How To Write an Amazon Top 15 Book For Client Credibility With Andrew Ludlam
This is an interesting episode for anyone struggling with credibility when selling SEO services. For example, if your prospect asks for a testimonial from a past client.
In this episode, I’m sitting down with Andrew Ludlam to hear how he wrote a top 15 best-selling book on Amazon – for his category, and then got it featured on numerous trusted, industry relevant websites to position himself as an expert.
Andrew started working on this after reading this idea from the Lion Zeal Mastermind, and used it to reach top 15 in his category, and get featured by multiple highly reputable sources.
In this episode, we cover:
- How to write a Kindle book in less than a month
- How to get magazines and associations to feature your book
- How to get associations to promote you to their email list – for free
- A step-by-step walkthrough of how to publish your own book
Links and Resources Mentioned:
Here’s an example email Andrew sent to an association:
Daryl Rosser: If you’re looking to take your SEO business to the next level you’re in the right place. With weekly interviews with SEO experts from around the world you can learn exactly what it takes to make money in this rapidly changing industry. This is the Lion Zeal show. Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the Lion Zeal show.
In this episode I’m sitting down with Andrew Ludlam to talk about creating or writing a book on Kindle that you can use for positioning yourself as an expert. Around, I don’t know, a couple of months ago or so I wrote this email and this post in a group about how to create a bestselling book so you can position yourself as an expert for getting clients. Andrew just went out there and immediately decided to implement this. He wrote out this Kindle book and he got it published on Amazon.
Even better, he took us even further and then he went on and got magazines and associations all in his industry to promote him basically, share the book with their audience. Some of them even email it out. This is a very cool strategy.
Mostly for positioning but you may even get some clients out of it. Just for position yourself as an expert because so many people struggle to go out there and sell SEO when they get asked for testimonials and example rankings and everything like that.
The reason for that is, is because they don’t have enough trust. Doing something like this is a very simple way of establishing a lot of trust, building up your expertise. It’s just very simple to do if of course you learn to put in the work. Let’s cut straight into the interview, hope you enjoy this. Hey Andrew, thank you for coming on the show today and joining me here.
Andrew Ludlam: Hi Daryl. Good to be here.
Daryl Rosser: I was really interested to bring you on the show actually because you sent me the email recently about how you have published your own book similar to an idea I sent out, I don’t know, months ago about doing that for positioning your agency. Do you want to give people a little rundown of what you did, like a brief rundown?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. Basically you’re right, I think it was back in, I don’t know, September time in the Lion Zeal group. I think you mentioned about how using a Kindle book can position your SEO services. Essentially I just picked up the idea and ran with it.
Two months later, two months later … About two months actually yeah, back in November the 16th I released a book on Amazon Kindle called Trade Up Your Online Marketing which is essentially an SEO Kindle book that was totally focused on the building and construction industry.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, awesome. What is your background before you did this?
Andrew Ludlam: Well I’ve been in marketing probably for about ten years now. It’s mainly been offline marketing. Back here in the UK I run a company called Maverick Marketing Consultants, a number of other companies as well.
I’ve always given tips and advice on SEO and how to get their websites ranking better in search engines, deliver training on it, et cetera, et cetera. I guess like a lot of people here I’m completely self-taught. I’ve picked up what I’ve learned from people like yourself and others.
As I said, it brings me to you. One company I run helps businesses raise finance. If you type in the term, “Business plan writer,” I rank … I think it’s number one or two on page one of Google for that term.
I think that has about 30 odd million searches. I thought, “Well okay. I’m quite good at this stuff, I should probably start up an SEO agency.”
About nine months ago I started up Choice Digital but realized very soon there’s lots of SEO agencies out here, especially here in the UK. I needed a way to niche my services. I was really interested in targeting the building and construction industry as a specific niche and so I decided to write and launch a Kindle book to position myself.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. With the targeting the construction type of industry did you start targeting the industry before you wrote the book?
Andrew Ludlam: Yes. I’d always anticipated targeting that industry because it’s quite a deep … I guess you’d call it a deep vertical in that in that industry you’ve got roofers, builders, electricians, landscape gardeners. I’d actually started doing and had some success with it the old video audit offer, send out an email. I did it slightly differently actually, I would send out an email saying that I’d looked at their websites.
Well no actually, let me backtrack. What I did is I found out a list of trade associations and many of them as you probably know give the email and website address of say a roofer. What I did is I would send them an email saying, “I’ve looked at your website. I’ve noticed a couple of issues with it and I’ve also prepared a video audit.” To tell you the truth I hadn’t prepared a video audit. If they said they weren’t interested, great. Saved me some time.
If they said yes I’d quickly scurry away and do a five minute video audit. I’d had some success with that but I realized I wanted to contact the trade associations as an SEO specialist. I felt I needed a way in so hence I needed a book, is always the best business club you could have. As I said I saw your idea up in the Facebook group and then it went from there, it went very quickly.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome man. You said you published it I think two months ago today?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: When I made my post it was what, maybe a month or two before that? Not too much longer than that is it?
