Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic December 24, 2001

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 8:59 AM): Greetings, Rob! Got your coffee in hand? :)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 8:59 AM): Jeez, my coffee isn't ready yet...Hi everyone! I suppose this will be the last Free Clinic of 2001, eh?

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:00 AM): What? you taking New Year's Eve off, Rob?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:00 AM): Or the year "101" if I don't get this script fixed.

Jim Malone (12/24/2001 9:00 AM): Just curios...none on the 31st

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:00 AM): Hey, Terri, I'll be here, but nobody else will!

Joanne (12/24/2001 9:01 AM): Good morning Terri! :)

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:01 AM): You all geared up and ready to kick start 2002? Hi Joanne!

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:02 AM): I'll be here with bells on, Rob! Holidays are great in here *grin*

Yeah, holidays are the only time I can make it, cuz of the paying "real" job. (12/24/2001 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:02 AM): Well, if I see that people want the clinic, I'll do it.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:03 AM): Uh-oh...someone got trapped by the server! Log off and sign in again!

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:03 AM): As I wrote last night in FrankelTips, I think that 2002 might be a good year. I'm seeing a lot of pent up demand for stuff.

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:03 AM): Ugh. It was me. Sorry!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:04 AM): But it's cautious demand. People are really going to have to prove their worth.....

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:04 AM): So....who's up first today?

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:04 AM): Ditto here, Rob! Plenty of good employment indicators too.

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:04 AM): I'm seeing pretty much the same level of sales prior to 9/11 already.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:06 AM): Rob, what's your feeling on press releases? Do you do your own? Hire them out? Use them at all?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:07 AM): Press releases? Hmmm...good question. To promote my own business, we're doing it internally. I work with my assistant on them and they seem to be doing pretty well. Never use faxes, only e-mail.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:07 AM): Why not faxes?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:07 AM): Currently, we're in the process of working with a firm (if we hire them) for taking a run at the Howard Stern show type of market. For that, I'm completely ill-equipped.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:08 AM): I should state that for my own business, I don't know how much press releases really do. I have much more success - owing to the nature of my business -- using "interview expert services".. That way reporters call me when they need an "expert."

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:09 AM): Jim, I've found that faxing is expensive and too often, just doesn't get read by reporters.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:09 AM): You should take a look at Marisa Dvari's stuff - Media Magic - it's compelling stuff!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:09 AM): I also don't use faxes because that's not the way I do business. I want to connect with the e-mail based people.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:10 AM): I should say, however, that many people claim that fax PR works for them.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:10 AM): Entered the room.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:10 AM): I had someone do some research for me on what each editor preferred and sent about 3 or 4 in fax, the rest wanted email or snail mail.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:11 AM): I was thinking in a different direction...self promotion

weber (12/24/2001 9:11 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:11 AM): I know that people on the FB list have been happy with some services. Thing is, I've always felt that PR is its own skill set. I let them decide what to use.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:11 AM): It's too soon to tell what the response will be though.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:12 AM): I can tell you this: with our "direct contact to CEO/decision maker" e-mail campaigns, we're hitting between 1% and 2% which I think is great.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:12 AM): I'm the world's worst cold caller.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:13 AM): Jim, I find that self promotion is much more effective in e-mail than fax, for sure.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:13 AM): I'm running a close second with you there, Rob!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:13 AM): Faster and more effective.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:13 AM): True...but there are still some people that you just can't get their e-mail least in my segment

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:14 AM): Jim, I think you hit on something important there: too many people don't realize that a press release almost never gets published because it's too self-promotional. So you have to make up a good story that credibly mentions your business. I'd rather stop beating around the bush and tell them directly.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:15 AM): I still come across some people that think computers are an instrument of the Devil

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:15 AM): Jim, that's true. On the other hand, that's what I like about these "reporter referral services". The reporter contacts you directly...then you have their information and you can start a relationship with them

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:16 AM): Rob, I read a lot of press releases to get a feeling for them before hiring my own to be written... News items are a lot more effective than shameless self-promotion *grin*

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:16 AM): "reporter referral services" in the Yellow pages?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:16 AM): Yes, I find them, too. But the Anti-Computer folks are generally not my customers. They're stragglers. They probably can't or won't do business with you anyway. In this day and age, if they're not online, their days are likely to be numbered -- or they're not effective.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:17 AM): No Jim, this is a service where you pay a few hundred bucks a year and the story leads are forwarded to you. You respond directly to the reporter and they call you to interview you.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:17 AM): Depending on the business

weber (12/24/2001 9:17 AM): There was a great book I read called "Expose Yourself" about press releases. It was very helpful.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:18 AM): ...and at what level in the company

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:18 AM): Jim: Use my affiliate link here and Dan will know I sent you.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:18 AM): He treats my referrals better!! Tee Hee.

