Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic September 17, 2001

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 8:58 AM): Greetings, Rob! Hi John :)

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 8:59 AM): Hi Terri

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 8:59 AM): Great thought on branding America in FrankelTips last night!

Hi Terri (9/17/2001 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:00 AM): Thanks, Terri....I would be surprised if we get many visitors today. I think people are scrambling around, still very much dazed.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:01 AM): Uh Oh...John is "Hi Terri" you? If so, log off and log back on.....

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:01 AM): Sometimes the server catches posts strangely...

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:01 AM): Yeah, it's hard to pull yourself back to business as usual. I loved the flag graphic you made available to us.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:02 AM): Terri, I got two people who thought I was "crass". I'm attributing that to the frayed nerves out there.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:03 AM): nerves are definitely frayed - other groups I belong to have had flare-ups of temper.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:03 AM): In the next weeks, it's going to be really tough to market whatever you've got. People are emotionally not stable. Even people who were untouched by the actual event. So your marketing has to be very careful.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:04 AM): You're right, Rob. I have been just sending out notes to past clients to make sure they are all okay. I guess the only other thing to do right now is to lay low.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:05 AM): I've gotten more "bad mail" in the last week than in my entire career...

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:05 AM): I think we will continue to see that sort of thing for some time to come.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:06 AM): I don't know about you, Terri, but laying low won't work for me. In fact, it will hurt most businesses. I think a better response is to just take a look at your tactics to make sure the chances of being misread are low.

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/17/2001 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Jonathan Cohen - Damn Fine Writing (9/17/2001 9:06 AM): (good morning)

christina| (9/17/2001 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Del (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): Well, laying low doesn't mean not marketing at all - more like regrouping as you say :)

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): I think the people who will come forward first in this respect are the entrepreneurs, whose business run on awareness. Small and micro-businesses simply can't afford to lay low. (Arizona Reporter) (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): Hi everyone!

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): Good morning Del, James, everyone :)

christina| (9/17/2001 9:07 AM): hi, everyone

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:08 AM): good point, Rob!

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:08 AM): Anyway, there must be a lot on our minds this morning...anyone want to go first?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:10 AM): I don't see anyone jumping in here - can I ask a follow-up from last week, Rob?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:10 AM): Of course, I expect to take a lot of hits daily, anyway.....I write and post to a lot of people....

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:10 AM): Sure Terri

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:11 AM): I made the changes on my site as we discussed. Would you mind checking now and give me some of your expert feedback? :)

christina| (9/17/2001 9:12 AM): I wanted to ask if anyone has seen what CoffeeCup has been doing since last Tuesday's attack

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:12 AM): Overall, Terri, I think this works much better

Virgil Huston (9/17/2001 9:13 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:13 AM): The only part that's a tad confusing is "When your 30 day FREE trial is over, you will receive an invoice for the low monthly fee of just $4.95". I think you mean the service, if accepted, continues at $4.95 a month, no?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:13 AM): Christina, fill us in

Virgil Huston (9/17/2001 9:13 AM): Hi all

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:13 AM): I tried to make it as simple and self-explanatory as I could. Christina, I haven't seen it.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:14 AM): Rob, yes, that is what I mean

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:14 AM): And Terri, I think I would elaborate a teeny bit more about your e-mail privacy. Let them know what your policy is.

christina| (9/17/2001 9:14 AM): CoffeeCup gave away a free copy of their software for one day next week. All they asked was for webmasters or whomever to place a banner on their site promoting donations to the Red Cross.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:14 AM): Christina is that

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:15 AM): Okay, will do, Rob!

christina| (9/17/2001 9:15 AM): Now, they're giving away remembrance pins.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:16 AM): Well, Christina, I have to say that IMHO, this is a bit over the line in terms of taste....

Virgil Huston (9/17/2001 9:16 AM): Hi all

christina| (9/17/2001 9:16 AM): I think their CEO is genuinely upset over the attack (because of what they're doing and because of a few email msg's he's sent out. How do you think that will affect their business?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:16 AM): Especially giving away product. I mean, how does that help anyone other than distributing their product?

Del (9/17/2001 9:17 AM): Wal-Mart's CEO said that his stores are giving away American flags to anyone that requests one. Nice gesture.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:17 AM): As I mentioned, I got mail because people thought my flag GIF was a marketing ploy! And I didn't have anything to gain by it.

christina| (9/17/2001 9:18 AM): They were trying to generate donations to the Red Cross by giving away the software.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:18 AM): I think it will affect their business badly. Maybe that's why their offer for free software isn't up there right now.

christina| (9/17/2001 9:18 AM): I think everyone is looking for a way to help and the small guys (like me) don't really know what to do so be don't do anything

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:18 AM): Yes, Wal-Mart is doing a promotional thing. If you don't have to buy anything -- and they were to give them away on the OUTSIDE of the store -- I would see that as genuine.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:19 AM): CoffeeCup should have made you buy the software and donated those proceeds to the Red Cross is they wanted to get their product out there. And even that doesn't go down too smoothly.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:20 AM): Christina, that's why I posted the 8K flag. To give web folks and micro-businesses something. But as you can see, even that got me into a teeny bit of trouble with some very upset people.

christina| (9/17/2001 9:21 AM): I haven't had any comments on my graphic on my front page - Why/How would/could people be upset over that?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:21 AM): I got a note from one of my Learning Fount friends that they need all kinds of help to update disaster information on a website. If anyone is interested in that, you can email me at and I will forward the request to you.

