We are living in an interesting time right now, to say the least, are we not? After a particularly hectic week last week, where we were furiously updating the websites of clients who reached out to us to get COVID-19 notices up, it occurred to me that many of our previous and current clients had not contacted us for such a request or even considered putting up such a notice.
Many may think their particular industry doesn’t require a Coronavirus pandemic notice on their website, or that they are so small that it wouldn’t even matter. But, as more social distancing and shelter in place orders go out in the coming weeks, people will be looking to company websites to find out how a particular place of business they patronize is handling the situation. They may want to know if business hours have changed or if they are still open for walk-in business.
Crisis communications teams for many larger brands, such as Nike and Starbucks, put out notices as early as last Monday. But, smaller businesses also need to be thinking about how they should communicate to their customers in these challenging times. I would like to give you some practical ideas and best practices for putting up such notices on your website.
Where should you put your COVID-19 notice on your website?
- Try to run your notices not just on the home page, but across every page of your website. Keep in mind that many website visitors may be coming to your site through a search that leads them to an interior page, not the home page. In such cases they will miss any notices that are on your homepage only. Some places you can include your Coronavirus notice, that run across all pages, would be in your main menu area or just below the main menu. Even better may be to put it at the very top of your pages, similar to what we did for the Hernando County Tourism Bureau on their site last week. To see this COVID-19 banner example, click here.
- Use a contrasting or bright color so that the notice stands out a bit, without going too far off-brand.
- Don’t try to put your entire notice all in the banner itself. You may want to consider creating a new page on your site, or a blog post, that you can link that notice to, letting people know the precautions you are taking in regards to COVID-19. Such a page can be updated, as the need arises, to give customer the latest available information about your business.
What should your COVID-19 notice say?
One of the most challenging things to come up with is the messaging for your customers and clients. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Let your customers know the impact this crisis will have on them and their everyday interactions with you.
- Reassure them about how you are protecting employees through social distancing or work from home efforts.
- Tell them how your customer service, shipping times, etc. will be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Make them aware of any location changes to service, including if your location is closed for walk-in business, but still conducting business online with employees working remotely.
- Discuss the time-frame for the changes you are making and how long they will be in effect. Of course, we all know this is a very fluid situation right now, so let them know this could change.
- You may also want to build out a list of frequently asked questions to include on your new COVID-19 webpage.
What about COVID-19 notifications on other channels?
It’s also important to update your social media accounts, as well as your Google My Business listing. They are often a place where people go for information as well.
For Facebook, I recommend creating a post, along with an eye-catching graphic, that you can pin to the top of your page. To learn how to “pin” a post to the top of your page, click here. Edit the information contained in that post, as the need arises and if your situation changes.
If you have a company page on LinkedIn, they also have a “pin” option. Do the same with that page.
If your business is affected by COVID-19 in some way, be sure to update your Google My Business profile with your most accurate information for your customers and clients.
These changes include any deviation in your regular hours of operation, or adding more details to your description regarding the effects on your regular daily routines. Such changes may consist of only offering pick-up or delivery, rather than walk-in service, or extra precautions you are taking in your business and requesting your customers take.
Don’t forget that Google My Business also allows you to “post,” much like you do on other social media channels, so you can also keep customers updated through there. They have more information available at this link to help you out.
Be well and stay safe!
I know this situation is crazy, and my only wish is that everyone stays healthy. If you are on a Monthly Maintenance Plan with us, please feel free to reach out to discuss what we can do to help you get your site updated with any information that you think would be beneficial for your customers.
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