Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic July 16, 2001

jennifer (7/16/2001 8:55 AM): Entered the room. (7/16/2001 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:00 AM): Greetings, Rob and all! (7/16/2001 9:00 AM): Good morning...afternoon...wherever you may be! (Evening in Europe, midnight in Asia) (7/16/2001 9:01 AM): Judging from Colin's sign up, I'm betting he was in Australia.... (7/16/2001 9:01 AM): Hi Terri, Jennifer...what's up this morning?

Del (7/16/2001 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:02 AM): Rob, you have to stop staying up till midnight to get the FrankelTips out! It comes in my inbox and I can't sleep till I read it! <grin> (7/16/2001 9:03 AM): That's funny. I want to make sure that our buddies on the East coast get it early....Sunday night seems like the best solution... (7/16/2001 9:04 AM): Entered the room. (7/16/2001 9:04 AM): Jennifer, something I can help with today?

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:04 AM): It is - I was just teasing you ;0 Great stuff on ad agencies this week (7/16/2001 9:05 AM): Thanks. I'm trying to get more Q&A. I think people are shy. (7/16/2001 9:06 AM): The list culture is just beginning, but it already looks promising. Good group.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:07 AM): Entered the room. (7/16/2001 9:08 AM): Nobody has any topic today? You mean I can go out for breakfast?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:08 AM): Sorry I'm late....first time on this - list is great (7/16/2001 9:09 AM): Thanks, Think. (loved the sound of that)

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:09 AM): yeah, that's what everyone says in chat rooms

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:10 AM): can I go ahead and ask a question? (7/16/2001 9:10 AM): Absolutely!

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:11 AM): we launched our site back in February and we are doing ok about have yet to really take off

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:11 AM): we don't have a lot of money and were wondering where to start

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:11 AM): we feel that we have a good product but we feel like we are under everyone's radar (7/16/2001 9:13 AM): Care to give a few details? Maybe a URL?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:14 AM): sure, the URL is at The site is a knowledge bartering network, like an ask-the-expert site, but you get points when your answer questions and use those points to ask questions

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:15 AM): rob, I tried to post an ad about it you may have seen it already... (7/16/2001 9:17 AM): Okay, what's the prob?

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:17 AM): Think, how do you differentiate yourself from other sites like (7/16/2001 9:18 AM): Now, before I get too heavily into this, I should disclose that I am currently involved in a "wisdom dispensing site" right now that is different from (7/16/2001 9:19 AM): What exactly are you going for, think?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:19 AM): hi Terri: a few ways: Q&A is private, we use points so knowledge can be traded, and the biggest one I believe is that we take micropayments. we are trying to target the "free agent" market, consultants, contractors and microbusinesses, as a lot of our competitors have abandoned that market for the large corporate market

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:20 AM): no problem rob. I understand from various sources that the market is positioned to be around $5B by 2006, so I can see other activity in the space (7/16/2001 9:20 AM): Micropayments? For $?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:21 AM): micropayments: as in questions can be answered for less than usually a $3 minimum at the other expert sites.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:21 AM): we are going for more awareness, I guess (7/16/2001 9:22 AM): Funny, I'm registered at a bunch of expert sites and NEVER have had ONE taker for $. Lots of people in free mode, though. (7/16/2001 9:22 AM): Think, what have you done so far to raise awareness?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:23 AM): exactly! my take is that the difference between free and 10 cents is still a big one on the internet, so we are going to make the minimum charge 10 cents to kick start the users

Del (7/16/2001 9:24 AM): Rob: That's 'cause you need more publications in the mainstream. V.2 of your book or even better, something dedicated to internet brand-building and the power of customer advocation/evangelism. (7/16/2001 9:24 AM): Think, what is your e-mail? I'd would like to propose something to you. (7/16/2001 9:24 AM): I don't think so, Del. Remember that to take $ payments, people have to register and authorize those payments. That alone is a big hurdle.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:24 AM): rob, not much. We've done a contest, a referral campaign, and placed ads on Google ad words. We paid to list on yahoo, Looksmart, MSN etc. (7/16/2001 9:25 AM): Okay, think you want the sneaky, free way to promote it?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:25 AM): my email is (7/16/2001 9:25 AM): Aha! So now we can call you Chris!