Elizabeth (9/17/2001 9:22 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:22 AM): ANY kind of promotion connected with the attack is a big risk. I'd stay away from it. What I would do is continue to market, but market as you did earlier. Business as usual. Keep your eyes open, though, for possible misinterpretations.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:22 AM): Christina, at

christina| (9/17/2001 9:23 AM): yes?

christina| (9/17/2001 9:23 AM): if you don't acknowledge the attack in some way, I think you're taking a bigger risk

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:24 AM): Interesting, Christina, I disagree. There are many people who are very uncomfortable talking about it. Even more afraid to mix business with their emotions.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:24 AM): Christina, I can't get to that page - there is something about restructuring and some links to click that don't take me to a new home page :(

Del (9/17/2001 9:24 AM): Rob: How can a business (product/service) recapture past customers who, for whatever reason, have not made a repurchase. This doesn't apply to my business, but I've always been interested in "reactivation" techniques and believe branding is important here.

christina| (9/17/2001 9:25 AM): my website URL is

Elizabeth (9/17/2001 9:25 AM): Rather than marketing about the attack, maybe it would be better to design marketing that speaks to the feelings people have after the attack

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:25 AM): I think you've done it tastefully, Christina. Yours is a humanitarian message. it's the marketing messages that are taking heat.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:25 AM): Del, I assume that you have all of their data intact?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:25 AM): Rob, I think the small flag graphic you sent is very appropriate and non-intrusive

christina| (9/17/2001 9:26 AM): I liked Rob's flag too . . . I guess you can't make everyone happy

Del (9/17/2001 9:26 AM): Rob: This doesn't pertain to my business. I'm actually doing solid client relationship building post-sale. I'm asking just out of generality...and to alter the current topic of choice.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:27 AM): Terri, I got heat for it because people know me as a marketing guy and probably leaped to the conclusion that I was using it to direct people to buy stuff. I think I fixed that by putting a disclaimer in there and making sure it loaded AWAY from any sales message.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:27 AM): Those past customers' data will likely tell you everything you need to know

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:28 AM): I can't stress how important it is to OVERtrack data, even if you don't think you need it presently. The more data you have, the more it can help....although you want to hear something weird?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:30 AM): As you know, I'm holding the Big Time Branding Round Up (<---plug) in November. I'm doing it in Los Angeles, because about 28% of my contacts have zip codes in the 90000 area.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:30 AM): But I'm getting the most enthusiastic response from people OUTSIDE that area.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:31 AM): that is weird, Rob!

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:31 AM): I figured that geographic location would be a big factor in the response, but I've learned that if the brand is strong enough, it can overcome even geography.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:31 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:32 AM): Anyway, Del, by looking at the customer track records, and specifically being open minded about finding new things or challenging your own assumptions, you often will find who buys and for what reason.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:33 AM): Hi Rob.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:33 AM): Right off the bat, you can dismiss the freeloaders who only buy promotions. It's those marginal people who bought retail that are most interesting. in your case, of course, the seasonal aspect plays heavily.

Del (9/17/2001 9:33 AM): 89% of my sales originate from a 3-line advertisement in a trade magazine.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:33 AM): Do you use "split-run" techniques to test different versions of your offers?

christina| (9/17/2001 9:33 AM): Time for my lunch appt - thank you everyone - take care!

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:34 AM): That's good, Del. The question is now if you're doing that well with a three line ad, how much better can you do someplace additionally?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:34 AM): wow, Del! that must be great copy!

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:35 AM): Yes, don't fix that 3-liner if it ain't broke. But now you want to ramp up your numbers.

Del (9/17/2001 9:35 AM): Rob: Tested it and got poor results. Did state-specific runs and all told, they've amounted to 7% of sales total. The remaining 4% are off internet searches/referral.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:35 AM): Del, how much business are you doing online?

Del (9/17/2001 9:35 AM): Terri: Not really. Only established company doing what I do.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:36 AM): Doing any PR?

Del (9/17/2001 9:36 AM): 100% fundamentally. Everyone views the products online. If they're nervous about online credit card transactions, I fax an order form. They fax back or mail along with check.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:37 AM): Yours would seem to be a good story.

Del (9/17/2001 9:37 AM): Constantly. I've had 3 "product feature" press releases. Two with full color photos (one of my website, a second showing two of my greeting cards).