Andrew Ludlam: I think it was that, yeah. I think I turned the whole project around in about six weeks, yeah. I just realize that, and I have to be honest with everyone, I think the book is 50 pages. It’s not War and Peace by any means.
It’s not going to set the SEO industry alight with new tactics and strategies but between you and me, and I’m sure you probably know from your experience that certainly the building and construction industry, whilst they might be good at building houses they don’t know too much about building SEO.
I knew the material would work but I was very keen to give myself a deadline so I had lots of articles, I had lots of information as a lot of us I’m sure do have buried away on our hard drives or PDFs that we might need. I literally gave myself two weeks to write this book because I knew it wouldn’t get done.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I think most people struggle with that.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. But for me the most important part of the book because again I know that … I sound quite cynical but it’s true in my experience, is that people buy books but not everyone reads them. The important thing for me is to make sure it builds a very, very specific call to action in the book, which was a free audit of their website.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, so tying it back to that?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. I made sure if anyone’s planning a Kindle book to make the call to action … To provide a call to action at the beginning, at the end of the book so the first thing they read is the free audit of their website. Then there’s some content and then the last chapter again is a reminder of this free offer.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. In regards to writing the book you said you gave yourself a two-week deadline. Was that your main focus for these two weeks or is it like an additional thing before or after work or … How did it work?
Andrew Ludlam: I did tend to spend … To hole myself up for two or three days just to write the material. I did have a lot of it to handle already, I’ve delivered training on SEO, I had a lot of case studies working for clients over the years. It just wasn’t in a suitable format, plus of course it needed updating because some of the SEO tactics we might have talked about two or three years ago aren’t as relevant or as important. My main thing was to sit there, get this 50 page Word document written. I wasn’t going to use the tactic which I think some people certainly on Amazon do, which is that they write a 20 page book but the font is about 50.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, it’s kind of sleazy.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. I wanted to make sure … Because I think it was two or three weeks but as I say I had a lot of the content. It was reshaping it, it was editing it, putting it into chapters. But again I just knew what with everything else, running all the other businesses and all the other things I do that if I didn’t do it it would drag.
I knew that Christmas was coming up soon, that’s not the best time to start releasing Kindle books. I was just determined to turn this around, certainly as a Word copy … Sorry, in Word within about two to three weeks.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. I think that’s the right approach, leveraging content that you’ve already created rather than writing from scratch. You’ve already got that content there, you may as well use it. I guess you just tweaked it a little bit to suit the approach that the book has taken.
Andrew Ludlam: Yes, spot on. For example with title tags or meta descriptions I just gave … I’ll be honest with you. I was quite, I won’t say cheeky, it was important I promoted myself. Whenever I gave some great examples they were invariably Choice Digital. Here’s a great example of title tags, and sent them to Choice Digital. But equally I then underneath that would incorporate an image of … Some great title tags that say a roofer should use or a landscape gardener should use.
Daryl Rosser: Gotcha, so relevant to them?
Andrew Ludlam: You’re right, yeah. I made sure that everything was relevant, was very specific to the building and home improvement industry. Even the name, I don’t think we’ve given a name have we?
Even the book itself was called Trade Up Your Online Marketing, and then the sub-headline was Discover the SEO Tools Every Tradesman Needs to Get Found, Build Trust and Win More Clients Online. Everything was focused on the building and trading industry.
Daryl Rosser: Perfect, yeah. It makes a lot of sense. Just targeting very, very specifically exactly who you want to read your book. Rather than building an SEO book you want to attract very, very specific people. Are you just targeting the UK also with this?
Andrew Ludlam: I am at the moment. There’s no reason why I can’t go beyond the UK but I guess that’s where my connections are and where the business is. At the moment it’s just the UK.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Going back to writing it then I think it makes sense, 50 pages. You’re not building a massive book and I’m sure most of these businesses were actually really … It’s more for the position and would you agree with that?
Andrew Ludlam: I totally agree with you. That was the whole reason for this offer. I called it a free read offer, which was the audit. You’re quite right, and that’s exactly why I put it at the front and back of the book. Because they’re busy.
They’re busy running businesses, they probably don’t understand SEO. My whole strategy and outcome for this Kindle book was that they take me up on the audit. It’d be great if they read it. I don’t expect them to but it was all to do with positioning and lead generation.
Daryl Rosser: Gotcha, okay. With writing the book I know you had a deadline, which must have helped a lot. But was there any other strategies or stuff you use or tools or anything to force yourself to stay focused? Because I know that a lot of people will sit down to write the book and then they’ll stare at a blank page for like an hour and not get absolutely anything done.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah that’s quite right. What I did is I broke the book down into chapters, yeah. Again I knew I wanted that lead generation at the front and back, I knew that one of the chapters would obviously be a bio.
