Local marketing experts share survival tips for J’can SMEs eyeing the digital space

While the digital space can seem like a shark tank for many local businesses, Flow’s latest digital marketing webinar provided new entrants to the space with a roadmap on how to get started as they build out their business online. 

The roadmap came in the form of  advice from a panel  comprised of Jamaican digital marketing experts- Kemal Brown, Founder/Chairman of Digita Group, Naomi Garrick, Public Relations Consultant and Brand Strategist at Garrick Communications and Alex Morrisey, Managing Director of Esirom Limited. 

Underscoring the importance of being online, Brown shared that the pandemic had amplified the need for digital services.

  “You couldn’t transact business physically and so, digital was the only way for persons to reach you [SMBs], understand your products or services, as well as see what you are offering and buy,” Brown said.

Garrick echoed similar sentiments adding that, “Individuals have access to who you are by simply doing a Google search. Depending on what shows up for you, they can make a decision on whether or not they want to interact with your product, brand or your service.”

As she outlined her very own “Clarity, Value, Communication” (C-V-C) method of building a brand online, Garrick shared some easy to follow steps.  

Naomi Garrick

Online brand assessment – Assess where you are now as an entrepreneur. Be aware of what is showing up out there online if someone should conduct a Google search on your brand, products or services. Also, be mindful of your competitors.

Update profiles – Keep profiles up to date. Do a revamp if necessary. If your brand is expanding, this should be mirrored across all your platforms.

What to share – Before you share anything online, think about your image and what your brand represents. This is important because it influences whether or not clients will engage with your business.

The platforms – Know where your audience is. There are millions of platforms out there but that does not mean you will create an account on all of them. Follow your audience.

The tools – There are many tools out there to make your business grow, with some being more expensive than others while others are free. Be mindful of your budget and start where you are. 

“Personal branding is important so start defining who you are and what your core values are.  Understand your values and identify the problems that you solve,” added Garrick.

Alex Morrisey of Esirom

With questions about cost being among the chief concerns , Morrisey was quick to reassure attendees. 

“People always want to know how much this is going to cost if they can’t hire an agency to do it?” he said as he acknowledged that this could be a deterrent to persons who wish to start building their online brand.  “If you have an internet connection or a data plan, you can get started. You can set your budget, use what you have and gradually grow. Start where you can and build from there,” he encouraged.

Morrisey also had this advice for budding entrepreneurs who often shy away from entering the market because other business owners have already used an idea. “There’s always a space.  There’s always a niche market. It depends on how you put yourself out there and if you’re using the right tools based on your niche.”