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How to Get Your Emails Noticed

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

I’ll cut to the chase: The way to get noticed is to change something.

That having been said, there are two schools of thought re: what in traditional marketing is called your “collaterals.”

I wonder who chose that buzzword and why, because “collateral” means property you put up to when you take a loan to protect the interest of the lender. In this context it makes no sense. Or does it?


“Collaterals” in marketing means your business cards, stationary, brochures, etc. And, BTW, to the disappointment of most clients, it’s the first thing the marketing consultant looks at. From that you should take notice that it’s the most important thing about your business, and often the most neglected.

I suppose the gist is that a “collateral” is a very valuable thing. You secure the other thing with it. In a very real sense, your collateral secure your business.

School 1: Standardization

You will see this in major law firms. If you’ve heard working in a law firm is different, it is. “The law,” as its referred to, changes slowly, which you know. The laws of a society are its stability. When a law such as women not being able to vote, or people not being able to have slaves changes, the results in the society are tumultuous.

Law firms seem to all use the same font on their collaterals. Everything in a major national or international law firm is standardized by decree.  The last thing they want is something looking different … attorneys aren’t known for broadcasting their “personality” in their brochures.

What brochures? It’s a different field. Short  and sweet – all attorneys carry the same card.  Sidebar – what if your attorney carried a  fuschia card with navy ink and comic sans ms  font? Yikes!

Medicine also has little use for collaterals. Don’t know about you, but every time I visit one of my doctors, I’m amazed to receive the same crummy multigenerational scraps of paper cut by hand, with scissors even, to fill out.

Does it keep me from going to that doctor? What if I told you he also holds his glasses on with green rubber bands?

Presumably we do not care about our doctors’ personalities or the appearance of things. At least we don’t associate it with his or her ability to do their job.

My friend who’s a doctor tells his son to go into medicine because, “You don’t have to drink with a man to take out his wife’s gallbladder.” There’s probably a Ph.D. thesis behind that statement.

At any rate, this is more the position of the “professions,” a line that is blurring because my nail technician calls herself a “professional.”  So go to the meta idea here – someone who does specific piece work (which can be said of a brain surgeon or a seamstress) is going to be judged by the finished product, and less by their personality or the “personality” of their products.

My young friend who’s a genius on computers tells me, “I could show up with a bone in my nose and they’d hired me.” There’s another thesis there. (And only a very young person would think there are no limits to what we will endure from the gifted. Extremely bad breath comes to mind!)

However, from those of us who sell widgets, there is less toleration. There are too many of us, and of widgets, no matter how good. We must have out collaterals in order.

Which brings up School 2: Stand Out

When you’re in a highly competitive field you must stand out – from others, and from yourself from time-to-time.

Your e-mail is an important collateral. Pay close attention to what it looks like.

Change the Appearance

Probably you’re using the default that came with the computer. There are lots of other options! Try some. Start with changing the font, style and size of the text.

To change the text style for all your messages (on Outlook) go to Tools and click Options. Find Compose and click Font Settings.

To change the text within an email message, select the text you want to format and then on the formatting toolbar, click the buttons for the options you want.

To change the font for an entire message go to the Edit menu and click Select All.


To apply stationery, go to Format and then Apply Stationery.

You'll Get Letters

When you change the appearance of your email, you will get reactions. If you’re a newbie, you’ll be amazed and confused that some will love it, some will hate it. If you’re a seasoned warrior, I mean entrepreneur, you will have been expecting that.

You will also know that your email – whether liked or hated – was noticed.

Think back on the Classic Coke brouhaha – if you’re old enough to remember that, and the word “brouhaha”. It means “hubbub” or “uproar” and none of those synonyms is in much use nowadays either, because what isn't a brouhaha, hubbub or uproar these day? They come with chaos and constant change. Peaceful sameness would be a brouhaha these days.

Coke announced they were withdrawing Classic Coke from the market. It made us all realize how much we loved it, whether we did or not. The thought of it no longer being available made us frantic.

Of course it remained on the market, after a  hearty boost in sales from a very clever marketing campaign that jolted the consumer out of complacency.


If some hate it, and some love it, and you’re not sure, what do you do? A marketing coach can help you with one-shot deals like this, and with your overall marketing plan. You do have a marketing plan, don’t you?

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2003

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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