Creating Better Customers with Chris Marr

This week I got to speak with the amazing Chris Marr, founder of the award winning Content Marketing Academy. Chris, is an industry leader he does some pretty awesome things all over the inter-webs. Nonetheless, and spending 25 minutes with us sharing some huge ideas on the way we run our businesses, and how we can use content marketing to create better customers through helping rather than selling. There’s some serious value bombs dropped in this one so you might want to grab a notepad and pen, do reach out to either Chris or myself afterwards and let’s know how you got on with it. Let’s know what your biggest takeaway is. I hope you enjoy.


Time Stamps

01:00:00 How would you define content marketing?

14:47:00 How do small business owners get over the initial hurdle of overwhelm and impatience when they aren’t seeing results?

22.52.00  What would be the core message that you would want to leave people watching this video, or listening to?

25.00.00 If you were given a super power, would you want the give of speed or the gift of slowing down time?


"Content Marketing is a better way to build businesses."  (Click to Tweet)

Connect with Chris





Free Content Marketing Crash Course:

Resources/ People Mentioned

Kate Mcquillan



Marcus Sheridan (<– Equally awesome!!!)





Thank you for joining. Thank you for joining, really, really excited to have this chat with content marketing because I feel like it’s one of those buzz words that are thrown around, and people don’t really know what it means. It’s kind of like, oh, that’s another thing I should be doing but what is it? That’s I guess is my first question to you. How would you define content marketing?


It’s no surprise to you Chloë. It’s the most popular question I get ask, so, it’s funny. You are right. People probably heard of content marketing. They’ve probably heard someone even speak about content marketing, before they may have read it in a book. They may have seen it online. They’ve probably read … You know, there’s lot of blog articles out there about it all, and it’s generally, and widely misunderstood, you know, what it actually is, and especially if you are in the small to medium enterprise space, the SMEs. You’ve got to to figure out what this thing is, right.

One of the things Chloë is that a lot of people think it’s a tactical thing, or this new way of marketing. That’s what people think it is. It’s kind of like email marketing, or social media marketing. It’s like a thing, if you know what I mean, like a new thing that you do. In reality, it’s actually much more than just a blog article, or a podcast, or a video, for example. It’s much more than those things. Those are the mediums that we communicate on these days. As a sort of like underpinning context in those whole thing if you are not creating blog articles, videos, and podcasts then you absolutely need to be. You absolutely need to be creating a rich source of content something that educates, and teaches your audience. This is not about your products and services. That’s the absolute key.

A good example of this would be the pre-call that we just had with Chloë, I actually had with Chloë and Chloë said to me, “What would you like to promote today Chris?” I said, “Nothing, actually. I’d like to have a really valuable conversation so that however is listening to this or watching this learns something, maybe.” That’s the key. It’s nothing to do me. It’s nothing to do with my products and services, and everything to do with the people that are listening to this, which we would call our audience. A lot of people would call them our customers but they are not our customers yet. They are our audience. There’s something else happening here with this whole content marketing thing, and it’s not just about the video, or the podcast, the blog. It’s much more about the message, and how you are actually going to the market, right.

One thing I mentioned already is it’s not about your products and services. There’s a difference between selling and helping. Instead of selling to people, and trying to promote your services all the time, you are actually going out there at whatever platform it maybe, whatever medium it is. It could be Facebook posts. It could tweets. It could be podcasts, blogs, whatever. You are going there to help, and when you help you are specifically going to be answering questions, or solving problems especially if you are focused on your clients, and the customers you are trying to serve. You’ll know what problems and questions they have, and you want to go out there with your knowledge, or skills and experience to help more people.

There’s nothing wrong. It’s massively about getting customers. It’s massively about business growth and sales but you are doing it in an entirely different way. I can give you an example of a recent conversation I had. It was yesterday actually. Someone got in touch with me and said, “Hey, Chris. We are really struggling with social media. In fact, social media is the thing that’s holding us back.” It was literally a one line. Could we grab a call? I was like let’s grab a call, fine but I knew before that call that social media isn’t what’s holding them back. It’s not social media that’s holding them back at all. Having looked at the social media page, and having looked at their website I’ve never heard of their company before. I’ve never even spoken to the person but I know that that’s not it.

