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What Is Ethical Marketing? And How Can We Apply That to Cold Outreach?

February 6, 2023

Nearly 56% of US consumers stop buying from businesses they believe are socially, environmentally, or politically unethical and irresponsible. Common malpractices include things like deception and twisted facts, all in the name of selling more products and services.



That’s a lot of consumers who care about a business’ business.



Because of that, ethical awareness is every company’s responsibility. And, as a business owner, taking it seriously benefits you with a positive rapport with your target market. Being ethical with your marketing allows you to protect your market base and future business opportunities—and we know you want that.



So, what does an ethical marketing campaign look like? 



In this article, we’ll go through the ethical marketing principles every business should follow.



What’s Ethical Marketing?


Ethical marketing promotes your businesses while prioritizing customer needs, values, and well-being. In other words, ethical marketing means:


  • Ensuring all claims about your products and services are true.
  • Using simple communication strategies.
  • Avoiding exploitation of customers with the goal of deceiving them just to earn higher profits.


Moreover, there are 3 principles to ethical marketing:



#1 Fairness


Ethical marketing means ensuring that you are fair in how you advertise and market your products or services. Establishing fairness means treating your clients and customers fairly and with respect. 



Here are some examples of fair business: 


  • You honor warranties.
  • You allow refunds if the product doesn’t live up to the promise.
  • You respect your customer’s right to privacy.
  • You set your prices in consideration of other products available on the market.


Being fair to your clients and customers ensures that no one is taken advantage of. And as a result, you can expect more loyalty and referrals to your brand—increasing your brand’s credibility and profits.  



#2 Honesty


An honest businessperson tells potential customers the truth about products, services, and business practices without exaggeration or deception. In the same way, the principle of honesty means you don’t make false claims about your products, such as overstating benefits or outcomes you cannot guarantee. 



Here are some examples of deceptive marketing practices:


  • Giving a false impression about the details of goods or services. It can be as minor as promoting a more appealing color than what you actually offer or as major as claiming that your product includes an ingredient that’s not in the formula.
  • Advertising a product discount or sale price to entice customers to buy, even when it’s not actually on sale (i.e., saying that it’s at 10% off when you’ve bumped up the price to get the same returns).
  • Marketing a product as high-quality and functional when the real product delivered is of lower quality than advertised and prone to malfunctions.


Lying or any form of dishonesty (e.g., withholding important information) leads to disappointment and distrust in the customer-company relationship. Worse, customers will consider your products spam and never recommend you to their circle.



Instead, by being honest with your advertising campaigns and marketing strategies, you’ll build trust with your market. And when people trust your brand, they’re more likely to do business with you. 



#3 Transparency


Today, the majority want to associate themselves with businesses that are environmentally conscious and treat their employees well. Hence, the goal of transparent marketing is to show customers the human side of your business. By upholding transparent marketing practices, you categorize your brand as approachable and familiar, where customers can tell that your business goals align with their values.



This strategy is called transparent marketing and is a business model that provides customers with accurate and updated information about the company’s products, services, and policies.



Here are 3 ways you can practice transparent marketing:


  • Provide an annual report of your efforts to become sustainable in your sourcing and business operations. Here’s an example of a sustainability report from Apple.
  • Use simple and clear language when communicating about prices. Don’t use confusing language to withhold price information. Be upfront about what’s included in your pricing.
  • Be open to customer feedback; don’t try to bury negative feedback. Instead, address negative feedback publicly through Press Releases or social media engagement. You have to show your customers that you’re always working to improve your services.


Practicing transparency in your business operations can strengthen your brand image, as it’ll show your customers that you’re sincere in providing a better customer experience.



How Can You Be Ethical with Cold Email Outreach?


All the ethical marketing principles mentioned above can apply to any advertising campaign. Most notable, however, is in your cold email marketing, as these types of campaigns depend significantly on customer trust. So, here are 3 ways you can integrate ethical marketing into your cold emails:



#1 Respect Customer Privacy


Your cold outreach emails should not be intrusive and respect customer privacy. One way to respect customer privacy is by only emailing people who have consented to your emails. You can ask for the client’s email addresses and consent through the following:


  • Internet ads
  • Forms
  • Lead magnets with incentives
  • Free webinars you host
  • Niche groups 


Plus, if a prospect opts out of receiving messages from your company, promptly remove their email addresses from your email list. Unsolicited emails can be considered spam and do more harm than good for your company. In the same way, make potential clients want your emails by only providing helpful and valuable information.



The bottom line when crafting your email content is to protect your customer’s privacy wishes.



#2 Ensure Data Security


Customers entrust their sensitive information to your business. However, as the famous movie quote goes, with great power comes great responsibility to ensure customer data remains safe and secure.



For cold outreach campaigns, use email encryption technology, such as S/MIME (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). Using key encryptions ensures all customer information is handled properly according to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and relevant data protection laws.



Here are some guidelines to ensure your customer’s data is secure:


  • Only collect the data you need for your campaigns.
  • Delete redundant information.
  • Communicate your privacy policy in a language that’s easy to understand.


Keeping your client’s information completely private tells them that you highly value their service.



#3 Be Transparent About Your Intentions


If you want to tell your customers that you value them, you should communicate transparently in every aspect of your business. This factor is crucial, especially since you have access to them any minute of the day—during a family vacation, while lying in bed, and even when they’re in the restroom. You have the opportunity, you just need to use it wisely and with caution.



So, as a businessperson, the best way to maintain your marketing privilege in these spaces is to be transparent with your customers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


  • Be upfront in your cold emails about why you are reaching out. 
  • Only send messages when you have something important to say.
  • Answer your customers’ questions thoroughly and directly. 


The clearer you are with your intentions, the better your open rates will be (among many other rates!). Holding a policy of transparency in your cold outreach campaigns attracts interested customers and improves your clientele’s commitment to supporting your business.



Send Ethical Emails to Boost Your Profits


Ethical marketing isn’t complicated. In a nutshell, it’s treating customers the way you want to be treated.



So, by prioritizing fairness, honesty, and transparency in all your marketing campaigns, you’ll have a customer-centric approach that generates and nurtures leads into loyal advocates. These clients are the ones who’ll stay and spread the word about your company, being proud of their commitment to a business that’s genuine and trustworthy in their operations.



Need help ensuring that your cold email campaigns are ethical and legal? ScaleUpSales is your answer. We are experts at sending cold emails that improve your credibility and profitability! Contact us today.