- Create a reopening page
This page will include the date of your reopening along with your hours of operation. You’ll also want to highlight any new rules or policies that will be in place. Review your local requirements and address them point by point. Include how you are embracing any requirements as well as links to state or government websites for your website visitors to refer to.
- Create a reopening FAQ
The frequently asked questions (FAQ) page should include information that reflects what you have put in place to keep customers safe. Questions to address may include:
- What is the new routine? Will face masks be required to visit my establishment?
- Do customers bring their own face masks or will you provide them?
- Should customers wait in their car before entering your establishment?
- How much in advance should they arrive?
- Will someone come out and greet them? How exactly will this work?
- Do they call or text you and let you know they have arrived? If so, include your phone number in that FAQ.
- How much of a backlog or waiting time do you anticipate?
Be as accurate and as upfront as possible to set appropriate expectations. Update your FAQ page promptly and accordingly if changes to your business operations evolve after COVID-19
- Create a welcome back video
Nothing connects better than having a personal video from you thanking customers for their support and reflecting your excitement about opening your doors again. You can also discuss the basics of any new policies and procedures that have been mandated. Post this video at various places on your website (Home, About, Contact). Also post to your social media accounts. Videos are a great marketing tool we use them on our Home Page.
- Set up your Home Page
The first thing you want visitors to see on your homepage is your opening announcement. This is the “hero” area which is above the fold and displays without having to scroll. Display your opening date with a link for more details.
- Revisit navigation and widgets
Add links to these new pages in your site navigation and both header and footer menus. Showcase them in your homepage widget areas and internal sidebars.
- Remove irrelevant information
For example, if you are discontinuing online orders or offering specials for the holiday makers, update your website to remove any order pages containing old specials. If you are no longer going to sell online, be clear about how customers can order your products and participate in your services. For the accommodation, restaurants and tourism businesses ensure there are easy to use contact details – use the three methods, phone, email and contact form. Include this information in your reopening FAQ.
- Feature any substantial changes
If you offered curb side service when your business was closed during COVID-19, and you won’t be continuing this service after reopening, let customers know. Conversely, if you’d prefer that customers continue to use online orders rather than coming in, be clear about that. This is also important for the airport transfers and car hire areas of the tourist industry and plays a vital part in the overall holiday experience. You must be clear and reinforce how you will be doing business after you reopen. Don’t leave any grey areas.
- Review returns and refund information
Highlight any changes in your return policies, if involved in product sales. Reshape your return policies as necessary to build trust and confidence in your new operating procedures.
- Offer downloadable tip sheets
Offer a downloadable PDF that reflects your enhanced cleaning protocols, how you’re enforcing social distancing, along with what customers need to do. Customers can download to their devices and have the information on hand to refer to as needed.
- Check the thank you pages
If you modified the thank you pages due to the shutdown with messages like “thank you for your patience during this difficult time,” now is the time to perk those up to match the current environment. For example: “Thank you! We will be in touch promptly and look forward to seeing you!” Or, please leave your email address and we will email your current newsletter [Perhaps include a little gift or discount vouchered in the newsletter].
- Freshen your look
New day, new opening, new photos. Use this opportunity to give your website an updated and fresh look by taking new photos of your storefront, place of business and your staff. Happy smiling faces are inviting and will reflect your enthusiasm to get back to business.
- Update your blog
Go through your blog posts and look for any outdated content that you don’t want to be taken out of context. For any shutdown related posts, add a comment at the top of the post stating you are reopening with links to the new pages with current procedures. You may also update your current listings on this website at any time free. You don’t want visitors landing on old blog posts and misinterpreting them as current information when it comes to COVID-19. Plus, you’ll have these pages ready to go if, unfortunately, another shutdown becomes necessary.
- Set up a new blog
If you don’t have a blog, consider adding one now. A blog is a great way to share real-time updates and help personalise your interactions, via comments, with site visitors as the transition continues. Include a sign-up feature that users can subscribe to so they get updates of new posts delivered to their inbox. Plan on updating your website with a status post a couple days after reopening in the wake of COVID-19 — no later than a week in — so customers know how things are going and what to expect. Be upfront and honest about any challenges and how you addressed them. Your customers will appreciate this level of honesty.
- Create your newsletter blast
Get a newsletter blast ready to go to your website mailing list about your reopening. Again, note dates and hours, including a link to your new pages that contain additional details. Perhaps offer special offers just for the members that are on your data base.
- Review your automated responses and order emails
Automated response emails are a must today, letting the enquirer know that you have their request and you are working on it. Tailor any automated website emails to note your current status with links to your new pages for more info and details.
- Feature in-demand products
Depending on your business, there will be products or services that might be more in demand than others. Look at your pre-shutdown analytics combined with the services you know will be in high demand and plan in advance as much as possible.
- Update your calls-to-action (CTAs)
This is a perfect opportunity to focus on the promotions for products and services that will be most popular now that you are open for business. What is that something a little extra can you offer the visitor?
- Update your social pages
Be sure to get your new hours and information out there. Update your Google My Business page. Create a new pinned post with one of those new images for all your social media pages. Then update as needed to keep customers in the loop.
- Create checklists for your staff
This will be something your employees can have on hand to make sure they are following all the necessary guidelines as noted on your website. Make clear what you expect and what is required from them every step of the way.
- Keep your backups
The reality is you might have to temporarily transition your business back to being closed as the pandemic progresses. It’s possible that closing and reopening might happen a few times. Save any pages, order forms or text/content that have been working well during COVID-19 shutdowns to avoid having to redo all of the work you created. This will allow you to shift on the fly in the case of having to convert back to a closed state, rather than scrambling to recreate all that collateral to get your website back to how it was.