Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic December 11, 2000

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:00 AM): morning :-)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:00 AM): Greetings this you first time here?

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:00 AM): Yup. Stumbled on your site over the weekend.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:01 AM): Good reading material. Lots of it.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:01 AM): The folks usually start showing up a minute or two after 9:00.....

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:01 AM): Thanks...what can I do for you today?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:01 AM): If you like the site, you'll love the book! <---PLUG

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): I'm preparing to introduce a line of greeting cards to a vertical market (mortgage brokers/bankers/loan officers...

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): hihi Rob!

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): 'morning . I am a Long time subscriber, first visit

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): But with no brand established, I have no idea what pricing structure works. (12/11/2000 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:03 AM): Hi Louise! Long time no see....Hi Frederick. You're up next. (12/11/2000 9:03 AM): Good morning, everyone!

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:03 AM): And equally important, there is no competition in this market.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:04 AM): Funny you should mention that, Del. I'm currently wrapping up the Frankel Tape that deals with thing I can tell you is that you must have a brand first. That will be crucial as to WHY people should pay whatever price you charge.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:05 AM): You can rely on the fact that you have no competition, because anyone could create that competition the minute they see you have something happening.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:06 AM): Oops. You CAN'T rely on no competition....

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:07 AM): Providing that the business is a startup, and no branding has occurred previously, is it wiser to price products low to introduce it to the market? (12/11/2000 9:07 AM): Hey, Rob, I see we're nearing the year 101...

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:07 AM): Also, I assume you're selling these cards as a set, right?

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:07 AM): Singles or packaged as a set.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:07 AM): DANGER! DANGER! NO!

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:08 AM): JoAnna, I can still smack you from here, ya know....

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:08 AM): Del, you want to charge your price from the outset. Otherwise you're self-sabotaging your cards from the beginning. (12/11/2000 9:09 AM): geez, rob, that's how you say good morning? eek.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:09 AM): Think about that: if you sell a SINGLE card at an INTRODUCTORY low price, there's no way you can make money on that transaction, once your fulfillment costs are factored in.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:09 AM): General greeting cards can be had from .89 to 3.99 on average. B2B and B2C cards seem to float around the magic .99 barrier.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:10 AM): Del, you've got it backwards: ESPECIALLY if there's no competition, you want to go into the market as an original, innovative product custom made for that market. The market will reward you by paying your price.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:10 AM): I, on the other hand, think 1.25-1.50 in not unreasonable.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:11 AM): Del, this is the difference with a Big Time Brand: Think about your users. Who -- in that business -- only sends out ONE card?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:11 AM): Can I give you a personal example here?

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:11 AM): nobody.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:12 AM): If they are truly a producer...a loan officer really working for their money, they work their customers and manage a strong retention and referral program.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:12 AM): personal example? sure. :-)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:12 AM): Years ago -- centuries, really -- I ran a business out of my college apartment. I was pissed off that Maxell charged so much for their cassette tapes. Something like $5 per blank.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:13 AM): So I opened a Maxell account and bought cartons of blanks directly from Maxell. I sold them mail order to students on campus.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:14 AM): But I knew the students weren't going to buy one tape at a time. They recorded everything on cassette. So I only sold them in boxes of 12. That way I could sell them at more reasonable prices and still make money.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:14 AM): It was totally win-win.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:15 AM): Now, since you KNOW your market is going to send out LOTS of cards, you shouldn't sell ANY singles; but packs or 12 and maybe 50.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:15 AM): At price points based on the individual retail price x qty or a special "packaged" price?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:15 AM): First, because you can't make money on one card at a time. More importantly, because you know your market won't buy them that way anyway.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:17 AM): If you can make money at 99¢ per card, and that's the magic number, you can offer them a dozen pack for $14.95 and a 50 pack for $49.95, I bet.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:17 AM): And at least now, your sales would be $15 and $50 per transaction, instead of 99¢.

Del Laird (12/11/2000 9:17 AM): thanks for the's nice to have someone's opinion outside my localized peer group.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:18 AM): You shouldn't even give them the OPTION of paying less...or they just might take it.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:18 AM): No problem, Del....Anyone else?

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:18 AM): I have a hometown portal - a search engine/directory dedicated to one particular area of Northwest Houston suburbs. I need to increase the number of visitors. I have an on-site invitation to subscribe to a newsletter, but I need to get the people coming before they can sign up - a case of the chicken and the egg! How do I solve this riddle?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:20 AM): Hi Frederick. What's the revenue model for your portal?

