Rethink Marketing Automation – for the CASL-Compliant Marketer

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Email Marketing

If you’re a marketer in Canada or you market to Canada, then you’re more than likely familiar with the rules and regulations of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). As a refresher:

  • CASL is a set of regulations that prohibit you from sending commercial electronic messages to those who have not opted to receive them.
  • A commercial electronic message (CEM) is an electronic communication (e.g., text messages, emails), sent to an electronic address (e.g., an email address, a mobile phone number). It does, in the main, encourage the recipient to engage in commercial activity. An example would be an advertising message, or an email with a coupon.
  • If you are sending a CEM to an electronic address, then you need to comply with three requirements. You need to: (1) obtain consent, (2) provide your identification information, and (3) provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

Caveat: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about what you need to do to comply with CASL, seek qualified legal counsel.

How does CASL affect marketers?

CASL is a law that was passed to help cut down spam messages sent and received, but it does pose a certain challenge for marketers trying to get their message to prospects. In compliance with the new law, many Canadian marketers are being forced to rethink their digital marketing strategy.

If you have a large list of people who have already opted in to receive your email communications, then that’s great! However, the majority of organizations are still in the process of enticing prospects to fill out a form and proactively subscribe to commercial email communications.

Even with these new regulations, marketing automation remains a key tool for successful digital marketing. While many people think first of email marketing when they think about marketing automation, the reality is that email is just one small portion of its capabilities it has in store. Marketing automation functionality goes well beyond email, and can be leveraged throughout the entire customer lifecycle, from building brand awareness, to driving demand, to expanding customer relationships.

Check out these proven ways to leverage marketing automation beyond traditional demand generation email marketing.

Build Brand Awareness

Creating a strong brand is essential to the discovery stage of the buyer’s journey, and for keeping a company top of mind for customers. Use marketing automation to maintain consistency across the brand, optimize your content for search rankings, and to get the most from live and virtual events.

  • Influencer relations – Score the actions of press, analysts, and bloggers so you can see who your most engaged and interested influencers Be aware of the pages they visit on your site, what they’re interested in, and the emails (pitches, press releases, events) that they’re engaging with. You can use this intelligence to prioritize who you pitch and what your talk track is.
  • Press release attribution and corporate communications – Create trackable URLs for press releases to tie PR activity back to the lead-to-revenue process. You’ll be able to look at multi-touch attribution and how press releases contribute to a sale. You can also use marketing automation to create and execute internal newsletters, emails, etc. (and track employee engagement).
  • If you’re actively recruiting top talent (you always should be!) use marketing automation to identify and nurture prospective employees.
  • Brand identity management – Make sure your brand is consistent across all teams and channels. Control your visuals, including brand look and feel, logo usage, and header/footers with marketing automation. Additionally, you can create approved templates and distribute them in your media library for other marketing and sales departments to use.
  • Event management – Get the most out of your events. Know who to invite, and manage all communication, before and after the event, with more precision and less effort. You can create an automated workflow (save the date, official invite, seats are limited, registration responder and reminders) to make it easy. Then re-use and refine the workflow for the next event.

Drive Demand

Move beyond building your brand, and drive people to your business. Marketing automation can help create, track, and analyze how your customers interact with your company, giving you insights into how to effectively engage with them. Marketing automation also provides a variety of ways for you to collect email addresses from your prospects. From there you can email interested prospects, without violating CASL or other SPAM laws.

  • Attract potential customers – You can schedule social promotions of your pages, content, and forms using marketing automation, run AdWords programs targeted at look-alike traffic, and add website visitor alerts so your sales team knows when a prospect is on your site.
  • Convert website visitors to sales leads – Use lead capture forms in your marketing automation platform to turn website traffic into actionable leads for your sales team. You can also use marketing automation to test landing page copy, headlines, and calls to action to see what works best and drives the most leads for your company. Integrate with a CRM so that as soon as a leads qualify or take some action that indicates sales-readiness they flow to your sales team for follow up.
  • Prioritize and nurture leads – Implement a lead scoring system within your marketing automation system that ranks prospects based on their engagement with your brand, and on profile characteristics, that way the sales team can follow up with the hottest leads first. Lower scoring leads can stay in an automated lead nurturing program full of relevant education content and resources until they’re ready to be passed to sales.
  • Enable better conversations – By integrating your marketing automation with CRM you’re able to give your sales team a detailed history of each lead including their website activity, email clicks, media downloads, video views, and more. With this insight, sales can understand the pain points and interests of each prospect, and have the most relevant conversation.
  • Support your sales team. Your best potential customers will opt in and become leads. Create email templates so your salespeople can have approved, on-brand messaging to send to leads.

Expand Customer Relationships

Once you’ve converted your lead to a customer, use email and other automated communications to keep relationships healthy (a business relationship is considered explicit consent within CASL laws). After all, retaining and expanding customer relationships is your most important source of continued, reliable revenue.

  • New customer onboarding and education – Refine your onboarding to the most effective process, and automate it with 30-, 60-, and 90-day onboarding drip programs. Use newsletters and new feature announcements to keep your customers in the loop, help them expand their use of your products, and let them know their satisfaction matters.
  • Customer retention: usage & surveys – Help your customers become power users by hosting webinars to introduce new features or new ways of using existing ones. You can automate all communications before and after the webinar. It’s also a great idea to set up triggered communications based on product or feature use (or non-use). You can deploy surveys and invite your customers to analyze the results.
  • Upsell and cross-sell – Leverage marketing automation, CRM, and ERP data to understand when a buyer is ready for upsell. You can look at pages visited, datasheets downloaded, renewal information and payment history and tie it to engagement data to understand when to reach out for an upsell or cross-sell.
  • Advocacy and loyalty – Apply a score to customer behavior and engagement to identify who your advocates and most loyal customers are. You can do this by applying a score to webinar attendance, event registration, emails opened, product usage, referrals given, user-groups joined, etc. The higher the lead score, the more likely the customer is willing to be an advocate for your brand!

Email is an important part of an overall digital marketing strategy, but don’t forget that it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Digital marketing, it its entirety, is about making sure your brand is easily found, establishing trust with your customers and prospects, and delivering high quality educational content and resources. Marketing automation allows you to easily build assets, streamline your marketing processes, and tie shared goals and measurements of success together throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Top-performing marketing leaders understand the need to allocate their time and resources across the entire spectrum of marketing, acknowledging that an effective marketing strategy goes well beyond just driving demand for sales. Download Act-On’s eBook, Rethink Marketing [Automation], to see how you can leverage marketing automation to build brand equity, drive demand, and expand customer relationships.