2020 has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Australian businesses – from COVID working restrictions and city-wide lockdowns to businesses operating with an online-only model. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced earlier this year Australia is in a recession, the first one in over 29 years. Nearly a million Australians are out of work, with figures released on September 18 suggesting that the unemployment rate is sitting at 6.8 per cent.
But throughout hardship and difficulty, we have witnessed businesses showing resilience, innovation and that ‘never say die’ desire that makes Australians renowned around the globe. With working from home increasing in popularity, online demand has increased in partnership with digital consumer purchasing habits. With this, competition to be seen and heard online has grown exponentially.
With the Government Guarantee Scheme, a $40 billion program that allows small businesses to apply for a loan to bounceback from COVID-19 – with applications due to be available again from October 1st – there is a real opportunity for small Australian businesses to take advantage of this cash offering and make the most of it for their small business.
Using digital marketing practices, you can ensure that you get your business noticed, crucially with your target audience, which leads to converting sales and coming out the other end of the pandemic in a good shape.
Optimising your website content to be COVID-conscious
Communication with customers has been key throughout the pandemic and it’s sure to continue being a focus as we come out of it. If you have a blog function on your website, now is the time to take advantage of it.
Use each blog to answer a question a searcher is going to have about COVID-19 relevant to your industry, using available tools like AHREFS, Google Keyword Planner and Google search results themselves. A vet may post a blog answering, “Can a dog catch Coronavirus.” Or an accountant may publish an article about, “Coronavirus business help.”
Working on your website content provides a nod to your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts. With 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 to place your website in more relevant search results. Also ensure the content is properly optimised including keyword research, relevant content matches and adding in alt text to images.
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 pandemic, treat Google My Business like any other social platform, so consider:
- Updating your trading hours, if required.
- Amending your bio to include any processes (contact-free pick-up, etc.) consumers should be aware of.
- Adding or removing any new or no-longer-on-offer products or services.
- Posting updates or specialists as regularly as possible.
Create relevant Google Ads
For businesses running Google Ads, COVID-19 might actually help you get more bang from your buck as you’ll be aiming for a more niche audience with less competition, depending on the scenario. More consumers are purchasing products online while not every business who offers their desired products will be running ads. This creates a space for you to insert yourself.
For instance, when you run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads through Google Ads, you input a daily spend budget – none of this will be spent until someone clicks the ad. So, if your daily budget is $50 and each click is $0.50, your ad will show to endless people until 100 people have clicked the ad.
It’s also worth noting that, when there is less competition for an ad placement, you pay less per click.
Ask for more reviews
More customers online means snap decisions are rife, and one way to battle this is by having a solid and public online rating.
Online reviews provide confidence to people browsing for businesses to fulfill 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.
Ensure you ask clients 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 practising what you preach, you’ll also be showing people you’re actually open, in case they think you haven’t updated your trading hours.
Utilise paid and organic social media
Social media is another quick way to get your message across to users. Utilise both organic and paid social media marketing and management to regularly stay up to date with your customers and provide relevant information.
It’s important to provide social updates to your customers with the following:
- 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 are businesses themselves. To help drive people to their paid ad platforms, they reportedly limit exposure of organic posts from business accounts. If the intent of your post is to help grow your business during COVID-19, look into paid social media ads.
Send out bulk emails and/or SMS
It’s hard to believe but many people do not have social media or use search engines regularly – this means they will miss out on your messaging, unless you vary your methods.
To help capture these people, utilise your existing customer databases through a manual mail out, a bulk email or bulk SMS. Remember, there are email and SMS marketing laws in Australia to abide by. So, please use a reputable system, like Mailchimp.
2020 has been a difficult and challenging time for Australian businesses, but now is the time for digital adoption to be maximised. Opportunities exist, just look at the likes of WhatsApp, Uber and Instagram – all born out of the 2006 Global Financial Crisis . By showing grit, innovation and understanding the endless possibilities of a digital marketing offering, you too can operate in this COVID Normal.