Then I essentially, I think it was broke it down into about eight chapters. Initially I wrote down all the topics I wanted to cover back links, keywords, how to find keywords. One chapter I think was top ten SEO strategies you can use today, so usual things about using social media, local citations. The usual SEO topics that we all know and use.
I made sure that I broke it down into eight chapters, eight into 50. My maths isn’t great but that’s four or five pages per chapter. That’s how I worked through it, I chunked it down into chapters and just started to put them together.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, that’s a good strategy. Moving past let’s say someone, they’ve got the book. I’m looking at your book now on Amazon. How did you get the cover designed?
Andrew Ludlam: No, that’s a great question. A web designer that I work with, I quickly looked at the covers and the most effective Kindle covers seem to be simple and quite effective. I actually asked my web designer to come up with a few mock ups for me. I essentially bought the … And again, I’m sure people can …
We can share the links and they can see what the cover looks like but I think he went on Shutterstock and bought the image and as I say he mocked up the cover for me. I was very keen to, again, people will see this when they look at the cover but I wanted to make sure about this free reader offer so we put that in the top right-hand corner.
Daryl Rosser: It definitely stands out, yeah.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, and again as you probably know with Amazon Kindle they always look … You can always see part of the book before you buy it so that’s another reason to have that call to action at the front of the book. So that even if no-one buys the book they still might see the offer of a free audit.
Everything is set up to try and generate leads. In terms of the cover that was just very, very simple. I asked my web designer to come up with something for me and he did. We went with something that’s very simple but very effective.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that looks pretty good, nice and simple. What’s the next step? You’ve got the book written and you’ve got 50 pages done. What do you do next?
Andrew Ludlam: The next step of course is I have to give this book a bit of credibility so the next step is to get some testimonials. I managed to get eight from various builders and decorators. I’ll tell you a little story. Again, I’m all about leverage. How can I get more from what I’ve got? My initial idea was that I thought, “Right. I’ve got this book, I’m now going to contact complimentary trade businesses and ask if they’d like to review it.
I spent a day on the internet looking for trade-relevant trainers and insurance companies and you name it. I emailed them and said, “Look, I’ve got this new Kindle book. Would you like to leave a review? A, it would help me get a free review quickly and B,” as I said when I said about the email, I said, “It’s a great opportunity for you to promote your business.” I have to say the response wasn’t great. I don’t know why.
But a couple of people picked me up on the offer but then they … Which was fine, but then they didn’t actually supply the testimonials. I guess, I don’t know, there’s a free book. Perhaps that’s all they wanted. But like any good marketer we have to pivot and change direction. I just spoke to a few people and some people that knew builders.
One of my clients actually was a builder and so I contacted I think it was about six or seven builders and said, “Would you like to leave a review?” Truth be told they said, “Yes, we’re happy to do it but we’re all very busy.” I said, “Great. I’ll write the review and you just have to sign it off.” I got to say exactly what I wanted to say.
The book also comes with, I think it’s about six or seven testimonials from a couple of decorators, a big roofing company that was a client of mine, a big … I think there was a landscape gardener as well.
But again, to move this along, actually I’ll be honest with you. That’s the part that took the longest was waiting for people to just get back to me and say, “Yeah, I’m happy with these testimonials.” Otherwise the book would have actually been released a lot sooner. That was a kind of pain in the neck.
Daryl Rosser: I guess it’s hugely important though for, when someone opens up your book you want them to instantly see the credibility and effort.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah exactly, and also it’s important that I want to include those testimonials in the Amazon book description and then also when I was going to start contacting trade associations, which I’m sure we’ll come to in a minute.
I wanted to say that this book had actually been endorsed by the very people you represent. You’re right, it’s really important that once that 50 page document is written the next step was by any means to get some testimonials.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool. So contact people, you write it for them but obviously get them to check it off to make it easier because I get it, people are busy. Especially in that industry as well, those types of industries. What’s next?
Andrew Ludlam: Okay, what was next? Right. Next we need to format the book, so initially I jumped onto the usual places like Fiverr, but I wasn’t too happy with what was … People could produce, I was a bit unsure. I actually just went online and looked for a company that turned Word documents into Kindle books.
Found a couple of companies that did that, contacted one. Can’t remember their name actually, but and they again I think in four or five days they just turned it into a Kindle book and one that they guaranteed would be accepted by Amazon. That was actually a very easy part of the whole process really.
Daryl Rosser: I guess it’s not too expensive to do that?
Andrew Ludlam: I think from memory it was about … I think it was something about $90, but again I’m sure people can shop around. There’s places like Fiverr but my worry is what the quality’s going to be like. But again I was just keen to get this done, that’s the important thing.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, it’s not much money if you want to get it done and want it to look good.
Andrew Ludlam: No, I knew the returns would far outweigh the cost of $90.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, just get one client.
