’ll need to send an opt-in campaign (or re-opt-in campaign) to your Canadian subscribers!

Here are some best practices that you’ll want to put in play when crafting your CASL opt-in campaign:

1. Use a straightforward subject line

Email subject lines such as, “Verify your subscription to continue receiving [XYZ]” or “Response required, to continue receiving emails from [ABC]” tend to stand out in an inbox full of emails. Keep in mind that your email audience is probably not aware of the new law, so referring to it in the subject line may be a bit confusing.

2. Explain why they are receiving this opt-in campaign

Here is your chance to briefly explain the change and why you NEED them to confirm their subscription. Don’t go into too much detail; you want the reader to get the point even if they’re only scanning the email.

3. “Sell” the sign-up

Make sure you reiterate the value of being a part of your email list and set expectations as to what will happen moving forward. Answer that famous question, “What’s in it for me?” Make sure the current subscriber understands what they will be missing out on if they do not confirm their subscription.

4. Consider offering an incentive

Offers make everything better right? All jokes aside, offering an incentive may just help increase your opt-in rate. This is definitely worth testing.

5. Provide both YES and NO options

This may seem a bit silly. Why would we ever want to give our subscribers a clear link/button to opt out? But I challenge you to test this. Studies show that by offering both a “Yes, Sign me Up” and a “No thanks” option you’ll actually see a higher positive response rate on your opt-in campaign.

6. Send a second opt-in request

Those who did not respond (did not open or did not click on either of the YES/NO options) are the contacts you’ll want to target with a second campaign. You may even want to split this group up and do some testing. For example, the non-openers may just need a new subject line, as the previous one didn’t grab their attention. The non-clickers may need different content and or an incentive to push them over the hump.

Here is a great example. LUSH keeps it short and simple, explaining both the reason for the opt-in campaign as well as the benefits of confirming and remaining on the LUSH email list. They even offer up both the YES and NO options. Notice too that at the very bottom there is a link for those who wish to learn more about the new CASL.

Example - Lush

Do you have Canadian email addresses on your subscriber list? If so, craft a smart opt-in campaign and let me know what type of response rate you get.