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:18 AM): thanks Rob

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:19 AM): And don't forget that reporters hang out in lots of other places than behind their own desks! I have met some great reporters in discussion groups who have read one of my posts and contacted me to get more information.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:21 AM): As long as we're talking about them, remember that reporters are people. I've had some great conversations with them. Besides helping you get your name in print, they know other reporters, too.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:22 AM): Also, they report on stuff that interests them. The interview is your chance to offer them more about that industry and maybe help them get ahead.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:23 AM): Which is true of anyone - reporter, CEO, manager - they all want to look good to their customers and get ahead in their careers too!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:24 AM): Jim -- depending on your business, you'll see differing rates of reporter inquiry. I subbed to Dan's service about four months ago now. Of about 60 inquiries, about 50 reporters called for an interview.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:24 AM): Absolutely, Terri. I try to make a hero out of everyone.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:25 AM): Dan's service costs a few hundred bucks a year. A fax press release for one fax probably costs the same. For me, it's a no-brainer.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:26 AM): Rob, Branding is a hot topic nowadays - plenty being written about it! No wonder you're in demand for interviews *smile*

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:27 AM): Terri, now all I gotta do is get paid for each interview! (kidding). But yeah, I can see that branding is hot -- and I think it will get even hotter. The more choices people have, the more important the brand becomes. That's what they use to make their buying decision.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:28 AM): Jim, why don't you have a toll free number?

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:29 AM): we do

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:29 AM): I DON'T FOLLOW?

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:29 AM): didn't mean to yell

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:30 AM): Not on your home page that I can see...

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:30 AM): Entered the room.

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:30 AM): [good morning, belatedly]

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:31 AM): Oh I see... The page is in transition...if you remember I told you the other day I had 2 businesses not related to one another

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:32 AM): My other, has an 800

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:32 AM): Anyone else?

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:33 AM): Rob, if a very small business had to choose between paying for help with marketing or paying for help with branding, what would help them more?

Jim ( (12/24/2001 9:33 AM): the page on Malone is about a month away from being done and marketed

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:34 AM): Depends on how well their brand is developed Joanne. See, the problem is that too many people spend money marketing before they know what to market. Then they get disappointed with the marketing results.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:35 AM): First you create the brand. Once you have a compelling, articulate brand, THEN you can raise its awareness. If you don't, you raise awareness for something people don't understand or are compelled to use.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:35 AM): I see this is start ups and Fortune 500's believe it or not.

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:36 AM): Does branding include any sort of marketing? As you can tell, I don't "get" branding, and I'm hideous at marketing. :)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:36 AM): So if you're sure your brand strategy -- and the programs that drive its revenues -- are really nailed down, you're ready for marketing. But not until then.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:37 AM): That's a good point, Rob. It's really hard to overcome a poor first impression - maybe impossible.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:37 AM): Yes, Joanne, in the sense that if your brand "is the only solution to their problem", your products and services have to be geared to that aim. Once you figure out that part, FINDING the people with the problems is much easier and they find your solutions much more attractive.

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:38 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:38 AM): Right Terri. Your brand is what makes or breaks you first impression -- and remember way more people Don't know you than do....

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:38 AM): this page makes a difference Rob

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:38 AM): (Jim -- you've changed clothes...)

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:39 AM): this is the page that needs immediate help...the other is a ways off

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:40 AM): Jim, is there any reason why a page counter is on your site?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:40 AM): Ack! And a Yahoo contact mail address? Holy cow, those are two reasons why people would be afraid of you!

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:41 AM): on LTD?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:41 AM): And your webmaster mail address is a Hotmail address? ACK....

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:41 AM): At

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:41 AM): because we don't do any Web-Based Sales so we need to see the activity

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:41 AM): And where's the 800 number that Rob asked about? LTD has 215 area code numbers

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:42 AM): Jim - the main text should be ragged left, not justified, for readability. Smooth out the logo if you can, and remember also for readability that black on white is the easiest.

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:42 AM): Boy you guys are good...I'll have to fix that

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:42 AM): (also, you should design for more browsers than IE 5.0 and higher - but that's just my opinion)

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:42 AM): Jim, you have a note saying the page is best viewed in 1024 x 768 screen size, but not everyone has that capability... especially those not super computer savvy.. you could be losing those people before they start

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:42 AM): FYI, if you prefer to get your email at AOL, most domains allow forwarding -- so you can have the nice email on your site

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:43 AM): Help...I'm being roasted.....but really this is what I need to hear

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:43 AM): Legibility won't matter if your credibility isn't there to start with, although Jonathan is right. So is Terri. So is Tamra.

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:43 AM): (er, that should have been "most hosting companies" allow forwarding)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:43 AM): Welcome to your worst nightmare Jim!!!!!! Hey, we're all here to help. If we don't tell you, who will?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:43 AM): The truth will set you free -- and create a better brand.