Andrew Ludlam: Exactly, yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, so you got all the book formatted and all that. What’s next, submitting it? Or am I missing something?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, that was it. The book’s ready to go, I made sure I had those two call to actions. So yeah, I submit it to Amazon. I then made a point of making sure that the summary of the book was compelling as well because obviously that’s your sales pitch. What I did is a few tips, is that I looked at how other books selling well certainly in the SEO section of Amazon.
I looked at the top ten books, I looked at their descriptions, how were they formatted? What I tended to find for the book descriptions that any free offers were mentioned at the top. I guess you would call it the top of the fold. Because as you know now when you look at any book description on Amazon it has the top paragraph and you have to click to see the rest. Again when you look at my description you’ll see that the first thing I mention is this free website audit. I made a point really again of looking at … There’s always clues out there.
I never believe we have to reinvent the wheel, people have already spent time, money and effort doing this so we just need to see how they’ve done it and borrow rather than copy, borrow ideas. I wrote the book description, again made sure to include some testimonials from the book in it, uploaded it. Then the next step, I knew that I needed to get this in …
My ultimate aim is to get this in front of the trade associations and there’s lots over here in the UK. But I knew that I needed a bit more credibility, so as soon as the book was released I released a press release. I used the company, I believe they’re called Industry News. Essentially they mainly focus on, again, the building and construction industry.
Normally their press releases are picked up by Google News as well. I put together a press release, I issued that. Then the next step, again before I contacted the trade associations I wanted even more credibility.
I probably then spent I’d say two weeks contacting almost every trade association magazine I could find and would send them an email which contained one, a link to the Amazon Kindle book so that they knew it was the genuine thing, and two, again, using leverage I sent them a link to the industry news press release because again I wanted to prove and show to them that it had actually been on a building and construction press release site, it was very specific to the industry.
Daryl Rosser: Gotcha, okay. With the press release did you just write that yourself?
Andrew Ludlam: I did, yeah. As I said I’ve been running a marketing company for ten years so I do the copywriting for the clients as well. Most of this is all in-house, it’s me essentially. I put together the press release myself.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Do you remember how much you paid for the press release, give or take?
Andrew Ludlam: Well again it was all different levels. It was from here in the UK, something from 20 pounds up to 70 pounds. I just went with the 70 pounds because you could include in the press release back links, or hyperlinks rather. It was distributed on various platforms that they ran through their Twitter account and things like that. You got more bang for your buck so I went for the top press release.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. The sole focus of that press release wasn’t to bring in an influx of salesmen or anything like that, it was to give you some proof basically so you can contact these associations and stuff to get them to publish you?
Andrew Ludlam: That’s it, yeah. Yeah, spot on. I knew that releasing a press release would, you never know. Actually no, I did. Someone did contact me through the press release. Over here, again, in the UK I don’t know if you’re aware of it but we have companies called Checker Trade and My Builder, they help build. They’ve had quite a mixed press where they help builders generate leads. Well actually someone from my builder contacted me for a free copy.
Daryl Rosser: Oh nice.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, but I knew again, no. I knew that I wasn’t going to get clients from this, again it was the whole thing about leverage, getting more credibility and so that when I started to contact the trade magazines I could send them a link to this press release to show that, “It had been featured on industry news,” even though I bought the privilege.
Daryl Rosser: Perfect. Okay so, you emailed the trade magazines and whatnot. What did the email say roughly?
Andrew Ludlam: Hang on, I’ll just see if I can find a copy here. It is along the usual lines of I always opened with, it’s something along the lines of last month, or sorry, this month I released the first ever book written specifically for the trade industry on internet marketing. It’s called Trade Up Your Online Marketing and I gave them a link to the Amazon page.
Then I said, would they be interested in featuring it in their magazine? It might be useful to their readers. That was it in a nutshell really, yeah. I made a point of contacting, as I say. Again, how did I find these magazines? I just typed in trade magazines into Google. I tell you a brilliant place for finding magazines and this kind of information is Twitter because you’ll probably find that … You’ll find a trade association, they’re often following their press or the press magazines that they want to be in.
Same with industry news that I used for the press release, they were quite well-connected. Look, I just quickly scanned their Twitter profile and I also did a search on Twitter, I think I put in trade magazines and about 15 came up. I just sat there and fired off I think about 15 emails to various magazines.
Daryl Rosser: Nice. What sort of response rate did you get from this?
Andrew Ludlam: I would say about a third got back to me and featured the book. Who got back to me? The Professional Heating and Plumbing Magazine, they featured an article. Pro Landscaper, they featured the book. They target landscape companies, landscape gardeners rather.
Daryl Rosser: Did you say a third got back to you and published it? Not just got back to you but also published an article about it?
Andrew Ludlam: They did, yeah. I mean the articles were … It was basically, here’s another reason why I wanted a press release. When you’re contacting trade magazines they’re busy, they don’t have time to write the article.
But here’s another tip, I attach the press release that I’d featured in the industry news as a Word file. I also attached a cover of the book because I knew journalists would be busy, so what often happens and certainly in Professional Heating and Plumbing Magazine, they essentially just clip the first two thirds of the press release and featured it in their magazine.
