Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic September 10, 2001

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:00 AM): Greetings!

Neil ( (9/10/2001 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:01 AM): Let the mass coffee drain begin!

jax (9/10/2001 9:02 AM): lol

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:02 AM): So...who's up first?

Del (9/10/2001 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

Joel ( (9/10/2001 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

jax (9/10/2001 9:03 AM): this is my first meeting, what is the topic of the day?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:03 AM): Yours!

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:04 AM): Hi everyone! (9/10/2001 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

June (9/10/2001 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:06 AM): Jax, you wanna go first?

jax (9/10/2001 9:06 AM): I just wanted to observe initially, but I am curious as to how consumer confidence will be reactivated concerning putting dollars into creating Web sites. how do you justify ROI

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:06 AM): I have a question - Does the type of Chat Room you put on your site brand you? I am putting up two pay sites and will have a chat on both. Thanks.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:07 AM): Whoa, Jan...Let's take Jax first.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:07 AM): Oops!

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:07 AM): Jax, I justify web sites by the bucks they bring everyone else.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:08 AM): I justify mine with revenue generating programs

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:09 AM): The problem is that most brands don't know how to generate revenue outside their main source of business.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:10 AM): For example, my main gig is brand consulting...but I have FrankelTips, books, tapes, speaking.....

Linda Neumann (9/10/2001 9:11 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:11 AM): Every business has all kinds of ancillary ways of making the site generate more

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:12 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:12 AM): "Brand community" is a great way to start....on the tapes, I go into this a lot. You'll never know how much free information you get about that kind of stuff for free from a community like that... (9/10/2001 9:13 AM): Doesn't it dilute your brand if you are generating revenue outside your main source of business?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:14 AM): Not if it's brand consistent. Everything you offer should be part of that brand. Reinforcing it.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:14 AM): Then why don't you do advertising sales Rob?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:15 AM): Because media placement is a horrible business. Too far off from what I do, too.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:15 AM): I will, however, create ads for clients if they want me to. But I won't go further than that.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:16 AM): How do you balance what is too far afield from what is "branding"?

jax (9/10/2001 9:16 AM): media placement may be horrible but it needs the most help

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:16 AM): Advertising is a natural extension of the brand

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:17 AM): I won't do media buying stuff, because there's too much risk and I can generate the fees I want with brand consulting, without the stress

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:17 AM): When it gets outside my sphere of expertise and takes me away from my main focus -- i.e., stops supporting the services I offer -- I'm out

jax (9/10/2001 9:17 AM): true

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:18 AM): Media is too far afield from Branding.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:18 AM): Then a lot of it can come down to just personal choice. (interrogative)

jax (9/10/2001 9:18 AM): but what good is a great ad if the right people don't see it

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:18 AM): Creating ads isn't, because you're communicating the brand. It illustrates the brand qualities.

jax (9/10/2001 9:19 AM): the whole beauty of the Web is that it can potentially reach the exact target consumer

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:19 AM): Jax, don't get me wrong. Media is critical. It's just not my job. Neither is PR, which requires other specialists (9/10/2001 9:19 AM): potentially being the keyword, Jax . .now, we have people creating programs that put their ads over yours.

jax (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): Alrighty then.... :)

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): Jan? You got something?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): something?

Gator (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): Entered the room.

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): Yes. A dictionary. :)

Mickie (9/10/2001 9:20 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:21 AM): Who else? Got a good crowd today!

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:21 AM): Just teasing. I'd like to put a chat room up, but wonder if there are some suggestions on the best way to pick them.

June Yeap ( (9/10/2001 9:21 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:22 AM): I use this HTML format because it doesn't conflict with could use it with Netscape 1.0

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:23 AM): Oh. Can you format it yourself? Did you put your own ads here?

jax (9/10/2001 9:23 AM): so, Christina.... "the message" becomes not as important as "getting the message out there" to the right people

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:24 AM): Yes. These ads are mine. Simple HTMl

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:26 AM): But yes, the chat room does indeed reflect your brand.

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:27 AM): Hmm. I've never thought of simple and html in the same sentence. :) But I understand. Thanks.

Terri Robinson ( (9/10/2001 9:27 AM): Rob, what about bulletin boards/discussion boards on the web site?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:28 AM): Who's next?

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:28 AM): Breaking into new b2b markets...suggestions?

