Highly manipulative marketing practices are so common that it’s easy to adopt them even if they don’t sit well with us. It can feel like the air we breathe. Ethical marketing isn’t as complicated as you might think, though. There are a few guiding principles that can make it a lot easier to create ethical content. We share a few pillars and seven examples of ethical marketing strategies that you can implement in your business. 

Ethical Marketing Explained 

We’ve developed our approach to ethical marketing based on the principles of trauma-informed care. Transparency is one of its core pillars. In most cases, transparency is synonymous with clarity. Examples of ethical marketing should be straightforward about what service is being promoted and what results people can reasonably expect. 

Transparency looks like talking directly about:

  • pricing
  • product
  • process (and timeline/urgency)

Transparency is NOT:

  • hiding pricing behind pressure-heavy calls
  • gatekeeping your process
  • vague statements with lots of hard emotions

While transparency is key, it’s important to make room for nuance in marketing. Never assume you know exactly what your audience thinks, feels, or experiences. Phrases like “I know what you’re thinking” are rhetorically handy but aren’t actually honest or necessary for conveying the same idea.  

Like overgeneralizations and assumptions, examples of ethical marketing will avoid pain points. This style of marketing and sales is a favorite among business educators. It encourages entrepreneurs to stir up people’s anxieties in order to sell. You don’t need to do that to show people how you can solve their problems.

7 Examples of Ethical Marketing Strategies

Let’s turn these principles into concrete strategies. Here are seven examples of ethical marketing strategies that you can use in content marketing. These examples are written in the style of Instagram captions, but the approaches work for social media, email, and blogging.

1. Don’t Bury the Lead

Don’t tiptoe around your offer. Be direct! Tell people exactly what you’re offering, and highlight the benefits, features, and price.

This looks like:
“Full Service Blogging can connect you with dreamy clients on Google. It’s perfect for you if:

  • you’ve got lots of work your proud of and no time to create SEO-powered blog posts
  • you like the idea of SEO but would rather outsource to a pro

This service includes:

  • A DFY SEO keyword strategy
  • Optimized images and copy for four posts of at least 700 words each
  • Everything posted directly to your website with alt text and scheduled for you

Full Service Blogging starts at $1500 monthly. DM me to learn how we can help you attract dreamy clients on Google!”

2. Sales Process Posts

Some potential clients want to know what to expect before they even schedule a call. Many people have been burned by manipulative sales tactics, especially in the business world. Put people at ease by giving them insight into your process.

What this looks like:

“I’m all about transparency, so I’m here to tell you what to expect BEFORE you even hop on a call with me. (No sneaky sales tactics here.) When you reach out and schedule a call, my biggest goal is to connect with you! I’ll ask you 

  • Example question 1
  • Example question 2
  • Example question 3

Why am I asking you all this? Because I want to design the package that makes THE most sense for you. To do that, I need to understand you and your goals inside out.

I can’t wait to connect with you! Schedule a call at the link in my bio.”

3. Service/Product Process Posts

Everyone loves a BTS moment, so we included them in our examples of ethical marketing. Show people what goes into doing what you do. The more people know about working with you, the more comfortable they’ll feel inquiring. 

What this looks like:

“Not gonna lie. I love planning blog content with my clients starting keyword first. Here’s what that looks like:

–> I send you a questionnaire to get the basics of your SEO goals.

–> I do a bunch of nerdy keyword research and create a spreadsheet with proposed blog post keywords.

–> We collab on cool topics that align with those keywords.

In other words, don’t know what to blog about? No problem! My tried and true process has you covered.”

4. Hot Takes

Controversial opinions about the queens on the latest season of Drag Race can be great for connecting with your audience. We’re talking about something different here. Hot takes are a great chance for you to establish your position on an industry topic. Another way of thinking about them is that you’re combining your passion and expertise in a post. Don’t be afraid to humble brag if you can back it up!

“Just because a service provider is neurodivergent doesn’t mean they know how to support neurodivergent clients.

Supporting neurodivergent clients takes time, training, and intention. It involves internal work, yes, but it also looks like:

  • building adaptable systems
  • predictability and clarity on process
  • clear communication and guidelines

I’ve worked hard to design my copywriting processes around these principles, and I’ve got the training to back it up. Curious how we can work together on your marketing copy? Reach out at the link!”

5. It’s Right for You If…

Spell out for whom your product or service is ideal. Tie it to the benefits and, if you think it would be helpful, the resources necessary to hire you.

What this looks like [Notice we’re revisiting example 1]:

“Full Service Blogging can connect you with dreamy clients on Google. It’s perfect for you if:

  • you’ve got lots of work your proud of and no time to create SEO-powered blog posts
  • you like the idea of SEO but would rather outsource to a pro
  • you’re tired of your whole marketing strategy hinging on social media

If this resonates with you, reach out to me at the link! Let’s get you in front of dreamy clients with our tried and true low-stress, high-ROI method.”

6. It’s NOT Right for You If…

You can come at this from the opposite direction. Be honest about whom your services are not right for – in a nonjudgmental way. Remember that a goal of ethical marketing is never to make people feel bad  for making the choices that are right for them. Even though this strategy is one of our examples of ethical marketing, this can go sideways if you’re not careful. If it feels like too much of a risk, skip it.

What this looks like:

“I’m honest – sometimes painfully so. But the truth is, I don’t want people investing in any services, including mine, and regretting it later. So SEO blogging is NOT right for you if:

  • you don’t want to dedicate at least three months to consistent publishing (That’s about how long it takes to start ranking.)
  • you know you won’t keep up with it and won’t invest in outsourcing it

If either of those sound like you, that’s cool. It is OK not to do ALL the marketing things.

But if you are ready to start your blogging journey with an SEO expert, I’m here for you!”

7. Share a Client Win (with Consent)

Share concrete client wins – numbers, final products like photos, or client accomplishments that you facilitated. Screenshot your conversations to make them feel more tangible and relatable in your marketing. Just remember to get client consent regardless of whether you share anonymously. Consent is another pillar of trauma-informed care that has shaped these examples of ethical marketing.

What this looks like:

“THESE are the DMs I live for as an SEO copywriter.

Last week, a client shared that she got her first $12k inquiry from Google. We’ve been working steadily on SEO blogging and optimizing her web copy for a while now. Seeing it pay off like this is proof that the ROI on SEO is unbeatable.

And social media marketing? When you have a solid SEO strategy, it’s great if socials happen but also fine if they don’t. You can’t put a number on that peace of mind.

Let’s connect you with dreamy clients on Google! Reach out to learn about SEO blogging and web copy services.”

A Community for Ethical Entrepreneurs

Were these examples of ethical marketing helpful? This post was adapted from a presentation created for our Patreon community. Every month, we share masterclasses and resources on trauma-informed marketing and sales as well as photography-specific content. We’re cultivating a supportive community where ethical entrepreneurs can learn to thrive. Join us!

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