In one study of user engagement from the top of the page to the bottom, researchers found that the most engagement occurs just below the fold, but that user engagement drops slowly as the user scrolls 1,500 pixels down the page on to 3,000 pixels down.
All elements on your page matter, including the footer. Here are seven things users expect to see in your footer and how to meet their expectations in surprising ways.
1. Include Contact Information
Traditionally, companies offer contact information in their footers, so users expect contact when they reach the end of the page. Some users navigate directly to the bottom of the page by hitting Ctrl/END for a direct route there. Meet user expectations with information such as your company telephone number, email or a contact form placed in the footer.
Indiana Spine Group offers an interesting take on their footer that shows multiple ways of contacting them. Note that there’s a map based on your location so that you can find the office quickly. There’s also a teardrop with a toll-free number, local number, address, fax and a form you can fill out to get in touch with the facility. They offer multiple formats for contacting them, going above and beyond for their site visitors.
2. Show Your Personality
Have you ever visited a site that’s light-hearted and fun, when suddenly you reach the footer and it’s all business? Make sure your footer matches the overall personality of your site and brand. Add a bit of whimsy if the rest of your site is whimsical. Stay informal with your call to action (CTA) wording.
One idea is to include your photo and a short note about why you do what you do or a quote from the founder of the company. Let users know who you are in case they haven’t figured it out already.
4. Place a Call to Action
If a site visitor makes it to the bottom of your page, their interest in your product or service is high. Adding a CTA button can convert the undecided into leads. Repeat your CTA button at the bottom of the page to capture those who haven’t converted yet. Think about the reservations someone who hasn’t converted into a lead might have, and address them in your footer along with an invitation to find more information.
5. Add Social Media Icons
In a survey of adults in the United States, researchers found that the majority of adults use at least some of the eight social media platforms considered. About 68 percent of American adults use Facebook.
Consumers use social media for engaging with brands they like — add social media icons to your footer for better user engagement across multiple platforms.
Little Passports features social media icons at the very bottom of their page under the traditional information you expect in the footer, such as their About Us page, contact information and a link to their blog. Those looking for social media icons turn to the footer, so locating them near the bottom of the page is an excellent choice for placement.
6. Repeat Navigation
Site visitors use your navigation structure to orient themselves to your site and figure out where the elements they most desire reside on your server. It’s natural to place a navigation bar at the top of your page because that’s the first place visitors expect to see your navigation. However, many people also know that the essential navigation elements repeat in the footer. If they’re near the end of the page, they scroll to the bottom to navigate back to your homepage or elsewhere on your site.
7. Include a Signup Form
If you don’t already offer a mailing list, why not? Email marketing is a valid form of promotion. Include a signup form in your footer and gather emails that one day may turn into new leads. About 24 percent of the websites surveyed allowed visitors to subscribe to email updates within their footers. It’s a common element that visitors look for, especially if they want a discount coupon or information about special offers.
Choose Footer Elements Wisely
What you include in your footer depends on the goals of your site and your target audience. Each website is a bit different, so think through the path you want your visitors on and guide them through the actions to get there. As always, test any changes with split testing to see what’s most effective for your business goals.
This is a guest post by Lexie Lu. Lexie is a web designer and UX strategist. She writes for Marketo, Creative Bloq, Manta, Website Magazine and Cats Who Code. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.