Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic October 1, 2001

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:01 AM): Oops....Server kicked me off....MORNING!

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:01 AM): Hi, John - I'd like to talk to you some time. I had a bad Virtumundo experience.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:01 AM): I trust your coffee's hot and strong.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:02 AM): That's weird... I only sent that message once. Server booted me, too.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:02 AM): Yeah, it must have hiccuped. Happens every once in a long while.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:04 AM): Greetings, Rob and everyone!

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:04 AM): So...what's up this morning? Anyone?

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:04 AM): Good morning.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:05 AM): I am wondering how e-retailers are approaching this off-kilter holiday season.

John (10/1/2001 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:06 AM): The news is full of mall interviewers with belt-tightening consumers on front of cameras.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:06 AM): If they're smart, they're cranking up their branded communities now....getting awareness before the season becomes too expensive and other brands crowd them out.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:07 AM): Right now, the media is a bigger enemy than Afghanistan is. They're perpetuating fear because it's good for ratings.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:07 AM): What everyone forgets is that people were tightening their belts BEFORE the attack.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:08 AM): I think the course is pretty clear: e-tailers should be focusing on lower priced goods that can lead to upsells once the customer gets to their store.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:08 AM): I use my mother as a barometer... before, she thought just the internet was in trouble.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:09 AM): Now, she is ready for the Depression she grew up in. And the Cold War.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:09 AM): I'm convinced that if the media switched their focus to recovery stories, we'd get there faster....I agree that we're going to take a hit, but not a Depression.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:09 AM): Rob - and B2Bs should be concentrating on the message that their service(s) cut costs and/or increase sales

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:10 AM): She will probably buy me cases of bottled water and toilet paper for Christmas.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:10 AM): I agree, Jonathan. That's the song I've been singing for the past year or two.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:11 AM): And lower TCO (where applicable). I think that the TCO argument will really get through to the executives.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:11 AM): I agree with you there, Rob. And actually, the job market could temporarily take a jump as employers have to cover for their military employees being called back in.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:12 AM): Tracy, we're not in survival mode yet!!! nobody should rush out and build bomb shelters. This is a different kind of war. As for the Cold War, this is not at all like that: the real issue here isn't east versus west, but North versus South: the southern hemisphere is so poor that life has no real value.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:12 AM): Entered the room.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:12 AM): And I see am on govmint contracting list and seeing a jump in RFP's.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:12 AM): Morning everyone!

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:13 AM): Right. Did you happen to see Victoria Duff's post on FB? She's jumping in offering a service to take over businesses for reservists who are called up.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:13 AM): *I* don't think we need to build shelter. But my mother and her friends are scared.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:13 AM): Tracy, do you get any business from the govlist?

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:13 AM): I saw that, Rob. Great idea - Victoria is a very smart FB :)

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:13 AM): (hi Tamra)

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:14 AM): Not directly.. I am considering getting certifies as a women-owned and deciding if I can do enough biz to be worth it.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:14 AM): According to my dad (age 84) folks made good money selling bomb shelters during and after WWII. (hi Jonathan)

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:14 AM): Government contracting is a whole different gig. I can't get any business, because I don't fit any preference categories...

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:15 AM): Not directly.. I am considering getting certifies as a women-owned and deciding if I can do enough biz to be worth it.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:15 AM): Entered the room.

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:15 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:15 AM): If you don't live in a "target zone" you have little to worry about. These people target heavily populated areas, which means if you live in Green River Colorado, you're fairly safe.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:16 AM): Re. I think that 'luxury' services (usability, for example, is considered to be a luxury during cost-cutting) can only make it if they can convince businesspeople their service will improve their bottom line. In a sense, it *is* financial survival at this point.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:16 AM): Anyone who is interested in doing biz with the gov should check the SBA to learn how to do it. Because they are so big, it can be a nightmare for a small biz - getting paid is a lengthy process.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:16 AM): BTW, Tamra, I think it was you or Patricia that recommended, which was a great solution for me. Thank you.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:17 AM): I love cafepress -- easy way to give my logo out to friends, family, clients

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:17 AM): Jonathan, that's only partly true: the rich are not spending on travel, but sales of luxury cars and jewelry are UP.