My suspicions were confirmed that they are going out there to Facebook and using social media to tell everybody about how great their products are. We make the best smoothies. We’ve got the best crisps. We’ve got the best coffee. We do this. We do that, and that’s the problem. That’s what’s holding them back. It’s not Facebook. It’s not social media. It’s not any of that. It’s the way in which they are going to market. It’s the message that they are sending out there. That’s the problem. That’s content marketing.

It’s the philosophy behind your message. That’s the key. You could do it all wrong. You could blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media in a sales type approach. That’s not content marketing. That’s sales. Content marketing is the difference between selling and helping. Like I said, it’s the difference between, this is again, reflecting the conversation I had with gentleman yesterday, this business owner yesterday is that instead of going out there telling people what you do, find a way that you can go into the market and show people what you do. Instead of saying we’ve got the crisps in the world, do some videos showing people how to make the best crisps in the world.

Instead of saying we’ve got the best smoothies, or we are the only café in a 50-mile radius that makes smoothies, do some videos about teaching people about how to make the best smoothies. That’s the way to do it. Does that make sense?


Yep, it totally makes sense, and I love that show them rather than tell them because then they can feel their efforts and you don’t have to try so hard to sell.


Exactly. It’s a totally different approach, and most people don’t see it. I have a … I literally had a 30-minute call with this guy yesterday. I just said, “Yeah, I’ll jump on a phone call with you,” and by the end of it, he was like a revelation, and a completely different way of doing it. It’s subtle but completely distinct in the way that you get your message out there. A lot of people, Chloë, will say, why would I go out there and help people when I want them to buy from me? That’s what they say. Why would I spend all my time like today, why would I spend my time telling you about content marketing when it’s exactly the thing that I get paid to do? Why would I do that?

That’s the biggest thing you need to get over with this whole thing is that you are building trust. You are building a relationship with people, and over a long period of time, you build loyalty, which trumps everything in business. If you can get someone to see you as the only person, or the only café, or the only place that they want to go, or the only person they want to get information from that trumps absolutely everything. There could be another five cafes coming to your space in that space of time, and they don’t care. They just want to go to you.

That’s the whole purpose of this whole thing is to see past this short term results of just selling, and getting traffic, or getting people into your café or your shop, it’s to see past all of that through relationships, and trust, and advocacy, and loyalty through teaching, through helping, and through just generally just being … Just great at what you do, right.


Yes, it seems like it’s when you are focused on this, it’s more about what’s the core message you want people to share? What’s the story you want people to tell long term instead of focus on those short terms gains. One of the things that you said, and I know you say this quite a lot. Two things, first thing, you are not creating content you don’t exist not at all. The second one was this whole idea that you are actually teaching, that’s what your role is. Your role is of being a teacher, and your tag line for Content Marketing Academy is create better customers.

I think that those two things tied together are huge because I know like in my business, and I’m sure in everybody’s business we hear these complaints of my customers don’t get it. They don’t understand all the works that’s been put into this. They don’t understand why I have to charge this amount, and I think there’s a really, really strong lesson to be learned from small business owners in taking on the role and responsibility of being a teacher, and using content marketing to educate their customers, and create better customers for themselves. So build up this community who does value what they do because you value them.


Someone has to give first, right, so typically in business when you look at businesses they think that you the customer should be spending money with them first before they give value to you. Content marketing is the exact opposite of that. We are giving first. We are the ones that are giving. We are starting the conversation. We are out there adding value all the time, and because of that they want to do business with us. It’s the exact opposite of what we are used to. We are used to people interrupting us with all their adverts, and all the rest saying buy, buy, buy and what we are saying is that hey, we are here when you need us. That’s it.

