SARK Solutions has its headquarters in the U.K. While the company works in a lot of other domains, it is an HR training and development company and claims on their website to be “one of the leading solution providers” (SARK Solutions Ltd., n.d.). It also deals in the following domains:
Training and Development
SARK is a growing company but needs to tap online portals correctly in order to truly grow as they are lacking in market outreach and in today’s times digital is the best way to reach out to a large number of people at once.
As of now, the web presence of SARK Solutions is as follows:
A website: http://www.sarksolutions.com
An inactive Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SARK-solutions-limited/809357869128161
An inactive Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/sarksolutions12
An account on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/sark-solutions/1b/605/34
Apart from these, the company has human impressions at websites such as MouthShut.com etc. However, it is inactive on all the online portals and hence, it is of little use to have a presence. Efforts have not been made to reach out to the potential customer which makes the online presence useless.
On SARK’s homepage they link to all the above social media pages but apart from the link to Facebook all the other links seem broken or do not lead to SARK’s actual page. They also link to YouTube but do not have a channel there and a search there for SARK solutions does not yield any result.
The good thing is that the firm's impression on a couple of review websites and as well as on listing sites seems to be genuine. This could largely work in their favour.
In the following web analytics service tools will be used in order to determine sarksolutions.com’s website performance. The following tools were used:
Alexa.com (Alexa.com, 2015)
SocialCrawlytics.com (Social Crawlytics, 2015)
Quicksprout.com (Patel, 2015)
FIGURE 1 - SITE ANALYSIS BY ALEXA.COM
The website itself is not doing too badly with 3 visits a day as per Alexa’s analysis considering their ‘non-existent’ social media presence. Alexa.com also reveals that all of the traffic that comes to the website is from the keywords ‘SARK Solutions Seawoods’. Unfortunately that is all Alexa.com reveals.
The good part is that those who are particularly looking for ‘SARK Solutions’ will find the website. The bad part is that those who might be looking for a related business - and are potential customers to SARK - will have difficulty in finding the website. Even a search for ‘SARK’ does not yield a result as ‘Sark’ too is one of the Guernsey islands and therefore the first few hundred results in the search relate to the island. Thus, it is primarily necessary that SARK indulges in keyword optimisation.
An analysis undertaken on SocialCrawlytics.com does not unveil many secrets either. A total of five shares – four on Facebook and one on LinkedIn – is not too thrilling.
FIGURE 2 - SITE ANALYSIS BY SOCIAL CRAWLYTICS
Moreover, if one wants to know of SARK solutions, then except for the website itself there is no other place where this can be established. Hence, if a person looking for consulting or software development business enters those keywords on the search engine, he wouldn’t learn of SARK at all and the company will lose a valuable customer. Therefore, SARK will have to integrate both SEO and SEM practices in order to succeed in the digital age. The website has a global ranking of 7,500,000 plus which is extraordinarily low and of no consequence either (Alexa). While the website has 2-3 visitors on a daily basis those visitors might not convert and hence, they are of no real value.
Apart from the fact that it has little flow from Social Media and from SERPs all the traffic that it is getting seems to be coming from its website. Quicksprout unveils the most interesting results of the above tools. First it shows – see Figures 3 and 4 which show the popularity on two consecutive days – that the popularity of the site slowly decreases.
Quicksprout has also brought forth a few errors in the functioning of the website.
The analysis enlighten us to the following results :
The loading time of the website is very high (> 4 seconds)
The images are devoid of any kind of tags
There are absolutely no backlinks (figure 5)
The keywords haven’t been used at all (figure 6)
There are no meta descriptions
There is lack of content on the website
In keeping with the above analysis, the digital marketing strategy will have to:
Increase impressions on social media
Make appropriate use of the keywords
Ensure that the existing social media channels are active
Introduce meta tags and image tags on the website
FIGURE 3 - USE OF KEYWORDS ON SARKSOLUTIONS.COM
However, analysing existing online presence and making amendments to it will not lead us to formulating a successful digital marketing strategy. Following Chaffey (Chaffey, 2015a) a successful digital marketing strategy is one that:
Identifies the target audience and customises content accordingly
Identifies competition and accepts the challenges of the competition
Studies the market minutely
Integrates offline marketing effectively
Has a USP and a call to action to it
Integrates all the social media channels effectively
Following the SOSTAC model - Situation Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control - by Paul R. Smith (Smith, 2015) after analysing the situation and formulating the objectives, a strategy will be developed. Combining Smith’s SOSTAC and Chaffey’s RACE (Chaffey, 2015b) model - Reach, Act, Convert, Engage - helps with a structured approach to plan, manage and optimize multichannel marketing.