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:44 AM): You're right...I needed it

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:44 AM): and your navigation buttons are in Java - 1) takes a long time to load over a slow connection, 2) if users have Java disabled, they won't be able to navigate the site, and 3) there are no ALT tags for accessibility.

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:45 AM): Jim, my #1 nit is your navigation -- Java applets don't work through most (decent) firewalls so your site can't be used by most corporate folks!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:45 AM): A counter just shows how FEW people visited your site, not how MANY. Dump it. If you want to know your traffic, read your web logs.

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:45 AM): Jim - on the good side, you do state your competitive advantages (low assembly rates, reduced costs, etc.), though they are mostly on the subpages...

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:45 AM): Tamra :)

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:46 AM): (Yeah, Jonathan, we're on the same wavelength today...)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:47 AM): If the two of you are single......

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:47 AM): I'm listening intently....thanks

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:48 AM): Rob - umm...

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:48 AM): Rob, did you see the site that has some people up in arms over copyrights ... ... I checked it out for my own site and got a good chuckle over the progression I have gone through myself!

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:48 AM): The graphic on the 'Location of Warehouse' page is broken. - just a note

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): Hey, it's a holiday, Jonathan. This is the closest I get to an office Christmas party.

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): Jim - who is your target audience for the site?

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): I like -- cracked me up to see how bad my designs were when I started!

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): N, Terri, I haven't seen it.

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): Midsize Corporate Manufacturers

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:49 AM): (Rob, knock off on that eggnog coffee! hee-hee)

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:50 AM): Tamra, me too!!

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:50 AM): Jim - executives, then? Or plant managers?

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:51 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:51 AM): Holy cow, Terri. They have my first page from November 1996!

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:52 AM): Jonathan- depending on the company, whoever the decision maker would be

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:52 AM): Yep! fascinating, isn't it? Humbling too *grin*

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:52 AM): I remember designing the page in PhotoShop and then having an HTML hand coder put it together....

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:53 AM): Jim - okay. I would also suggest you get someone to go over it to eliminate sentence fragments. (The reason I asked about audience was that it is fairly corporate-speak, which is fine for an executive audience)

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:53 AM): Rob am I able to print out this transcript later?

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:54 AM): Thanks Jonathan

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:54 AM): Jim - and don't forget to put in meta tags for the search engines! (I'm guilty as sin of this)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:54 AM): Yes Jim, see the red link in the top frame? The archives will be spell checked, formatted and uploaded later today. If you're on FrankelBiz, you'll get a notice that they're up.

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:54 AM): Rob, I launched the 2 weeks ago... after implementing your advice, of course! Getting fair responses on it already and I'm following up for feedback frequently. Keep your fingers crossed for me? :)

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:55 AM): Like I told you the other day, I signed up both companies but don't know if they went through

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:55 AM): Jim - best of luck with it (all Web sites are a work in progress, but as Tamra or Terri mentioned, you only get one chance to make a good first impression).

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:56 AM): Terri -- I may have plane for your service to fold into some offerings I'm doing. So make sure I have your contact info -- off chat, okay? That's great to hear.

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:56 AM): Terri, I love the top tagline!

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:56 AM): Will do, Rob! Thanks!

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:57 AM): Jim, go to and click on position to do a quick check if you're in the SEs

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:57 AM): Thanks, Tamra :)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:57 AM): Anyone else before we split? Do you think people will be watching bowl games on Jan 1? I'm thinking that we should resume the Clinic January 8 or so....

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:58 AM): Note: Next week or two will be kind of dead...but watch out for the second week of January. I think we'll see some big action.

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 9:58 AM): Rob - you need to fix the Y2K problem in your script (take a look at the date lines) :)

Jim Malone ( (12/24/2001 9:58 AM): Rob, Monday is the 31st

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 9:58 AM): I have to watch the bowl games -- go Ducks!

Terri Robinson ( (12/24/2001 9:59 AM): This was a great session, Rob and everyone!! Have a wonder-filled holiday and I'll see you all next week (or year!)

Joanne ( (12/24/2001 9:59 AM): No bowl games for me, but I can see that there aren't many of us this week.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:59 AM): I know Jonathan. I might try to tackle that over the holiday.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 9:59 AM): I'm not a bowl guy, either. I just show up for the potato chips and onion soup dip.

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 10:00 AM): Okay, everyone -- have a safe and fun holiday.....

Tamra ( (12/24/2001 10:00 AM): Have a great week everyone. It's a good week to do year-end backups of your hard drive....

Jonathan ( (12/24/2001 10:01 AM): Season's greetings to all, and to all a good brand! :)

RobFrankel ( (12/24/2001 10:01 AM): Go get 'em!

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