Words matter. What you’re communicating — or not — speaks volumes to your audience. Consumers have made it abundantly clear that they want to do business with companies that are transparent, honest and mindful of the greater good. That’s why it’s essential to create ethical content that highlights your company’s values and commitment to delivering high-quality products, services and support with minimal impact.
Because if you’re dishonest or deceptive in your marketing or promotion tactics, there will be nowhere to hide when you’re found out.
Whether it’s an exaggerated brand promise or a shameless lie, these unethical content marketing practices will quickly drive your prospects and customers into the welcoming arms of the competition:
- Misleading your customers. Did you know that according to federal law, advertisements must be truthful, and when applicable, backed by scientific evidence. If claims are found to be misleading, your company can land in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission. For example, if you claim your product is “doctor-recommended”, “environmentally- friendly” or that it can cause “dramatic weight loss in just two weeks” make sure those claims are verified — or else.
- Plagiarizing content. This one goes without saying. If you’re trying to pass off another brand’s content as your own, you are the epitome of dishonesty — not to mention a thief. What happened to offering fresh, unique content that resonates with your audience?
- Exploiting emotions. Tapping into your customers’ emotions can be a strategy to empathize on a more human level, and ultimately offer a solution to solve whatever challenge they’re facing. But targeting a disadvantaged audience and preying on their emotions is downright unethical. If you’re guilt-tripping them for not making a purchase, click-shaming them for opting out of your newsletter or using phrases like “last chance” (when it’s not) or “last piece in stock” (when you have a warehouse full) these are all subtle ways of exploiting customer emotions.
- Bad-mouthing the competition. You won’t make your brand look better by putting another one down. Instead, handle the competition by outperforming them. By emphasizing the strengths of your products or services, you’ll exude confidence and professionalism to attract new and repeat customers. Plus, making defamatory statements about another brand can lead to the courtroom, with your brand as the bully in the hotseat.
- Spamming. This is not the way to get your audience’s attention. But it is one of the quickest ways to get people to unsubscribe from your email list. Spamming your customers and prospects with unsolicited emails, phone calls or text messages is unprofessional and annoying, and comes with very little ROI.
Lead with the truth
Every piece of content you push out is a reflection of your brand and its integrity. Considering that 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services that guarantee total transparency, it’s more important than ever to walk the straight and narrow.