With the one year anniversary of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) fast approaching, Constant Contact recently surveyed Canadian consumers and small businesses to get their opinions on email marketing, and the impact of the legislation.

What did we uncover?

Canadian consumers rate email as their number one method for staying in touch with businesses — by a landslide.

Sixty-eight percent prefer email compared to just 12 percent who prefer staying in touch via telephone, 8 percent via direct mail, 7 percent via in person conversations, and 5 percent via social media.

Not only do Canadian consumers prefer to stay in touch with businesses via email, they also spend a lot of time in their email inbox — an average of 1.2 hours a day. Eighty-four percent check their email at least twice per day, with 38 percent of those checking six or more times.

So what’s the issue?

Despite the fact that Canadian consumers want to stay in touch through email, not all Canadian small businesses are maximizing their email marketing efforts and almost 40 percent aren’t taking advantage at all.

While the majority of small businesses (63 percent) use email to stay in touch, 61 percent of them use mailbox providers like Gmail™ and Outlook®, rather than an email marketing service provider, to do so.

That’s a problem because those mailbox providers offer no way to maintain CASL compliance, through features like permission tracking, CASL-compliant email list signup forms, and unsubscribe functionality. Nor do they maximize marketing efforts through mobile-responsive templates, list growth tools, and results tracking.

Another 37 percent aren’t using email at all, and only 19 percent of those are considering adding email to their marketing mix this year — a clear missed opportunity in light of the consumer survey results.

Businesses still see value of email marketing in a post-CASL world.

For small businesses that were using email marketing when CASL went into effect, much has remained unchanged. Most small businesses (70 percent) have continued to use email marketing as they had always done, and some have even increased their efforts (9 percent), or started email marketing for the first time (6 percent). Only 13 percent have decreased their email marketing activity and just 2 percent have stopped altogether.

Email list size has remained mostly consistent with a pre-CASL world.

Sixty-five percent of small businesses’ mailing lists have stayed the same post-CASL, while 25 percent have decreased list size and 10 percent have increased list size.

CASL has also had minimal impact on business metrics for individual small businesses, who stated that the effect on customers, prospects, profitability, gross revenue, and overall success largely remained unchanged.

About the Data
This data was compiled from two Constant Contact-sponsored surveys, deployed to a Research Now panel of 501 Canadian small businesses and 502 Canadian consumers in April 2015. These surveys are part of an ongoing series addressing the impact of CASL for small businesses across Canada.

Want to learn more about the survey? Check out our eBook for the full results.