Without a shadow of doubt (pun not intended), colours are going to be a huge part of your testing process. Whether you’re publishing an eBook and testing the best cover or measuring opt-in forms and landing pages, knowing the fundamentals behind colour psychology and how you should apply them will dramatically uplift your conversions from the get-go.
In today’s article, I will provide a detailed rundown on which colours you should use to achieve specific goals.
Understanding the Colour Spectrum
Before I go any further, learn and study this infographic:
Full Infographic: KISSmetrics
Different colours help achieve different objectives. Blue creates a sense of trust and security and is commonly used by top IT brands such as IBM, Intel and Hewlett Packard. Whereas green is associated with making money and personal well-being, and is a key colour in Digital Marketer‘s website:
Here’s some of the best colour scheme practices to optimise your website, opt-in forms and ads.
Red Promotes Fear and Urgency
The colour red represents a sense of urgency and fear in the human mind. Ever wondered why stop signs and no smoking stickers primarily consist of red? Would a stop sign have as much impact if it were yellow or pink?
If you’re promoting a time sensitive offer or content with fear as the main motivator to take action, consider using red. Debenhams were running a half price sale and used a huge block of red to get users’ attention and create urgency around their promotion:
They even put their Warehouse clearance menu in red to further push their message.
Best for: Time-based offers and content where fear is the main message
Green Promotes Health and Money (and it’s Easy on the Eyes)
As well as being the colour of health and money, green is also the easiest colour for our eyes to process. As a result, you’ll often green as one of the go-to colours for call-to-actions:
One of the most lucrative online niches is the health industry. Having green in your company logo, website theme or ads will further emphasise your health and well-being message.
Holland and Barrett have plastered tons of green on their homepage to further support their message about eating well and living the good life:
Whereas Guava Pass (gym membership pass) use green in their logo and Facebook ad copy:
Best for: Promoting health related messages
Orange – The Perfect Call to Action
For the longest time orange has been considered the colour of choice for call-to-actions, with many marketing experts agreeing that orange increases conversions more than any other colour.
From checking out two of the world’s biggest online retailers, orange certainly seems to be a wise choice:
Does this mean you should have all your call-to-actions set to be orange? Probably not.
While I do believe that orange is one of the better colours to increase conversions, if your website or ad uses orange elsewhere, it may take away the impact it has on your call-to-action.
The truth is you won’t know the best colour for your call-to-action until you test a number of colours,even though reports usually point towards orange.
Best for: Call-to-actions
When to Use Black and Shades of Grey
Suits, shoes and briefcases all tend to be black. Black represents power, luxury and sophistication. Black is a very powerful colour that can aid in conversions, but used incorrectly it can kill them just as fast.
If you plan to price yourself at the higher end of the market, using black with shades of grey or white usually provide the biggest impact to echo that luxury message:
Apple are the world’s most expensive brand, they price themselves at the top of the market and rarely do they run sales or promotions discounting their products. Which three colours do you think they use on their website?:
Black, white and shades of grey.
Avoid using black when promoting food or health related messages, as black can also be aligned with rotten food and death.
Best for: promoting luxury and exclusivity
Just because green is linked with health doesn’t mean you should use green at every possible opportunity if you manage a health business. Nor should you use red to promote every single time sensitive offer.
The colours and psychology factors discussed are just best practices and should be used as a starting point for when you create and test any type of content. Every business is different and what works for Apple may not necessarily work for you.
Knowing the psychology behind certain colours is extremely useful as you will make less mistakes and hold greater data for creating and testing pages.
Are you using colours you shouldn’t be?