Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic April 17, 2000

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:01 AM): Hey, Sana...what's going on? Welcome!

Sana (4/17/100 9:02 AM): Thank you Rob..this is my second time joining today

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:03 AM): Cool, Sana.. I think this is my 126th....

tawn ( (4/17/100 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:04 AM): So anyone have any stock recommendations? Just kidding. Who's up first?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:04 AM): hey Rob, I just bought an "updated" version of Claude's "Scientific Advertising" book - Terry Dean has added some things into it to apply to the Internet specifically

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:05 AM): Tawn, we always let the new guys start, if you have something to throw out there...

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:05 AM): I just put up a new splash page and opened our Gifts section. I hope my brand shows through. I'm still working on that tag line.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:05 AM): Claude has been dead for about 50 years, hasn't he?

tawn ( (4/17/100 9:05 AM): I thought I would just observe today, if that's okay. I am not sure what is appropriate.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:06 AM): umm I think so, Rob! the book is public domain now

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:06 AM): Tawn, jumping in with anything relevant to building your business -- or plugging it -- is totally permissible.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:07 AM): wow, Yancey! your splash page is awesome!

Lori (4/17/100 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

tawn ( (4/17/100 9:07 AM): well I am in the incubation phase and have just purchased putting the business plan together. etc.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:07 AM): Thanks Terri, it has been done for months but couldn't put it up until now.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:08 AM): If I can... I'd like to have you folks check out an online survey we created and give feedback...ok?

Sana (4/17/100 9:08 AM): Then I'm going to jump in, if that's Ok with everybody...

Lori (4/17/100 9:08 AM): How can you get an accountant to embrace branding and give "product" advertising

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:08 AM): I love the fact that it isn't "just" an invitation to "Enter here" <grin>

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:08 AM): That's cool, Tawn. The only warning I should give you is that these chats are archived and public, so if you have a confidential issue, keep it that way. Otherwise anything's fair game.

tawn ( (4/17/100 9:08 AM): I'll do a survey for you Bob.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:08 AM): Bob, I like survey's, where is it?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:09 AM): Go Sana

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:09 AM): Here it is.....

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:09 AM): sure, Bob! I'd be glad to!

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:09 AM): Yes, Terri we have the logo front and center.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:10 AM): The goals is to collect info to help w/an e-commerce design plan & potential funding

Sana (4/17/100 9:10 AM): We are selling office products online...we know everybody NEEDS office products, we can compete when it comes to price, shipping cost, shipping time..But how do we promote?!

tawn ( (4/17/100 9:10 AM): Thanks, Rob. Noted.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:10 AM): First question Sana, and it's vital: do you have a budget set aside for promotion?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:11 AM): Note that I didn't ask HOW MUCH....because that's not what's important.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:11 AM): Sana, I'd use banner ads, creating a newsletter, making sure your product is promoted in your signature line

Sana (4/17/100 9:12 AM): yes we do...a good amount...what shall we do (other than our quarterly flyer we send out to a few thousand companies which we have from a database we purchased)

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:12 AM): Rob-Do you recommend promotions budgets be established as a percentage of sales (or projected sales) or fixed?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:13 AM): Okay, a good amount can mean anything, but you've got the first of three things you need: 1. budget 2. term of campaign 3. Expected results. Are all three of these set?

Sana (4/17/100 9:13 AM): We thought of banner ads, but where? what are complementary sites for office and facility supplies?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:13 AM): I recommend setting it fixed for the first year at least, Bob. After you have a track record, it can be adjusted to reflect previous year's sales.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:13 AM): I'd also create an periodic online newsletter

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:14 AM): Sana, I have always recommended against banner ads unless for impulsive products that appeal t a really broad, general, gullible or desperate audience. Weight loss, for example.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:14 AM): OK-so that begs the question do you start w/results required & then attach cost?

Sana (4/17/100 9:14 AM): Arizona, that's also in the plan...where we can promote special buys, promotions, etc

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:15 AM): In my experience, office supplies really does well with value adds: one of my favorites is the desktop app that becomes a shopping list, then when it reaches a pre-assigned amount, automatically dials in the order.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:16 AM): that is a great idea, Rob!

