Email marketing is very popular. It has become easy for businesses to reach out and contact their customers, but just as easy for customers to be contacted by a wide variety of brands. Email marketers are in a position of power because the information they pass can be quite intrusive and could damage people’s privacy.
It is something that ethical email marketers consider and try not to pass on too much personal information about people without their knowledge or Consent. Email marketers have a responsibility to the people who subscribe to their list. So, by following the rules of good ethical email marketing, they can ensure that their practice is acceptable.
Ways and reasons to take an ethical approach to email marketing
1. Obtaining Consent
People do not always understand the importance of obtaining Consent before giving personal information over to someone else. It is important to get the Consent first and then follow through with the plan, rather than trying to sell a product or service after people have already given you their email address. The best way that people can show Consent is by giving a positive response they are asked for it, such as ticking an opt-in box next to the offer that they would like to receive.
2. Respect for Individuals
Email marketing is a form of communication, so respect is shown to each individual in the same way you would do if you were talking to someone face-to-face. As an ethical email marketer, you should be aware that different individuals have different expectations for their privacy.
Therefore, it is important to respect the individuals on your list by providing them with relevant information without making promises that aren’t possible to keep. Offering relevant and valuable information is the best way that a marketer can show respect for their email list because it means that they know what the customers want and will be happy with the service.
3. Information Retention
Information retention is another important aspect of ethical email marketing. Customers tend to get annoyed when too much information about them is floating around, so you should try not to keep too much information about your customers if you can help it. If you need to keep information on your list, such as credit card details, you should try to keep this on record as securely as possible, ideally under an encrypted database. Keeping your customers’ details safe is the best way to show respect by not putting their personal information at risk.
4. Privacy Protection
The Privacy Act is quite a useful tool for email marketers who want to follow ethical codes of practice. This Act was signed into law in 2004 and set out the rules people should follow when giving personal information over to companies. The Act states that you should not use email marketing for direct marketing purposes, which means that you shouldn’t send emails to your customers with an offer in them. The best way to avoid direct marketing is by not sending emails unless an offer has been sent out first via another medium, such as a website or a newsletter.
5. Reduce Harm
Email marketers often put in a lot of hard work to build up their list; however, if the end goal is to make money from these customers, this hard work can be wasted. Email marketers need to make sure that their business goal does not put the customers at risk by offering them interesting offers for products or services that are too cheap or too expensive. By having a goal of making your customers more money in the long run, you should be able to send appropriate and reliable information to your email list.
6. Protect People’s Trust
Trust is quite important for ethical email marketers because it means that people have faith in the business practices of companies they are dealing with. By following ethical codes of practice, email marketers can build up their trustworthiness with their customers by ensuring they are not scamming them and overcharging them for products or services. All ethical email marketers should avoid these unethical practices because it is the best way to build trust between them and their customers.
7. Staying Professional
Email marketing should be a professional activity, as much as running a business of any kind can be. You should take care of your emails and not make mistakes or leave personal bits out that could harm customers’ trust in you. It is also important to keep your information professional by ensuring that you don’t pass on inappropriate jokes or images that could offend your customers. This professional attitude should be transferred over to the tone of voice when writing emails to avoid misunderstandings.
Email marketing is not necessarily something you expect a lot of ethics involved in. However, it is important to understand the importance of ethics in this industry. By following ethical guidelines when email marketing, you ensure that you are not using manipulative approaches to communicate with your customers. It is also important to keep track of the amount of information that you put out about your customers and how they react to it.