Stop sending proposals via emails. Stop emailing those potential clients. Invest on face-to-face meetings. The people who make decisions in Nigeria do not care about your emails UNLESS they have met you in person! We lost one of the biggest benefits of internet many years ago because of Yahoo Yahoo Boys. Those boys poisoned our web making it harder for people to trust the web. Yes, from ecommerce to business transactions, the suspicions are unprecedented. Nigeria is the only place on earth where you must include account number, expiry date, three digits at the back, PIN, prior-internet use approval, online transaction activation, (password), etc just to use your debit cards on the web. And at the end, we still record failure rates in high double-digit for attempted online transactions.
While today Nigeria is considered a leading ecommerce market, up until a few years ago, this was not the case. In fact, in the first years of this decade, online payment failure rates were as high as 60-70% of attempted transactions in Nigeria. Mobile money had only recently begun to gain acceptance, and many Nigerians were wary of cyber fraud, limiting ecommerce acceptance.
Forget what they are writing on TechCrunch and New York Times on the use the digital marketing to grow businesses. Those things are mainly for America: in Nigeria, humans (yes, atoms) move markets. The bytes are supportive but do not build business development purely on it. You need digital marketing, of course, but it can only work for most sectors when you have people who can meet those clients, and close deals. It is very unlikely for many Nigerian decision makers to sign some important deals without shaking hands. That does not mean that digital marketing is not relevant. It is hugely relevant but you cannot forget what works today.
Linda Ikeji is peerless in understanding how social media and blogging work. She is better than any Nigerian including those that work for Google and Facebook. I do not read her works because the focus is not my interests. Yet, I wanted to know why she was successful. Most Nigerian companies put Linda Ikeji on their tags to get traffic. I spent time and saw an interview where she explained her minor secrets.
When she started blogging more than a decade ago, most people blogged with pseudonyms or simply ‘editors’: Linda used her real name, and went ahead to name the blog after herself. She brought authenticity and connected with people, as they knew who was writing.
In the interview, Linda made it clear that without that real identity, you lose authenticity. She explained that contents have values due to the creator and not just the contents; anyone that wants to do well in connecting with readers must be open. Her other point was self-explanatory. Of course, some do click-bait. Yet, every person must find ways to understand what the audience wants.
That is for a blogger. For people exploring partnerships and deals, the human element is the way to show that authenticity. No clever web design can do it if you want those proposals to have closures. The fact is this: there is no way to have success in the public sector in Nigeria unless you are ready to meet the decision makers and explain what you have articulated in any proposal. Once you do, you can move to your emails to follow-up. But do not waste efforts sending digital contents and proposals to people you have never met in Nigeria, for business. Those marketing strategies rarely work.
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