June 02, 2015
Case Study

Email Data Hygiene: CASL compliance email campaign re-activates 5% of list

SUMMARY: Canada’s recent stringent anti-spam legislation sent many marketers scrambling into compliance. SafetyLine Lone-Worker, a SaaS company offering a safety monitoring solution, took the challenge as an opportunity to cleanse and re-activate a stale and bloated email subscriber list.

Read on to find out how the company approached the road to CASL compliance with an online website relaunch party and a month-long email campaign that dramatically cleaned up an outdated database and re-activated 5% of the subscriber list.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter


SafetyLine Lone-Worker is a software as a service company offering a safety monitoring solution designed to protect people working alone and help companies comply with Canadian safety legislation.

Larissa Cox, Marketing Manager, SafetyLine Lone-Worker, described the company’s end user as, "Any employee who does work by themselves. This could be the delivery driver who spends most of their time by themselves, or oil rig workers who are checking up on a remote site by themselves or healthcare nurses who go to patients' homes."

She added that SafetyLine markets to companies of all sizes and industries as long as the company has employees who work alone. Cox said SafetyLine’s key industries are oil and gas, healthcare and government.


Cox said she joined SafetyLine to "kick start" content marketing and email marketing campaigns, and had a "very large database" to work from. The problem with the email list was that most of the email leads had been put into the database by the sales team over the entire history of the company. In consequence, many leads were old and outdated.

At the same time, Canada passed stringent anti-spam legislation (CASL). Cox said the issue then became the need to re-activate the existing email list and also become compliant with the Canadian anti-spam law.

The first stage was conducting data hygiene on the list to clean out invalid addresses, hard bounces, duplicate email addresses and suspicious accounts.

The next stage was to reach out to the entire list, re-activate those addresses and get an opt-in to SafetyLine’s email program so the company was CASL compliant.


Even though Canada’s anti-spam legislation began being enforced in 2014, the law included a clause that allowed businesses a 36-month period to gain consent on current email lists and get into compliance with CASL.

Cox said, "Basically it was my job as a marketing manager to figure out, during that transitional period, what I could do to best get that consent from people."

Step #1. Create an online event to entice email opens

Cox said the team knew that many businesses were reacting to CASL compliance by sending out emails with messaging along the lines of, "We need your consent or we can’t email you anymore." They figured that those emails suffered from low clickthrough rates and low rates of compliance.

The answer for SafetyLine was to hold an online event in the form of a website launch party and to invite its entire email list.

"We tried to go for a re-activation strategy that would get consent under the legislation that people would want to sign up for, and so we thought what better way to do that than having a party," Cox said.

SafetyLine was already in the process of rebranding with a new logo and a total website redesign. The messaging was, "New look. New features. Same trusted name."

Cox explained, for CASL compliance, email recipients had to provide expressed consent, which lasts indefinitely, or implied consent, where marketers can email anyone who expressed interest in doing business with their company for two years.

The launch party was designed to expose the email list to the new branding combined with educational webinars and prize giveaways. The email sent recipients to a launch party re-activation landing page that stipulated that, by signing up for the launch party, this constitutes expressed consent for receiving marketing emails from SafetyLine.

The launch party re-activation campaign email was sent to SafetyLine’s entire email subscriber list.

Step #2. Promote the launch party via social media and blog posts

Cox said to create "this feeling of excitement and engagement and awareness," the team used the hashtag #sllaunchparty. Any new social media followers that joined during this time received an automatic reply with a "thank you for following" and a link to the launch party.

Anyone RSVP'ing to the online party was automatically entered into the grand prize drawing for an iPad mini, an educational course on safety and a Tim Hortons gift card.

Cox said the event was promoted on SafetyLine’s Facebook page and through Facebook ads, as well as "@" replies tweeted to safety industry influencers. Event sponsors were provided collateral to use on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The SafetyLine team targeted key market areas including:
  • Municipalities

  • Healthcare

  • Oil and gas

  • Corporate safety specialists

  • Human resources

On the SafetyLine blog the team created teaser posts with calls-to-action at the end of the post to sign up for the launch party.