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:16 AM): No, Bob, I like to begin with business reality first -- Start with a real budget number that you can commit to.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:17 AM): I want that app, Rob

Sana (4/17/100 9:17 AM): interesting Rob, but with our FREE shipping, you can order anytime and not worry about that (is that the purpose of the app?)

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:17 AM): Sana, simply promoting special price deals won't cut it the way you may be expecting. It's gotta be something that cultivate brand loyalty.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:17 AM): me too, Rob!

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:17 AM): Here's my problem, we are building a plan for funding so the dollar amount isn't based on existing budgets but potential.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:18 AM): No Sana, you're selling office supplies, but I can get those same supplies anywhere, so you've got to give me something more that I value. Something that shows me you understand my daily needs.

Sana (4/17/100 9:19 AM): How can you build loyalty with office supplies? Price is what will lure them in, then convenience will keep them there

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:19 AM): Bob, take a look at Dee Powers' site at She has some great resources there and a business plan template - plus lots of VC info

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:19 AM): Bob, rule of thumb is to make the budget amount way higher than you think it will be. The #1 clue I find in business plans that lets me know the team is naive are "conservative" ad numbers and low promo budgets.

Sana (4/17/100 9:19 AM): So you're leading to customization...personalization...

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:20 AM): Thanks Terri..I'll check it out. We have been using Tim Berry's Biz Plan software & it seems pretty good

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:20 AM): Sana, it's really easy to build an app like that. But the real good stuff is that people have to register with you to receive it for free...Yowee! Plus, you appear to be very helpful, which nobody else is....

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:21 AM): Sana, I assume that your back end can process orders via shopping cart, credit card and fulfillment.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:22 AM): Bob, are you ready for this survey to be forwarded to medical professionals?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:22 AM): BTW, Terri, did you see that JoAnna is speaking at an HR event in Los Angeles? Charging $10 to get in!

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:23 AM): Rob--I'm going to try & pin you do you define 'conservative' & 'low'? If it is based on your experience I can't replicate that.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:23 AM): How come nobody pays to see ME? Boo hoo....

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:23 AM): really? no - didn't know it, but I would LOVE to get to go and meet her F2F :) (4/17/100 9:23 AM): Entered the room.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:23 AM): Yancey...the survey is live now & we just sent out 8k postcards to the medical community to promote it

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:23 AM): You mean you don't have to pay for these sessions?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:24 AM): *laffin* They pay - but someone else gets the money? *grin*

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:24 AM): Bob, the big clue is when you go to the financial projections and the percentage of marketing expenditures are a low percentage of overall numbers. If it's less than 30%, and it's a start-up, something's fishy. (4/17/100 9:24 AM): Hello everyone, hi Bob.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:24 AM): Yancey, if you hadn't bought my book, I'd be smackin' ya right now.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:25 AM): Thanks Rob. Howdy Jozef.

Sana (4/17/100 9:25 AM): hello Jozef

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:25 AM): Yancey, who designed your logo?

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:25 AM): LOL

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:25 AM): hi Jozef!

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:26 AM): Terri, Susan Rose, my wife. It's my hand. ;-)

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:26 AM): I want to hire her! *grin*

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:28 AM): Yancey--did you have any feedback on the survey?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:28 AM): Quick question: how many people here are affiliates of any kind of program? (4/17/100 9:29 AM): Rob I have told everyone here in Surrey about your listserv, particularly the Chamber

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): ...and are you making any money at all as a result of them?

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): We are affiliates of a few... mostly to fill ad inventory

Sana (4/17/100 9:29 AM): we are Rob

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): Bob, only at the end, I would have considered letting them know that the personal information was optional.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): Rob, I am.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): We belong to several

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): Not making money...but filling ad space helps to sell it

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): I'm an affiliate of a few, Rob

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:29 AM): Are you repping someone else's product?

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:30 AM): Rob, I use my merchant affiliate program to tag ads.

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:30 AM): I am an affiliate of, I have it only on my page.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:30 AM): so far I'm repping someone else, but am working on my own affiliate program

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:30 AM): Yancey--good point.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:31 AM): I'm working on one, but I'm trying to figure out how to work it with a news portal like AzReporter

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:32 AM): Time consideration is very important for running an affiliate program. Even with a great program.