When we are talking about, if you are not creating content you don’t exist. I see this all the time, and just to give a little bit of context around why I say that, it’s that people don’t who you are. They’ve never heard of you before. They are not typing your name into Google. They are not typing your business name into Google. That’s not how they find you to begin with especially if they’ve never heard of you before, and that sounds really obvious but it’s kind of like a light bulb moment for most people when they think why can’t I find my … Why their website is not on page one Google for our business. If it’s not on the first page of Google for your business then there is a problem but that’s not what people are typing into Google when they’ve never heard of you before because they don’t know your name.

You need to think about what are people searching for online? What are they looking for? What questions are they asking? What problems do they have? What solutions are they looking for? That’s where the magic is with content marketing and that’s why you don’t exist online to people because they are not typing in your name. They are typing in a question or a problem. If you are not creating content that answers questions and creates solutions for problems in videos, and podcast, and blogs, and you are being a teacher, which is what we talk about, then they won’t find you. They’ll find someone else. They’ll buy from someone else because of that. That’s how it works. That’s how it works.

We call it zero moment of truth that 70% of the buying decision is made online before someone ever contacts you for the first time. If you don’t have the content there you are losing customers that you never ever knew that you had the chance to get. That’s why that is a big issue, and the whole thing around creating better customers, Chloë, is a great piece, kind of like a light bulb moment even for us. When you are creating all these blogs, and these podcasts, I mean the thing is right to cut through the BS is we don’t want every client. We don’t want every customer. We want customers that love us that understand what we do.

If you are in business services like we are we want clients that actually want to work with us. They get our philosophy, they understand us, and that whole relationship is just a completely different thing. You go from trust and confidence. That’s what you really want, and we’ve all been in the place where you’ve got bad customers, bad clients, and we know why. They don’t trust us. They are suspicious about what it is that we do. They’ve been ripped off in the past, and it’s our job to take them from suspicion to confidence, or distrust to trust and we do that through content over a long period of time. You can’t measure trust. There’s no rules on how long it takes to build trust.

All I know is if I can get content out there, and every single piece of content I create is to build trust, and over a period of time that trust will form. They’ll want to do business with us, and not only that... They’ll want to stay with us for a long time, and they want to tell other people about what it is that we do. I’m giving first with the intention that hopefully, it’s not about hope. I know it works that in time they will want something from us at some point. That’s how it works but we don’t want every type of customer. Neither do you. If you are listening to this call, or watching this call neither do you. You don’t want every customer. You want the best type of customers so you can use your content to help them understand how you work, why they would want to work with you, your philosophy, your ideas.

You share all of that stuff, and they get a really good feeling. They are like reading your content, or watching your videos and they are like actually, you know what? I really like Chloë. I’m going to give her a call. Let me go see what she’s all about. I’m going to contact her for the first time. I’ve read all her content, I’ve watched all her videos, and I really like her. That’s what we want. You don’t want people picking up the phone and saying, I’m looking social media marketing help, can you help me? You don’t want that.

You want someone phoning and saying, hey Chloë. I really love what you’re doing. I’ve been watching your video for ages, and I think you could really, really help us. That’s what you really want. That relationship has been built at scale because of your content. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.


Yeah and I think one of the big things you said there is [maintain 00:13:47] as well because it takes a lot a lot of work and you need to be patient with this stuff. I know that a lot of people, same as social media they will say you know, well, I tried it, and it’s like, how long did you try it for? I tried it for a few weeks. It’s like it doesn’t work. There’s someone does watch this, and they are like yes, I get this. I want to do this but the first hurdle is always the hardest, getting into that pattern of consistency and doing the work, and trusting that this … Because you have to commit. You can’t be like, “oh yeah, I kind of half belief in this.” You have to go all in on it.

How would you say like for a small business owner in particular, how would you get started because the first thing that’s going to happen is they are going to want to be everywhere. Then they are going to get overwhelmed, and then they are going to want to give up because they are not getting the results and they haven’t been patient. How would you approach that?