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:26 AM): lol: that and maybe a cheap, not-so-sneaky way is good too...

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:26 AM): sorry, I usually use my handle everywhere so its a reflex...please do ! (7/16/2001 9:26 AM): okay, here's what I do when I have a lot of time on my hands (Because I have a rule -- I do at least ONE thing every day to increase awareness for my own brand): (7/16/2001 9:27 AM): I'm registered at, NBCi's thing, All Experts, and a bunch of others. Most of them are really basic, slow stuff. The ones that promise money don't pay. (7/16/2001 9:27 AM): Entered the room. (7/16/2001 9:28 AM): I find that the questions vary -- the lowest quality questions are at, because they seem to all be students who can barely speak English.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:29 AM): I fined that to be true at askme, sometimes they paste their test questions in directly! (7/16/2001 9:29 AM): Anyway, I answer as many questions as I can, with short, helpful answers -- and then I tell them to go to my site for more free stuff, including FrankelBiz..... (7/16/2001 9:29 AM): It's really a variation on the "signature link" theory, but it works. (7/16/2001 9:30 AM): Your staff should be doing that, too. Just paste in a tag line after every answer they give. (7/16/2001 9:30 AM): Make it helpful, but since almost every question beings with "DO you know where I can find...." you're legitimately helping by suggesting your own.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:30 AM): I assume that it needs to be on topic though?? (7/16/2001 9:31 AM): Yes, it should e on topic -- I don't answer anything outside of Small Business and Marketing. But I know I've sold books and stuff through this, and visits to the sites are up.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:31 AM): this is true! I guess overt promotion would get me kicked off but I don't see how that would....

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:32 AM): cool! How much business do you get from that? (7/16/2001 9:32 AM): It's a stealth approach, but it's legit and as long as your people use their own names -- and even disclose their affiliation -- I see nothing wrong with it. (7/16/2001 9:33 AM): Chris, NOBODY promotes more overtly than me, do they? And I haven't gotten kicked off. Maybe because I maintain a five star rating. (7/16/2001 9:34 AM): I personally don't get real quality business because these are small biz people looking for freebies. But those are the best people to virally spread stuff.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:34 AM): and that is the market I'm shooting for so that's perfect.... (7/16/2001 9:34 AM): these are NOT companies with $75K to spend on branding. (7/16/2001 9:34 AM): Think, Is there a phone # I can call you.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:35 AM): sorry for hogging the forum BTW...! (7/16/2001 9:35 AM): More to the point, EVERY answer I submit contains links to FrankelBiz, my site, the book site and a pitch for FrankelTips.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:35 AM): sure AZ: my office number is 408-371-7755, cell is 408-393-3255 (7/16/2001 9:35 AM): no problem, Chris, I haven't heard if anyone wants another topic. Any one else?

Del (7/16/2001 9:35 AM): Rob: Do you even have a "typical" company profile (branding budget)? I'm guessing your clients are wide-spectrum. Small sole proprietorships to corporations.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:36 AM): speaking of books, someone else recommended that I write and give away an e-book describing the site. would that help at all? (7/16/2001 9:36 AM): Yeah, Del, if you visit, you'll see the entire spectrum of services from War Room Session to absolutely free. NOBODY walks away empty-handed.

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:38 AM): Chris, if you write an e-book describing the site, it could look like an advertisement - maybe writing an e-book with some sample Q & A would give them a better idea of the kinds of advice they would get there. (7/16/2001 9:38 AM): Chris, I wrote an e-booklet as a test. gave it away for free. Over 4,000 downloads so far -- but no action from it. No evidence that anyone ever clicked the links in it, either. I imagine it did help awareness, though. (7/16/2001 9:38 AM): The question is whether it promotes QUALITY awareness. Who cares if people know you but don't BUY you? (7/16/2001 9:38 AM): ok, thanks.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:39 AM): Is it still available? (7/16/2001 9:39 AM): I think 'thru' is an acceptable spelling - it's in my mctionary. (7/16/2001 9:39 AM): My e-booklet?

