Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic August 18, 1998

RobFrankel (8/17/98 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

Jacob (8/17/98 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:00 AM): have you tried the GDIdb Web tool yet?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:00 AM): Good morning!

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:00 AM): morning Rob

Jacob (8/17/98 9:00 AM): Morning everyone!

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:00 AM): Yes,

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:01 AM): Hi you guys...what's for breakfast?

Jacob (8/17/98 9:01 AM): Hope everyone is having a wonderful day.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:01 AM): I have a new project in beta development, it's an online computer store to brag up.

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:02 AM): Hello everyone!

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:02 AM): Online computers? What's different about it?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:03 AM): We are developing the HTML from a new project, code named RENO, it will build the shopping cart and the necessary code from a database of products.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:03 AM): The client updates his database, and clicks "make page" and the HTML is generated for ftping to the server.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:03 AM): ...and other online computer stores participate?

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:04 AM): interesting project Guy

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:04 AM): Your revenue model is ass an affiliate?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:04 AM): eventually RENO will be another e-commerce solution for all store types

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:04 AM): It sounds very XML-ish.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:05 AM): not XML at all, could be, but it's designed to be a POS system and HTML generator too

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:05 AM): Now, the big are you marketing it?

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:06 AM): Do customers all use pre-made templates for the "designed" aspect of the generated HTML?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:06 AM): That is a ways off, we are still tuning the beta software right now.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:07 AM): The template idea has been considered, but now we are focusing on the transaction portion, pretty comes later.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:07 AM): So, this sounds sort of like a notched-up Viaweb solution that really can apply to any industry, no?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:08 AM): Marketing ideas are pouring in from everywhere, and will be implemented based on adhering to our plan

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:09 AM): correct, anyone with a database of their inventory could use the RENO app to build their POS system and their website

Guy, that last response sounds as if it came right out of the White house. What does it mean? (8/17/98 9:09 AM): Entered the room.

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:09 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:10 AM): Entered the room.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:10 AM): using your database of inventory, a script generates the tables for each category, and interfaces each item with an online shopping cart system.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:10 AM): I just became a certified agent for a Canadian e-commerce company, and they have a really great agent/value-added reseller program that is significant expanding their business and quickly.

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:10 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:11 AM): Which company is that, Laurie?

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:12 AM): It's Manitoba Telecom Systems N-Gage ( I paid a whopping fee to become an agent, but they pick and choose who they take, and as an agent I will be passed leads as well, which will include all the design work as well.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:13 AM): I'd like to hear more about how people are marketing their businesses today...

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:13 AM): Think about this: what's your #1 source of business?

Jacob (8/17/98 9:13 AM): Looking for ideas Rob?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:14 AM): There are some guys here that are doing a thing called Teknet that sounds like that too.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:14 AM): No, just wondering if my hunch is correct.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:14 AM): Well, I'm trying to "get out" of my local (and economically depressed) market by partnering with other companies with bigger marketing budgets.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:14 AM): I have started using two new methods, networked classifieds and Usenet groups that allow announcements

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:15 AM): I agree with you Laurie, I am attempting the same thing, there are customers out there, just finding them is the battle.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:16 AM): Guy, how are the announcements working out?

Jacob (8/17/98 9:16 AM): Guy- Usenet group postings have been successful for you?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:17 AM): I have got one reseller from one posting, not a landslide, but the key is the message of course, when that is working I believe there are readers

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:17 AM): Have you tried advertising on e-zines, Guy? Some seem to be quite effective and fairly affordable.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:18 AM): Okay, but let's talk about real, cash on the barrel head business. What's your #1 channel of receiving?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:18 AM): That's for everyone to answer...

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:19 AM): Not yet, e-zine of my own is where I will advertise soon, some others are attractive just not in my limited budget

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:19 AM): For me it's local networking and word of mouth - I made a few really good contacts in the last 3 months and they are working hard at sending me business. Trouble is I'd like to get out of the local market a bit more.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:19 AM): The new cold call I am using is "May I speak to your web developer?"

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:19 AM): Rob, don't think I can narrow it down to one source of business, in general the best source is simply networking (online and off)

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:20 AM): Guy, email me at after the chat and I'll point you to a couple of good e-zines (some free with contests)

Jacob (8/17/98 9:21 AM): I have to agree, networking leads to many clients. But then you have to work out good compensation plans to get money. For example, with merchants, I usually discount my rates a little and get a % of all sales from the site- can be very profitable.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:21 AM): ok, can I send you my latest speel too?

