In early 2020 Australia, and the world, we were faced with an unprecedented health challenge that would test every aspect of our lives as we knew it. In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia there was significant uncertainty.

Health authorities declared the spread of Covid-19 a health emergency of international concern in January 2020 and it was upgraded to a pandemic in early March. Australia then went into lockdown on March 18 2020.

This significantly impacted businesses and individuals alike. In response the Australian federal, state and local governments introduced a range of stimulus packages and financial relief measures to soften the blow for businesses and everyday Australians. The aim was to prevent businesses from having to close their businesses for good. However, the government announced and implemented these measures so quickly that it was difficult to find the right support packages and how to apply for them.

As the pandemic escalated and businesses were losing revenue at a rapid pace, and individuals were losing work, a clear need emerged for a comprehensive platform outlining the various financial assistance options available.

Business approach

During the early weeks of the pandemic Increaseo undertook an analysis of how the Covid-19 health measures impacted businesses and their profitability. As the analysis progressed a substantial long-term community need was identified for a comprehensive, centralised website where a range of recipients could access stimulus package information. The Increaseo team used these insights to start planning a centralised platform to track Covid-19 economic response and ongoing government stimulus updates.

Business challenges and profitability

When lockdown restrictions were put in place businesses were put into a position where they had to pivot their business models overnight to maintain profitability, this inevitably led to uncertainty. As a business that was dealing with this uncertainty themselves, Increaseo discovered first hand how challenging this could be.

As a socially responsible digital marketing agency Increaseo wanted to help other businesses and individuals facing the same issues. We were in the unique position of being able to leverage our digital marketing, design & web development skills to create a website that could deliver the latest stimulus package updates, as well as how to access assistance in all forms, to Australian’s effectively and efficiently.

Necessity leads to innovation. was born out of the necessity for more certainty during an unprecedented time. Having lost multiple projects due to the lockdown ourselves, we identified how difficult it was to find local, federal and state government relief and stimulus package information. With a downturn in business for Increaseo we found ourselves with extra time to put into a stimulus package website project. So, we set about creating a centralised platform for people to access economic stimulus information, emotional and physical help services and promotions offered by businesses in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Stimulus Package website was launched just one week later.

The website was initially created to offer timely information on the government stimulus packages available throughout the coronavirus crisis. As we progressed we decided to add up to the minute information on innovations designed to help the community with the challenges that came hand in hand with the Coronavirus pandemic. Working from home, social isolation and uncertainty in business, and for individuals, lead to innovative solutions across industry sectors and the community. We covered everything, from platforms that linked community assistance organisations to the community to online spaces where people could register for help from neighbours.
A comprehensive one stop shop was also created to bring together all offers and promotions that companies were offering to assist businesses and individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This included; free access to or extended free trials to business productivity software, e-commerce and marketing platforms and free wellness, mental health and education services.

Substantiating long-term community needs

Australia’s initial lockdown was based on pre-emptive figures from China and it wasn’t clear whether there would be short or ongoing. This raised the question of whether there would be a long term need for a website like

We quickly established that, despite the projected short term nature of the lockdown in Sydney and nationally, there would be a need for ongoing community support well after the initial Covid-19 lockdown. This was proven true by the ongoing financial and mental impact of the initial lockdown and the multiple lockdowns throughout Australia during 2020 and 2021. Particularly in Victoria and New South Wales, but also in every other Australian state.

Brainstorming ideas and proposed solutions

As Increaseo went about building the new platform we were continuously brainstorming on how best to set it up to meet the ever changing needs of the businesses and the community during a global pandemic.

The first challenge was easily solved. What would the platform be called? Surprisingly, the domain name was still available to purchase, so we made quick work of securing that. The domain name then informed the name for the entire platform.

The second hurdle was funding which was overcome by approaching a number of community minded sponsors and partners who recognised the benefit of such a platform. We partnered with neobank DayTek Capital and AAP Finance Brokers and went to work creating the Stimulus Package website.

As the development of the platform continued a clear need emerged for other kinds of support service to help businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus crisis. So, pages for pandemic related innovations, special offers and community support services were added to the platform in addition to the information on financial relief packages offered by local, state and federal government.

During the time of the Covid-19 crisis information was being disseminated by the media and on social media at a rapid pace. It was hard to establish which sources were trustworthy and which weren’t. It was important to establish as a reputable source of Covid relief packages. Establishing and maintaining community trust was essential to its success. This was done by ensuring that we partnered with reputable businesses and that the platform was shared by reputable sources across social media and organically. For example the article written by Raine & Horne and shared on their website the week after the platform was launched.

Building a centralised platform for economic response

At Increaseo, human and user experience are at the heart of every website we build. So, in order to build a truly effective centralised platform it was essential to understand how users would use the website and why they were using it. Was it financial, emotional or health factors that were driving users and their interactions on the site?