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:38 AM): Overall, Del, I also think that too many business people don't consider product line expansion soon enough. Upsell works.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:38 AM): Are you placing the story yourself or working with a pro? I'm sure everyone here is interested

Del (9/17/2001 9:39 AM): I know. After a chat you and I had, I did bundle packages of multiple greeting cards. Sells like hotcakes to brokers/lenders.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:39 AM): In fact, I'm sure that PR companies are working overtime on ways to work their ways through this mess.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:40 AM): check's in the mail right? <G>

Del (9/17/2001 9:40 AM): I grabbed some sample PR copy focusing on products from miscellaneous sources and did the modifications I knew were necessary for my industry. Emailed editors and asst. editors (for those that take email-only releases) and mailed the PR along with samples to the others.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:40 AM): Anyone else have an issue to throw in?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:40 AM): So you did the PR yourself....atta boy!

Del (9/17/2001 9:41 AM): <-- ex-writer. Had some basic skills. :-)

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:42 AM): Finding the right media is always the toughest part.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:42 AM): Del, you said that your 3-liner ad wasn't really that great. Is this the first version you've run? Or has it already gone through several revisions?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:42 AM): Del, I didn't know there was such a thing as an *ex* writer <grin>

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:43 AM): Yes, Del, I would imagine deciding what media to use would have been quite a challenge. How did you choose?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:43 AM): Good question John.

Del (9/17/2001 9:44 AM): John: Second run. I can't find my original copy but the new one running is "Greeting cards, do-it-yourself postcards and custom postcards for mortgage originators. Turn prospects to clients and clients to relationships."

Del (9/17/2001 9:45 AM): The first one only talked about "emotionally-charge customized postcards"...I did not have my greeting cards or DIYcards last year.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:45 AM): That last line does it for me, Del.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:45 AM): Del, how long did you run the original version for?

Del (9/17/2001 9:46 AM): Terri: my industry is relatively small with only a few national and state trade magazines. I chose two of the nationals and one state.

Del (9/17/2001 9:46 AM): First one ran all of 2000. Second (this one) has been running since January.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:47 AM): Del, what I'm wondering is: how long a lag was there between changing your message and seeing a change in sales?

Del (9/17/2001 9:48 AM): That's difficult to answer because I had the greeting cards and DIYcards ready when the new copy was released. I held product until I knew the ad hit. January is always a stellar month for those in my industry.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:49 AM): Del: interesting. Did the new copy affect the sales of your *existing* product line?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:49 AM): Del, you didn't track the response codes?

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:50 AM): Del, do you have your ads coded somehow to help you track where they came from?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Del (9/17/2001 9:50 AM): The biggest question I have to answer for myself is whether to stick with the line-only ad or move up to 1/6th page B&W copy.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:51 AM): (Today is "Del Meets the Press" Day)

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:51 AM): Why not expand to different states?

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:51 AM): Use the same three liner.

Del (9/17/2001 9:51 AM): Rob/Terri: Product inquiries are measured based upon a pulldown menu the messenger uses. For sales, results are tabulated upon sales (personal acknowledgement of order and asking them how they discovered us).

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 9:51 AM): Del, does this trade publication let you do a "split-run": where 1/2 the readers get the 3-line ad, and the other 1/2 get the 1/6th page? Then you could test the ROI of each.

Del (9/17/2001 9:52 AM): John: Unfortunately not. The line ad is a 12-month separate contract.

Del (9/17/2001 9:52 AM): ..and they don't split run.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:52 AM): I don't know, Del - a lot of people forget how they discovered you! might be better to have a special index page link for each ad so you could track it exactly

Del (9/17/2001 9:53 AM): Rob: One national magazine outpulls the other national magazine by 30-to-1. 200-1 to my state-specific run.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:53 AM): Incidentally, THIS is how I think the recovery is going to go....if you take a look at today's session, I think it predicts how we're all going to get through's been almost an hour, and we're back to business. that's great.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:54 AM): Yeah, but Del, pretty soon your own state will plateau. You have to keep looking.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:55 AM): John, I don't know any publication that splits runs for ads that small.

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:55 AM): Del, you should hook up with Wanda Loskot too - she has a strong connection in real estate and that is related to mortgage originators :)

Del (9/17/2001 9:55 AM): Rob: My major ad is national, not state-specific. The ad that IS running in one state (Florida) is pulling horrible results. I could simply try another state....Say California or New York (CA, NY and FL comprise the 3 largest communities of bankers/brokers/agents).

Del (9/17/2001 9:57 AM): I've visited her site before.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:57 AM): I met her once at a speaking gig. She's an FB.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 9:57 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:58 AM): I don't think her site stresses the real estate stuff so much, Del. write to her at and tell her you wonder how you could do some mutually beneficial business together

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 9:59 AM): Rob, thanks so much for all the help you have given me in the last two sessions! Great session today, everyone! See you all next week.

Del (9/17/2001 9:59 AM): Terri: She's ok. But she comes off as low-priced. My business is definitely not.

RobFrankel ( (9/17/2001 10:00 AM): Okay, everyone. It's still VERY raw out there. Be careful. I'll see you online.

John Charlesworth ( (9/17/2001 10:00 AM): See ya!

Terri Robinson ( (9/17/2001 10:01 AM): Del, it was a thought :) Have a great week, all!

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