Businesses considering email marketing must remember that their online reputation is as important as their brand, an industry commentator urges.

Rob Thrasher, writing for email marketing agency Zrinity’s blog, warns that firms which fail to protect their brand online face their consumers unsubscribing and the risk of being blocked by providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo! And AOL.

"When you fail to protect your lists and your email reputation … you damage your brand name," he explained.

Furthermore, a damaged reputation can considerably hamper the success of an email marketing campaign, Mr Thrasher concluded.

Recently, Gayle Jones, writing for online news resource the Lindsay Post, said that one way to ensure email marketing works is to supply consumers with interesting industry news and tips.

Sharing information such as news articles is an "excellent" way of strengthening relationships with consumers and of pro-actively engaging them with a brand, she argued.

Ms Jones added that marketers can also build loyalty by supplying consumers with discounts and promotions.