To establish this we went about researching the Australian government and business community response to the Covid-19 pandemic and how the community and individuals were accessing these initiatives. We performed a technical use case study to model user activity and to define the features required to make the platform perform optimally and how best to implement them.

We used the detailed information obtained from the user case study and other research to customise the platform to the needs of prospective users.

Implementation — strategies that leveraged our new venture

Once the needs of the community and prospective users was established we went about using their in-house skillset to create and implement the platform.

The first step was to conduct extensive keyword research. This would establish what was being searched, where and by whom. This could be leveraged to answer people’s questions on the latest stimulus and community relief packages and to ensure that the platform would rank well in search results.

Value rich content was then created incorporating the keywords and findings of the extensive research. This would ensure that the website was useful for the audience it was aiming to target. Off page and on page optimisation was also conducted to grow organic traffic. When creating a new website it is important to give users what they want and expect. Quality backlinks were also used in order to help with website ranking. This ensured that stimulus package information reached the right audiences as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Extensive research was also conducted into all of the different stimulus packages and other measures being offered to help the community during the Covid-19 crisis. This needed to be collated into easy to understand Informative content. The main aim was to outline economic stimulus, who was eligible, whether it applied to large, small or medium sized businesses or sole traders and how to apply. Easy to follow information was also collated on how permanent and temporary workers, who had been stood down or lost hours, could access payments, including the government’s new JobSeeker, Jobkeeper and coronavirus supplement programs. It was also important to include information on not for profit organisations that were assisting people to access assistance during what became a challenging and confusing time.

Once all of the necessary information was collated and packaged into an easy to access and understand platform social media, amongst other strategies, were used to promote it. Organic and paid posts were created and shared to let people know about These were posted on Increaseo’s social media channels as well as those of our partners and other businesses.

Keeping up with ongoing government stimulus updates

One of the biggest challenges faced was keeping the platform up to date. As the Covid-19 lockdown, and its impact on businesses and individuals alike, progressed the government and organisations were constantly updating their response. In response Increaseo spent a lot of time keeping the platform updated. This was done by subscribing to government website updates and press releases, and checking relevant sources daily.

Lessons harvested from the Stimulus Package experience

As we worked through creating the Stimulus Package website we were able to take some useful learnings that would contribute to our work as an agency, especially on similar projects. It also gave our team a project to focus on when the worry of losing clients and projects early on in the pandemic was weighing on us heavily. We felt the inherent stress of the pandemic for ourselves, our community and our clients and this was a great way not only to throw ourselves into a project, but also to give back to those most impacted by the lockdowns.

The first major learning was that a structured and systematic approach was helpful when working on a project that had so many moving parts. It also made the rapid nature of updates much easier to handle.

Another learning was that careful planning of SEO and attention to how it drives traffic was really important. Attaining key links really helped with attracting search traffic. We already knew that making sure that SEO and high ranking keywords were a focus of all content would help with website ranking. This was further highlighted with the website consistently ranking in top positions next to key government websites.

Our final learning was that the website traffic was very influenced by news and outbreaks. We found that traffic to the site was much heavier during big outbreaks and lockdowns when people were seeking out information about federal and local government Covid-19 stimulus packages and other pandemic supports.

Conclusions drawn

Due to the unexpected and ongoing nature of the lockdown there was no way of quantifying the impact lockdown had on businesses and individuals other than word of mouth and news coverage of Centrelink queues, but the indicators were substantial enough to dwarf that of the GFC. The strictness of the initial lockdown, and those that followed, really highlighted the serious health crisis we were facing, and the ongoing nature of the pandemic.

This was further brought home by the amount of stimulus being offered to business owners and sole traders in the form of JobKeeper which was maintained well past the end of the initial lockdown. JobSeeker with an additional Covid supplement payment was also introduced as a form of individual wage support for those who lost their jobs or had reduced work hours due to the public health measures put in place to protect Australian’s from the virus. This individual support was also offered well past the end of the initial lockdown.

After the initial crisis had eased and Australian life had returned to a semblance of normal, due to the hard closure of international borders and traveller quarantine requirements, the need for a stimulus package platform lessened.

Despite the recent outbreaks of the Delta Covid-19 variant in Australia, and subsequent lockdowns, we have decided to deactivate the platform.

This decision was made because government resources have been significantly improved and are very good at providing relevant, up to date information themselves. The government learnt from the Covid-19 crisis that consistent and accurate information was essential for the community to navigate its way through the pandemic. As such, the site has served its purpose, and we see no ongoing need for it.

Covid-19 State Resources

Here are some useful links to access Covid-19 resources in your state.

Australian Capital Territory COVID-19 economic support for business
New South Wales 2021 COVID-19 Support Package
Northern Territory Business grants and funding
Queensland Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business grants and assistance
South Australia Support for businesses
Tasmania Business support
Victoria Business grants and support
Western Australia COVID-19 coronavirus: Support for business