Sri Lankan Presidential Election 2010 – Battle on online

Now it’s an election fever in Sri Lanka. When compared previous election campaigns, this time it is getting hotter and hotter every day. As I already mentioned in a post about the use of online marketing in political campaign, and US president Barack Obama’s one was the great success in this regard.

In that post I just queried when Sri Lankan politicians will start doing the same. I am really delightful to note the use of emarketing techniques in the upcoming presidential election campaigns. This quite amazed me and I would like to make few suggestions which are important for them to take up their online branding.

While writing this post just got a message to my inbox saying “Sri Lanka Elections is now following you on Twitter!” When I visited the site it is the official site for Sri Lankan election. I’m pretty surprised with this. But globally use of Twitter has going down, it seems in Sri Lanka it’s picking up. (Are we late majorities in adoption process?)

The website of both candidates seem good and interesting. According to my knowledge I assessed both web sites.

President Mahinda Rajapakse

The site is well designed with corporate colour, but seems bit slow and it has a loading issue as well. The tag line of the election is “Bright Future” is well placed in the site and most prominently as well. If you do a campaign towards a target market you should satisfy all their behavioral aspect. Especially in Sri Lanka there are three languages spoken. There are people with internet knowledge either understand Sinhala or Tamil. The other plus point in the site is, it is in all three languages. So the viewers of the site will definitely go through the contents. The symbol of the part and the election logo is also well positioned. The use of Social media profile are also quite interesting, but the designer should have shown the “subscribe to newsletter” in the top or first glance of the site view. The recommend and share option also placed next to the banner which is a positive sign.

But the site is not SEO and search engine friendly. Meta title is fine but Meta descriptions and Meta keywords are not placed in the site. They should have done this in order to get the search engine visibility more and I have a concern in the site title too. “Official Website Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidential Election Campaign 2010” – not sounds well for me, the title need to be reworded I guess.

Use of other social networking sites

The use of social networking sites is great in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s campaign. In Facebook the fan page contains 24,000 fans and it seems pretty updated regularity. While I was listening to a song in YouTube, again I saw an advertisement in the Youtube as well.

General Sarath Fonseka

The site also looks fine but there are some negative points I would like to mention here. The site uses flash 10, which is not loading in all computers. They should have used the older version of the flash player instead of the new one. Because you can’t assure it is available in all machines.  I was unable to view the banner section. The plus point is the option placed prominently in the site, but which creates two actions for the viewer. When people click on “Join our mailing list” it opens a new window which is not a good practice. They should have kept loading the entire field by default in the page. Name and e-mail would be fine. Make a donation button is more prominently placed in the site, in my point it will not give a good impression about the site. It would have been placed as a tab in the navigation bar with full explanation. The footer links are missing and it would be nice if the designers can use some thumbnail images for latest news section. For the viewers it might look a cluttered one because it contains only the text. The footer links are missing but importantly the designers placed the privacy policy which is a good stuff.

I also received a personal e-mail from General  Sarath Fonseka, which is also a good signal.   I’m publishing the e-mail below

My Fellow Sri Lankans,

Wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

It is with a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude that I write this letter to thank you for your unwavering commitment to make Sri Lanka a great nation. I am more encouraged and energized than ever before knowing that each and every Sri Lankan regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliations have come forward and united with us to change and regain this great nation from the claws of terrorism and political tyranny.

Today we face more daunting challenges than ever before. WE need to change the destiny of our nation to achieve greatness, WE need to rebuild our nation to be prosperous, WE need to make our great nation stand with respect and dignity and be a key actor in the international arena. I know WE can achieve these goals, not as individuals but as Sri Lankans working together in unity and harmony.

I also want to reach out to my fellow Sri Lankans who live in far off nations, and still have a deep sense of affection and belonging with this great nation of ours. YOU stood by us when we faced the ruthless terrorists; YOU were our best diplomats defending the image of our beloved nation by your words and deeds in the international fore. Today I ask you to stand with me to develop our great nation as the most trusted and effective representatives of change.

While there are many challenges ahead of us, I have more faith in the spirit of voluntarism and commitment of my fellow Sri Lankans. Together WE can undertake development projects that benefit every Sri Lankan, not just a few; together WE can reform our judiciary, law enforcement agencies, administrative, transportation and health sectors to serve every Sri Lankan. We will make this change a reality for every Sri Lankan.

At this critical moment in the history of our great nation, I want to reach out to you, as a humble Sri Lankan with a proven record of accomplishments, to work with me to change the destiny of Sri Lanka. I seek your support to reach out to every Sri Lankan, spreading the message of change for our great nation by volunteering with our campaign, recruiting more volunteers to campaign in your neighborhoods, signing up for our manifesto updates, Facebook updates, email and mobile alerts, sending out emails to your fellow citizens encouraging them to vote for change and to send us your valuable feed back to make this movement for change a reality.

Sign onto our movement for change for every Sri Lankan:

Join the Sarath Fonseka Facebook fan page: We salute your spirit of commitment and voluntarism

Let us work together for a prosperous Sri Lanka!

Sarath Fonseka

My views and comments regarding the branding will follow in the next post.