Sana (4/17/100 9:32 AM): did you hear about this new discussion of creating a "black list" for affiliate programs?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:33 AM): My question is really: is anyone here making decent money with their program, either as a member or owner?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:33 AM): how about for advertising referrals, Arizona? AdlandPro does that

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:33 AM): has been our best affiliate program. Linkshare hasn't done very good

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:33 AM): We have found the affiliate programs to be too time content & traffic building have been more fruitful

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:33 AM): it isn't making me rich yet, Rob

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:34 AM): Anyone want to share dollar figures? What's it worth for you to become an affiliate?

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:34 AM): I'll look into it ,Terri

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:34 AM): do you mean what would make it worth it to me, Rob?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:35 AM): The reason I ask is that I think very few people make any kind of money with them. And I'm designing my affiliate program around some disturbing findings...

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:35 AM): With, we've been in the program since October, about $440

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:35 AM): Yeah, Terri. how long until you say, "This is bullshit. I'm taking the guy's logo off my page."

Sana (4/17/100 9:36 AM): well Rob, the well know ones are pretty, average 7% of sales

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:37 AM): well, I'm getting harder "nosed" about it now, Rob... If it isn't making me $100 a month after 3 months, and if I am really promoting it, then it is coming down... unless "I" am getting some visibility as a result of it

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:37 AM): but really didn't start pushing their ads until November

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:37 AM): Right, Sana, but how much have you personally made of those links as a affiliate?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:38 AM): I've been with amazon for a couple of years.. have specific books recommended even.. and have made a grand total of $25

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:38 AM): Nice Terri.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:38 AM): Amazon has been a poor affiliate prog for us. Can't explain it. We thought it would be a natural with our news and entertainment content, but that really hasn't been the case

Sana (4/17/100 9:38 AM): to be honest....only the returns of what WE (staff) have bought through really , nothing to brag about... (4/17/100 9:38 AM): Has anyone done some customer id analysis before determining what affiliate programs to get involved with?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:38 AM): but! I didn't have a lot of traffic to my "own" site, so if no one sees my recommendations, then they won't buy them

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:38 AM): See Terri -- that's what I suspect is happening to a lot of folks out there.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:39 AM): Rob-we have been considering working with a few key distributors who will drop ship & therefore give higher margins

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:39 AM): In fact, my sources tell me that even sites like befree et al have tens of thousand of registered affiliates, but the actual number of producing members is less than 1%!!!

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:39 AM): Our thought is to move closer to e-commerce & ad mix than pure affiliate ads

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:40 AM): I'm sure it is, Rob! And again, I wasn't promoting my book recommendation page for its own sake either

Sana (4/17/100 9:40 AM): I could say the same Terri...even with our recommendations...but who would think..."oh, let me go to THEN go buy what I need from Amazon"

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:40 AM): I think we've made about $75 with amazon in the past year

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:41 AM): So that you're all clued in, I use my own projects as tests for client recommendations. And I am developing new strategies for affiliates, because the present format just sucks, $-wise.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:41 AM): I think you need to have the book recommendation right alongside content that is related. Robert Lee at has done that

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:42 AM): My thesis is that affiliates need to see at least $5 per transaction -- for the very cheapest products.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:42 AM): Be Free has also been a bust with us

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:42 AM): Rob, I have a built in affiliate program with my shopping cart but my affiliate program is not "open."

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:43 AM): I agree with that Rob! I think Ken Evoy has one of the most generous payout to affiliates that I have seen

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:43 AM): This "two cents per click" business is for the birds -- always has been the flaw in the CTR, as have low commissions and wrong products for affiliates.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:43 AM): Yes, Terri, I'm working with Ken on another deal.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:44 AM): Okay, enough about my issues...anyone else?

