This article describes industry-best practices informing your audience about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your business using Announcements, the steps you’re taking to stay safe, and any changes in your service.

Introduction

With 37.4 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, this pandemic has affected almost everyone. We’re nearly eight months in, and at this point in the game, it’s more than likely your business is feeling the impact, no matter what industry you belong to or what size your organization is. As the coronavirus rages on, people will be looking for information on how their favorite brands are handling the situation, and if you have a following, this means you. 

Whether you have a spa, restaurant, retail store, or car dealership, you need to talk to your users about specific changes that affect them and how you operate. They will want to know about your new business hours, delivery schedules, or if you’re open for walk-in business. Big brands such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, eBay, Hyatt, and many more have active COVID-19 notices on their websites. 

Let’s take a look at how you can effectively communicate to your audience any changes brought about by COVID-19 using an Announcement Banner.

Where Should You Place Your COVID-19 Banner?

When it comes to placing Announcement Banners on your website, it’s all about the location. Place it on a spot that’s out of the way, and your customers might treat it as such. The key to effective banner placement is to make it a priority, which means it has to be at the top of your site or at least somewhere near it. You also have to make the banner persistent enough that if users land anywhere except your home page, they’ll still see your COVID-19 announcement. An excellent example of persistence is Mcdonald’s: their health and safety banner is on every page unless you close it.

Tips on Banner Placement:

Mcdonalds - Banner
Simple and clear banner from McDonalds
  • The best place for your announcement is above all other content, which means you should aim for the very top of the page. Hyatt and McDonald’s do a fantastic job of keeping their banners above everything else. If your site design or theme doesn’t allow you to do this, you can follow eBay‘s or Nike’s example and place your notice just under your logo or below the masthead.
  • Ideally, it would be best if you ran your COVID-19 message across ALL pages of your WordPress website because people coming in via an external link or search engine might land on different interior pages of your site. Having a persistent announcement ensures anyone will be able to see it, no matter where on your website they come into.
  • Make your banner stand out, but you shouldn’t deviate too much from your brand identity. Choose bright or contrasting colors that are still on-brand to avoid confusing your audience.
Nike runs their global site announcements under the main nav

What Should Your COVID-19 Announcement Say?

One of the more challenging aspects of drafting an announcement is what to say. When it comes to notices, less is more, because you won’t have much real estate to work with. The last thing you want is an announcement that dwarfs everything else on your website. Avoid cramming all the information on your notice and consider creating a dedicated page about your response to COVID-19.  Link your banner announcements to this page.

Your message should cover the essentials, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • How your customers will be affected.
  • The steps you are taking to protect your employees and partners through social distancing, masks, face shields, remote work, and more.
  • How you disinfect your products (if applicable).
  • The effect on customer service, shipping, and deliveries. 
  • Any changes to lead time, service tickets, and others. 
  • New policies for walk-in clients.
  • If your users contact you and ask the same questions, you can make an FAQ page.

Tips on How to Write Announcements:

  • Your COVID-19 announcement should be concise. Avoid messages that run across two lines. Mobile users may find too much text a jarring experience. 
  • If you have much information to share, you can always split your messages into chunks. Nike’s COVID-19 statement sits under the masthead and slides in like the other notices, prompting users to “View More” if they wish to learn more.

Consider creating a separate page containing COVID-19 details that your banners can link to. Check out HubSpot’s dedicated COVID-19 announcement page.

How Should You Go About Placing the Banner?

Placing a COVID-19 banner on your site depends on your situation. If you know how to code or have someone in your team that does, you can do it yourself. You can also hire a professional developer to create a banner for you. If WordPress powers your website, several plugins can handle this, and Bulletin is one of them. Bulletin is easy to use and is one of the most powerful announcement banner plugins for your WordPress site.

With Bulletin, you can:

  • Do everything discussed above. 
  • Create a catchy banner placed above all your other content.
  • Have a persistent message on all your pages or have different information on specific ones.
  • Create rotating notices.

To Recap:

In these challenging and uncertain times, having a dedicated COVID-19 banner on your site is critical. As a business, you want to inform your customers how you deal with the current crisis and how it’s likely to affect them. People are looking for clarity and consistency amidst all the chaos. You’ll be doing them an excellent service by providing timely updates about your operations and how you’re doing business now. Bulletin can help you get the word out.