Ann Smarty is one of longest tenured Market Experts, and she is truly the embodiment of what we mean when we say “Market Expert.”
As an extremely well known SEO and digital marketing expert, Ann is well respected and sought after for her breadth of industry knowledge. She is a thought leader in every sense—she uses her position in the industry to educate and empower other business leaders.
If you haven’t read her posts on Business.com or elsewhere, you’re missing out on a ton of highly actionable, uber-useful information to better help you market your business.
Everyone should be reading what Ann Smarty has to say! Enjoy our interview with the February Market Expert of the Month below.
Become a Thought Leader: Apply to be a Business.com Market Expert
1. In three sentences or less, tell us “your story” as an entrepreneur.
Having a post-Soviet-Union background (I was born and raised in Ukraine), I never expected to be an entrepreneur. Then I got bored in college, found a part-time job to market a small ecommerce site online and shortly after felt the need of starting my own projects.
2. In three sentences or less, tell us about your business.
I have quite a few businesses actually; some of them are monetized, others are still in the “startup” mode. What they all have in common is the idea of giving everyone voice. All my projects are geared towards regular people looking to build a name online but not knowing where to start. We provide platforms, tools, practice-oriented training, and community for those people.
3. What inspired you to start your business?
Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to build things. If I read a good book, I wanted to write one of my own... When I clearly saw a need online, I wanted to fill it. All of us have different backgrounds but we all started once and we all know how essential it is to get help when you start!
4. What is the most rewarding (and the most challenging) part of what you do?
The most rewarding part is actually seeing how your tools change people’s lives. It’s always incredibly inspiring seeing your tools working and helping! The most challenging part is to focus. I admit I have too much on my plate now but I still want to start something new once in a while. There are so many ideas and needs to fill. It’s hard to focus on one project!
5. Which current marketing trends do you see as “the future”?
- Local marketing is going hotter year by year thanks to people using smartphones more and more. Soon ads will be delivered to you at this time and current location: You better start getting local marketing now!
- Creativity marketing will become even more important. We already see insufficiency of cookie-cutter tactics and campaigns and it’s only going to get worse.
- Real-time marketing is an interesting phenomenon which was once started by Twitter but is now re-enforced by Periscope, Facebook and even Google (Google is reporting on football scores and Oscars winners in real time right in search results!)
- Influencer marketing is nothing new but online celebrities are not going anywhere and it’s just going to get larger!
6. What do you believe makes for successful marketing?
Brainstorming and creativity… Of course, if you have huge budgets, you focus more on simple clear campaigns with well-defined ROI. For smaller business, the more creative you get, the more successful you get. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
7. If you had to give the former you a few words of advice, what would they be?
More focus… But then again, had I had more focus then, would I have missed some great opportunities? I am a huge believer in serendipity, so scratch that advice! J
8. How has your experience in the Business.com Market Expert Program benefitted your business and career?
I often give it as an example of a great influencer marketing campaign done well. I love the idea, the process and the implementation.
I love it that it gives me free exposure and puts me in neighborhood with other great experts!
9. Which entrepreneur do you look up to, and why?
I think I’ll mention Jim Boykin here. He is the only successful entrepreneur I am aware of who clearly accepts his mistakes and never loses himself. Whatever happens, he is true to his values and beliefs. It’s a very rare quality!
10. What’s your favorite motivational quote?
“It’s all going to be OK in the end, If it’s not OK, it’s not the end!”
I don’t know who said that but that quote always helps me to maintain my good spirits even of my world seems to be collapsing!