How to Keep Your Email Marketing Ethical

By Jacky Chou
6 Min Read
By Jacky Chou
6 Min Read

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Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing strategy has made work easier for businesses to reach out to their audience no matter where they are on earth. For this reason, it is fundamental for companies to understand that misusing email marketing can also be intrusive and affect people’s data privacy. The secret to a successful marketing strategy is understanding and adhering to email marketing ethics.

What Is Ethical Marketing?

Ethical email marketing is basically the promotion of products or services in a manner that is fair to everyone. It means a company has to ensure that what they say in their emails is honest and not intended to take advantage of anyone. In other words, businesses have to ensure that for every email marketing campaign, the message positively affects society and the environment.

Email Campaigns
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In other words, an email marketing campaign must be honest and respectful toward its customers while protecting people’s privacy. The main aim of ethical email marketing campaigns is to build trust with customers and establish a positive brand image. While profits are undeniably enumerable, marketing is not only about money. Upholding the ethical code of business with every marketing email sent will go a long way in creating a stable list of loyal customers. And there are several benefits from effective email marketing.

Ways to Ensure You Have Ethical Email Marketing Qualities

Email marketers have a responsibility to the customers who subscribe to their lists. As a marketer, you must avoid sharing too much personal information without your customer’s consent. It is essential to ensure that you respect people’s privacy as you send information. There is a thin line between ethical email communications and spamming. Failure to adhere to ethical marketing can be unprofessional and lead to a huge part of your audience opting out of the email subscription. So, following clear rules of acceptable ethical email marketing campaigns will build trust and increase engagement with your subscribers and potential customers.

Professional Email Marketers
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1. Obtaining Clear Consent

The significance of obtaining explicit consent before using anyone’s personal information is the key to successfully avoiding unethical email marketing. Allow your consumers the privilege to decide what to allow and what not to allow. Offer your customers a way to opt in and also to unsubscribe from receiving updates. Ensure to indicate clearly what you intend to do with their data once they accept the subscription. In this way, you will not only build trust but will also be upholding the ethical code of business.

2. Respect For Customers’

It is important to handle email marketing with the same approach you would when selling a product or service to a customer face-to-face. The same respect you would show a customer should be reflected in every email you send. As an ethical email marketer, ensure that there are no lies, deception, or misleading information when reaching out to your email list. Understand what your customers want to ensure no one is offended by the information you decide to share.

3. Always Retain Customer Information

Another important aspect of ethical email marketing is information retention. No individual appreciates having too much of their personal information floating around. Ensure that you safeguard as much of the information shared by customers as you possibly can. Remember, there is no better way to show your audience respect than to ensure that you do not put their personal information at risk.

4. Adhere To Privacy Protection

The privacy protection acts prohibit businesses from business that send marketing emails with offers in them. Emails should strictly be used to promote brand awareness and turn your email list into consumers. The privacy protection act also spells out the rules individuals should follow when sharing personal information with companies. Therefore, it is important that email marketers adhere to the set rules under this act to avoid penalties.

5. Prevent Harm

If you focus only on making money from your email list, you are bound to fail in the long run. It is easier to put your customers at risk when your only end goal is to make as much money as possible. A good email marketer understands the need to protect the customer from harm. Always send information that is reliable and with relevant content that is useful to your email list. Not only will you create a strong list of loyal customers, but you’ll rarely have any customers deciding to opt-out.

6. Protect Customer’s Trust

Trustworthy Email Campaigns
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Customer trust is very important when it comes to ethical email marketing. When your audience trusts you, they have confidence in the services or products that you present to them. By practicing an ethical marketing strategy, companies can build trust and have loyal customers who keep coming back for more purchases. The best way to build trustworthiness is to avoid scamming your customers or overcharging them for the products and services on offer. Unethical marketing can also mean the information in your email is different from the subject line, and the lies only paint you in the wrong light.

7. Remain Professional

Email marketing is a tool that can help you grow your business when used correctly. Therefore it is essential that you remain professional throughout your interactions with your email list. Ensure that there are no inappropriate jokes or images that offend people. Remember that people have different preferences, professionalism is the only thing that will give you a neutral ground as you market your services.

The professional attitude you would have when having a face-to-face encounter with customers should be in the tone you use in your emails. A professional tone is void of unnecessary emotions that easily create misunderstandings. Professionalism is strictly following ethical guidelines when email marketing by ensuring that the information is not manipulative or misleading.

Unethical Practices to avoid

Ethical Ways of Sending Emails
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By implementing ethical strategies in your email marketing you can ensure that the interests of your subscribers are aligned with your efforts. As a result, you will build trust between you and your target audience. Here are some of the unethical practices you should avoid as a marketer:

  • Use your own list and avoid purchasing a list without prior consent from the recipients.
  • Ensure your content remains reliable and true without any misleading information.
  • Avoid using deceptive subject lines or clickbait tactics to lure recipients into opening your emails. Avoid deceptive subject lines to lure customers into opening your emails, as this will tarnish your brand image.
  • Avoid bombarding your subscribers with excessive email frequency, which can lead to most of them opting out.
  • Ensure that both the subscribe and unsubscribe link is not hidden from your email list.
  • Do not share or sell subscriber data or any valuable information without their explicit consent.
  • Avoid using email spoofing or phishing, which are unethical practices that can destroy your brand’s name.
  • Do not send emails to customers who have clicked the unsubscribed link, respect customer choices.
  • Understand your audience and avoid using irrelevant content that does not align with your customer’s preferences.
  • Do not forget to be transparent about your privacy policy and outline how you collect, use and protect subscriber data.

Things Included in Ethical Marketing

Protect Subscriber Data
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a). The physical address of your business 

Including a physical address offers your subscribers peace of mind, communicating that you are legit and can be reached whenever need be. So, whether it be a PO box, the street address of your company, or any other formal mailbox, your email marketing should indicate clearly where you are located.

b). An option to opt-out

Your email marketing campaigns depend greatly on your customers deciding to subscribe to receive future emails from your business. Nonetheless, ensure that there is an option to opt-out after they opt in. Adhering to this rule will help you ensure you are not found in violation of the CAN-SPAM ACT.

c). Act on an opt-out request swiftly

The CAN-SPAM ACT dictates that a company must honor an individual’s request to opt out within ten business days. The process should be relatively easy without putting obstacles meant to dissuade your customers from leaving your list. It is also important to note that once a subscriber opts out, you can neither sell their information nor transfer them to a different mailing list.


Email marketers should have the ethics of email marketing at the forefront of their minds. Ensure that your main focus is building trust and respect with your subscribers rather than making fast profits. By creating a long-lasting relationship of trustworthiness with your customers, you are guaranteed to see better growth in business.

To enhance your brand’s image and turn your subscribers into sales, avoid unethical email marketing practices, uphold privacy policy, be honest, and provide valuable information. Taking an ethical approach to email marketing can easily set you apart from competitors and give you the needed edge to be one step ahead of them. Therefore, build a loyal list of customers that will keep your business growing for years.

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