Right. How long have I got? Just kidding. The first thing is that it’s I think you recognize that there are like you said to him, I tried it. It didn’t work. This isn’t something you try. This is something that you do forever. This is not a thing. It’s the way that you do business. This is the way that you do business congruently at all times. That’s it. First of all, it’s cultural. It’s philosophical. It’s who you are. It’s who your business is. That’s it. There’s no other way. That’s the first thing. You embrace this philosophy, and that just takes over everything. That’s the first thing. It’s not about trying. It’s about embracing a definite way of doing business, a better way of building your business.

That’s the very first thing. As soon as you get that, right, and as soon as you understand it, and you’ve embraced it, and you are willing to give this a really good shot, like go in all on it. As you say to Chloë everything will change for you, I can guarantee. It just works, and want to share a story with you as well if that’s okay on this. You mentioned time, effort, and patience. You want to change your life in anyway, shape or form it takes time, effort, patience. I’m talking content marketing. You could be talking about trying to change your health. You could be trying to be a better dad. You could be talking about training your dog. You don’t do it on a Sunday. You do it everyday. If you are training your dog you do it for a small amount of time every single day for a long, long, long time. That’s how you train your dog.

That’s how you get better. That’s how you get fitter. That’s how everything in life improves over time but you don’t train your dog, for example, and expect him to be an obedient dog the next day, do you? You don’t expect that. Same thing as well when you are starting a business. You don’t expect … I hope you don’t expect customers just to come flooding in as soon as you establish your business. It doesn’t work like that. You had some faith. You had some belief in yourself that you were able to do this, and achieve this, and you need that with content marketing as well. You need to belief in faith that this stuff works.

Either you’ve seen it, or you’ve had this call, and you are actually I belief, I belief. Have the faith that it works. No one’s talking about belief in faith here like a preacher but to be honest that’s what it really takes. You need to belief that it works, and if it’s all that you are doing, if you are only going to spend a few hours a week marketing your business, I highly, highly recommend that you do it in this way because it’s an investment in your business. You are creating assets for your business. Instead of going to Facebook, and doing the sales messages, creating a blog article, or a video it’s way more powerful over a longer period of time, and you are creating something for your business I would call an asset, something that you own, and increases in value over time. There’s that.

You come up against these barriers and all these challenges. You are going … Life gets in the way. It really does. All I know is this, consistency is the key and the secret to everything. You take small, smart steps. You make small, smart decisions and you do that consistently over a long period of time, and you get radical results of it. It’s just the way it is in everything. Playing guitar, playing the piano, running, getting fitter, creating content. It’s the same thing, building a business it’s the same thing. You have to put the time, and the effort, and the patience into anything that you love, and anything that you want to be known for. Anybody that’s successful on anything has put time, and effort, and patience, and through this whole thing, and they never give up.

It doesn’t matter, and this why we get away from like just talking about content like it’s just a thing you have to do to build your business. It can’t just be that. It has to be much, much more than that, and it is much more than that. The time, effort, and patience is absolutely key. I’ve seen it. Consistency is the key to this whole thing especially when you are just starting because you build the habits. You’ve got to learn a lot, technology, websites, deals, all that stuff. You could learn all that, and you get massive. You get better but you become more like a technology whiz. I do know all of this stuff to so you learn a lot.

Story for you just to give you the small picture, and the big picture on this. I’m going to share a story with you if that’s okay, Chloë.


Of course.


The one person I want to talk about is Kate McQuillan. If you were sitting next to Kate in a café, you wouldn’t have a clue about what I’m about what I’m about to talk to you about because she’s very unassuming, she’s like everybody. She’s just a normal person. She embraced content marketing is what we call it but really she embraced a better way of communicating with her customers and her potential customers about our years ago. She started a dog walking business. There was about four people in the business. I don’t know how many employees she’s got now but when I spoke to her last year when I got some updates, statistics she had over 60 people in her business four years on.

She found out about content marketing and the whole philosophy of being a teacher, and helping your audience, and creating content that helps rather than sells, and she just embraced. She said it you know what? This looks like it was going to work for me. I think it’s working. I run a pet sitting company in Ireland. I’m going to do this. She wrote three articles every single week, and she still does three articles every single week. We are now into fourth year, or something like that, almost 700 articles on her website. That’s 700 extra pages on her website as a result. A 450% percent growth in traffic, and revenue.