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:18 AM): I have a question, so I think I will just jump right in. Is anyone aware of any laws preventing a blind fax? I have a few targeted contacts, and I would rather fax something than cold-call or mail a letter.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:18 AM): I think sales of things that make you feel safe or make you forget will go up.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:18 AM): Rob - sorry, I was talking business services that may now be considered 'luxury' - I agree that consumer consumption of luxury items will be up as people comfort, pamper, and 'cocoon' themselves.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:18 AM): Yes, I set up just in case....for the Big Time Branding Round Up

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:19 AM): Jonathan, that also depends -- if clients fire staff, does that mean they'll hire more consultants? Some companies I know fired their staff, but hired some back on a freelance basis.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:19 AM): How can a service business make folks feel "safe" if the service we're offering isn't safety related?

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:19 AM): Jacque: there are laws in some states that allow you to be fined big time for sending blind unsolicited faxes. Better check your own state before you do it.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:20 AM): Jacque: Yes, there are Federal laws prohibiting junk faxes, although I can't recall chapter and verse on them.

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:20 AM): Tamra, you could set up a safety seminar at your office, and invite your customers to attend

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:20 AM): Jacque, the only thing is, I don't know ANYONE who has ever been prosecuted for it....

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:20 AM): There are different kinds of "safe"... financial secure, physically protected, prepared, centered, organized...

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:21 AM): Tracy, that's "panic-driven" or fear-based selling. It's very short term.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:21 AM): Jacque - check out and for the FCC's position on unsolicited faxes.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:21 AM): Also, in this environment, people are VERY weird about sales pitches. What hits one squarely offends another....

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:22 AM): Jonathon, I will. Thanks!

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:22 AM): Wow, nice shootin' Jonathan!

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:22 AM): Rob, those employers who have laid off employees and then hired them back as consultants are being looked at hard by the IRS right now.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:22 AM): Rob - thanks, I'm a quick researcher :)

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:22 AM): Anyone have any specific issues?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:23 AM): Terri, IRS won't touch any of them -- economy is too delicate.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:23 AM): I do know, Jacque, that I dislike getting fax spam more than I do email or postal junk mail.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:23 AM): Bush would rather have independent contractors than rising unemployment

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:24 AM): my client who wanted the generic name (rather than his name) for the consulting business is reconsidering, thanks to the info I passed on to him from one Free Clinic....

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:24 AM): Hey! It works!

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:24 AM): Rob - going back to what we discussed last week. You mentioned gathering targeted email addresses from Web sites and using them to introduce yourself and your services. Do you have any suggestions specifically so that prospects won't consider this spam?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): As I wrote in last night's FrankelTips, I'm getting more positive responses from our e-mail marketing now than before the attack.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): [Tracy - one solution to consider is a Web-based incoming fax service like J2 - no paper at all. You get an email containing the fax. I use a local version, and it also doesn't tie up a second phone line.]

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): I get a lot of "we'd like to do business with you" emails from folks who find our email on our web site....

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): I know that it's a combination of things: First, I target my e-mails to real decision makers. I never buy lists.

Del (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): Entered the room.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): Thing is, they're usually offering the same thing *we* offer -- web site design, programming, SEO....

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:25 AM): I don't like getting all the faxes I do for cruise discounts and inkjet refills, either. But a couple of prospects that I cold called asked to be faxed something, so now I have a sales letter, and I was debating whether to call all my prospects first, or to just fax it.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:26 AM): Second, I makes sure that the letter is really well-written and all business. No big promises. Just a request to open a dialogue.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:26 AM): so it's obvious they didn't read our site. That's my tip -- READ the site. Don't just grab an email.

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:26 AM): Entered the room.

