Friday, August 15, 2008

Marketer of the week: Anita Campbell

Meet our marketer of the week, Anita Campbell, editor of Small Business Trends.

Every week we do a quick interview with a successful online marketer.

Anita's responses show why she's got 190,000 subscribers to her RSS feed. Her writing is thoughtful, inspiring, helpful and easy to read.

What's been your biggest online success?

I’m still waiting for it. LOL

Seriously, it’s probably been the growth of RSS subscribers – that number recently hit 190,000. That has surpassed my dreams for this point in my business’ lifecycle.

Editor's note: Help her reach 200,000 by signing up for her RSS feed.

What's been your darkest hour since you launched your Web site?

Well, it’s a toss up between two situations:

(1) Christmas morning of 2007 when I woke up and found my main website had been hacked. It took days to get it back to its pre-hacked state, and weeks before I felt comfortable that we had found all the lingering fingerprints of the hacking.

(2) The day my Google rankings and search traffic dipped by 90%.

In both instances I felt completely helpless – at the mercy of forces outside my control that I didn’t fully understand. It was then I wished I were more technically inclined. Between those 2 situations, I ended up spending about 40 hours on blogs reading up on security issues and SEO issues.
I like to say whatever I know about SEO (a piddling amount, unfortunately) I learned between Midnight and 2:00 AM, which is the only time I have available to teach myself about it. When you’re the owner and chief cook/bottle washer of a small Web business on a limited expense budget, you don’t have much choice. You have to become knowledgeable about technical issues. Even though I get outside tech help from service providers, in order to keep expenses down I do as much as I can on my own.

One contributor to your site was very skeptical about social media. And 70% of marketers in this survey said they weren't interested in social media (including blogs.) What do you recommend?

The Web is integral to marketing today, even for small locally-based businesses. So you can’t ignore it. But if you aren’t careful, you can also waste a lot of time on the Web, especially if you don’t have a clear marketing plan. I recommend starting with the basics first: your own website; after that a combination of a blog; pay-per-click advertising; email marketing; search engine optimization; online press releases. After you’ve considered those “foundational” techniques, then weigh the benefits and costs of social media. Just because social media is mostly free doesn’t mean it is always the best use of time. I am an avid user of social media, but then I run a Web business and spend far more time online than the average small business owner due to the nature of my business.

This chart from this post puts it into some perspective, I think:

What is the one thing that a small business MUST have online to succeed?

Perseverance. Many small businesses give up too soon. It’s easy to go out of business when you hit a rough patch, because the alternative -- facing down the challenges -- is so ugly and unpleasant.

Perseverance is especially important online, because it takes months (being wildly optimistic) or years to draw significant traffic and build an online brand today. There’s so much more competition on the Web.
So you have to be in it for the long haul – have a long term plan and work your plan everyday, even if sometimes you question whether you are making progress.

A great quote from Anita:

Because just when it seems like your business or your website has stalled, then something seemingly miraculous will happen and you get a growth spurt. Truth is, it wasn’t a miracle at all. You made your own luck by working that plan.

Just start somewhere, because 18 months from now you’ll be glad you did. And if you don’t start online now, 18 months from now you’ll be kicking yourself saying, “why wasn’t I doing that on the Web back then … I’d be so much further ahead now.”

How do you get new ideas?

I used to dream them up as a solitary endeavor. I’d go out in my garden or for a walk or even meditate.

Now that my business has gotten a little of its sea legs, I have the luxury of a bit of a team to work with. The team members really help out with new ideas – sometimes the ideas are so brilliant I am speechless.

What are your favorite funny sites?

Oh, I love a number of business humor sites. Two current favorites are Andertoons and Wilson Ng’s business cartoon series It's A Genius.

from Engy book 2 by Wilson

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power Friday August 15 2008.



Mark Anderson said...

Anita, congrats on Marketer of the Week! (And thanks for the mention!)

Anita Campbell said...

Thank you, Julie! I appreciate the opportunity.

And thank you, mark, for the kind words. I love your cartoons.

-- Anita

Martin Lindeskog said...

Anita: Congratulations! I remember the terrible hacking attack on your site. The good side of it is that you had material for a couple of new blog posts and we all learned more about online security!

Mberenis said...

Great images, lol.Thank you for posting this amazing blog!

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