Over the years, I have received many poorly designed emails. So, with a view toward helping you improve your e-marketing, here are the top 10 things not to do in your prospecting emails:

1. Make it hard to opt out.

Make sure you have a simple “unsubscribe” link and quickly remove anyone who wishes be deleted.

2. SHOUT.

See how bad those capital letters look? Don’t shout in your subject line or the body of your email.

3. Use colored fonts.

If you are attempting to market a professional product or service, do not use gimmicky colored text.

4. Use lots of bold or italic fonts.

Bold and italic fonts are not off limits, but use them sparingly. A phrase or two at most.

5. Use spam words.

Stay away from such words as “free offer” and “satisfaction guaranteed.”

6. Go on and on.

People are busy; be brief. A few sentences, a few bullets, a call to action — that’s it. No page-long lectures.

7. Include a complicated call to action.

If you have someone’s attention, make it quick and easy for them to take action.

8. Don’t offer value.

Make sure the prospect will receive a real benefit by answering your call to action.

9. Avoid a professional salutation.

Please use “sincerely” or “best regards” and your real name and title. If your email ends with a cheesy motivational quote and a promise to change my life, I will move on to a professional.

10. Make it hard to opt out.

This is so important, I am listing it twice. The easiest way to earn spam complaints is to make it difficult to get off your list. Include a clear and prominent way to opt out.

Get the most out of your prospecting efforts with a professional, well-designed email.

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John Scranton is an insurance agency marketing expert and vice president of StartUpSelling, Inc. which helps small businesses with lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information and tips from John, visit www.StartUpSelling.com, or go to his blog at http://startupselling.com/blogs/johnscranton