Del (10/1/2001 9:26 AM): Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), Public Law 102-243 (1991), which amended Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. Section 201 et seq., by adding a new section, 47 U.S.C. Section 227. (47 CFR 64.1200)

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:26 AM): Rob - a brief one, then?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:27 AM): Third, I have a third person writing the letter on my behalf. much more credible

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:27 AM): Rob, isn't that transparent?

Del (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): From SubPart L: a. No person shall: 3. Use a telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): Rob, isn't the third person your own assistant? I'm curious as to why that makes it more credible.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): Jonathan, it's not as short as you might think. But I can tell it works, from three things: 1. We get positive response. 2. WE get compliments on the letter itself. 3. Even the rejections we get are nicely written.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): Rob - do you individually prepare those letters, personalized to the recipient?

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): Who is the third person?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): Elizabeth, apparently not.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:28 AM): The third person is my assistant, who identifies herself as such.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:29 AM): The basic letter is prepared, customized with a very few personal data and mail-merged.

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:29 AM): If the third person were somehow credible to the recipient, I could see it helping

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:30 AM): Elizabeth, a third person will ALWAYS be more credible than you doing your own press

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:30 AM): Del, do you know if that covers both residential and business, or just residential?

Del (10/1/2001 9:31 AM): It's a Federal statute. Covers all parties. (Arizona Reporter) (10/1/2001 9:31 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:31 AM): Jacque I'm sure it covers anyone with a fax machine

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:31 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:32 AM): The big question is, what kind of response rate do you consider successful?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:33 AM): Personally, I would NEVER do a fax campaign, because there's no easy way to respond. E-mail is where most of us live and breathe....those are the people I want to do business with.

Del (10/1/2001 9:33 AM): It's also one of those nifty $500 per occurrence "I told you to stop calling/faxing me" small claims suits.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:33 AM): I want someone to hit the reply button and type "Here's the guy in my company I want you to call"

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:34 AM): While not all execs have assistants open their mall, most have assistants bring them faxes

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:35 AM): And the cold call fax I would think is likely to end up in the trash

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:35 AM): Those same assistants filter their email, too.

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:35 AM): mall should have been mail

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:36 AM): There's also the consideration that fax quality can be wretched (especially fax-to-fax)...the presentation and readability suffer.

Elizabeth (10/1/2001 9:36 AM): I think mail and email are more frequently considered private than faxes

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:37 AM): Good an e-mail I link an article from Business Week magazine that boosts credibility.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:37 AM): Anyone consider that faxes re also WAY more expensive?

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:38 AM): Personally, I have never had my email to a VP or above filtered by an assistant. They always contact me themselves in response to my emails to them.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:38 AM): Yup, that's my experience, too.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:39 AM): Rob, I use an Internet fax service and it costs 15 cents per page to send a fax. I'd say that was a LOT more expensive than email!

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:39 AM): IF this were a national campaign, or targeted to larger companies, some of these points would have more weight. But because of the market I am targeting...smaller, local businesses.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:40 AM): The big issue we're seeing now is that SPAM is no longer just unsolicited e-mail. If it has a true, genuine purpose, it actually is welcomed. Unfortunately, the majority of people still don't understand the difference

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:41 AM): I agree with the "fax right into the trash" theory for business. I D think that faxes work for contacting the press, though

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:41 AM): Jacque, I find I have way more success with mid to large size companies

Del (10/1/2001 9:41 AM): Yup. Yup. PR material.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:42 AM): If it's small and local -- what about a hand-written letter? I get piles of business junk mail -- but I've never yet thrown away a *letter*. Email might get lost in my 956 message in-box (you don't want to know how many other folders I have) but real letters don't get lost.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:42 AM): Certain small biz sectors are fax-oriented businesses - home improvement contractors, for instance.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:43 AM): Tamra, hand-written looks small. If people spend money, they want professionalism

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:43 AM): Good point, Tracy.

