How to GROW Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

23 March, 2020

29 mins read

Coronavirus Marketing Strategies

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This is not clickbait. We have a real life case study of how to grow your business during the Coronavirus pandemic here in Australia, with results to back it up from one of our very own clients.

As well as exploring how we helped The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor in New South Wales increase their leads in just two days, you’ll discover:

  • The types and ways to increase your exposure to the right audience to encourage more leads.
  • Some of the ways eligible small businesses can claim funds from the Australian Government.

How The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor Grew Their Business During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

About The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor

The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor is a multi-award winning business of more than 35 years. Their plumbers and electricians service the Newcastle, Hunter, Canberra, Goulburn and greater NSW Central Coast area. Currently, the business has 31 reviews on their Localsearch business profile, giving them a total star rating of 4.1.

Localsearch & The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor

Our relationship with The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor spans over more than 8 years. Currently, our digital marketing specialists assist the business with their search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and online presence through Their current website was also designed and developed by our team at Localsearch.

The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor’s Coronavirus Google Ads Campaign

In March 2020, Joe Evers, the owner of The Plumbing & Electrical Doctors, contacted us regarding a service they provide, which could be valuable to Australians amidst the toilet paper debacle — bidet installations. He wanted to get the news out that handheld bidets could only be installed by a licensed plumber, and to help, he would be reducing the price of the service for a month.

The Campaign

To get The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor’s campaign to the world quickly, our search engine marketing specialists launched a series of Google Ads smart campaigns. 

These ads were created with images of empty toilet rolls, empty store shelves and similar to draw in immediate attention. The messaging then provided the solution to the lack of toilet paper being on shelves, and alternatives to clogging toilets, being a bidet. Depending on the positioning of the ad, the business’s $360 installation special was also displayed.

Audiences were to be reached on apps, other websites, the Youtube homepage and the other Google Display Ads network. Any irrelevant platforms, like kid’s apps, were excluded.

A preview of one of The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor’s Google Ads created by Localsearch.

The Results

In the first two days of running the campaign, The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor had converted three leads. Nine days in, and they had converted six. The ads generating the initial leads were on Youtube and apps. 

Remember how this plumber was running a $360 installation special? Well, they paid just $0.28 per click on their ad. This made the average cost per acquisition (CPA) only $12.64, giving the business an average return on investment of $347.36. 

As of nine days in, the ads were being seen by 93,528 people, with 647 clicks through to the business’s landing page.

7 Ways to Grow Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic 2020

  • Is your business still operating as normal?
  • Do you provide a product or service that could help people during these times?
  • Has your business adopted a contact-free protocol, added delivery services, etc. to your everyday practices?
  • Are you online only anyway?

Right now, your priority for your marketing should be to update your messaging to show you’re still open and how you can help people during these times. With digital marketing, there is a method for reaching almost anyone you want to, whatever device they’re using, wherever they are. This is how.

1. Create relevant Google Ads.

For those with relevant offerings, times like the COVID-19 pandemic can actually help you get more bang from your buck out of Google Ads. As you’ll be aiming for a more niche audience with less competition (depending on the scenario), you’ll be paying less per lead from your Google Ads. Let us explain…

Essentially, when you run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads through Google Ads, you input a daily spend budget. However, none of this budget will be spent until someone clicks on your ad. For example, if your daily budget is $50 and each click is $0.50, your ad will show to endless people until 100 people have clicked on your ad. 

The other part of this is having less competition. When there is less competition for an ad placement, you pay less per click. 

However, if your ads are not set up correctly, you’ll still be paying more than you need to. Our search engine marketing specialists at Localsearch can help you ensure you’re making the most of your budget.

The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor Google Ads Created By Localsearch
Preview of a Google Ad for The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor created By Localsearch

2. Optimise your website content.

We’re going to be talking about three different ways to optimise your website content:

  1. Creating landing pages.
  2. Writing blogs.
  3. Working on your search engine optimisation.

1. Creating landing pages.

A landing page is used in marketing to help take interested consumers, engaged by your ads or other marketing materials, and turn them into a lead. If you’re offering products or services that can specifically help people during the COVID-19 crisis, you need to create a specific landing page for them.

Landing pages will help you convert more people as all the information they need, which they were seeking as a result of an ad, email, etc. will be right there. When optimised (see below) correctly, you’ll also be able to help increase your chances of these landing pages appearing in organic search results. Double bang for your buck!

