Return on investment, or ROI, is a crucial component of any successful business strategy. It’s a calculation of how much you’ll benefit in return for the cost of a specific investment or venture. Although it may be simple to understand and calculate, it’s not quite so simple to achieve. To ensure you maintain a viable ROI, you need to keep customer engagement and revenue as high as possible.
In the modern world, engagement and revenue ratings are much more complex — even more so when you focus on the digital aspect of it all. For marketers, web designers and developers, the focus should always be on boosting engagement and conversions. Traffic matters, but not if you don’t have the sales or interactions to go with it.
The beauty of web design is that there are many elements you can configure and optimize to boost total ROI. One particular element is the footer, or bottommost portion of your pages. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can make this happen.
1. Decide What You Want to Accomplish
Ask yourself this: What is it you want to achieve with your footer? Do you want to use it as a secondary call to action? Do you need an additional layer of navigation options?
More importantly, how does it relate to your overall business goal? If you would rather build brand recognition and goodwill with your audience over making a sale, then it can offer another section to do that.
There’s no wrong or right answer. It’s all about what you want for your design and audience, and what it is that you’d like to accomplish. Furthermore, by sticking to a main goal, you can keep your mission aligned across the board. Your site will offer one seamless, user-friendly experience.
Creative agency Bluestag’s footer is a great example of this. It employs a minimal design, with just a single point of focus. The agency wants you to hire it, so that’s exactly what is proposed in the footer, along with information to make it happen. It’s simple yet elegant, and it works.
2. Include Your Must-Haves
If you don’t already have another place to display these, then so be it. Get them out of the way first, so that you can add a little more color to your footer. One of the best ways to incorporate them is to use a multilayer footer, so they have their own segment apart from everything else.
3. Mirror Your Primary Call to Action
Along with deciding what you want to accomplish with your footer, consider what you’re trying to do with your site. Do you want to sell a product or service, or would you rather boost exposure?
Use this information to mirror your call to action. It might entail adding an inline contact form in your footer, adding an email submission or sign-up button, or even encouragement to visit your brick-and-mortar store.
Whatever the case, the footer is another great place to include a secondary call to action. For instance, Reynolds Solutions has its 24-hour emergency number in the footer — it’s elsewhere on the page, too. This ensures that anyone spending time on the bottom still has access to the most important information.
4. Organize Your Items Logically
Whether you have a lot of elements in your footer or only a few, the structure is going to influence how effective your content is. If it’s all jumbled and confusing, you might as well have ignored the footer altogether.
Organize your footer in a logical way so all the items and elements are paired and segmented appropriately. Most website themes and design tools already include some form of division for the footer area. Each section may be layered, or there may be dividers and segments included already.
You see this a lot when a footer is used as another navigation menu. The hyperlinks are generally organized in various sections such as physical locations, services, contact info and more.
5. Get Social
Social media icons — with links to your active social accounts — are the obvious choice here. However, you can also include embed social feeds, recent comments or reviews, press mentions or anything else media-based. The idea is to boost ROI through social engagements.
You can also embed social feeds in your footer, so audiences can see what you’ve posted recently or even interact with your social content.
In the Behance footer, you can see all the social networks the brand participates on listed openly. This provides customers and visitors with an additional channel to interact with and follow news from the company.
6. Make It Useful
If your footer is just tacked on, with nothing useful or relevant, then it’s certainly not going to contribute anything to your bottom line. Using it for an additional navigation menu is one way to make it useful. You should also include important links and details.
Another way to make it useful is to implement a unique content feed. You could deliver tips, advice and even small tutorials in your footer. What this does is draw attention to that area, while providing actionable information for your audience. Eye tracking studies show website readers pay closer attention to images such as infographics. In fact, they spend more time looking at the info-laden images than the text on the page. Use this to your advantage!
The Spruce chose to include a secondary navigation menu, albeit with a custom theme and setup. Notice how the menu separates content into various categories? You can also see some of the other elements discussed in this guide, such as social icons, and the important links below the navigation buttons. On the right hand side of the footer is an animated GIF, following the unique content idea.
7. Shift the View
One element commonly found in footers is an option for audiences to return to the top of the page. It makes sense, considering they’ve likely scrolled quite a way down and the navigation option will jump you instantly to the top again. What if you structured your site so the focus shifted back to your call to action? Better yet, what if you used this feature to shift focus to an important section of your page?
This highlights the idea that you can use the footer to shift the view of your customer to wherever it is you want them to be.
Keep It Simple
Most of these ideas align with a single concept: adhering to a simple, user-friendly element that doesn’t take away from the rest of the page. You’ll notice that a lot of sites that do it right tend to use minimal design techniques. There’s nothing wrong with being a little flashy, but you definitely don’t want to take away from the rest of your design.
The art of using your site’s footer to boost ROI calls for a well-positioned, well-organized footer that enhances the user’s experience. You can do this by adding an additional navigation menu, by including your call to action another time, or even by providing direct links to social networks. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you follow this one basic rule: Keep it simple.
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