Ethical Digital Marketing Made Easy: 8 Tactics to Build Trust & Boost Your Brand
Digital marketing is fast-paced, and there are constant developments in the available technology and consumer attitudes towards marketing practices. As consumers become more aware of and critical of non-ethical behaviour related to privacy, representation, or sustainability, it’s more important than ever that businesses are conscious of their impact on the world around them.
In this article, we will explore key strategies to be more ethical in your digital marketing efforts.
8 Ethical Digital Marketing Practices
Gone are the days of manipulative tactics and veiled truths. Today’s consumers are savvier, more informed, and demand transparency, authenticity, and a commitment to doing good. Embracing ethical digital marketing is about building genuine trust, fostering meaningful relationships, and carving a sustainable path.
1. Be Transparent with Customers and/or Clients
One of the fundamental principles of ethical digital marketing is transparency. Be open and honest about your products or services and their limitations. Clearly communicate the realistic features and benefits of what is being sold, and avoid misleading tactics, exaggerated claims, or false advertising. Consumers appreciate transparency, and it builds trust, fostering long-term relationships.
2. Respect User Privacy
If your business operates in Australia, working with an ADMA certified partner (like Devotion) is another way to ensure you’re providing a higher level of data protection for your customers. ADMA certification ensures all employees are educated in handling personally identifiable information without compromising the privacy of users.
3. Avoid Clickbait Content
Avoiding clickbait content may seem out of place on this list, but it is important in creating trust between clients and businesses. Craft content that adds value to your audience’s lives, educates them, or solves their problems without promising more than can be delivered in the title or misleading them entirely. Quality content not only engages users but also positions your brand as a trustworthy source. Avoid creating content solely for the purpose of generating clicks without delivering substantial value.
There’s more at play than just trust here, though. Google also recognises clickbait content and will penalise your site if you consistently mislead users. This means your site will not rank for important keywords and search terms that could generate value for your business.
4. Build Genuine Relationships
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience, allowing businesses to engage authentically and foster genuine relationships with potential and existing clients or customers. Avoid canned responses or generic comments, and respond to customer inquiries promptly. Businesses must address concerns openly and honestly about what they can and cannot achieve. Building real (or “authentic” if you want to use buzzwords) connections creates a positive brand image and can lead to word-of-mouth marketing.
One way this can be put into practice is by responding to negative feedback in comments or reviews in an open and honest manner. This shows that the business is willing to learn from and address criticism from its customers, building trust in the long term.
5. Social Responsibility
Demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility by aligning your brand with ethical causes, support local communities, and minimise your environmental impact. Clearly communicate your company’s values and initiatives, showing that you are not just focused on profits, but also on making a positive impact on society. It’s important that you prove your commitment to social responsibility by actually investing resources into lowering your carbon footprint and participating in social initiatives.
One way companies can demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility is by working with B Corp certified businesses and/or becoming B Corp certified. A B Corporation is a “business that meets the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”, as defined by B Lab. These businesses are certified by the non-profit B-Lab, which verifies a company’s ongoing commitment to creating positive social and environmental changes. Devotion has recently joined the B Corp movement, becoming certified in mid-2023. Devotion is extremely proud of joining B Corp, so if you’d like to chat about the process or work with us, please contact us.
6. Being Inclusive in Your Marketing
Inclusivity is valued highly in 2023, with consumers looking for brands that represent a diverse range of perspectives. Avoid stereotypes and discriminatory content, instead embrace diversity in your visuals, messaging, and overall brand representation. Inclusive marketing not only reflects positively on your brand, but also resonates with a broader audience.
Some ways your marketing can be more inclusive is by featuring different ethnicities, skin colours and body types if your brand is fashion or beauty-focused, spotlighting different perspectives in your long-form content, and ensuring that teams comprise of varying genders, backgrounds and ethnicities.
7. Provide Team Training
Ethical marketing starts from within, so consider providing training for your marketing team on ethical standards, industry regulations, and the impact of their actions. Foster a culture of integrity, where employees are encouraged to question and address ethical concerns without fear of losing their jobs. Regularly update your team on industry changes and best practices, which include inclusivity, privacy training and sustainability.
8. Monitor and Evaluate Your Campaigns
Regularly monitor your digital marketing campaigns and evaluate their impact. Sometimes, unethical practices or sentiments can slip through the cracks, or attitudes regarding certain topics may change quickly, so pay attention to metrics beyond clicks and conversions. Assess customer feedback, engagement levels, and brand sentiment. If a campaign is not resonating well or raises ethical concerns, be prepared to make adjustments and have honest conversations with your customers.
In a digital landscape that is constantly evolving, ethical considerations should remain a priority for businesses. By committing to transparency, respecting privacy, creating valuable content, building genuine relationships, demonstrating social responsibility, practising inclusive marketing, educating your team, and monitoring your campaigns, you can ensure that your digital marketing efforts are not only effective, but also ethical.
As consumers become more discerning, ethical practices will safeguard your brand’s reputation and contribute to long-term success in the digital marketplace.