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:21 AM): But in my case, I'm selling consulting services that are very customized... I use other techniques with clients (since I help them with Internet marketing), and I have other plans for some commodity type products and services I'll be selling through a new site I'm building to compliment my current site

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:21 AM): Networking works for me too. Satisfied clients as well as people on similar fields

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:21 AM): yes please

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:22 AM): Laurie, have you gotten biz from these e-zines?

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:22 AM): Rob, will you answer your own question for us?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:22 AM): Guy, that's "Shpiel", but the spellchecker will catch it for the archives....

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:22 AM): great, I just setup Outlook to send that your way.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:22 AM): I've only placed one ad myself in one e-zine with about 30,000 subscribers and I got a few nibbles, but I think I worded my ad poorly.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:23 AM): Ira, I'll answer as soon as I hear from Laurie.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:23 AM): HAH! The ad only is as good as the message is a true statement.

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:23 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:24 AM): Well, I'd have to say that it sounds like most everyone here is still relying on networking and referral...

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:25 AM): ...and I'll tell ya right now: taking out one ad here or there won't get you business. Ever. You have to keep placing the ad in the same place over and over, for a while.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:25 AM): and resellers, if I can add that late.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:26 AM): So I'd say that relationships and referrals still seem to work best for microbusinesses.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:27 AM): What does everyone think about partnering with other media, like print, or radio for instance?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:27 AM): As a columnist/consultant, I can tell you ALL of my business comes from referral. You can't advertise what I do and maintain credibility.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:28 AM): I currently build the web content for Peninsula Marketing and Publishing, and they give me ad space in barter.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:28 AM): My point is that BEFORE you advertise, you have to really look at the question: "Would I buy my own service, based on an ad?"

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:29 AM): Well, I see my greatest growth coming from new partnering online, which is kind of like networking on a more formalized scale. Like the partnerships currently being spawned by this list.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:29 AM): Okay, Guy, what's the barter deal and is it working?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:29 AM): Of course you would buy your own service, and offer it too others thru ads.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:29 AM): I can see that, Laurie, which is one reason why I started this list.

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:30 AM): Rob, I've come in late, but it sounds like you are discussing the marketing of your business... we just put a $500 cash contest online for a client and they had 700 additional visits from local people.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:30 AM): I am getting an ad direct mailed to 76,000 homes, and I build their site. They are making the better deal, but I am learning so I don't consider it unfair at this point.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:30 AM): NOT NECESSARILY Guy. Would you go to a doctor based on an ad or referral?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:31 AM): Based on top of mind recollection of what sort of doctor I needed, which could come from an ad or from a referral.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:32 AM): Guy, learning is good, but not necessarily good business. How many ads are they giving you, over what period of time?

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:32 AM): Oh... and those 700 were in the first day!

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:32 AM): I believe in media mix, based on my background as former radio sales dude

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:33 AM): Guy, the reason I mentioned Ngage is that they worked out programs with agents and hosting companies so that everyone participating makes some money on the transactions. What if you shopped around for an ISP to provide your e-commerce solution to? They take a percentage of transaction costs, you take some, they get a discount on offering the interface to their customers and you get access to a huge market prepared to accept their ISP's recommendation.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:33 AM): You're a brave soul, Guy. God forbid I need a brain surgeon, I wouldn't pick him out of the yellow Pages. OTOH, I'd have no problem buying a new MAC from someone I never met.

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:33 AM): Entered the room.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:33 AM): I get a quarter page each quarter in each magazine, right now I am using it for branding/ name id sort of ads

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:34 AM): Okay, track your responses. I, for one, would be interested in how it fares.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:35 AM): So to answer Jacob's question, what I'm really wondering is whether any of you feel that advertising is just plain wrong for marketing your business...but are too shy to admit it.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:35 AM): It is going to be very trackable when I coupon there, right now I am doing just a sort of who we are type of ad.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:36 AM): Too shy, because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom...

Jacob (8/17/98 9:36 AM): No doubt about it, advertising doesn't necessarily help everyone.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:36 AM): Not too shy, too poor.

