Lead Development

The Government of Canada has enacted new legislation regarding the sending of spam  for the purposes of managing the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages (CEMs). These new laws begin to come into effect on July 1st and will affect the ways that anyone can send email to solicit business. For a detailed outline of the new laws, drop by the government website and have a read.

What You Need to Know

When the law comes into effect, there are several key points that will affect the way you send email for the purpose of soliciting business. First, there are three requirements for sending CEMs: Consent, Identification Information and an Unsubscribe mechanism.

Consent

Canada's New Anti-spam LawsThere are two types of consent defined in the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation: implied and express. Implied consent exists where there is an existing business or non-business relationship that includes the sending of CEMs. There is a three-year window (ending in 2017) in which you must obtain express consent from your recipients and keep a record of that consent for as long as you send them CEMs. If anyone receiving your email under implied consent indicates that they no longer wish to receive it, the implied consent ceases and you must not send further CEMs until you receive express consent. Express consent is an indication from a CEM recipient that they wish to receive your CEMs. In order to qualify as express consent, you must obtain the consent in writing or orally but the onus is on the person sending the message to prove that express consent to send the message exists. The government has issued bulletins that show examples of how you may obtain express consent.

Identification

For the purposes of fulfilling your responsibilities under the new laws, you must provide the name in which you carry on business or your own name. You must also include the names of any other persons or businesses on whose behalf you are sending the CEM. You must also include a mailing address and either a phone number that gives access to an agent or to a voice messaging system, an email address or web address of the person sending the CEM or the person on whose behalf the message is being sent. In plain English, you need to include your name or business name, phone number and email or web address.

Unsubscribe Mechanism

All CEMs must include an unsubscribe mechanism. This can be a button in the email, a hyperlink to a web location pointing to a simple unsubscribe mechanism or a process of indicating the recipient's wishes in an email (like putting "unsubscribe" in the Subject line of an email back to you). Again, examples of acceptable unsubscribe mechanisms are included in a government bulletin located here.

There are other restrictions included in the legislation pertaining to computer programs. If they may apply to you, you are strongly advised to visit the site and spend some time going through the rules.

What are you doing to comply with the new laws? Give us your tips in the comments below.

 

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Like every sales person knows, generating high-quality, new leads is the way to generate high-quality, new business. Expecially in small farm product direct sales, it's also one of the hardest things you will do to help your farm sales grow. Getting low-quality leads is much easier, but don't let that sway you into just adding names to your list. The hours you spend entering the information will probably be wasted, not to mention the frustration you will feel when you send out information and nobody responds.

In order to build a high-quality email list of potential customers, a few boring suggestions (I never said this would be exciting):

  • Build your list for the long-term. This will lead to long-term customers. How do you do that? Simply by adding timely content to your website that covers the topics your potential customers are dying to read about.  Then post links to your new post on Facebook, Twitter or where ever else your audience is hiding. Finally, compile links to several of your must-have posts into a newsletter and send it out to your lead list, asking your readers to pass the newsletter on to their friends and neighbours. Wasn't that easy?crowd-final
  • Subscribe to an email marketing service. Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber and others all have basic packages that cost about $20 per month. Play a mind game with yourself -- remind yourself that this service is costing money, so your list better generate some sales to pay for it. These services will sort your list, provide templates that make your material look professional, provide a variety of testing options and track who opened your email, when it was opened, if there are any click-throughs to your website posts and whether the recipient shared your email with someone else. Of course, it also tells you which email addresses on the list are not live, so you can clean your list on a regular basis.
  • Decide on what your list should be. If it is a revenue generator, don't offer something free to get email addresses and then expect those same people to start spending money with you. But, if you want to build a 'community' around your business or farm and its products, then offering free reports or engaging with your potential customers on issues of common interest may get you what you're after. 
  • Create a 'perfect customer' profile -- this customer is everything you want in a customer. It probably (hopefully) describes some of your current customers, so this is who you want more of on your lead list. Once you have identified these customers, ask them to recommend you to their friends, to point their friends to your website or bring them along on their next visit. These people will be the high-quality leads that you're after. Also ask questions about where your customers live, where they shop and what brought them to you originally. The answers to these questions will guide you in where you can look for new customers.
  • Don't buy email lists - ever. In farming as in small business, your customers are mostly locals and the companies selling emailing lists can't separate them enough to be of any value to you. And even if they could, the names on those lists are far from being your perfect customer.

What are some things that you use to profile your customers and reach out to them? Share them with other readers by commenting below.

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