What Color Should Your CTA Be? May 08, 2019, | Posted by erin

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Of all the things that studies could be done on, it may seem a bit over-the-top to do a study (much less several of them) on the subject of the color of a call to action and how that impacts performance. But in a competitive field like email marketing, you can bet that every last factor that can influence consumer behavior goes under the microscope. Site Impact can say with authority that there is no one color that is going to be the perfect solution for your call to action every single time; that just isn’t how humans are made. But by studying color psychology a bit, you can tailor things around the effect you want to have on your recipients, and make a better play for the conversion you’re looking for.


Understanding color psychology

Consistently, studies show that colors can impact the way we feel in general and specific ways. The color blue, for example, generally evokes feelings of trust and to some degree, relaxation (though of course, there’s a reason that the musical genre is called ‘the blues’). Meanwhile, the color yellow evokes warmth and clarity, and red evokes feelings of aggressiveness and excitement. You’ve likely seen a good deal of color psychology in practice, though you might not have realized it: restaurants have been incorporating the color red into their designs--both logos and interior designs for their locations--in the understanding that the color stimulates hunger. However, more recent studies have indicated that this doesn’t bear out all that well in humans. If you take a look at different brands’ logos and palettes, you’ll notice that there are trends across industries; creative industries tend to go for purple, the health and wellness industry loves green. Understanding color psychology can give a great insight into what color works best for a particular call to action--even if it doesn’t give a blanket answer.


There are limits!

Even taking into consideration that color can influence emotion--and with it, behavior--it’s important to note that color psychology isn’t infallible. Even when you get as specific as you possibly can, there are factors that are outside of your control; for example, cultural background can play a huge role in the associations with a color, and there’s no real way to know the in-depth cultural mindset of every recipient on your list. While there are arching themes across many cultures in terms of associations (there does not seem to be a culture that considers green to be a dangerous or stressful color, as an example), there are many differences that can come into play. The color you choose for your call to action is going to have a lot of factors going into it--it’s all well and good to pick a color that stimulates feelings of urgency, but if it clashes with your branding colors, it’s not going to have the right impact--and ultimately there’s no one right answer to point to, especially not for every single campaign.


What our experts advise is that you take as many factors as you can control into consideration when designing your CTA: the psychology of the color in general, the way the call to action will look next to your logo and other branded design elements, and if possible general knowledge about the cultural background of your recipients (while you can’t get down to individuals, you can know, for example, if there are a lot of Asian-American recipients--and therefore, take into consideration the colors generally considered favorable and unlucky). It seems like a lot, but it can make a difference. Of course, one solution to the prospect of getting the best results is one of our favorite methods for everything: test! Contact Site Impact to learn how we can help you put your beautiful designs in the top of consumers’ inboxes.