Jacob (8/17/98 9:37 AM): Can it hurt someone? I think so, like seeing a crappy-looking ad for a company where the ad doesn't belong (like some porno site advertising a dentist)

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:37 AM): For my core business, paid advertising has not made any sense so far, I only need a few good clients... although I am in the process of bringing together a network of many complimentary businesses to my core business, and in that case advertising will play an important role.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:37 AM): I like advertising when it's paired with an event etc. Take an ad out when you've got a booth in a trade show to drive extra traffic for face-to-face talking. And my ads on my car and shirt logos work surprisingly well from a branding point of view.

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:37 AM): For my core business, paid advertising has not made any sense so far, I only need a few good clients... although I am in the process of bringing together a network of many complimentary businesses to my core business, and in that case advertising will play an important role.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:37 AM): Ummm, now you're hitting my point, Guy. Maybe too poor hasn't anything to do with it. Maybe advertising isn't the right way to market for everyone.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:38 AM): I would say advertising is a part of marketing, just like networking, service, quality control etc.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:39 AM): A few months back, I wrote an article for ZD entitled "Kiss My Ads", which hinted at this myth. I personally don't believe that advertising on the web works for everyone. In fact, I believe it doesn't work for most.

Jacob (8/17/98 9:39 AM): I don't know if I would go that far- doesn't work for most?!

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:40 AM): I could debate that, if your advertising is to create name awareness then it does do that on the web. Your name will be seen, and I personally like "Bad Dog Design" as a name.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:40 AM): Yeah, Jorge. With the exception of impulse or commodity items, I believe ads barely do more than raise awareness, if that.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:41 AM): Any thought on what URL I am promoting these days? (grin)

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:41 AM): Right, but that's a mistake that LOT'S of people -- even the big boys -- make.

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:41 AM): Then it depends on what your advertising objectives are.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:42 AM): You might place a few ads in extremely targeted sites, and that might make you feel good, but would it make you buy with a click?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:43 AM): Bob, my main issue is that offline tactics don't always apply to online business. Although many of the so-called "media mavens" would have you think so.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:43 AM): So, are you saying we advertise for our ego? or for our bottom line?

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:43 AM): So networking works best for you too Rob, uh?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:43 AM): Oh yeah, Jorge, I get all my business from referrals. But let me put it another way:

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:44 AM): How do you know your advertising works? What numbers do you use?

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:44 AM): Entered the room.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:45 AM): The numbers are the ROI for the ad space vs. the sales it generates?

SoapLady (8/17/98 9:45 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:45 AM): Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Jacob (8/17/98 9:45 AM): I agree with you that not many people BUY something as a result of an ad or clicking on an ad, that's why I like to give away free services and make money by selling ads, sponsorships, and stuff like that.

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:45 AM): Yeah - definitely, most people get only their ego nurtured by advertising (there are less expensive ways :-)

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:46 AM): Hey, the "experts' tell you that CTR is where it's at. Is that right?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:46 AM): I devote one day of the week, Wednesday, to marketing so let's call that 20% of my week to promotion.

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:47 AM): Rob, what is CTR?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:47 AM): Okay, since Laurie isn't playing, she doesn't get to advance to the Bonus Round. But Guy might:

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:47 AM): I am busy the other 4 days, so I call that good ROI, and barter is working well for me.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:47 AM): In my humble-yet-pfotianle opinion, the only number that makes any sense at all is your Ad-To-Sales Ratio. Period.

SoapLady (8/17/98 9:47 AM): good morning. are we playing games today?:)

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:48 AM): Oops. Thai should have read "humble yet profitable"

Jacob (8/17/98 9:48 AM): what if you aren't selling anything Rob?

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:48 AM): Agreed, the Ad-to-Sales is most trackable on the web, agreed?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:48 AM): Everyone is selling something, Jorge, or we'd all be holding hands and singing "Cumbaya" all day...

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:49 AM): Ad-to-Sales is good - but there are also different quality customers - those that will buy and recommend us and those who will not...

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:49 AM): good night Louise. We are talking about advertising.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:49 AM): Most trackable? It's the ONLY number that counts.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:49 AM): Yes, but Wanda, we were talking about whether advertising AT ALL really makes sense for everyone. My opinion is no. In fact, it hardly makes sense for most.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:50 AM): Can we agree everyone is a consumer?

