Today I have the pleasure of posting an interview I did with Jimmy Williams of TheMethodicalMarketer.com. Jimmy and I connected via Facebook and Twitter. After following him for a while, I thought my readers would be interested in what he has to say, thus the interview was born. LOL.  Enjoy.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I have been marketing online since 1998. My first successes came in affiliate marketing. I learned from some of the Internet marketing coaches of the early 2000’s about being able to reach your audience and provide value. I pride myself on providing value to the market place. Having a vast knowledge of many areas of Internet marketing allows me to apply different techniques at different times of a campaign. I am the V.President of Melodie’s Exchange, a local search marketing company, specializing in organic SEO and SEM.

Q. What do you do for small, local businesses?
A. I give them the freedom of being able to dominate their local niche or profession. Our job is to do Internet marketing so they can do their job and not be an Internet marketer plus whatever their profession is. We make the doors swing and the phone ring so they can get paid. There are various ways of getting them more front page listings for keywords leading back to them and the product or service.

Q. What recommendations would you give a small business that wants to promote themselves online?
A. I would recommend hiring my company, of course, LOL. Seriously, I would recommend setting up accounts with the major outlets. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and a blog. This is plenty enough to get started and put their message, brand, and personality out there to attract others that want, need, or like what they have. It is best to do it as soon as possible because their competitor still may be wondering if they should do it or not. This will give them an opportunity to get a head start on them and gain a competitive advantage. Once you are there, be yourself and do not spam your links on every one’s wall, but be engaging and answer questions that may come up in your niche and provide value. Then lead them to your products or services by suggesting they take a look for more details or greater insight to a problem.

Q. We connected via Twitter, Facebook…why are you on these sites?
A. I am on Twitter and Facebook because there are millions of customers there. One of the great things about using social networking sites is customers and prospective clients can give suggestions, critiques and accolades in real time and you as a biz owner are able to talk back to them. This makes for a dialogue as well as the feeling of being personal. Now the client can do business with me and not a brand. Put a face to the brand or logo and personalize the selling process. I can make suggestions about a product or service and know pretty fast how to adjust future sales.

Q. Do you think small business should be on these social networks?
A. Absolutely. Why? For the reasons that I stated above. Instead of push push push advertising, social media marketing gives the opportunity for both parties to communicate and the small business owner can make adjustments as needed. The small business persons competitor is not the traditional competitor. The competition has changed and has become a 14 or 15 yr old doing stuff on these very same sites. Using these sites as a way to get their message out and sell stuff just like everyone else. So the landscape has changed and the small business owner had better take notice and ride the wave or they will become like the rabbit ears on black and white televisions.

Q. Where do you see online social networks going in the future?
A. I see even more social networks in the future because other companies will want to add their spin on what is already a wildly successful way of marketing, advertising, and branding. Mostly of which is free to use, except for the time of course. There will be more to try and knock off YouTube and Facebook.

Q. Why is SEM important for small business today?
A. SEM is important for small business because of the vast changes being made in Internet technology. This change is taking place with or without small businesses and there are tons of competitors and customers online doing business already. SEM will allow businesses to strategically be found by the people and consumers that need to find them and this is absolutely paramount. It makes closing the deal almost a non factor because the consumer has found you.

Q. For a small business just starting online, what would you tell them?
A. To be careful with their advertising budgets because there are so many companies that will promise the sun, the moon and stars only to under deliver and over charge. I would tell them to see what is working for  their competitors and emulate that and put their own stamp on it. That it is OK to think differently within the parameters of SEM marketing using rich media to go along with traditional marketing.

Q. Finally, where do you see Internet marketing going over the next few years?
A. This is a question that is pretty difficult to answer. In my 11 plus years of online marketing I have seen changes come almost without warning and leave just as fast. In the next few yrs I see or think that local search will become more vital due to the so many mobile phone and applications that are associated with them. They will allow for local info on the go, especially in urban areas as people search for info while driving or walking city blocks. Internet marketing will become very interactive between buyer and sellers of different products.

–Thanks Jimmy for your time and some great insights.