FIGURE 4 - MULTICHANNEL MARKETING GROWTH WHEEL COMBINING SOSTAC AND RACE (Swan, 2015)
Since the situation has been analysed and the objectives of the strategy have been identified, the next step would be the formulation of a strategy. To start it should be ensured that there is a transition from completely inactive to extremely active in SARK’s online presence. In order to do so the following methods (Marketo.com, 2014, pp. 3-5) need to be incorporated.
The important keywords should be integrated in the content of the website so that it ranks well on Google as well as on other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo. Image tags and metatags should be incorporated in the website content.
As seen before the only keywords used at the moment are ‘SARK’ and ‘SARK solutions’. To improve the ranking on search engines keywords and possible combinations of these should be used like:
SEM will not be integrated at the moment but may be considered at a later point when re-evaluating how the SEO changed the user behaviour.
SARK’s website does not publish any pictures or videos which need to be optimized which does not mean they should not integrate that for future purposes. For now the creation of a YouTube channel as per below will be prioritised.
In the ‘Whitepapers’-section of the website there are several interesting, but unfortunately, inactive links. Either that section is to be deleted or preferably the links there should be activated and linked to the related topics.
The Facebook page will no longer remain inactive. Not only will it be shared consistently but it will also be updated 2-3 times weekly with business related news and company related updates. The posts should have the above keywords integrated in them so that the business ranks higher on search engines.
The same strategy will be applied on Twitter except for the fact that local Twitter trends will also be incorporated in the tweets. Additional care should be taken that content on both sites will not be identical.
The site maintains a link to YouTube which leads to the idea they might have a channel there which is not the case. A channel should be created and maintained and updated on a regular basis. There should be a constant upload of important and related videos on YouTube at regular intervals and the videos should be shared on both Facebook and Twitter. Thereby, ensuring cross platform integration as well.
Alternatively the YouTube link could be deleted, but having a link which is actually only landing on YouTube’s homepage is useless and annoying for customers.
A regular flow of company updates, related blogs etc. will keep the LinkedIn Handle busy. It will also ensure a steady flow of traffic to the website.
This is the best marketing strategy for SARK Solutions owing to the fact that it has a vast online presence but doesn’t seem to make use of it to its full potential. It is necessary to make use of their already existing, though inactive presence, and activate it in order to create engagement and subsequently, conversions. However, to achieve these objectives, SARK may have to push a step further and join hands with influencers. Other than that it may be of advantage to review the strategy and results after a while and then consider to use ads and to promote the company via paid services offered by social media channels.
BENEFITS AND IMPROVEMENTS
The above strategy will lead to the following benefits for SARK Solutions Ltd:
Any strategy can be justified when it manages to effectively communicate the services provided by the business, its USPs and its benefits to the consumer. The above strategy conveys SARK’s advantages and seeks to enter into effective engagement with the consumer. Also, it will identify the audience and tap the right channel to reach out to the said audience thereby resulting in a positive outcome as connecting to customers should be the basic goal of any marketing plan (United States Government, n.d.).
After studying SARK’s online presence and looking at its business aspects it can be concluded that SARK needs to reach out to their potential customers through social media channels. It is necessary to optimise its presence in such manner that it leads to engagement. In order to succeed as a digital marketer it is necessary to take the right decisions and implement the right handles (Chaffey, 2009). The implementation of the suggested ideas should prove adequately successful for SARK Solutions Ltd.
Gradually, the website performance, the traffic on the social media handles and then, the conversions should see a considerable increase. As per practical experience, this strategy increases traffic considerably but finally it is the conversion rates that counts. In addition to the before mentioned tools, in order to manage the social media presence (Jones, 2015) and to calculate the improvement (Siu, 2014) the following tools can be used:
As time goes by app marketing and mobile marketing should be integrated into the digital marketing strategy but as of now, it makes sense to take one step at a time and stick to the website market. Moreover, since the social media platforms are often accessed by users on their mobiles, one will find an easy leverage point into the mobile and app market once the website has gained momentum (Chaffey, 2009).
In order to succeed in the online marketing business, it is necessary to study consumer behaviour and customise, amend and develop a strategy accordingly. In case of SARK, consumers who reached the website and took up an HR training course or any of the services provided by SARK came back with an extremely positive response. However, consumer behaviour is never static and therefore the possibly changing voice of the customer has to be monitored. According to Victoria Burwell (Kersteen, 2014), the CMO of McGraw-Hill Education’s K-12 group, it is necessary to synchronise your social media team with the change in the voice of the consumer.
Similarly, once the inactive pages of SARK gain sufficient impetus, the voice of the consumer may change and the strategy might need to be modified accordingly.
The metrics are different for each social media platform but at the end of the day, it does come down to an increase in the impressions and rankings and most importantly, conversions. In order to get to these, metrics like
Shares and Mentions
should be consistently monitored and accordingly improved.
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