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:43 AM): I thought a fax would be a good starting point. I can't always reach the right people on the phone. I thought I would also do postcards or letters, and maybe some emails to those I have a name for, rather than a generic "info" account.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:44 AM): Speaking for myself, I prefer everything to be stored digitally. I don't save letters. Faxes go right into the Mac, where they're archived digitally for easier retrieval.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:44 AM): I am thinking about a postcard, followed by an email, followed by a phone call.

Del (10/1/2001 9:44 AM): Or your fax intrusion could put someone off.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:45 AM): I have some business directories that I want to work as contact list.

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:46 AM): Jacque, one of the best things you can do to get recognition is to write an article about your area of expertise, include contact information at the bottom, and submit to other webmasters and magazines that your target market frequents.

Del (10/1/2001 9:46 AM): I like the postcard/phone call system. The postcard lets the recipient know to expect a call from you to answer any questions they might have regarding the product/services.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:47 AM): I've done postcard campaigns for clients...the only ones that worked were those with six cards mailed once every two days

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:47 AM): They were, short, sweet, teasers.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:47 AM): Cute/interesting/funny postcards get kept, stuck up on bulletin boards. Make sure your logo shows on the picture side!

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:47 AM): Like Burma Shave signs?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:48 AM): Sort of, Tracy. But each had a real market-driven points.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:48 AM): Two that I can think of were in real estate construction and cable TV company

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:49 AM): Be cool if by the last card you have them checking the mail waiting for the punch line...

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:49 AM): Short serial fiction...

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:49 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING) Anyone have something specific?

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:50 AM): The key is writing to THEIR needs and not becoming too involved with your own cleverness or fun.

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 9:50 AM): How's signup going for your Nov. conference, Rob?

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:51 AM): I once saw a newspaper ad campaign that used that sort of "teaser"... It asked "Who is Peter someone (I forget his last name now). Each ad gave a little bit more information. I heard that it was a great success.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:51 AM): I get SO many cards and promos from web designers, photographers, and the like. I can't figure out what they're selling.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:52 AM): Tamra, getting a lot of people asking a lot of questions about it. A few first timers registering. But it's still two weeks before the rate goes up.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:52 AM): I get whole hardbound BOOKS from photographers I never use.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:52 AM): And it's still six weeks before the actual event.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:53 AM): Tracy, I get those, too. Trying to get off those lists. I give the books to my kids school for scrap art projects.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:54 AM): Ooo.. good idea! The art teacher will love them.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:54 AM): Anyway, I'm trying to get as much press for the event as I can. This is a huge value. And like I wrote, I really intend to move forward with it, if two or 200 show up.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:55 AM): The only difference will be the level of intimacy. But it really is more fun when you have a good group.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:55 AM): Yeah, we're really popular at our school!

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:56 AM): I wish I could go, but I can't wedge in a trip to LA right now.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:56 AM): I bet it will be fun, too!

Del (10/1/2001 9:56 AM): Rob: Should have come up to Seybold. Empty hallways.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:57 AM): By November, you're going to see more people traveling. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my personal appearance in Dubai, due to the world circumstances.

Tracy - (10/1/2001 9:57 AM): Phone... gotta fly... thanks, Rob. Later, everyone.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:57 AM): Del, Seybold has nothing there for me, personally. The beauty of my event is that I normally charge companies about $20K for something like this

Jacque ( (10/1/2001 9:57 AM): Thanks for your help and advice everyone!

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

Terri Robinson ( (10/1/2001 9:58 AM): Thanks Rob! Great session today! See you all next week.

Del (10/1/2001 9:58 AM): Nothing to do with branding, Rob. Just as a Mac user, you might have had some fun.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:59 AM): Alrighty, then! Let's go out there and do some real business!

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 9:59 AM): Del, any more fun will kill me!

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 9:59 AM): bye Rob.

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 10:00 AM): [Tamra, are you still there?]

Tamra ( (10/1/2001 10:00 AM): bye Rob and everyone. Have a good, safe week.

Rob Frankel ( (10/1/2001 10:00 AM): Bye everyone1

Jonathan Cohen (copywriter/editor) (10/1/2001 10:01 AM): Entered the room.

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