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Getting CASL-Ready: Setting Up Double Opt-In with CRM and ClickDimensions

We’ve all been added to email lists that we didn’t sign up for. With so much competition, getting your marketing message out to your audience is getting harder and harder. Now, we’re preparing to see a shift in the prevalence of ‘spamming’ with new legislation regarding individuals and businesses rights to send emails.

This shift is represented by a law, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), that will come into effect on July 1st, 2014. Among other things, it requires that businesses have the express consent of the people that they send Commercial Electronic Messages (i.e. emails and other digital communications) to.

From an email marketing perspecitve, compliance with CASL largely boils down to securing the permission of individuals on your lists. One of the easiest and most common ways to build out a permission-based marketing practice is through developing a double opt-in mechanism for new subscribers (meaning subscribers must confirm their request twice).

For companies running Dynamics CRM and the marketing automation tool, ClickDimensions, setting up this mechanism is easy and incredibly worthwhile.  Below, I walk through the step-by-step process for how to make it happen and be well on your way to permission-based marketing lists.

Double Opt-In with CRM and ClickDimensions: How it Works

  • An individual enters their information in a form to subscribe to your email marketing list
  • This information is used to determine if the contact already exists in CRM. If it does not, then a new lead record gets created and populated with the information entered in the form.
  • An auto-response email is sent to the user’s email address and contains a link asking them to confirm their subscription.
  • If the user clicks on the link, they will be brought to a landing page thanking them for their confirmation. This action gets registered as an email event in CRM through ClickDimensions.
  • The email event triggers a workflow on that contact or lead record that sets a flag called “Double Opt-In” to ‘Yes.’ As soon as that flag is set to yes, that lead/contact is added to their respective marketing list.

How to Set It Up

  • Step 1: Determine your integration point (i.e. where you will be securing subscribers from? Your website? A landing page?)
  • Step 2: Create the double opt-in flag
    Create a flag in CRM called “Double Opt-In” (This will be a box that will appear on each new contact/lead record that will identify when someone has opted in twice. The content of your lists will be built around this query.
  • Step 3: Create your dynamic lists (one for contacts, one for leads).
    Configure it so that these lists are built around your double opt-in flag being set to “yes.”
  • Step 4: Create your confirmation landing page
    Create the link in the email that prompts users to confirm their subscription (CRM > Settings > Web Content > New > Type: Landing Page).
Confirmation Landing Page
  • To get the URL, select “Embed” and “Embed as Link.” Hold onto it, you’ll be using it in a minute.
Dynamics CRM - Embed a Landing Page
  • Step 5: Create the subscription form
    Determine the info you will capture (i.e. name, email, phone number, company, other) and create a form in ClickDimensions (CRM > Settings > Web Content > Add New > Type “Form”) that maps over to the fields you have identified in your CRM database. See below.
Dynamics CRM - New Web Form
  • Step 6: Create your email template:
    Create a new template in CRM and populate it with the information that you wish to communicate to new subscribers in order to get them to confirm their subscription (including your newly created landing page URL).You can design it as you wish but the final output should contain elements similar to below. Here’s where you add the URL for the landing page you created earlier.
Dynamics CRM - Subscription Confirmation Email
  • Step 7:The auto-responder
    Within your new web form, you will want to add an auto-responder that will trigger an email to be sent when someone enters their information in the form. To do this, you will need to add an action called “Auto Responder” and import the email template you just created.
Dynamics CRM - Web form & auto responder
  • Step 8: Create a workflow:
    When someone clicks this link in the email, you will want to trigger a workflow on that click that will set the the double opt-in flag to ‘yes’ on the associated contact or lead record. As soon as that flag is set to yes, that lead/contact is added to their respective marketing list.
  • Step 9: Integrate the form with your website
    We took the source html code and handed it to our web developer to apply CSS to it and embed it on our website (or landing page, etc).
  • Step 10: Test!
    Ensure that your new form is working and that all fields are mapping over correctly.

Using this double opt-in method, you can ensure that your email marketing lists are CASL compliant moving forward. While it takes a bit of work to set it up, it will save you and your organization a lot of headaches in the future.

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