Daryl Rosser: Perfect, if it works for you.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. And again, when you’re contacting these people they’re busy. You don’t want to give them any work, you have to make it very, very simple for them. Yeah, so I forgot to say that instead of the email I also attach the press release and book cover. Also contacted some local press so here, well
I’m based in Hertfordshire so the Hertfordshire Independent picked it up, they featured it as well. Even as we speak I think a couple of other magazines are still considering it.
I have to say, a few others said, “Yes, we’ll feature it and it’ll cost 300 pounds to run an article,” or, “Yes, we’ll feature it but it’ll be 200 pounds,” and et cetera et cetera. I have to say I ignored all of those because I didn’t want to spend a fortune on this.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. I guess what’s also interesting is I imagine, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, that you’re going to get an influx of traffic to your Amazon page and loads of people buying the book as a result of those releases even though you may get some. But I guess what it gives you afterwards is that credibility to say that, “We were featured on Pro Landscaper and whatever those other magazines are.”
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah this is it. Because I knew that when I contact the trade associations I can mention these magazines and you’re quite right, because again with most magazines … By the way these were online articles. They don’t tend to provide the link to your Amazon page unfortunately. I just used it as you say a credibility tool. I knew that I wouldn’t probably generate much business or direct sales from it.
Again, it was just another case of leveraging what I’ve done. And also it was a bit of a fun experiment. I thought, “Here, I’ve written a Kindle book that’s targeted to the trade. Let’s see how many magazines will pick this up,” and as I say a good handful did. Again I probably followed up maybe once or twice and then that was it. I didn’t continuously follow up because again I knew I had to move on to the next step.
Maybe if I tried three or four times some of the others may have got back to me but I thought, “You know what? Four or five trade magazines are featuring this. That’s enough to name drop, let’s move on now to the next step.”
Daryl Rosser: Okay, yeah. I completely agree, that’s a very smart strategy. I guess if you think about it at this point you have quite a few things that you can use as credibility. You have the book, you have all the testimonials for the book, you’ve been featured on all these relevant, industry-relevant magazines plus obviously the press release.
This is all this credibility you’ve built up, this trust that you’ve built up so that when you’re speaking to absolutely anyone, even a potential client you can mention all this stuff and show them or during your sales process so they’re not at such … Most people struggle with SEO because they can’t build up enough trust. You can build it up through all this various stuff.
Andrew Ludlam: That’s right. During this time when I released the Kindle book, you can include it in various categories. Initially it was, I think it went in at number 15 in the SEO book in the SEO Kindle category, again which looks good. I think it’s probably dropped a bit since then unfortunately but … So again, I made sure to mention that.
That it was essentially a top 15 Kindle book, which it was. That’s right, yeah. I’m just using all these different points to gain more and more credibility before I then target the big boys which was obviously the trade association.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. What’s the plan with the trade associations?
Andrew Ludlam: My plan was, as I say I’ve had some success with contacting various say roofing companies via the video audit but I knew the problem with that is that that’s all well and good, which is great.
But they’ve never heard of me before. You are essentially cold emailing them, there’s nothing wrong with that but you don’t have any credibility or you have to build it up. I thought, “Well what better way to get in front of all these roofers, builders, plumbers, you name it by being endorsed by a trade association?”
Again I’m a big believer in if I needed to get from A to B I want to plot … What do I think are going to be the hurdles and how can I overcome them? How can I pre-empt a challenge or someone might have a problem with my approach? This is why I released this book because I thought, “If I approach a trade association and say, “Hey, I’m Choice Digital.
“You’ve never heard of me before but would you like to promote me to all your members?” Or words to that effect. It’s not going to work. So instead if I now approach them saying, “I’ve released a Kindle book and it’s featured in X, Y, Z publication, it’s on Amazon Kindle,” I knew I stood a much better chance and I could quickly reach a lot of traders quickly or tradesmen quickly rather than individually having to send out emails and mention a video audit to them.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Again it is about building up that credibility again, and you’re completely right. If you email another association and said that it’d be pretty amusing to see the response if you even get one.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, that’s right. I guess maybe in terms of next steps, it might be good now to explain how I got in front of the trade associations.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, go ahead.
Andrew Ludlam: A couple of tools that I use, people may be aware of these is that when you … Well first of all I made a list of all the trade associations in the UK. There’s quite a few, some are absolutely huge, some are very small. I have to say it’s an ongoing process because obviously the book was released two months ago so I’m still doing it as we speak.
I’ve made a list of all the trade associations and wanted to find out who runs them, whether they’re managing directors or CEO. A great tool that people may be aware of is something called Email Hunter.