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:28 AM): Where do you find the program?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:29 AM): Terri, as I point out in ROBX, I'm not a fan of bulletin boards. They're too passive. I like e-mail driven stuff, where your brand powers its way into your users' mailboxes without them having to lift a finger

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:29 AM): Jan: Brian Rickman wrote this chat. his link is at the bottom left frame.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:29 AM): Please let me know when to go so I don't step on anyone....

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:29 AM): Elizabeth, what are you breaking in with?

Jan Tincher ( (9/10/2001 9:29 AM): Thanks.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:30 AM): Steven, you're after Elizabeth

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:30 AM): Sorry, was responding to 'who's next.'

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:30 AM): Elizabeth, what are you breaking in with?

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:30 AM): Ok, we coordinate packaging for consumer brands.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:30 AM): multi-national cos.

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:31 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:31 AM): Interesting you should ask, Elizabeth....just this morning I wrote a piece on how unsolicited e-mail has grown along with the web. I'm finding great success -- if you know how to do it properly.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:31 AM): We've just started doing some small appliances, want to make that a real biz.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:32 AM): You have to really choose your targets well, and then BRAND the letter. If you were a subscriber to FrankelTips <PLUG> you would have read about that a few weeks ago.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:32 AM): can we buy the right email lists?

Linda Neumann (9/10/2001 9:32 AM): Can you give some quick tips on how to do unsolicited email properly?

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:32 AM): And what is the Def. of properly?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:32 AM): ACK! You should read this week's then!!!!

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:33 AM): Linda, first, as I'm sure Jax will agree, is selecting the right media. In this case, the right list. Know who you're sending to.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:33 AM): Elizabeth, would you believe I get mine for free? The web is so cool!

Linda Neumann (9/10/2001 9:34 AM): I am a direct marketing person from long ago. I understand the list, offer, etc. Just not up on the e-mail thing. Is it really any different?

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:34 AM): OK. Rob, I have the strongest brand recognition in my niche. However sales are not what I would like them to be. How can I use your branding service to increase sales? (I'm looking for a shameless plug from you....)

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:34 AM): Second, you have to send the right kind of letter. And that begins by following the Prime Directive. Don't sell. Just ask for an opportunity to open a channel.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:35 AM): Yes, Linda, it's a lot different. Etiquette is much different than print, because you're in a new environment, dealing with people on guard. (9/10/2001 9:35 AM): Rob, how do you get email lists for free? Are you concerned about spam issues? Or, the poor reflection on your brand by sending unsolicited email to people who haven't opted in to receive offers, etc?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:36 AM): Steven, not knowing what your brand is, I can only tell you that -- PLUG!!! -- hiring a guy like me is the way to do it. All kidding aside, I can't tell you how important it is to have someone from the outside fix this. And when you think about it, it makes sense: they should be able to see stuff to which your internal team is blinded.

Linda Neumann (9/10/2001 9:36 AM): to my understanding, when posting an advertisement the letters ADV must be in the subject line. Is that correct and why is that not typically done?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:37 AM): Christina, in this last test, we sent out 400 e-mails. Got ONE "spam" reply, 15 new contacts so far and four compliments on what a great letter we sent.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:37 AM): Posting ADV is sure to get you deleted. More dopey advice from some hack guru.

John Charlesworth ( (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): But where did you get the list?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): Steven, this is why I insist on building the brands from the outside in. If you're working on it from the inside out, you're too busy selling what you've got, instead of letting them buy what they need.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): I think Linda was referring to your email list...

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): Elizabeth, there are some secrets man was not made to know.....

Joel ( (9/10/2001 9:38 AM): Putting ADV at the beginning of the subject line was a proposed legislation that silly spammers use to justify there junk.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:39 AM): Steven, you familiar with Frankel's Laws of big Time branding?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:39 AM): Correct, Joel!

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:40 AM): That's not much help!!

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:40 AM): Rob: No.. I have been very bad about not using your resources...

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:40 AM): No, Elizabeth, it isn't......<G>. Okay, you really want to know?

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:40 AM): I just subscribed to FrankelTips, OK!

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:40 AM): What about sales. Does having a big 15% off sale to generate more revenue diminish your brand? Does it make you look 'discount?'

Del (9/10/2001 9:41 AM): Entered the room.

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:41 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:41 AM): BAD STEVEN!!! BAD BOY!! Have you even considered buying the book? <----Public humiliation in the digital age (9/10/2001 9:41 AM): Elizabeth, do you have email addresses of your current customers or, do you collect email addresses on your website? You can start there with your own opt-in list

Del (9/10/2001 9:41 AM): Oh, Rob, let me answer that one. :-)

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:42 AM): We don't yet have a web site and the current customer list is not gong to be useful.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:42 AM): SkepticMan, as I write in FrankelTips, discounting is the SUREST way to kill your brand. you're much better off simply adding extra value.

