Maintain a Local Touch When Going Online
We all love to read or follow news that is more localized. We listen to local radio stations, watch local news and some of us even read the local gutter press with all its gossips and propaganda. Being local has more appeal simply from the fact that we can relate to what is going on. The Internet is no different. The Internet has largely been shaped by local forces. According to a study published on “The Economist” magazine, “different countries have distinct Internet economies. The differences spring from a country’s political and economic heritage.” A country’s Internet growth has both political and economic rootes. It is no surprise therefore that countries that tend to be more democratic and stable economically experience more rapid e-commerce growth.
Now armed with this piece of information, let us go local. Our Kenyan local economy and political climate can be described as still taking baby steps. Is it any surprise therefore that Internet growth in Kenya is at par with this environment? Most local businesses are still wary of going online and those that are, lack a lot of local content, with the exception of a few. In order for the Internet to have any real influence on the Kenyan economy, it needs to go local. A shift towards using the Internet locally is needed if we are to have local Internet economies similar to countries like Britain and the U.S. How is your business doing in this regard?
If you own a website or a blog, you are part of a much larger global economy. If your website targets a local audience, you are also part of a much smaller local economy, and this is what will largely drive your online revenue stream. You don’t have to think hard to figure out what you have to do to be local. Look at the local news, our local radio stations and what not. What do they talk about? It is simply a matter of taking that content and getting it online. If you own a grocery stall, how do you converse with your customers? Don’t change that when you get online. Getting online does not mean being sloppy but it means maintaining your identity. By going to your website or blog, people should clearly be able to identify your influence in the content. Do you know why Ghetto Radio and Classic 105 have such huge followings? The fact that they are using a locally accentuated language is probably their selling point.
Even where using Swahili or Sheng may not be appropriate, it is wise to incorporate some local touch to your content. Some well known local terms that are also used internationally include “Jambo”, “Bwana” and “Wananchi”. Try to use these whenever possible. When giving illustrations, use real Kenyan names like Maina, Onyango or Wangui. Let that local touch permeate your conversations and your visitors will feel like they belong.
When you clearly come out as being a Kenyan website or blog, then you will have made a giant leap towards local market penetration