Daryl Rosser: Finds email addresses, right?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah that’s right. Because when you go onto these trade association websites or any website for that matter the contact is always info@, isn’t it? Or hello@. I knew I had to make my approach incredibly targeted so that’s one way I found people’s email addresses, was … I’ll give you an example and this one actually …
I found over here in the UK there’s the Institute of Roofers. They’ve been going for a long, long time, represents lots of roofers here in the UK. I knew I needed to contact the main person in charge, I think I’ve had his email address … Yeah, I think it was through Email Hunter. I just use the free option and I sent him an email. Actually I think I’ve got it in front of me, what’s it say? It’s along the lines of I want to make it very, very specific. You open with the line, actually this goes against every template.
This is a long email, this actually goes against what people normally apply because I knew I had a lot to explain. But I kept it relevant to him and his organization. It says something like, “Last month I published the first-ever marketing book written specifically for the building and construction industry,” and then gave a link to the page.
I said it already ranks in the top 40 search engine books on Amazon Kindle and have been featured across various publications which I then listed. Then the next line was again straight into how him and his organization … I said, “As you’ll only be too aware as any good roofing company can be being found online by the right customer at the right time is key to running a successful business.” Then I just mentioned that Trade Up Your Online Marketing is kind of a jargon-free book on SEO and internet marketing.”
Here’s the line that I would change for each approach, it’s really important. I said, “I know the Institute of Roofing is keen to ensure that its members run successful and profitable businesses as well as building their skills and knowledge.” Then I put in brackets, “As mentioned at your Recent AGM.” What I made sure to do was to look at their …
Most trade organizations have core values don’t they, or mission statements. I made sure to find out what are they keen to promote? Yeah so I said, “I know the Institute of Roofing is keen to ensure its members run successful and profitable businesses as well as building up skills.” Then the line was, “And then if you’re open to it would you like to discuss a way of distributing the book for free to your members?” I think that was sent on the 8th of December.
Daryl Rosser: That’s not too long. You said it was quite long, that’s not too bad.
Andrew Ludlam: That’s not bad, no. I’m just looking at it. I sent it to him at 4:40 on the 8th of December and within five minutes he got back to me.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, that’s quick.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. “Hi Andrew, yes indeed. Always happy to discuss member benefits. Any chance we could discuss this over a phone call? My number is …” And gave it out to me. I used exactly the same approach only last week actually to contact the Construction Industry Federation and they actually represent all the building and construction industry in Ireland.
Exactly the same approach but tweaked it slightly to make it appropriate, and again that was sent out on the 11th of January and he replied … It was ten minutes later as well. Yeah, the Director of Communications. “Hi Andrew, thanks for your kind offer. Would it be possible to get the copy of a book for our information? We could meet early February to discuss distribution. Kind regards.”
Daryl Rosser: Perfect. Because it’s a Kindle book it doesn’t matter to you to give it out for free. It’s not like you’re paying money every single time.
Andrew Ludlam: No exactly, and that was the other thing yeah. If it was a hard copy book we’d probably have to have a different conversation. But again there’s no lies there. I knew this information will be relevant to their members, it is full of good material and as I say the Institute of Roofers I believe this week actually are going to be running the offer to their membership. Another win that I had last week, no last Friday so I don’t know how it’s gone but the Master Locksmith Association I approached, and they’ve ran their offer last Friday.
Daryl Rosser: What do they do to … Do they email all of their members?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. Often what happens is that I either then jump on the phone with them and I always … I give them suggestions, again that the tip is we don’t make it hard for them. I give suggestions, so essentially what I’ve done is on Choice Digital I’ve created a page where the members will go to download the book. But of course as any good marketer knows they have to give me their name and email address before they get their book.
Daryl Rosser: Perfect.
Andrew Ludlam: Then in AWebber I set up a couple of follow-up messages. I think the first one says, “Great, thanks for downloading the book. I hope it’s helpful,” and I just remind them of the free audit offer. Again with the Institute of Roofers he was very keen to get it out to his members but he wasn’t sure.
I said, “Well let me write the email for you,” which didn’t take long at all. Again it’s normally an email distribution with a link to a specific page that I’ve built on my website, and then from there they’ll be able to download the book.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome. It’s completely free for you isn’t it? You’re not paying for any of this.
Andrew Ludlam: No. I guess it’s only time, but no you’re quite right. What I’m doing is this is all free. What’s been interesting, as I say, you get a few extra wins. So for example within the Institute of Roofers we’ve got on the phone and their website, he freely admits their website is terrible.
They’re going to have it redesigned and while she’s on the phone I said, “Well have you thought about SEO?” She said, “No, we haven’t discussed that.” So again that may be something that I’ll discuss with them at a later date. So I’m not only talking about …
Remember now I’ve given their membership the opportunity to download a free book so now there’s a good opportunity for them to reciprocate. Once I’ve had a couple of conversations I’ll tend to push for delivering training even at their organization or asking them a bit more about their own website. Just pushing things a bit further.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that’s pretty cool that you’re pretty much building a list off of this book now through these associations so you can follow up with them anytime you like. What’s really interesting to me now is because you’ve been featured by these associations I imagine that you can continue doing the video audits just as you did before. But when you’re emailing these companies you can say like, “Hey, we’re recommended by … Or our book is recommended by, we’re featured by this association,” that they’re a member of.