Del (9/10/2001 9:42 AM): sKepTicMan: Discounted offers/sales/savings rate "specials" tend to condition the consumer to wait for a purchase opportunity rather then pay full price.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:43 AM): Okay, Elizabeth, here's one that really works....if you don't want to buy a list (and I never do):

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:43 AM): We need to reach people we totally don't know.

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/10/2001 9:43 AM): Rob, I was wondering the same thing as sKepTicMan. I'm moving from tech writing into freelance commercial writing. I've been thinking of offering a substantial discount (to FrankelBees of course!), since I don't have a portfolio of copywriting samples. This would only be offered to select prospects (e.g. FrankelBees).

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:43 AM): <shame>Yes, I looked for it locally.. I have it on my to do list to order it online... </shame>

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:44 AM): Yes, I remember you writing that, however, all my competitors have sales, and it makes my customers take notice. How about specials of the week?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:44 AM): Steven, buy it at It's only available online and universities.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:44 AM): Specials are fine if they DON'T discount. Add extra high-margin values.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): Do a simple Google search on your category and start collecting QUALIFIED contacts. Make sure you have names to go with the e-mail address. Those are the people who are interested in doing business.

Del (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): Multi-piece bundles. (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): What about upselling? Like, order this and I'll give you 2 hours free writing time or something?

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): good idea.

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): I tested a 15% discount against "buy now and get a free logo"... the add-on worked better.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:45 AM): Jonathan, discounting to FB's is okay, but I still think that adding value is the best way to protect your business so that others don't try to hondle you every tie they work with you.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:46 AM): Right! NOW you guys have got it!

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:46 AM): Also -- and this is important, so listen up: Discounting telegraphs to people that even YOU don't think your service/product is worth the price you're charging.

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/10/2001 9:46 AM): thanks Rob...definitely the way to go, I see

Del (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): Discounting is good when you overbought super-slow moving inventory and want to push it out the door/warehouse for good. :-)

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): If YOU don't, why should they?

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): We're currently adding a feature to our cart where it says: Customers who have purchased this have also purchased this item (like Amazon), plus we are adding our own recommendations on add-on products too... Does this work, or is it hype?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): Del, is SO wise....

John Charlesworth ( (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): Take a page out of the big cosmetic companies' playbook. They always offer "bonus gifts" rather than discounts. A Harvard Business Review article 2(?) years ago focused on the effectiveness of add-ons vs. discounts.

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:47 AM): I have a tip for people just starting email... don't do HMTL mail unless you know how.. Nothing is more annoying than having a piece of email crash your email client.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): Skeptic, it really works. Amazon has really done well with this and I can prove it, if you like....

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): Del.. I found that barter sites are a good way to move that inventory without discounting.

John Charlesworth ( (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): Plus, Rob says it's so too. :-)

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): A wise man once told me to double my consulting rate. You will lose half your business, but you will work half as much. Of course, there is a delicate balance there :)

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): Tracy, I have another tip: don't do HTML mail at all! More than 80% of all e-mail recipients are still on dial up. HTML mail just pisses them off.

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/10/2001 9:48 AM): (by the way, Rob, the link to the chat script is broken)

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:49 AM): Ebay is good for dumping inventory too (and getting people to recognize you). Of course, you have to look good doing it too...

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:49 AM): Your wise man was right. I'd rather work half as much for the same money and spend the extra time chasing the wife around the sofa.

Del (9/10/2001 9:49 AM): Rob: I'm on DSL and I loathe html email. In fact, unless I know the party sending it (and want it) as soon as the message starts loading, into the trash it goes.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:49 AM): What software would you recommend that allows you to upsell at check out ? I sell tangibles.

Joel ( (9/10/2001 9:49 AM): Rob: What about the statistics that supposedly show that HTML email has a higher response rate?

Del (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): Tracy: Good idea for people that can pick up good barter trades.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): Chat link: Write to Brian Rickman:

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): I agree, Rob.. some less-tech people don't realize they are even sending it

sKepTicMan (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): "and I can prove it" Hmmm, how?

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): I'm still confused. So I did the Google search and got lots of companies to target. But I still don't know who to contact.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:50 AM): Joel, those stats are bullshit.

