Are you in compliance with international, federal, state and/or local laws? Is your business being environmentally responsible? Are your employees being treated fairly? Are you charging your customers a fair price? These are a just a few questions that come up when thinking about business ethics.
As marketers, we have all heard of lawsuits over deceptive advertisements or false information, but ethical breaches go beyond the contents of an advertisement. Marketers can get into hot water when selling or buying customer information, copying the content from another website, not providing an email opt-out option, and the list goes on.
With all these possibilities of violating business ethics through marketing, how can you make sure to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the fence?
Well the answer is easy - practice inbound marketing.
Ok ok, I know, easier said than done - inbound marketing does take time, effort and resources. Here are 5 ways to avoid bad business ethics and practice good inbound marketing.
Create original content. Stealing content is not only a copyright infringement but it is also pretty tacky. Inbound marketers want to add great content and resources to the internet, not rip off other people’s content. So create something original - your own thoughts, experience, reviews.
Give credit where credit is due. Once again, this gets into the copyright infringement. If you’re using an image or research from someone else, give them credit! It’s all about being a good “neighbor.”
Be honest. Don’t change comments or customer testimonials to put your company in a better light. Own your failures, make the effort to fix them, and strive to do better in the future.
Respect your visitors, leads & customers. Respect their privacy by not giving other businesses your leads’ or customers’ information. Respect their space by not sending them too many emails too frequently. Respect their time by not sending them useless, valueless content. And respect their choices by providing an option for them to opt-out of your emails.
Build genuine relationships and links. No one likes a fraud (or line cutter) so be genuine when building relationships with other businesses, social media followers, and inbound links. Real relationships and links will pay off in the end while those fake ones often end up burning you.
When in doubt whether you are being ethical or not, ask yourself if you are being helpful. If your answer is no - don’t do it.
What other ways and tips do you have for avoiding bad business ethics?