Yancey ( (4/17/100 9:44 AM): If there is a source who is naturally linked to my site and bringing me traffic then I can use this as a special incentive.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:44 AM): absolutely! I would far rather get paid for a sale and "own" that referral for all future sales to them than get paid per click

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:44 AM): Ken Envoy?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:45 AM): Evoy, Arizona .. you can see his site at

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:45 AM): Ken Evoy -

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:45 AM): I can see where you and Ken teaming up would be a natural, Rob :)

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:46 AM): I have a question. A potential investor has asked us for a written 'third party validation' of our biz concept. (4/17/100 9:46 AM): Rob, your book just arrived, good fulfillment!

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:46 AM): Any ideas about the best source for such a validation? (4/17/100 9:48 AM): Bob, you might try a business evaluation firm that specializes in health administration.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:49 AM): Bob, what that really means is that they're looking for prospective clients who would use your product and put it in writing. Who says testimonials don't work? (4/17/100 9:50 AM): Some of the big CPA firms have a division that specializes in your industry.

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:50 AM): I had another advisor I trust tell me the same thing-great minds must think alike.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:50 AM): Here's a great example: Years ago, I introduced a software product, which was great. But what really impressed the VC's was the beat group I assembled who used the product and went on video to say so.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:50 AM): they sure do, Rob! I had a client call me as a direct result of reading a testimonial on my page!

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:51 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:51 AM): Rob-do you think individual testimonials are more powerful that aggregated data from our customer survey?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:51 AM): Bob, don't spend your hard earned cash on yet another opinion. Get someone who appreciates what you're building.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:52 AM): Bob, why not both? Use the personal testimonials to validate the survey findings.

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 9:52 AM): So Terri, when are you going to send me your testimonial as a reader of AzReporter?

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:52 AM): Gosh James, I thought I "did" already! <grin> I will do it today :)

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:52 AM): Good point---interesting you used video---was that a choice based on the audience or would you recommend it always

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:53 AM): Individual testimonials are great, because they nail down the individual: I use a bunch on on the Raves page. It's the way people can see what other people think of my work. (4/17/100 9:53 AM): Bob, with seeking investors, the best thing is to create a horse race between VC's. The CPA firm might bring that horse race for you.

Sana (4/17/100 9:53 AM): More importantly, use real names (with permission) doesn't help when it says...John, from Dallas Texas thinks we have the best service in the world..who is John?! How can I verify that?

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:53 AM): Bob, we used video for two reasons: 1. It wowed them as being different from every other business plan 2. We showed it to audiences at shows like DEMO.

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:54 AM): and they are "real, verifiable" people, Bob .. I think that is much more impressive than just numbers

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:54 AM): Rob--did you go the home video approach or was it 'professionally produced'

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:54 AM): I gotta tell ya, NOTHING convinces them like video! It's like a believable, custom-made infomercial

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:55 AM): good point, Sana! And having their title (especially if they are the VP of a large company who has used your product or service) is great

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:55 AM): It was a low-budget, high-quality deal. We brought in a crew, enough to make the production values look professional

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:55 AM): Terri & Sana-to your comments, Doctors would seem to be real compelling & that is our audience

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:56 AM): The ONG THING that torpedoes your credibility is cheap production value. people see it and think, "these guys are cheapos -- their product must be, too."

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 9:57 AM): in that case, Bob, put their specialty with their testimonial (with their permission of course!) so other "like" doctors will pay more attention

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:57 AM): BTW, Bob, did you know you can dupe the videos as lightweight disposables that mail out for under $1 each?

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:57 AM): Rob-no I didn't...Does the $1 include production or is that just packaging & postage

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:58 AM): That includes everything EXCEPT production. you give them the master, they dupe it and send it out.

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:59 AM): Thanks very much for you comments folks-very valuable-any further comments on the survey would be appreciated....

Bob Adams ( (4/17/100 9:59 AM): Make the folks...not folks

RobFrankel ( (4/17/100 10:00 AM): Okay, you guys, I've gotta run. But you are most welcome to continue as long as you want. You can also use this site to meet any time you like during the week. See you online!

Terri Robinson ( (4/17/100 10:00 AM): Great session today, Rob! See you all next week! James, you will get email from me later today :)

Arizona Reporter ( (4/17/100 10:01 AM): Alright, Terri! :-)

Sana (4/17/100 10:06 AM): thanks all..thanks Rob!

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