Joel ( (9/10/2001 9:51 AM): Rob: thought you might say that :)

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:51 AM): I have to wonder who compiles those stats... On every list I run, people overwhelmingly opt to receive plain text mail.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:51 AM): MRI is a barter company that offers my co's packaging services & insured trade credit as well as the usual advertising and shipping services.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:51 AM): Elizabeth, go into each site and find them on the Contact Us parts of their sites. You'll get more of an idea about the company and in no time, you'll build a quality list. While you're at it, build the contact database with all their information. It's worth more than gold. (9/10/2001 9:51 AM): Elizabeth, once you find companies you think might be a good target for your company, you can go to the ABOUT US or CONTACT US area of their site and gather the info you want

Joel ( (9/10/2001 9:52 AM): Tracy: the stats aren't about choice, it's about response--and they're probably done by the people pushing HTML email marketing of course.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:52 AM): Joel, ASII text flies through the web. All HTML does is clog the pipes and holler, "HEY, I"M HERE TO SELLSOMETHING!"

Del (9/10/2001 9:52 AM): Elizabeth: You need to invest some time in researching the company info. Free doesn't always mean quick.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): Hmm. Rob, do you ever offer a free sample of your newsletter? Or a short trial period at an adjusted cost?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): No, but you'll get quality data -- which I prefer. That's why my response rates are high. (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): Good point, Del :)

Terri Robinson ( (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): Nothing is ever really free - it costs you time or money, but you can choose which currency to use! <G>

SkepticMan (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:53 AM): There's a free sample issue at

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:54 AM): THIS is the free sample of the newsletter., I bet. LOL

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:54 AM): Using one co., Bissel, as an example, the About Us page isn't going to tell me who at their co. will buy my product, Short of calling them and trying to BS through to the right person, and doing that for each target, (9/10/2001 9:54 AM): Do you take PayPal, Rob

Terri Robinson ( (9/10/2001 9:55 AM): Steven, FrankelTips is the best investment I made all year!

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:55 AM): and asking them if we can send them stuff,

SkepticMan (9/10/2001 9:55 AM): How does one handle international customers on the web? Shipping, customs, it's all a pain. How about returns? (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): They are challenging, SkepticMan.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): We'd be better off buying some kind of list.

Del (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): You want to breaking into a B2B model but don't want to bother to work?

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): Read

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): Personally, I'd try because they're set up for that. Or UPS.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): Del, that's insulting. (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): I'm thinking about eliminating international shipping from our roster. There are also credit card fraud issues.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:56 AM): Buying a list is the lazy way to get no response.

SkepticMan (9/10/2001 9:57 AM): Elizabeth - you need to find a site that caters to your product. If you were selling Beanie Babies, then pick a Beanie Baby site. Then scrape thru email addresses ( you can get a hacker friend to write a script), or you can cut/paste yourself. The key is to make sure that everyone your adding will be interested in what you are targeting. (9/10/2001 9:57 AM): We use the USPS as much as possible for international shipments because the amount of paperwork is less.

Del (9/10/2001 9:57 AM): Christina: I don't do business outside the US at all.

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:57 AM): Elizabeth... if you add 2 researched companies to your list every day, you will have over 700 in a year.

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:57 AM): Elizabeth, build slowly and you'll build your business.

Steven Lange (9/10/2001 9:58 AM): Ack.... I have my products shipped from the UK..... to the customer.. PAIN!!

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES) (9/10/2001 9:58 AM): Tracy, that's a GREAT tip!

SkepticMan (9/10/2001 9:58 AM): FEDEX has the worst technology for web integration. They don't interface with SQL databases, and they don't even have an easy rate calculator. They been badgering me to switch for about a year now, and they can't get their act together. UPS has these tools, and has had them for more than 2.5 years...

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:58 AM): Rob.. what did you learn from the server outage?

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 9:59 AM): Tracy -- that Verio is evil incarnate.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:59 AM): That's true.

Elizabeth (9/10/2001 9:59 AM): But I've got a boss that wants a direct mail piece out and ASAP!

Tracy Brant (9/10/2001 9:59 AM): Thanks! Eliz... you can email me at (9/10/2001 10:00 AM): UPS is our standard for web orders, SM . . USPS is building their API's and they've improved TREMENDOUSLY

RobFrankel ( (9/10/2001 10:00 AM): Wow, that was a great session! Thanks, everyone for participating! I'll see you online! Gotta split!

Terri Robinson ( (9/10/2001 10:00 AM): Rob, lots of great info today! Thanks for taking your time to be here with us! See you all next week :)

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