Step #3. Plan the email cadence

The website launch party was planned for Tuesday, October 21, specifically chosen because that was SafetyLine’s highest engagement day of the week, according to Cox. The planning began in August and included researching CASL, assembling the full email list and getting all the sponsorships and collateral material together.

The campaign launched September 25 with the first email send, and involved weekly email sends up until the event. Each email included a link to the online event RSVP landing page.

View the Creative Sample

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The first email involved what Cox described as "soft" messaging that explained who SafetyLine was. This was to reintroduce the company to the email list recipient. The email also let recipients know that they were being emailed out of the blue to be told about the rebranding, the new logo and the new website.

The initial email also included personalized information on previous interactions the recipient had with SafetyLine and its sales team.

"We wanted to give them a reason to see that we’re emailing them again," Cox said. "We didn’t want to just all of a sudden email them with an ad. We wanted to tell them this is exciting news and that they can benefit from attending this [online launch party] and signing up for it."

Cox described later email sends as part of a "teaser campaign."

For example, one email involved a Q-and-A on the ROI for safety with SafetyLine’s Vice President of Business Development with a call-to-action in the email to sign up for his webinar at the website launch party.

The final email before the event was a reveal of the event’s grand prize. Entering for this prize required an RSVP to the online party.

Provide calendar invites for registered attendees

Once email recipients registered for the online event they would receive a calendar invite to add to Outlook, Gmail or iCal. These invites also included a link to the launch party landing page — a different page from the RSVP sign-up that included information on the event webinars and prizes.

Step #4. Provide online event attendees with "virtual swag bags"

To continue the feel of a typical event, the team put together a virtual swag bag for attendees.

Cox said event attendees are used to receiving swag bags with coupons and product samples "and we thought that was the kind of vibe that we were trying to get with our website launch party. We were trying to make it an educational event [with] a full-on 'conference-y’ feel to it."

The day after the event, attendees received a "thank you for attending" email that included the virtual swag bag with e-book downloads, white papers and coupons from the launch party sponsors. These included coupons for a first aid kit or a safety training course.

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Step #5. Continue post-event engagement with content

Cox said that with the newly re-engaged email list the goal was to both provide useful along with working information to move recipients down the sales pipeline.

"Now that we have all these people re-engaged with our brand, we were trying to keep up the trust in our brand," she said. "We just try to keep engaging them with very useful, very helpful content. We try to keep an eye, like a pulse, on the community and see what people are struggling with, what questions they are asking."

The team accomplishes this by tracking conversations on social media and LinkedIn Groups as well as talking to customers to plan SafetyLine's content marketing strategy.

She added to move prospects down the pipeline the team takes a "non-invasive" approach and allows those leads to self-qualify by continuing to engage with SafetyLine’s informational and educational content.


Metrics for some of the email sends from the campaign include:
  • Initial email — 12.8% open rate, 1% unique clickthrough

  • Teaser email — 35% open rate, 4.3% unique clickthrough and no unsubscribes

  • Post-event swag bag email — 42% open rate, 17% unique clickthrough and 0.5% unsubscribe rate

  • The event landing page — 14% conversion rate

The team knew the starting list was fairly full of invalid email addresses. The end result of the entire effort was re-activating 5% of the list.

Cox said, "I think the success of our re-activation email campaign was due to the fact [that] we gave people a clear reason to contact them again — the party — as well as gave them information that would solve their business issues, such as the webinars, eGuide downloads and coupons for products and industry specific training courses. Contrasting typical self-promotional emails people are used to seeing in their inbox, our re-activation email campaign established our brand as a trustworthy thought-leader in the industry space."

Creative Samples

  1. Event RSVP landing page

  2. Initial email

  3. Post-event swag bag email


SafetyLine Lone-Worker

Related Resources

Email Deliverability: 9 lessons about Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

Email Marketing: Engaging contest keeps 80% of original list in CASL transition for nutrition company

Email Marketing Research Chart: Why subscribers flag email as spam

Proactive List Hygiene: How a software company overcame a 23% soft bounce rate

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