2. Writing blogs.

If you have a blog function on your website, now is the time to use it! A blog is a great way to help you grow your business during the Coronavirus pandemic as you can target a lot of search results fast. However, before you go posting, there is a rhyme and reason to it.

Firstly, what do you post on your blog? Use each blog to answer a question a searcher is going to have about COVID-19 relevant to your industry. A vet may post a blog answering, “Can a dog catch Coronavirus.” Or an accountant may publish an article about, “Coronavirus business help.” The Plumbing & Electrical Doctor has published a number of blogs, including “No toilet paper? No problem!”

To find these terms, there are a number of tools available, like AHREFS, Google Keyword Planner and Google search results themselves. Our search engine optimisation specialists are experts in keyword analysis and can help you with this, if required.

When writing your blogs, only provide information you are confident to say is your own knowledge and is entirely accurate, or can link to a reliable source to confirm the accuracy.

3. Working on your search engine optimisation (SEO).

Search engine optimisation is the intention of improving the positioning of your website’s online presence through a number of methods. Creating relevant content, like landing pages and blogs, is just one way you can put your website in more relevant search results. However, these pages, and every other on your website, needs to be optimised for search engines to get the results you want.

The tricky thing about SEO is that nothing is guaranteed, but with the right knowledge, tools and time to research, update and audit, you’ll be able to see decent results. Just five of the hundreds of things you need to be working on are:

  • Writing unique, high-quality content focusing on a specific topic and keyword, without overuse. This is trickier than it sounds!
  • Having enough of this relevant, informative content.
  • Ensuring your page speed is as fast as possible, which can be impacted by everything from plug-ins on your website, the platform you’re on, hosting, coding, images, etc.
  • Optimising images for size, file type, file name and alt text.
  • Keeping your website secure through a reliable platform, using the right plug-ins and having a current and reliable SSL certificate.

Sounds like a big task right? Lucky for your, our award-nominated search engine optimisation team are here to help you in your time of need.

3. Utilise paid and organic social media.

Social media is another quick way to get your message across to users. You should be utilising both organic and paid social media marketing and management to regularly stay up to date with your customers and provide them with relevant information.

Posts to consider during the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • Any changes to trading hours.
  • Stock availability.
  • Information relevant to your industry.
  • New processes, products or services.
  • Your regular posting, as people still want a sense of normalcy.

However, social media platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, etc.) are businesses. To help drive people to their paid ad platforms, they reportedly do limit the exposure of organic posts from business accounts. So, if your intent of your post is to help grow your business during COVID-19, then definitely look into paid social media ads (not boosting posts).

4. Update your Google My Business.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform businesses can access to put themselves, their contact information, product and service information, posts and reviews in more places on search results, maps and more. During the Coronavirus pandemic, your business should be treating Google My Business like any other social platform. 

Here are a few ways to update your GMB during the Coronavirus: 

  • Update your trading hours, if required.
  • Amend your bio to include any processes (contact-free pick-up, etc.) consumers should be aware of for your business.
  • Add or remove any new or no-longer-on-offer products or services.
  • Post updates or specialists as regularly as possible.

Don’t have a GMB profile? Localsearch is one of the first two Google My Business Partners in Australia, so we’d be happy to help you get set up.

5. Expand your Localsearch Online categories.

During our regular research of search patterns, there were inclines in searches for Coronavirus-related products and services. One of these was Coronavirus cleaning. 

To help Australian businesses with relevant offerings to these searchers, we have added several new categories you can be listed in related to the COVID-19 virus. All you need to get added is email or call 1300 360 867 and ask about upgrading your free profile for additional categories.

6. Send out bulk emails and/or SMS.

As hard as it can be to believe for those of us actively in the digital world, many people do not have social media or use search engines regularly. This means there will be people who miss out on your messaging, unless you vary your methods.

To help capture these people, ensure you’re utilising any customer databases you have. This could be through a manual mail out, a bulk email or bulk SMS. Remember, there are email and SMS marketing laws in Australia you need to abide by. So, please use a reputable system, like Mailchimp.

7. Ask for more reviews.

Online reviews provide confidence to people browsing for businesses to fulfil a need. At the moment, it can be a lack of feeling safe that can be the most damaging for businesses, even if you’re presenting your updated health processes online. So, reviews are more important than ever.

