How Rocket Referrals’ Carl Maerz wrote an e-book to generate leads

(Guest post by Carl Maerz) For those of you not local to Des Moines, chances are you have never heard of Rocket Referrals. We are a tech startup founded by me and my brother, Torey. Known in the entrepreneur community as “bro-founders” we share the same blood, but have much different skill sets. You know,

Carl Maerz headshot

Carl Maerz headshotAbout the author: Carl Maerz is the co-founder of Des Moines-based startup Rocket Referrals, which helps independent insurance agents with communication surrounding the referral process. Maerz recently wrote an e-book called “The Agents’ Guide to Referrals: How to Implement a Profitable Referral Strategy for Your Insurance Agency” available on Amazon.


For those of you not local to Des Moines, chances are you have never heard of Rocket Referrals. We are a tech startup founded by me and my brother, Torey. Known in the entrepreneur community as “bro-founders” we share the same blood, but have much different skill sets.

You know, Torey would always tell me that there are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t. I guess he was right. I mean, the closest I have ever gotten to zeros and ones was in ‘99, sitting front row at the premiere of The Matrix.

Okay, so my brother is a programming Savant and I don’t know code. But in retrospect this was a good thing. It turns out that marketing has evolved dramatically over the last decade. It is no secret that content, useful and interesting content, is king of the hill. After all, people are no longer forced to look at your crummy ads (well, not as often anyway). We ignore popups, skips intrusive videos the first chance we get, fast forward through TV commercials and text instead of noticing billboards. Alright, you get it.

When we put together the organizational structure of the company’s roles and responsibilities, I thought for sure I would be stuck cleaning the toilets. But even though I was a whizz with the plunger, I opted to head up our inbound and content marketing strategy. So I began writing, reading and writing some more. I researched referral marketing and developed original content—my goal was to spearhead new thinking for this relatively underrepresented topic.

So that was what we did. We founded a company that not only developed innovative software, but also pioneered a new way of thinking and gave away valuable content for free.

It began with blog posts on our website and spread to guest posts, magazine articles, and eventually an e-book. When creating my content I had three rules for myself. First, the content had to be original. Second, it must be genuine and not promotional in nature. Last, it had to be interesting. I didn’t want people reading my blog to help put them to sleep.

Let me tell you, there is only so much you can talk about when it comes to referrals. I hit topics of psychology, sociology, you-name-it-ology. But coming up with new ideas was the challenge and therein the fun.

Last month I decided to combine many of my blog posts and create an e-book. Naturally, I didn’t want to simply copy and paste my prior entries, but having written so much content already did help a lot. I just needed to make sure I structured it in a way that made sense to the casual reader.

I had to write something that people would actually read and had a real value, regardless of if they would use our software or not. So I got busy writing about our philosophy and experience and packaged it into a 40-page e-book. I slapped a professional cover on it and had it published, in bound copies and digitally on Amazon.

Afterwards I spent a couple hundred dollars featuring the e-book on LinkedIn. As of today we have more than 300 downloads and tons of leads. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Including phone calls thanking us for the free content and a review on Amazon stating: “This book is short and to the point. At first you might think this is just a promotion for a product, but it is much more. They have laid out what you need to do. Do it yourself or pay them. It is your choice. Either way this system works.”

For those of you looking for a new way to present your ideas to a wide audience, consider writing an e-book. If you are an avid writer and content creator, the foundation has already been laid with your previous posts. Just make sure to package it as valuable content with no strings attached. If you would like to view my landing page and e-book you can do so here.

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