First and foremost, I am an advocate of good, old-fashioned customer service and customer support. I think brands should interact with customers on a personal level for numerous reasons. Other businesses are starting to get the message one way or another. New Canadian regulations reduce spam and force companies to rethink effective brand to consumer communication strategies.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) regulates the ability for companies to send emails, text messages, and messages through social networks to customers that did not give consent to receive the messages. To some small business owners, it might not be a surprise that customers sign up for an email list for a fiscal incentive. The emails go straight from the inbox into the trash or the spam folder. Instead of lamenting about lost opportunities to send emails to customers, it might be time to invest less in social media blasts and more in genuine customer service initiatives.

Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL) Basics

The new law is fairly straightforward. It is exactly what it sounds like. A few highlights include:

  • CASL applies to all businesses and individuals that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) for commercial purposes.
  • Consent is required before CEMs are sent to individuals.
  • Individuals must be provided with an easy option to unsubscribe from lists at any time.

I don’t think CASL should be a deal-breaker for businesses with solid marketing strategies. In fact, CASL has brought how ineffective mass CEMs can be to the forefront of numerous Canadian small businesses and large enterprises.

Are Companies Losing Anything by Losing Subscribers?

A large accounting firm in Canada reported that 90 percent of subscribers opted to bail when given the opportunity. In addition, a recent study by TechCrunch suggests only 6.5 percent of Facebook followers actually view posts from brands. An important question has to be answered:

Did the 90 percent of subscribers who unsubscribed when given the opportunity actually care about the emails?

Losing practically all of a subscriber base could be seen as a loss, or it could be seen as a reality check, especially since it is estimated only 10-25 percent of a subscriber base actually reads emails from email marketing campaigns. If customers do not want emails, what do they want? Businesses essentially have three options.

  1. They can ignore the new regulations until they are forced to comply.
  2. They can revamp email marketing strategies.
  3. They can ditch email marketing efforts and put funds toward more lucrative prospects.

Take Funds From Ineffective Email Marketing Campaigns and Invest in New Initiatives

I know that exceptional customer support is almost never free. However, help desk software can make it easy for real people to interact with customers on a personal level. The right online custom support software can allow real people to build lasting brand and customer relationships with people that with love your business. Customer service does not have to be about doing damage control and mitigating losses. Instead, investing in customer service can allow companies to invest in continual branding and PR initiatives.

It might be time to reevaluate how funds meant to improve brand image and customer engagement are spent. New forms of promoting emerging brands and promoting engagement with existing ones can build powerful businesses. Brands can actually email customers instead of spamming them. It makes sense, right?