Internet is growing at a high rate, thus persuading online businesses to adopt aggressive strategies which help them attract more customers. A large percentage of enterprises tend to be amazed by the possibilities in the World Wide Web offers including the potential to attract millions of users to the company’s website.
In such instances, many businesses find the need to think about the issues of ethics in online practices. There are several incidents on the internet where ethical limits have been pushed and have ended up messing up the company’s reputation and creating confusion among its customers.
For this reason, search engines, website owners as well as internet users have created a “code of conduct” to ensure that unethical situations are avoided and that the integrity of internet marketing strategies is not interfered with.
The Moral Dilemma
Internet is meant to be free from control. This means that we can exchange different ideas and information freely. We still have no clue on who should define when something is good or bad for the public. Large tech companies have dominated the internet activity and are defining internet freedom.
These companies include Google, Facebook, and Twitter, however their actions are not always ethical because they are not transparent about their marketing activities. This situation highlights the extent of the moral dilemma that modern marketers should navigate.
The Importance of Ethics in Internet Marketing
These days, there are millions of pages containing information online. This has raised the need for businesses to maintain quality standards and ethics in the way it promotes its products and services. Otherwise, you will end up creating information that is not useful for the target audiences.
I have discovered that ethics in internet marketing help buyers to differentiate between the trustworthy online information from the illegal and fraudulent content.
Helps Business to Present Their Innate Ideas to Potential Clients
Another reason why I think that companies should implement ethical internet marketing strategies is that they are able to communicate their values and beliefs to the current and potential customers. The way company represents its philosophy to the internet is crucial to its brand image. Remember that the company’s image is what will determine the number of customers that you have and the sales that you make.
Additionally, your online behavior communicates a lot of things to the public. For example, I can determine how the business handles its customers on the phone, in person and online, just by looking at the information posted on the Internet.
Addressing These Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing
In the current world, we can all agree that the Internet/Digital Marketing is currently the most influential and effective mode of marketing. From the above information, it is necessary for organizations to incorporate ethics in their marketing efforts.
Furthermore, customers will always be attracted to companies that use ethical marketing strategies. So if your business is currently developing an online strategy, I would advise you to put the ethical issues listed below into consideration:
1. The Quality of Your Content
I am sure that the perception of most customers is determined by the message that online content passes. It could either be positive or negative. Thus, if you want your customers to have a good perception of your business, you need to be sensitive about the quality of your content. Ensure that the information that you post online is authentic and well researched. The organization’s digital marketers need to perform due diligence before they post any content on the company’s website, articles or blogs.
2. Consider the Implications
When advertising your products or services on the Internet, you need to know that you are addressing a global audience. That being said, you need to think about the implications of all unethical practices relating to laws and copyrights in relation to ecommerce and trade, privacy and security.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We can all agree that search engine optimization is the most used strategy when it comes to Internet marketing. Currently, there are many developments in search engine technologies. However, every business owner needs to consider whether their firm’s SEO techniques are blackhat or whitehat.
Most of the time, Blackhat techniques gets a bad rap in the industry that it can kill your ranking and get you penalized in search engines, not only dropping your traffic but erases you altogether in their search results. However, this technique still works, albeit it’s being branded as unethical, and there are those who are very skilled on this area.
Whitehat techniques involves factual or quality content, guest writing, and proper way if link acquisition. It’s a “slow but sure” way to get rank, and you don’t have to worry one day Google will penalize you. It still happens, but it rarely happen.
I would advise business executives to hire SEO experts in your area who ensures you that they’ll only choose the right methods and optimize your site according to the rules.
4. Correct Representation of the Brand
It is the role of every company to ensure that all forms of business content — whether visual, textual or audio — that is posted on the internet is both realistic and factual. This will ensure that you do not break any advertising and media laws. Making business claims that are not realistic might cause terrible effects on the credibility of your business.
5. Email Correspondences
I think that the use of emails can be very helpful in Internet marketing. However, you need to take a lot of caution when publishing email correspondences. When we make errors in emailing, most of the us tend to assume that the error is minor. However, sending the wrong types of emails to the wrong recipients can cause some tragic consequences to the brand.
I know this because I experienced it myself. Although it’s not email but more on phone-based texts, I was waiting for an hour for someone and turned out she wasn’t really meant to text me. From that day, we decided to stay away every business they offer.
The remarkable growth of the Internet, together with its unique capabilities, has captured the attention of the marketing industry. It is correct to say that many businesses are acknowledging the importance of Internet marketing, but we have all given little attention to the perceptions of the ethicality of this avenue.
I just hope that business owners will make sure to apply ethical techniques instead of taking shortcuts that may ruin, not just their business, but how people perceives their niche and business industry.