All posts in Email Marketing

Are You CASL Compliant?

View the Does CASL Apply? infographic >>

As of July 1st, 2014, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into effect. All “commercial electronic messages” sent to Canadians must be CASL compliant or risk incurring millions of dollars in fines for the sender.

And although it’s a Canadian legislation, the CASL affects anyone marketing to Canadians; whether they are located in Canada or not. Any unsolicited email sent to a Canadian email address could result in a maximum fine of $1M for an individual and up to $10M for organizations.

That even includes current list members: all potential Canadian message recipients must have opted-in according to CASL standards. Purchased lists and contacts whose opt-in was in some way automatic are no longer “safe” to contact. Even “accidental” non-compliance can result in heavy penalization and legal plights.

Should You Go It Alone into CASL Compliance?

Unfortunately, the legal jargon and level of detail make it hard to read the formal CASL legislation, let alone understand what you should be doing differently. Don’t get overwhelmed! To avoid gambling millions of dollars on a preventable mistake, there are a few changes you can make to ensure your marketing processes are CASL compliant.

It’s often best to start with an assessment of current marketing processes to get a sense of what’s compliant, what might need to change and how to go about changing it, but the complexity of the CASL makes it difficult, and even risky, to do this alone. A CASL consultant, however, will develop a strategy that will ensure compliance going forward.

One big challenge with CASL compliance is that the legislation applies to a variety of processes, beyond the electronic messages themselves. Contact databases will obviously need to be screened, but so will any other asset involved in finding and managing those contacts: sign-up forms and webpages; subscription management; even links that require a contact to input their data in exchange for some reward.

The other challenge is that the assessment and the strategy are only the first step in CASL compliance: it is one thing to know what needs to change and another thing entirely to actually make those changes. If some of your opt-in forms were not CASL compliant, you have to overhaul them, obviously, and this is a task in and of itself. But that also means you have to re-confirm the subscription of every contact “captured” by those assets, a process that the CASL ends up making even more challenging.

As long as those steps are in the right direction, it only takes a few steps to guarantee that you meet the CASL guidelines. Working towards compliance can be a challenge and a risk if you do it alone; to avoid a million dollar gamble, work with a CASL consultant.

View the Express vs Implied Consent infographic >>

To view our our guide A Marketer’s Guide to Becoming CASL Compliant, visit casl.couch-associates.com

Analyzing Email Marketing Benchmarks

The MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report provides some revealing insights into the email marketing trends over the last year, and provides insights for potential opportunities in the coming year. At more than 200 slides long however, the information is a little dense.

We encourage you to look at the original report to form your own impressions but to make things easier to manage, we’ve outlined three key insights we feel are the most applicable and beneficial for Business-to-Business organizations.

1. Measure the Right Metrics:

Some responses revealed a disconnect between strategy and tactics when it comes to email metrics. In aggregate, measuring engagement was seen as a higher priority than post-click conversion, but high engagement and high conversion were not always correlated. In fact, one response suggested engagement rates were highest in “knowledge sharing” pieces, while these same pieces also resulted in the lowest conversion of leads to sales.

“The most engaging content for our customers is knowledge sharing, but that tends to produce the least amount of sales leads.”
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What do I do? Ask yourself if the metrics you track are telling you what you want to know. If you want to know how many leads you generate from social media, you have to track more than the number of re-tweets. Remember, impressions do not necessarily equal sales.

2. Quality Content Is King:

Most responders (two thirds!) agreed that delivering quality content is a priority in email marketing, but nearly one third of responders noted that creating this content is presenting a problem. The inability to consistently generate relevant content was one of the biggest challenges faces by Business-to-Business organizations.
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Oddly, only a third of responders integrate the company blog (a potentially huge content source) with their email program:
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What do I do? If you can, supplement premium content like white papers or studies with lighter content like thought leadership pieces or guest blogs. This can fill the content gap and also give your subscribers one more point of connection with you, strengthening your relationship.

3. Make the Move to Mobile!

The responses around mobile point out a huge disconnect between what B2B customers want and what their corresponding organizations provide. One in four B2B users report viewing email on a mobile device and yet only 40% of B2B organizations design their emails to render differently and only one out of every six organizations integrates mobile marketing into their email campaign. Talk about a missed opportunity.
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What do I do? Even if you have already started the move to mobile, further integrating mobile into your email marketing efforts is a surefire investment. The percent of users accessing email through a mobile device increases monthly, so passing up this opportunity is just self-sabotage.

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These insights may seem obvious based on your experience, or they may be completely revelatory. The interesting thing to note was the consistency of answers to the majority of questions. In most cases, for better or worse, there was consistency among B2B organizations in terms of priorities, challenges, goals, strategies, short-comings and even individual metric measurements. In other words, they’re all doing pretty much the same things in the same ways, mistakes and all. But this insight also provides a perfect starting point for correcting that course, outlining a clear path for improvement in B2B email marketing.

Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part 3

Autopilot and Marketing Automation

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series, we asserted the importance of simplifying all that customer data into an integrated system. We also asserted the importance of visualizing it in a user-specific way where we can see all the relevant info on each user in one place, in real time. Besides the obvious implication of a need for simplicity, this also says something about how much time we want to spend on things. Continue reading →

The Changing Role of Marketing Technology in 2014

Foundational systems emerge encouraging a focus on people and data.

The past eighteen months have seen a considerable investment in the marketing technology space. From large software acquisitions to public offerings, many are attempting to grab a piece of this fast growing industry with considerable market space still up for grabs. Continue reading →

Exploring the Marketing Technology Landscape – Part Two

Part 2: Dashboards for your Dashboards!

Scott Brinker’s latest “Marketing Technology Landscape” infographic has organized nearly a thousand companies into six categories and various subheadings in an effort to make this landscape a little easier to navigate. Let’s take a moment to look at the headings for the 42 subcategories; you’re sure to notice a few common factors. Continue reading →