I always wonder about Sri Lankan firms; still they are less aware about the power of internet. Most of the firms still depend on the traditional marketing methods to undertake their marketing activities. In my graduate research I interviewed managers of several big organization in Sri Lanka those who have web marketing as part of their marketing tactic and strategy. They all claimed that Sri Lankan consumers are not towards online purchasing and they totally believe in the offline purchase. They wanted to buy things after physically looking at the items. But when I interviewed consumers those who have a credit card, they mentioned they are not aware about firms selling online in Sri Lanka except they purchased services like e-channeling. The respondents said they are ready to purchase online. Anyway I believe to some extent the online trust and privacy issues have an impact on the consumers mind set.
This is a recession time. But the behaviors of Sri Lankans are changing. Based on the recent statistics, internet penetration in Sri Lanka is grown by 252.3% and still predicted to grow in future. So I believe it is time for Sri Lankan firms to adapt e-marketing as a part of their marketing mix.
Why they can do?
1- Currently most of the firms have just informative web sites except some major players. But firms need to concentrate on conversion focused web site with highly analytical system implemented.
People may arise question then what next? They should implement some good tactics to ensure that their web is in the organic search and paid results. In Sri Lanka the search engine behavior is showing a big rise as well. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/google.lk
So following tactics have to be followed by to ensure their online presence is strong and fair enough to change traffic to conversions.
- Search Engine optimization – Convert their site into more search engine friendly. For any keywords their result has to be shown in the organic search results. Rather than outsourcing a firm to do this, training employees internally will be a good investment. All the dynamics of SEO need to be done.Generally SEO is all about getting top in the search engines organic results. Creating a web that is search engine friendly is very important. Except that what Sri Lankan firms can do? Rather than going deeper SEO tactics they can follow some in-house tactics which will bring them a good result. There are 19 very essential SEO technique firms that need to first consider on
- Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one-time event. It has to be an ongoing process. SEO techniques. logics, search engine algorithms always change. Keep updating yourself every day.
- Be patient. SEO isn’t about instant gratification. You can try something today but all will work tomorrow. Do not expect results today. All the work you do will give you a result tomorrow.
- Become a student of SEO. Always update you knowledge. Personally hiring a SEO company in the early stages would be an advantage. But having an in-house SEO team will give you greater cost saving and develops skills.
- Have web analytics in place at the start.
- Build a great web site.
- Include a site map page.
- Make SEO-friendly URLs.
- Do keywords research at the start of the project. Think about your business and develop site contents based on the keyword.
- Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page. Try to give your visitors some valuable content. Update your site content regularly.
eg- If it is a Hotel web site make quality contents related to travel. Give the visitors tips about travel. Add new contents every day. Then search engines will find your site value and bring top of the searches.
- Write for users first. First think about your visitors
- Create great, unique content.
- Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally.
- Build links intelligently
- Use press releases wisely.
- Start a blog and participate with other related blogs.
- Use social media marketing wisely.
- Take advantage of local search opportunities.
- Take advantage of the tools the search engines that give you.
- Diversify your traffic sources.
- PPC – Firms in Sri Lanka can target Sri Lankan audience with pay per click advertisements. Currently sometimes there may not be potential, but in future there will be a boom in e-commerce in Sri Lanka. So adapting these ad words will give an edge to Sri Lankan firms.
Also Sri Lankan targeted PPC market is not competitive. Even for less bid firms can come up in the search results position. Recently I wanted to buy a phone for my use. To get information about phones I searched in Google. I didn’t come across any suitable Sri Lankan firms in the search list.. (Both organic and paid results). Firms can sometimes argue that people behavior are not towards search when they plan to buy a product. But now the case is different. In other 2 years time definitely online purchase will become boom in Sri lanka.
Content advertising is also other way to reach the target audience.
- Video Optimization – This is the best way to get your leads online. This is the growing trend in online marketing as well. Firms in Sri Lanka can make use the power of video sites. Create channels in about 10 video sites those are popular. Eg- YouTube,Dailymotion,Google video,Yahoo video, AOL videos and upload your product mix video, create some videos with contents. Optimizing videos with proper titles will get you up in the search results.
- Social Media – This is the time and power for social media. People spend more time on networking with others. Sri Lankan firms need to make use the power of social media such as Facebook, Myspace,bebo etc. Recently I can remember Mobitel Lanka launched their social network promotion on Facebook. What they can actually do with these Medias?
1 – Making use the Social Media flyers in Facebook, they can create targeted ad flyers. It won’t cost them much. Suitable demographic target will give an edge for firms. Not only ads they also can promote their groups, pages in Facebook. Anyway this will grow in future as well. In Sri Lanka Facebook is the Social Networking site used by many people. But in other countries there are influences of other sites as well.
Social book marking sites are also a great way to communicate with their audience. But in Sri Lanka the awareness of these sites are very low. But in future it can grow significantly. The popular sites are propeller, digg, stumbleopon, twitter etc. The growth of Twitter is also seems to be great since in my twitter there are Sri Lankan entrepreneurs promoting their business. But still the Sri Lankan do not know about the power of twitter.
- Blog Marketing- Blog marketing is a good way to come up in the search results. Especially blogs like wordpress, blogger are more search engines friendly. If you can update the blog continuously with quality contents the search engine crawlers will identify your blog as a useful one and show in the top results. Make sure you give your blog visitors to read something. Always publish some good writing about your industry trends, tips, products etc. Update the blog regularly and submit it to all the blog directories.Especially word press contents are crawled regularly by the search engines. For example if your firm is selling iPhones then update about the new iphone models, how to use the iphone, useful applications, games, wallpapers and other contents will drive traffic to your blog.
- Article marketing – In the web there are many article sites which can drive traffic to your web site. With the help of content writers companies can upload articles by leaving their web address as signature. An accurate way of article marketing will give you significant amount of traffic. But in Sri Lanka it may be not easy since people are not well aware about these sites. But the growing generation is now well aware about the internet. In future they are the potential customers for the firms. So it is better to target these tactics now onwards. Because if you start all of these it will take time to give you a return.
- E-mail Marketing – It is always questionable to what extent Sri Lankan firms are using e-mail marketing effectively. I have signed up with many Sri Lankan retailer, but hardly I never or rarely receive mails from them. But Sri Lankan firms can enable newsletter options in the site and also can take the customer e-mail at the point of purchase. Sending well designed e-mail will also work well.
There are many tactics Sri Lankan firms can use apart from the above, but these are some basics they need to concentrate on.