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:21 AM): Advertising some, but mostly hosting fees after I create WebPages for businesses

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:22 AM): Okay...maybe this isn't a chicken and egg thing at all. Maybe you're looking at the wrong end of the telescope;

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:22 AM): Okay direct me to the other end?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:23 AM): As the gurus on the mountain top like to say, "To find the answer, you must look within!" In this case, there area couple of issues:

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:24 AM): First, you've already undermined your mission from the outset: you have at least three businesses going on here: web design, hosting and portal. This already suggests a lack of focus. Let's face it, we're all scrambling to make a buck, but I can tell that you're going off in all directions.....

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:25 AM): That's the hardest hit you're going to take this morning, though, I promise...<G>

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:25 AM): When you pursue that many directions, you're going to have problems focusing. But let's just say that for now, we'll focus right on the portal....

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:26 AM): Well, if I don't design the WebPages for businesses, how can I host them?. If I don't get the traffic, how can I sell them?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:27 AM): Let's look within once more: perhaps the issue isn't getting people to the site. Maybe it's more about getting the portal participants more involved in the site.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:27 AM): This is why BRANDED COMMUNITY is so important. If you have a list of web sites that you're hosting, your brand should be there to galvanize them into action.

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:27 AM): Okay - there are businesses with sites already, but most don't have.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:28 AM): What kinds of programs are you creating and administering to your clients that would mobilize them to push your portal?

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:28 AM): But I don't have a list of websites that I am hosting - that's what I want!

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:29 AM): After all, it's in their interests..

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:29 AM): Branded community works! Did you see what happened on FrankelBiz last week? With Amazon? What amazing power!

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:30 AM): Right now, the sites in the directory are all re-existing sites hosted somewhere else.

Ark Schenkler ( (12/11/2000 9:30 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:30 AM): Frederick, then maybe what you should be doing is building it up from a local base first: Build the web-hosting business and include the portal as part of the web-hosting service. That's a value that I've never heard offered.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:31 AM): It builds on the local pride issue, which can be very motivating.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:31 AM): It also gives you a reason to pitch local business for their business.

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:31 AM): I figured to establish the portal with these pre-existing sites, build the traffic then sell the design and hosting

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:32 AM): But how can I sell the idea of paying for hosting on a directory that no-one visits?!

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:32 AM): I think that's backwards. I would build the portal so that you have it there to merchandise to them. Then sell it as an added benefit. If you're really good at it, your web clients will actually contribute to the portal's growth.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:34 AM): Frederick, you have to look as this from a long term outlook. Let your web clients help you drive business to the portal. That's what I do with FrankelBiz. I don't "market" or "advertise" the list actively. The members refer members.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:35 AM): A portal is NOT an easy thing to create and launch -- even when you have a zillion bucks like

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:35 AM): Ark, you have a portal, don't you?

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:35 AM): Okay. I've got stand on my head and look at this again, methinks!

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:35 AM): sorry to interrupt but I am interested in this as well, since I am trying to rebuild branded community within the soap world. How do you motivate users to contribute to the growth of a portal site? I have tried to have interesting topics, but so far, it's been pretty slow... just looking for some ideas along this line, Rob?

Ark Schenkler ( (12/11/2000 9:36 AM): Not exactly...

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:36 AM): Frederick, focus on it and then give it time. But make sure you include plans that benefit and motivate THEM first.

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:37 AM): Thanks, Rob - most helpful

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:37 AM): Louise, it's Frankel's First Law at work: Brands are about THEM, not you".

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:38 AM): No problem Fred. At least it's another point of view.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:38 AM): are you talking about giving my prospective community some value added services for contributing to the site? Ummm ok I am at a loss as to how to do that :(

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:39 AM): Sure, Louise. What are you currently doing for them?

Ark Schenkler ( (12/11/2000 9:39 AM): We made a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to our clients in order that they will act as selling power, but, it is not working as I thought it would.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:39 AM): ohh wait.. hehe I think I may know of a way to do that.. "sign up and receive "something like a tips sheet" " type of thing.. well that gets them to sign up, but how to motivate them to TALK?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:40 AM): The trick, you guys, is empowering THEM, not you. You'll get the business in an ancillary way.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:40 AM): Louise, is everyone making the exact same kind of soap?

Carla ( (12/11/2000 9:41 AM): Entered the room.

Carla ( (12/11/2000 9:41 AM): Hi Rob and all!

