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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Thomas

Why an ethical email marketing campaign is still important in the age of social media

If you've been following my blog by now, you know why email marketing is important. But there may still be some questions in your mind about its effectiveness.

Why not social media instead, you ask?

The answer is simple: email marketing is three times more effective than social media when it comes to getting people to act.

Now, I know what you're thinking. I don't want to increase my sales by using spammy, sleazy sales tactics. Here's the good news - you don't have to! Wait what? Is it possible to create ethical email marketing campaigns? For real? 100% it is.

Ethical email marketing and copywriting is kind of my thing here at Littlewood Copy. And in this blog post, we're going to cover the tips you need to put an ethical email marketing campaign into place. we will cover:

In this post, we’ll explore:

  • Why is ethical email marketing so effective?

  • Double down on ethical marketing stradegies by being compliant

  • How to create effective email campaigns with ethical copywriting

  • Ethical copywriting for email ads vs. newsletters

  • Email marketing benchmarks and how to use them

Ready to toss off the smarmy tactics of gross emails that you see in your inbox every day? Here we go!

Why is ethical email marketing so effective?

I’ll admit it - social media is a great way to connect with your customers. It has the benefit of putting campaigns in front of their eyes immediately. Despite those benefits - email conversion rates are higher across the board. Emails get triple the sales and the sales tend to be higher but at least an average of 17% according to a marketer.

So what’s the secret sauce here? Like all the best human interactions, ethical email marketing starts with mutual consent.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind. Not everyone is ready to buy from you right now, and that’s okay. But they are still ready to hear from you – which is why they’ll opt-in to your list. And they’ll stay on your list if your ethical copywriting engages with them where they are in their customer journey.

Through email, you can make an honest connection with your customers. Well crafted ccopywriting keeps you – and your fantastic solutions - in their minds. Even better, without too much fuss, you can scale your campaigns. A little insider strategy boosts the number of invested subscribers & potential sales!

But wait, hang on! Make sure that you are only messaging people who have opted into your email list. You should also make it simple for people to unsubscribe. You can feel good about sending out your emails when everyone on your list has agreed to be there. No sleazy feels when you confirm consent upfront!

In a nutshell? Ethical email marketing is effective because it's mutual. The people who opt-in are ready to engage with you. If you get your messaging right, you won’t fall victim to short attention spans. And you won’t risk your subscribers swipe mindlessly past your content.

Double down on ethical marketing strategies by being compliant

If you’re a business owner dedicated to ethical practices, here's an important email marketing tip for you. Stay compliant when you are emailing your subscriber list. The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 protects consumers from spammy emails, so read up on it to make sure you’re using best copywriting practices. Otherwise, your emails could end up in your subscribers’ spam folder, never read.

This next is a gentle reminder. Scrub your list of subscribers who are no longer engaged with you. Yes, scrubbing your list is an ethical practice! You are acknowledging your subscribers' interests and respecting their boundaries. According to the law, you have 10 days to remove someone from your subscriber list after they have opted out. Not complying with this law can land you in a heap of trouble, not to mention that it's completely unethical to continue messaging someone just because you feel like it. Once again, we're trying to work with mutual consent.

Here's a third tip – Make sure that your subject lines actually match the body of your email. I know it’s tempting to get cute with subject lines. But just don’t take it there. If you want to keep your copywriting relevant and ethical, don’t want to send out misleading messages which can count as spam.

How to create effective email campaigns with ethical copywriting

Okay, so now that you've got all these tips under your belt, you're probably wondering how do I do this? I've got you. I'm going to walk you through some best ethical copywriting practices.

First things first, make sure your content is not completely self-centered. Think about it, how irritating it is when you get a message that is all about the person who sent it? When you see those, don't you think - that's great and all, but what does it have to do with me? Instead of being me-me-me, authentically address their pain points with your copywriting, and share your valuable solutions. Email marketing is a great tool that you can use to nurture your client list. But it won't work if you squander your reader's attention by yammering on about your needs, instead of focusing on theirs.

And that feeds into the next point. If you're going to send ethical email marketing campaigns then you need to focus on delivering value. That will distinguish you from those spammy, sales-y emails that we all despise.

Last, but not least, go ahead and make your emails nice and personal. People love personalized content because it speaks directly to them. You can make your copywriting personal by tailoring your emails using the data you collect from click-throughs and downloads.

Ethical copywriting for email ads vs. newsletters

Stay in line with your ethical beliefs by matching the copywiting in the subject line to the copywriting in the body of your email. Ads – emails where you are selling a product or a service – need to be clearly ads. Don’t try to embed sales in a sneaky way. Now there’s no exact law about how to do this well, but the law does say that your ads must be clear and conspicuous. So keep that in mind when you create your campaigns. Just another little tip to help you keep it ethical!

Email marketing benchmarks and how to use them

Use data from your email campaigns to see how well you’re connecting with your customers. But don’t get too distracted by the numbers – make sure you familiarize yourself with industry standards before you start digging. For example, if you know that the average open rate of emails in 2022 was 34.51%, a 50% open rate is an overwhelming success.

Using these numbers will give you insight into what your people feel connected with if you’re getting good conversation rates – awesome! Your messaging is on track. You can use that info to hone your ideal customer avatar and create a roadmap for their needs & desires. Armed with data, you can tweak your copy match and get even more conversions the next time around.

The bottom line on ethical email marketing is…

You need it. 100%, non-negotiable. But yeah, I get it – it’s a lot to juggle. Ethical copywriting takes expertise and time – a valuable, finite resource. So if you need some help putting together your email marketing strategy AND keeping it ethical AND brand aligned – well, that’s where Littlewood copy can help.

Get in touch with me by scheduling a call below, and you’ll get a free copy consultation tailored to your brand. 30 minutes could get you less stress, emails that convert, and a strategy that will help your business grow and put extra $$$ in your pocket. And an awesome business baddie in your corner, rooting you on!

About the Author: Michelle Thomas is an e-commerce copywriter who works with entrepreneurs to create messaging that builds trust and engagement. Her mission is to develop tailored content that aligns with her client's brand identity and business objectives. To learn more, visit

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