Andrew Ludlam: That’s it, yeah, exactly. That’s exactly my next strategy now because I’ve now got that credibility. I think that’s as you said at the very beginning, I think that’s very true. It’s getting credibility in the marketplace because we all do.
Even I get spammed by companies offering me services. We get it all the time, you have to find a way of just opening that door, making it easier to open that door so that they actually listen to you. Now when I go back to offering video audits I’ll mention that I’ve got a book on Amazon that’s specifically for the trade. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if that definitely helps.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. I think it’s going to be useful. Even if it doesn’t help increase the responses, I don’t know if you’ve heard it personally but I know a lot of people struggle with when they get on the phone they get asked for testimonials, reviews or something like that and they freak out because they’re very new to something, they don’t have that just yet. Whereas when you showcase this credibility right upfront before you ever speak to them it should help.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, definitely. Again, I had this with a roofing company. They said, “How many roofs …” It’s always the usual. “How many websites have you done SEO for in the roofing industry?” At that time it was zero.
All I did, when I presented them with a video audit and I know that at some point I think we’re going to discuss they’re going to take up my services, I just carefully ignored that question and just pointed them to other websites that I’d done SEO on so that I’d kind of answered the question. But as you say now I can mention the book, I can send them to the website page.
Daryl Rosser: Or even mention an association that they may be a member of that featured it.
Andrew Ludlam: That’s right, yeah. It all marries up quite nicely.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool. Your agency is Choice Digital you mentioned?
Andrew Ludlam: That’s right, yeah.
Daryl Rosser: That’s purely SEO now for the trade industry specifically?
Andrew Ludlam: Well it can be for any industry but I knew that again, initially I wanted to work with a specific sector. But previous clients have included fitness clients and I normally work with professional service firms or industries that provide them services, which I know is very far-reaching.
But my aim then is now as I said because we’ve had success but try to offer SEO services to everyone and anyone is very difficult. As I say, as of November of last year I’ve targeted a specific niche.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Are you planning on sticking exclusivity with this niche or are you planning on launching a book for other issues and expanding the same idea?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, I mean that’s a great question. I think I’ll probably see how this pans out for another maybe six to eight months. In terms of the return on investment and what I actually get, but there’s no reason why I can’t rinse and repeat this for other sectors.
The only thing is, so for example on my list is the accountancy profession only because I’ve worked with accountants in the past. The great thing about accountants is that all their businesses are businesses, and I know I’m stating the obvious but if they like what you do they can promote you to a big database.
But the reason why I’m umming and aahing about that is because certainly here in the UK there’s only probably two industry associations. It might be quite difficult to get in front of. There’s all the big players in the market. There aren’t many accountancy magazines so I may choose a different niche.
But there’s no reason why I reckon in six to eight months I wouldn’t veer off into another sector.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. You’re still contacting associations now, but how long did it take to get to the point where you’re contacting them would you say?
Andrew Ludlam: Well I started probably a month after the book was released so I would probably say mid-December. Also I hadn’t mentioned, there was a couple of other industries that are … You see the problem, well I guess the challenge is that my timing perhaps wasn’t the best in the … I was contacting people.
The book was released in November, I started contacting trade associations in mid-December. Certainly over here in the UK around Christmas time the country seems to stop. I’m picking this up now. I had a couple of wins before Christmas, another big, big, big industry association, the Painting and Decorator Association which has I think it’s 15,000 members.
They are, yeah, that would be nice. They’ll be running something in February-March. Some of these things I’m still running with and picking up now but that’s only because Christmas got in the way and people just weren’t around to answer emails.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that’s very cool though. I like the strategy of getting them to email out. When I originally wrote the idea of getting a book there is purely for credibility. Which you’ve already got from it but also leveraging the associations is added credibility and they can literally bring clients to you directly, which is very cool.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. That was always the idea for me is I wanted to take it one step further and always find … For me, if I’m going to target an audience I always try to look at organizations that have already got that credibility, that have already spent time, money and effort building up a database. The whole point of this Kindle was to obviously A, to give their members some education but B was to help me almost form joint ventures with them.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, perfect.
Andrew Ludlam: Just one more thing to add as well, very quickly I’m now taking this to other … It’s not just trade associations. There aren’t that many but I also emailed just before Christmas a business coach that works with a certain trade and we were hoping to do a joint venture as well.
It’s not just trade associations, I looked at other complimentary companies and organizations that work with the trade. My next step as well is to probably start contacting insurance companies.
Daryl Rosser: Oh that’s smart. Yeah, supplies and all sorts. There’s a lot of opportunity there.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, just to see if again, would they like to give this book away for free? It might be a nice … Some added value to their membership. I guess that’s definitely going to be my next step.
Daryl Rosser: Yes, a very smart approach. Cool. Is there anything that I forgot to ask or are there things that you’d like to mention for anyone that’s looking to go out there and do the same thing?