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:39 AM): yes (7/16/2001 9:40 AM): Michael, I couldn't resists (inside FrankelTips joke)

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:40 AM): thanks Terri, great idea! (7/16/2001 9:40 AM): It's called "Cheap but Good Volume One" at I think I deleted all the other links for it. (7/16/2001 9:41 AM): Over 1,400 people downloaded it in the first two days.

Del (7/16/2001 9:41 AM): rob: you publishing in quark or PageMaker? (7/16/2001 9:42 AM): I'm a Quark man way back from version 2.2

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:42 AM): wow: I'm surprised that you didn't get any business from it

Del (7/16/2001 9:42 AM): I'm on v3.3.1

Del (7/16/2001 9:42 AM): Stability vs. features. :-) (7/16/2001 9:43 AM): Del, stay at 3.32 version 4.0 sucks, which is why I think Adobe's product is starting to make headway (InDesign) (7/16/2001 9:43 AM): Nothing, Chris. And nobody clicked any of the affiliate links, either.

Del (7/16/2001 9:43 AM): Well if my print vendors ever accept InDesign, I'll switch. Until then, it's quark (and Acrobat for certain vendors).

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:44 AM): Rob, were the links clickable in it? Most of the time they aren't in Acrobat Reader. (7/16/2001 9:44 AM): Chris, over time, my best value for advertising has been participation in discussion lists with hyperlinked tags. It's a little time consuming, but it's the best marketing out there.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:44 AM): how long does it take to build a brand usually? (7/16/2001 9:44 AM): Del, I'm pretty much out of that business, so I don't even have InDesign.

Del (7/16/2001 9:45 AM): Rob: You'll never be out of "that business". You, like me, prefer the self-publication route. :-) (7/16/2001 9:45 AM): Chris, it takes a while to CREATE a brand first. Building it depends on what you're talking about. There's an argument to be made that says you're NEVER finished building it. It's always evolving. (7/16/2001 9:46 AM): My model of branding offloads a degree of that work to the branded community. That's how I built FrankelBiz and how FrankelTips continues to grow, too. Not to mention my practice. (7/16/2001 9:46 AM): Tell me about it, Rob (7/16/2001 9:47 AM): Del, "that business" would be advertising..... (7/16/2001 9:47 AM): ...not self-publishing.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:49 AM): OK: Sounds like I'll be spending a lot of time on discussion boards.

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:50 AM): Thank you for all your help, this is great! (7/16/2001 9:50 AM): Chris, I'm going to call you after this chat. (7/16/2001 9:50 AM): Anyone else? (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

thinkfuture (7/16/2001 9:51 AM): Thank AZ, I'll be waiting.... (7/16/2001 9:53 AM): Okay, well, I'll be announcing a new site on FB this week. (7/16/2001 9:53 AM): Should be VERY effective for all you consultants and web designers and hosting companies....

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 9:54 AM): Rob, when you did "Cheap but Good" did you allow other sites to give it away too? (7/16/2001 9:55 AM): Terri, I didn't put any restrictions on it. I figured I'd test the whole concept out, and sure enough, it proved my theory: E-Books are good for awareness, but not much else.

Del (7/16/2001 9:57 AM): Now if *I* did in e-book...It would be specifically for prospect/customer conversions...Layouts and word/phrase choices to help in postcard design. (7/16/2001 9:59 AM): That's true. I didn't write a hard sell thing that prompted people to close the deal by calling, mainly because I know the audience who was interested in it was not the consulting audience. They low-cost alternative people (7/16/2001 9:59 AM): I wrote it specifically for raising awareness. (7/16/2001 9:59 AM): I think maybe people downloaded it thinking it could be a light version of my book. Who knows? (7/16/2001 10:00 AM): ACK! (ONE MINUTE) Where does the time go? (7/16/2001 10:00 AM): Hey, you guys -- get out there and build your business NOW while everyone else is sleeping!

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 10:00 AM): Or maybe to get an idea of how good your advice really was <grin> (7/16/2001 10:00 AM): I'll see you online!

Terri Robinson ( (7/16/2001 10:01 AM): Thanks for all the great advice, Rob! See you next week everyone! (7/16/2001 10:01 AM): Terri, I'm blushing.

©2001, RobFrankel, Contact Us">Contact Us