I’m not a lawyer, so my thoughts are not to be confused with legal advice on the matter. That said, my opinion is that business owners are better advised to ramp up their inbound lead generation strategies to collect valid email addresses to which they can send messages. How do you get eyeballs to a page to fill out a form? These days, social media is your best bet. Facebook ads are highly under valued — meaning they’re affordable and they offer a pretty good ROI.
Use Linkedin to find the contact you want to reach, find a commonality and ask if it’s OK to add them to your network. Once you’ve connected, you can reveal a little more about why you want to contact them via email — get permission.
Now, having said all that … take a look at the CRTC website. It outlines all the finer details about what’s “allowed” and what’s not. CASL isn’t in place to prevent businesses from communicating with each other electronically. It’s there to stop the real spam — the unsolicited porn and get-rich-quick schemes that clutter our inboxes. If a business has a legitimate reason to email another business (about something relevant to the recipient), and if the recipient has clearly posted an email address online with no mention of not wanting to be contacted, then I’d think a soft introductory email would be acceptable.
I’d avoid hard-sell emails. Don’t blindly email a business to sell them your product or service. Build a relationship. And above all else, track everything just in case!
On a final note — CASL is Canadian. It applies to Canadian businesses. Many businesses are able to cross borders with their marketing campaigns, making the CASL issue a moot point. #justsayin