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:50 AM): sometimes fewer sales from one specific ad will produce more business in future... quite often if it is properly orchestrated... going deep vs. wide...

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:50 AM): whaddya mean, not playing? The server keeps slogging down and using cached copy and I can't keep up!

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:50 AM): If you don't advertise, you limit your number of consumers is my thought

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:51 AM): right Bob - I agree. No sense. People follow the followers.

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:51 AM): What are the options Rob... advertising, networking... what else?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:51 AM): Wrongoritos, Guy. And that's my point. I agree that MARKETING is critical, but advertising is not.

Jacob (8/17/98 9:52 AM): Rob, what about if you're not selling something? What if you are giving something away for free and are making money by selling ads on your site?

Jorge R (8/17/98 9:52 AM): you can combine advertising with networking. Advertising should work to help branding your biz. what do you think Rob?

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:52 AM): Guy - you limit number of consumers if you don't do marketing. Advertising is just a form of marketing. Not good for small business. It is actually killing small business.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:52 AM): Advertising can create awareness of your goods and or services in the mind of the consumer.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:52 AM): Well, if you buy into my theory, you should market yourself according to the personality of your field of business.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:53 AM): I advertise for that reason. Top of mind awareness.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:53 AM): Guy, it can create awareness if you have the juice to fund it. Otherwise, you're just paying an ad salesman's commissions

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:53 AM): The options are what Rob is doing here - creating your own thriving and loyal sphere of influence. You should not only participate here but create your own circle...

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:54 AM): So then it's a good idea to put the URL of a site in a chat name?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:54 AM): Like I said, I'll buy a greeting card from an ad, but not brain surgery. That's a more considered, warmer purchase decision.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:54 AM): What about writing informative articles or teaching locally? That seems to really build credibility and referrals.

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:54 AM): Awareness, awareness, awareness - we are aware of a lot things and will never buy it.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:54 AM): BINGO, Laurie. Okay, you can advance to the Bonus Round...

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:55 AM): But when you do "have the urge" to buy some particular thing, which does happen, you buy the one that has the "top of your mind".

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:55 AM): But building credibility and projection of personality --branding/marketing -- are the real keys. Not advertising, where you pay someone else to shout an offer.

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 9:56 AM): That is good Laurie, I have done presentations at the Chamber of Commerce about Internet presence. It does work.

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:56 AM): Laurie - you don't need to teach only locally. If you want to get out of the local market you can teach globally. Check my Tele-classes at - you can use the same concept...

Ira Pasternack (8/17/98 9:56 AM): Guy, that depends on what the product is... just because one is the first that comes to mind doesn't mean I won't research my options at the time that I am ready to buy.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:56 AM): Again, not true, Guy. You buy that one that connects with you best -- depending on the category you're buying. That's why I buy a Mac, when Compaq or Gateway advertises more.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:56 AM): WAY TO PLUG IT, WANDA!

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:57 AM): (THREE MINUTE WARNING)

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:57 AM): Rob - sorry, I really didn't mean it.

Laurie (Bad Dog Design) (8/17/98 9:57 AM): I also try to hitch a ride on other local events and issues by sponsoring either through donations or providing work that bears my brand. Wanda, I'm developing an internet marketing course for tourism-related businesses (kind of my niche a la but it takes time to build the material.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:58 AM): Ira is right. And besides product category, think of expense. The more it costs, the longer it takes to sell/buy

Bob Garber (8/17/98 9:58 AM): I'm glad you did Wand, I'm interested in checking it out.

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:58 AM): Wanda, that's what we're here for. Totally okay to plug, or I'd be as hypocritical as a...President who denies his affairs!

RobFrankel (8/17/98 9:59 AM): Okay, that was a cheap shot. But worth it....

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 9:59 AM): Also - clients who buy on the impulse are the worst. They also return on impulse and do a lot of things on impulse..

Guy Cook - (8/17/98 10:00 AM): I agree Laurie, think local, sell global is what we say here.

Wanda Loskot (8/17/98 10:00 AM): Thanks Rob - I though I was considered a spammer..

Jacob (8/17/98 10:00 AM): What if you are selling a unique item that no one knows exists? You have to get the word out about it, right?

RobFrankel (8/17/98 10:00 AM): Okay you guys, I'm off for a week, so remember there won't be an official Free Clinic until Monday, August 31. Stick around and feel free to use this room until then!

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