When asking your clients or customers for reviews, ensure you ask people to mention specifics about their experience, including any safety measures they notice while interacting with your business. Not only will this let people know you’re practicing what you preach, you’ll also be showing people you’re actually open, in case they think you haven’t updated your trading hours.

Support Available for Australian Small Business During the COVID-19 Crisis

We know investing in digital marketing right now is daunting. However, as you can see, it works in helping to ensure your business continues to grow. 

To help businesses stay afloat and be able to put their budgets where they’re needed, the Australian Government has released a stimulus package to help eligible Australian businesses. More are said to be announced in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on reputable media outlets and Australian Government websites for these.

We’ve put together a list of some of the support available to Australian businesses through the government and ATO below.

For more information about any concessions or support aids, please call the ATO and Australian Government Emergency Support Line on 1800 806 218, as well as discussing with your business accountant. 

We will say it here, as well as below, that we are not financial advisors and the below is for general informational purposes only and may not reflect your situation. Please consult a professional before carrying out any changes to your business finances.

ATO Concessions for Small Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

Payment Deferrals

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 may be able to defer payments and vary instalments for Business Activity Statements (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefit tax assessments and excise for up to four months.

Switch Quarterly GST Reporting to Monthly GST Reporting

Businesses currently on a quarterly GST reporting cycle may opt to switch their reporting and refund payments to monthly. This is to allow businesses quicker access to refunds, if applicable. However, to do this, you will need to make the change from the start of a quarter.

You can update this information either through your tax or BAS agent, through the ATO business portal or by calling 13 72 26.

Low-Interest Payment Plans to Manage Ongoing Tax Liabilities

The ATO is urging anyone who is feeling financial strain and is struggling to meet any existing or ongoing payments through the Australian Government to contact them as soon as possible. Where possible, they are advising an interest-free payment plan may be an option. It’s recommended you contact them as soon as possible, if you find yourself in a position of needing assistance.

Remit Tax Interest & Penalties

Businesses who are affected by COVID-19 may be considered for remitting interest and/or penalties applied to tax liabilities subject after 23 January 2020.

Quarterly PAYG Instalment Payer Variance

Eligible businesses on quarterly PAYG instalment payments can vary their instalments for the March 20 quarter. Those who vary their activity statement may also be able to claim a refund on any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.

Businesses with a base assessment instalment income of $500 million or less who want to the above will need to call the ATO on 13 72 26.

Australian Government Financial Support for Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

Boosting Cash Flow for Businesses ($2,000 to $25,000 for Eligible Businesses)

If you own or run a small-to-medium-sized business that:

  • Had an aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million in the previous year.
  • Withhold tax to the ATO for employee salaries and wages.

Your business may be eligible to receive a credit on eligible business activity statements lodged from 28 April 2020 equal to 50% of your eligible PAYG withholding payments made between 1 January and 30 June 2020, up to $25,000. Where cash refunds are the case, the grant can be expected within 14 days. 

Businesses who are eligible and lodge quarterly will receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020. While eligible monthly lodgers will be able to receive payments from the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgements. So the monthly lodgers receive the process of quarterly lodgers, their rate will be calculated at 150%, instead of 50% in their March 2020 activity statement.

Businesses who are eligible but are not required to withhold tax (contracted staff, etc), may be able to receive a minimum payment of $2,000. Remember, speak to your accountant for your specific circumstances.

Subsidies for Apprentice or Trainee Wages (50% up to $21,000)

Businesses employing an apprentice or trainee who has been with them since 1 March 2020 may be eligible to claim up to 50% of their wages, up to $21,000. The business must have fewer than 20 full-time employees and retain an apprentice or trainee.

However, any sized business and Group Training Organisation who re-engages an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee may also be eligible for this subsidy. 

Eligible businesses can register for the subsidy from early-April 2020, with no final claims for payments accepted after 31 December 2020. You will need to pass an eligibility assessment through an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider, which you can contact via the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Instantly Write-Off up to $150,000 of Eligible Assets

The Australian Government increased the instant asset write-off from $30,000 to $150,000 for eligible businesses and assets. Businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (previously $50 million) may also be able to access this also.

For eligible businesses, the threshold will apply per eligible asset, so multiple assets may be able to be written off. This will apply on eligible new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready to be used between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. 

Note: The Australian Government advises these changes will not take effect until new laws are passed and to stay up to date on access on their website. 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not replace counsel or advice of a financial professional. Neither Localsearch nor the author are responsible for any misuse or misunderstanding of the information provided. Information may change after time of publishing.

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