Andrew Ludlam: I think for me one of the big tips is to, I guess to think about what’s the ultimate outcome? Then you work backwards from there. For me all this was about, “Okay. I need to get in front of lots of traders, tradesmen but I don’t have any credibility.”
As I said the idea was to contact and work with trade associations and really that was my end goal was to get promoted by a trade association and then taking a step back from that. Well what can I go to them with? What value can I give upfront before asking for anything? That’s where the Kindle book came into it. One of my tips for anyone would be to think, “Well what’s the ultimate outcome? Okay, you can write a Kindle book. But what’s the purpose of that?” Have the end result in mind and then work backwards from there.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, it definitely shows in the strategy of get in testimonials in the first place and doing the press releases. Every little step was thought out, was how you can get to the next one.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah. It’s all about small steps. I mean as you probably know you see all these great tips online and then people run with it and probably give it five minutes and then change to something else. I knew that I only needed a couple of magazines on ball, that’s all I needed before I moved to the next step.
The same with the trade associations. As soon as I got one trade association involved I’ve now name dropped them and mentioned them in follow-up emails to other trade associations. It’s all about very small steps and it’s all about leveraging your quick wins.
The press release that I issued with industry news, I leverage that to get into trade magazines. I then leverage the trade magazines to get in front of trade associations. I then leverage the trade associations that so far have said yes to get in front of the other trade associations.
So again it’s all about using what you’ve got and just pushing forward. It’s easy to get disheartened with all of this but I guess here’s proof that you can run with it and do it.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. Would you say it’s relatively simple? Not trying to take away from how much time you’ve put into it and everything like that. But I mean do you think that other people that are listening to this could go out there and do the same thing?
Andrew Ludlam: Oh definitely, yeah. It’s all about getting everything in a plan properly. I guess the only stumbling block or slight challenge is that there’s a certain way you write your emails. As I said the one that I read out that has worked, make sure that the email is about the trade association. They don’t really care about you in the book, it’s what’s in it for them? That’s all anyone really cares about. I think anyone can do this.
I’m very new to the SEO world in terms of running a business. I’ve been studying SEO for years but in terms of running a business I’m probably 9 months old. But I think it’s very easy for anyone to do this. The key is that when you’re contacting any of these organizations, magazines, you’ve always got to write from the point of view of what’s in it for them? They’re not interested in you or your SEO companies. How their readers or members are going to benefit.
Daryl Rosser: Exactly.
Andrew Ludlam: Equally, I’m more than happy to offer some tips or guidance if anyone wants to get into direct contact. That’s fine as well.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Quick questioning, would you be able to send a screenshot or something of the emails if you’re happy to do that? You can blur anything you want on it so I can show people in the show notes what they can do themselves.
Andrew Ludlam: Sure, yeah. There might be parts I’ll have to blur out just because of names and contacts but certainly I can do that. All I would say is if you’re going to use it you might need to tweak it a bit.
Daryl Rosser: Please.
Andrew Ludlam: Otherwise you don’t want the same email going to every magazine across the world, someone might cotton on. Yeah, I can share that. Again if people want to go onto Amazon and look at the Kindle book you can see the way that that’s been written. The clues are there, look at the magazine … Sorry, look at the book cover so you can see the way I put this all together. But yeah, I’m happy to share and help.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, perfect. I’ll put the links into anything you want me to link to, so the Amazon and if you want to share some of the features or anything like that we can link them up as well if you want to check that out. Where can people find you if they have any questions or anything?
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah, the website address, well that is Choicedigital.co.uk. If anyone wants to email me direct, so it’s Andrew@Choicedigital.co.uk – drop me an email if anyone wants some further tips and strategies, happy to help.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. I’ll leave that out of the show notes so people have to listen to this point because otherwise you’ll get too many emails.
Andrew Ludlam: Yeah that’s true, good point.
Daryl Rosser: All right man. That pretty much wraps it up. I can’t think of any other questions to ask. Thanks a lot for coming on the show and sharing so much knowledge about what you did.
Andrew Ludlam: Thanks Daryl. As I say it’s one little idea you sparked and I guess I’m proof that … I ran with it and look what you can achieve. We need to visit Lion Zeal Facebook more and see about all the great information you divulge. It just shows you what you can do with it.
Daryl Rosser: Thanks man, yeah. Hopefully we’ll see some more people implementing these ideas now and getting some results, especially with everything you’ve given away today. There’s nothing to stop people going out there and writing their own books.
Andrew Ludlam: No, nothing at all. You just have to do it. It’s a cliché but like most clichés are true, you just have to do it and yeah. You put these strategies in place, you’ll get some wins, I guarantee it.
Daryl Rosser: Exactly. All right, so thanks everyone for tuning into this episode. I hope you got a lot of value out of it and I’ll see you in next week’s episode. If you want to learn more about how to scale your SEO business head over to Lionzeal.com, that’s Lionzeal.com.