Now, if you speak to Kate she’ll say this as well. I said, how do you get started? I just believed that it worked. You have to believe that it works. She just believed it. She heard the story. She did a bit of research. She’s not stupid because she’s very, very smart. She’s a smart lady. She knows what’s going to work and what doesn’t, and she did it, and it worked for her. This is just one of many … Like, I could share dozens of stories with you on this.

The reason I want to share Kate’s story is that I want to tell you that it works from a level where you would expect it to work. As in she grows her business. She gets more sales, more income, more traffic, blah, blah, blah. Right, the stuff that we are all looking for. Let’s look at the bigger picture with Kate. She gets some success in her business. Other pet type industry businesses are like actually, Kate, you could probably help us build our business to. She started a media company to help pet sitting companies to build their businesses based on the principles of which she built hers.

She’s using content, and social media to do that and help them. Kate does that and I interview her on my podcast. Just to put into context, pet sitting company in Ireland, she’s being interviewed on my podcast as an authority in content marketing space. She was mentioned on Marcus Sheridan’s podcast a few times. She spoke at our conference in 2014. She did another talk at our conference in 2016. It was a much bigger conference. It was 40 people at the first one, 120 our third one. So big deal for Kate doing a proper key note presentation, and then she is now franchising her business across Ireland as well. It’s way bigger than what she expected from writing a few blog articles a week for four years.

That’s the small picture and the big picture for what Kate did. That could happen for you. It’s amazing where that journey can take you. I just want you to see that it’s much more than just a blog article. It’s much more about how you go to market, and you are a staying pillar, and your consistency, and your commitment to a better way of building your business.


Yeah, it’s huge. Reps build muscle, right? Reps build muscle.


Exactly, exactly.


I think one of the key points you said, and you brought up really about the faith, and the belief in all of this but it almost is like a religion because you have to commit to it like that. It’s who you are, and it’s who you become, and how you view the world, and what you give to the world as well. I think that that’s kind of like an important point but everything you shared was amazing. If you had to sum it up in like a tweet-able kind of quote thing, what would be the core message that you would want to leave people watching this video, or listening to?


That’s a tough one. I think, and it’s important that we get this across actually that it’s I think that when we talk about content marketing, there’s loads of ways to build your business, Chloë right. There’s just 1,001 ways to grow your business. Content marketing isn’t perfect, right but it’s better. It’s a better way to build a business, and I think really to cut through all it’s about seeing that you don’t have to be a slimy sales type of person, type of business, and I think you’ve got to think about what you want your business to be recognized as, or be seen as, or be known for. I think that if you can go to the market place, and be represent there as a real person, with personality, and people think you are nice. You are there to add value then I don’t think you can go wrong with that.

I’m not a sales guy. This comes really natural to me, so think as a tweet-able it would be content marketing is a better way to build your businesses basically, something like that.


Perfect. Awesome. One last question because I have to ask this. If you were given a super power, and you could either speed up everything, and do things really quickly, or, only maybe kids from the UK will understand this but have Bernard’s Watch where you could stop time, or slow down time, what would you choose?


What would I choose? I would choose to slow things down a little bit, and I think it’d be my preference, everything is just moving way too fast. Everything should just slow down a little bit. It’d be great to just smell the roses. That would be my preference.


Perfect. Thank you so much. There was so much goodness crammed into this interview.


I talk quite fast. Sorry about that. You may have to listen back to a few things.


I’m Scottish so I feel like I would understand it anyway, and I talk so fast so probably not a good judge so it’d be great to me and thank you so much once again. Where can people follow you, or find you on social if they want to connect with further. I know you are huge pretty much everywhere.


If you want to connect with me. If you have any questions, any thoughts and ideas about the stuff that we’ve talked, any feedback the best place to get me is on Twitter @chrismarr101. That’s the best place to get me but if you get Chris Marr into Google, you’ll find me. No problem at all. Yeah, totally keen for people to get in touch, and yeah, absolutely, reach out, get connect, whatever, absolutely.