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:42 AM): Hi Carla...

Frederick (12/11/2000 9:42 AM): Rob, one last question on the portal branding thing - should I concentrate on create a branded community of VISITORS, or a branded community of BUSINESSES?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:43 AM): Step back form that Frederick. Make it an inclusive community for everyone based in your geographic locality.

Ark Schenkler ( (12/11/2000 9:43 AM): Rob, on we give and empower websites by giving them unique keywords to be found on searches, it is moving, but very slowly.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:43 AM): no Rob, and my resource boards reflect the diversity of their interests. Maybe I am being too impatient? Problem is, it's bad netiquette to advertise a resource board on other discussion boards, so I am looking for a bit of an angle

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:43 AM): "Greetings from the Great City of ___________" . Here's everything you need to know about us.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:44 AM): Louise, you REALLY should read the book <--- PLUG. It goes on about how boards are DEATH in bringing branded community together.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:45 AM): in case you were sleeping the last five years, E-MAIL -- not web -- is the killer app!

Carla ( (12/11/2000 9:46 AM): Does it pay to give away free prizes for people signing up for your ezine/list?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:46 AM): E-mail is where the action is. That's why FrankelBiz will NEVER have a web-based resource board.

Ark Schenkler ( (12/11/2000 9:47 AM): I agree ! I made a mistake on the email side of the site. Any suggestions?

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:47 AM): hehe well you know Rob, I do have a mailing discussion list, with over 500 subscribers ( not bad considering the niche market I am in)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:47 AM): E-mail is immediate. It involves everyone. Web based boards are a lonely experience. There's nothing HUMANLY interactive about it and that's where it's at.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:47 AM): I am just trying to draw people to my site in other ways to complete the sale :)

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:49 AM): and well... I have my own opinion about community boards, if they are worked right, that is (grin)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:49 AM): Again, I offer up FrankelBiz as a model. I host the list, but I don't get business directly from it. I get business indirectly -- referrals, publicity -- and it allows me greater leverage in approaching partners. Louse, how are you branding yourself to the rest of the soaps?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:50 AM): Do they have a reason to evangelize you -- or are you viewed suspiciously as competition? If so, what are you doing to counter that image as "potential competition"?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:50 AM): (TEN INUTE WARNING)

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:52 AM): I am not competition for those who seek advice on my mailing list. Green Cottage promotes free exchange between suppliers and customers, as long as the topic remains free of self promotion

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:53 AM): Ummm, don't look now, Louse, but you just shot yourself in the foot: no self promotion.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:53 AM): In reality, of course, I will be competition for those who share my product line, but I moderate the list in such a way to not focus on "anyone's" goods and services, and stick to discussions about techniques

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:53 AM): One of these days I'm going to learn how to type "Louise"

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:54 AM): well I do promote myself in the headers and the footers, and my signature lines.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:54 AM): heeh YES

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:54 AM): Techniques don't pay the bills! Why aren't you promoting members offering each other's non-competing lines on their sites as reps?

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:55 AM): I'm sorry? I don't follow?

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:55 AM): Now THAT'S a page on your site -- having people click on the types of product they'd like to carry to fill out their own line.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:56 AM): It almost becomes a two-tiered affiliate program with you as the master affiliate. If you sell garden soaps and someone else sells psychedelic peace signs, each can become a wholesaler for the other. Both get expanded soap lines and you get a commission for putting them together.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:57 AM): Louise, people in business -- not playing at it -- want solutions that help them grow their businesses. The noise level is getting higher -- people don't have as much time to share recipes.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:58 AM): Especially with MICRO-BUSINESSES. They need to be reminded that this is a business, not a hobby.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:58 AM): hehh there's an idea :)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:58 AM): What -- you thought you weren't going to get an idea? At least ONE?

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:59 AM): however, people who are in my business tend to want to do it all themselves..

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 9:59 AM): They ALL do when they start. That should be your first topic, Louise...about how that's a big mistake.

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 9:59 AM): so I need to come up with a proposal that would appeal to their ROI, huh? That may be difficult for me :(

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 10:00 AM): Welcome to business, Louise! That's what motivates.

RobFrankel ( (12/11/2000 10:00 AM): Okay, everyone, I've gotta split. Very busy week ahead. Go get 'em and I'll see you online!

Frederick (12/11/2000 10:00 AM): Thanks, Rob

Louise Storkey ( (12/11/2000 10:01 AM): thanks Rob :)

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