If you’re sold on ethical marketing and ready to get started, here’s what you’ve come for. 

I’ve outlined 9 ways you can define your brand and use of Pardot in a more ethical manner.

1. Make sure your privacy policy is on your landing pages

For some businesses, it’s required by law to have and enforce a privacy policy when collecting data.  If you aren’t putting a visible link to your policies (or don’t have them) on your landing pages, you should start here. 

2. Don’t buy lists

Yes, of course, you shouldn’t do this. We all know that. But getting your boss or others on board with this idea can be really difficult in some spaces or organizations.

Here are the cut-and-dry points you can make to help you make the case against buying prospect lists:

  • You might be breaking the law (see GDPR, CCPA, or CASL) because those people did *not* give you explicit consent to start emailing them.

  • You might damage your sender reputation and sender score, meaning you might be marked as a spammer and never see an inbox again.

  • Your Pardot contract could be ended by Pardot due to violating its Permission Based Marketing Policy. We definitely don’t want that.

Can’t quit cold turkey? Pardot has a couple of alternatives to buying lists that will help wean your team off purchased lists. 

3. Learn to love AMPSEA

If you’re not familiar with the term AMPSEA, it stands for “Allowing Multiple Prospects with the Same Email Address.”

It’s the age-old argument of #teamampsea vs. #teamnoampsea. I’m staunchly Team AMPSEA. I know not everyone is, since it can cause messy data.

I’m Team AMPSEA because I believe ethical marketing means allowing your prospects to tell you who they are. I don’t believe ethical marketing happens when we get to decide that. 

AMPSEA not only allows for your prospects to control their preferences more, but it also allows for flexibility. This is really helpful in organizations that are not straight forward B2B (friendly reminder that all types of organizations use Pardot).

Finally, with AMPSEA, Pardot is aligning itself to Salesforce by allowing for multiple records with the same email. Obviously, this isn’t going away. And for other platforms and different types of clients (like nonprofits), this is long overdue. Streamlining platforms will make the work easier, the data better, and hopefully, allow for more Pardot growth.

4. Use and stick to your Email Preference Centers

Who doesn’t love transparency?! 

The people trying to hide things. 

Email Preference Centers (EPCs) are a godsend for those who want to create strong ethical marketing practices. The hardest part is not creating them, but sticking to emailing those lists on them.

One of my favorite activities with organizations looking to create ethical marketing processes with Pardot is to overhaul their use of Email Preference Centers. 

I see three main benefits to using them:

  • You’ll set clear expectations for your prospects. By allowing them to see what email lists they are on and why, you can build trust and loyalty. 
  • You’ll set clear expectations for your team. While you might be on board with ethical marketing, your time might need more time to understand and practice it. EPCs can help them get started by outlining the lists they should email, rather than the brand new ones they just created.
  • They truly allow your prospects to opt-in and opt-out. EPCs put the power back into the hands of your prospects. Through your proper use of them, prospects can own their consent and you might even find some good insights from this to further personalize and tailor your content. 

With a little extra planning, you can create a strong list of email communications your prospects can expect and easily manage. And a clear set of expectations for your internal team as well. 

5. Put the email footer area to good use

My best advice for any email marketer is to use open and honest language to state why someone is getting an email in an email footer. Here’s some copy to get you started:

“You’re receiving this email because…” 

“You joined our lists on MM/DD/YY when you signed up for X”

“Have you been forwarded this email? You can subscribe yourself here.”

Here’s an excellent example (and the replies to this are worth checking out as well.

Credit: https://twitter.com/rutdawson/status/1168436817110216705

6. Enable Pardot’s Tracking Opt-In Preferences feature
I see this as the easiest win of the whole list. This feature is that box that pops up asking for you to allow the website to track your activity. 

Without this feature enabled, you are not allowing your prospects to own their data preferences.

I highly recommend you use it, customize it for your company’s tone, and make it honest. 

7. Create Accessibility Standards

Roughly 15% of the world’s population live with a disability. Regardless of your stance on ethical marketing, making your digital marketing accessible to all with internet access should be a priority.

The infamous Pardot MVP and CEO of Sercante Andrea Tarrell wrote an excellent post on the Pardot blog breaking down 8 basic ways you make your content more accessible

8. Be mindful with your Image Files

I’m not telling you to find stock photos that look perfectly balanced with people who visually look diverse. 

I am telling you to try your hardest to be honest and kind with your images. 

  • No jokes at anyone’s expense
  • Keep gifs from flashing too much (and by too much, I mean less than 3 times per second- which can trigger seizures)
  • If you’re going to use stock images to portray your company, make it accurate. I still remember the email I received from a company that used rather diverse stock images, only to notice the company was comprised of all Caucasian men. 

9. Consider a double opt-in?

By no means do you have to do this, but if you want to give your prospects the ultimate control of their subscription, consider setting this up. It’s easier on other platforms but you can set this up in Pardot. 

Here’s a more in-depth article on the use cases for it and how to implement double opt-in with Pardot

When in doubt: communicate honestly

Not ready? Getting push back? Feeling overwhelmed?

Let’s take a step back and just think about how you can make small changes to make your communication with your prospects more transparent and honest.

More resources for creating your own ethical marketing standards

If you’re interested in this, I encourage you to learn more and form your own practices. Here are three digital resources you should check out. 

  • B the Change– the official blog of B Lab, who runs the B Corporation movement
  • Better Allies– run by Karen Catlin, an advocate for inclusivity, her newsletter and resources have expanded my marketing quite a bit. 
  • Business Ethics Highlight– highlighting the good and the bad, this news sources rounds up the latest in ethics and business.