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4 ways manufacturers can use their websites for crisis communications

Mar 31, 2020

In these COVID-19 tumultuous times, it is critical that manufacturers and distributors use their websites to effectively communicate with — and reassure — customers, dealers, suppliers, employees and other key audiences.

Here are four ways you can provide easy and immediate access to current and accurate information.


Tip 1: Give priority placement to important information

Home page:  Add a call out to home page banner, or create an entirely new one.

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications

Sitewide alerts: These can typically be done quickly and cost-effectively. Providing important information such as hours of operation, hotline numbers, links to resource pages or production schedule adjustments sitewide is important because up to 60% of your site visitors will not land on your home page.

Use a notification or “announcement bar” at the very top of your website. It is fast and easy to implement and update. 

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications


Create a popup to feature a single message and call to action. For example, use a popup to alert customers of manufacturing delays or product shortages due to the emergency. The popup can be activated when a person lands on the website or landing.

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications



Tip 2: Make it easy for customers and suppliers to contact you

Use technology, such as a live chat, chatbots or Facebook Messenger so that people can get answers quickly. Chatbots can be set up with short notice, in days or even hours, and set up is inexpensive (depending on your website platform).

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications


Post phone numbers prominently, especially if there is a special emergency number to use.

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications


Use buttons to link directly to contact pages. Make these clickable for mobile use.

4 ways manufacturers can use  their websites for crisis communications



Tip 3: Provide informative, sharable website content that answers questions

Reassuring your distributors, suppliers, customers and employees is essential in an emergency or crisis. Providing clear and credible information that can be easily shared with others is where this starts. Possible sharable content includes:

  • A resource center that makes it easy to find key information. For instance, use a big emergency resource center button in your website header. Example: /covid-19-resource-center
    Wipfli COVID-19 Resource Center

  • Use different content formats – video, audio, recorded webinars – everyone absorbs information differently.
  • Provide a way to translate information into different languages. Google Translate is a fast and inexpensive way to do this.

Tip 4. Enlist a second set of eyes to check your messaging

In times of crisis, it’s what you say AND how you say it that is important. Have an employee or trusted advisor check emergency response messaging to make sure it is clear and authentic.

Emergencies will happen. Manufacturers and distributors can get ahead of the “panic” curve by being prepared. Having an emergency communications plan in place, an informed team and clear direction on how they will communicate, inform and connect with customers, suppliers and employees is key to successfully making it “around the bend.”


Need more help with COVID-19 issues?

We’re here to help you navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on your people, finances and business. We have developed a library of resources in our COVID-19 resource center to help you stabilize today and prepare for tomorrow.

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Author(s)

Luis J. Murgas
Principal
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