1. Plan for holidays and special occasions. Many marketers cash in big on holidays. There is a great deal of competition in the world of e-commerce and planning an effective holiday e-mail marketing campaign will help you compete. Start early and build the campaign up a little. Watch the pros and learn from them.

2. Subscribe to yourself. It is important to test your marketing e-mail in various e-mail services including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL. They all work differently, especially if you’re sending in HTML format. It’s simple to sign up for these various free e-mail accounts and send your e-mail to yourself to see what your subscribers will see.

3. Show you’re trustworthy. Privacy and confidentiality are very important to most consumers. Make sure your e-mail sign-up pages clearly state you will not sell subscriber information and that it will be safe with you. Many people won’t give their e-mail to those who don’t offer this bit of information. Never trade lists with other marketers or sell your list for quick cash. Those low-brow tactics are very damaging to the entire industry.

4. Ask them what they want. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your consumers want. Take the time to ask and then consider the answers. Offer an easy way for your subscribers to send their comments, questions and suggestions. Letting them know you are available for such customer service is a great way to earn their loyalty.

5. Know the laws and rules. Many marketers have had the misfortune of watching their online business fall to its knees when they can’t even send a simple support e-mail because they’re on every black list imaginable and spam filters wipe their mail off the Web before it hits most of their subscriber’s inboxes. Make sure you are familiar with the various rules and laws that regulate e-mail marketing.

Brian Hawkins, Extreme Ezine (www.extremeezine.com)