Having gone through the CAN SPAM act for email marketing, need some further clarification. Their emails are in a public business directory where they have their full details along with emails.
My understanding of CAN SPAM has always been that it is just additional (and national) enforcement of deceptive practices rules. Read the guidelines from the FTC: http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
Which are more readable than the law. They are about truthfulness, disclosure and acting on behalf of the consumer.
So, tell them what you are doing, truthfully. Tell them who you are, and where you are. Offer unsubscribe services, and act on them right away.
I have worked with many clients whose legal guys insisted that everyone must opt-in but I don't see that anywhere. If you follow the basic FTC recommendations and stick to truthful business practices, you can "cold call" with email still.
Ironically, the CAN-SPAM Act was written so marketers CAN SPAM. There is no compliance requirement for opt-in nor distinction between B2B and B2C. You also don't need a label in the Subject Line (the federal law obviated the state requirements for this.)
That said, unless everyone in the public directory expects to receive spam, then sending to it is a terrible marketing practice and likely to get you blocked by ISPs and kicked off your email sending host. The two possible ways to approach this list are; 1) Pay the directory publisher to send a promotional email to this list with the advertising content, or 2) Send a 'permission pass' where the subject line and body copy are non-commercial, and simply requests their permission to send them something relevant to whatever directory they're listed in. This is ideally something non-commercial as a lead-generation vehicle like a white paper or event invite.
While email is the best and cheapest marketing vehicle ever, in a case like a directory mailing, you may find a better ROI with direct mail. It better accepted offline and since there's less of it now and more email spam--then it should provide an equal or better ROI for this type of campaignl.
Canada's anti-spam legislation is one of the toughest legislations in the world.
Contravention of the rules for CEMs can result in severe administrative penalties (up to $1 million per violation for individuals and up to $10 million per violation for organizations) and civil liability.
There are 3 rules to follow:
- You must receive expressed consent or implied consent to send a CEM
- You must clearly identify your company name and anyone else on whose behalf the CEM is sent to.
- In every CEM, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future
What is a CEM (Commercial Electronic Message) ?
A message across any electronic media sent with the purpose of encouraging participation in a commercial activity, sale of a product, good or service.
Types of Consent:
-Expressed Consent: Exists when the recipient provides the sender permission to send them CEM’s. Expressed consent does not expire.
-Implied Consent: Assumes that you can send CEMs to recipients, mostly with an “Existing Business” or “Non-Business Relationship” – Implied consent expires after 24 months from the most recent transaction.
How to be compliant?
Follow the 3 rules above, identify your lead acquisition channels and make sure that they clearly collect expressed consent. Make sure that your drip email marketing including your salesforce emails are compliant by including a relevant subject line, company name, address, and an opt out link.