Keeping Customers Informed of Business Updates in a Changing Climate
The multiple ways that life has changed in America in recent months has had me thinking about how design adapts to changes. Business owners across the world have had to adapt to a change in their business or a shutdown and communicating that to your customers is the most important thing. This becomes especially important now that businesses and states are starting to re-open. There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the new normal. So what is the best way to convey your status to customers in a way that is on brand and easy to find?
Have a Central Updates Page
What I recommended to clients during COVID-19 would also work for any sort of change in operations, whether it is a temporary shut-down or a change in the way you do business. This has been very popular during COVID-19 but would work for any kind of shutdown or disruption in service. I recommend having one page that has all of the updates on it, with the most recent at the top. This way your clients know that they are in the right place and aren’t wondering if there is more up to date information. This page doesn’t have to be lengthy. The most important thing people need to know is if you are open, closed, or under limited operations. For the most part, keep it to just the information that your customer needs to know and anything that will impact their experience working with your company. If you are responding to a health crisis, list what adjustments you are making to keep your employees or your customers safe. If there are different ways to make a purchase or pick up, include that on the page as well. Don’t add a lot of fluff, just the essential information.
Design for the Central Updates Page
Your central updates page doesn’t need to be as stylized as the rest of the site. Don’t waste time trying to make the page super fancy, just get the information out there. That being said, you’ll still want it to be on brand, so include things the regular website header and footer. If you are going to include color, make sure that it is one of your brand colors. However, don’t feel like it has to be as styled and designed as the rest of your site. This is just a temporary information page. You are not trying to sell people on this page. Overall, make sure the information is readily apparent and easy to read.
Place a Link to your Central Updates Page on Your Homepage:
You want your customers to be easily able to find the information they are looking for. There are two main places I recommend placing the link to the update bar. Many commercial themes (meaning you didn’t have it custom designed for yourself) have an “announcements bar” that sticks at the top of the page. If you have an announcements bar, this is a great way for the information to show up on every page, but not overtake the content for people who are on your website for other reasons. A second place I recommend placing the link if you don’t have an announcement bar is right under the first section of your homepage. Having the link in a colored bar right under the “hero” section of your homepage will be obvious, but not overtake the central message of the site.
Design of the Link on the Homepage
For 90% of clients, I recommend a colored bar that has some sort of text directing people to the central info page. The color of the bar and the text color should have good contrast. Use your judgement but don’t make the bar too small or too large. I recommend having the text slightly larger than your paragraph text or the same size as your paragraph text. This layout will work for most websites.
Keep the Page After Your Operations Normalize
I recommend keeping the page once your operations normalize. If a situation ever comes up again, it will be easy to see what you did before and adapt the new information for the page. For WordPress users, remove any reference to the page on the site and change the publish setting on WordPress for the page to Private. That way you’ll still be able to access it, but others won’t.
This has been an incredibly trying time for all businesses. As places reopen or adjust their operations, communication is more important than ever. If you need help getting your website to reflect your new stage of business, let’s talk!
My mission is to help business owners grow their digital presence - so they can not only achieve their business goals, but surpass them. Above all, I’m guided by my passion for helping others to take their ideas from concept to reality. As a business owner myself, I take incredible pride in the work I do, and am grateful for the opportunity to help other business owners bring their dreams to life.