How to Use Color to Increase Your Website’s Conversions

Color is incredibly powerful.

I have been reading a book, called Drunk Tank Pink, which talks about the power of color (and other environmental forces that affect our behavior). The author, Adam Alter, claims that just looking at the color pink immediately causes people to feel relaxed and calm. It is so powerful that it has been used in prison cells to calm down inmates. When wrestlers wear the color pink during their matches, they generally end up beating their opponents.

Color clearly affects the subconscious in ways that we aren’t even aware of. One study found that customers form opinions on products in just 90 seconds…and 62-90% of that opinion is determined entirely by the color of the product.

If that doesn’t convince you just how powerful color is, here’s some more evidence: Performable, the marketing automation company, changed their CTA button color from green to red and increased conversions by 21%.  Heinz changed the color of their ketchup from red to green and sold over 10 million bottles in the first seven months…in other words, it was the highest sales increase in the company’s history.

With all that being said, there’s no denying the crucial role that color plays in web design and the impact it has on conversions. So here’s how you can use color to increase your website’s conversions…

Consider Color Associations

Different colors evoke different emotions and feelings. According to Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics blog, blue increases trust and feelings of peacefulness. Think about many banks, like Chase Bank, Citibank, Capital One…they all have blue logos. But blue does not help to evoke trust when it comes to food, since from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s related to poison. That probably explains why you never see blue food (unless it’s been artificially dyed…but even that is rare).

Yellow is often associated with warnings…and happiness. But it should be used sparingly, since it has a tendency to provoke anxiety (which makes sense given the fact that it’s associated with warnings!).

You’re probably well aware that green makes us think of the environment and the outdoors. If I see a restaurant with a bright green logo, I generally assume that it’s a healthy or organic restaurant. But green is also a color that has been shown to help induce creativity.

Orange increases feelings of urgency and is often associated with cheap things. It’s a playful color too—think about the Fanta and Nickelodeon logos.

Meanwhile, black is the color of luxury, often associated with items of high value.  Take a look at luxury brands, Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. All of them have simple, black logos.

So think about your brand and what kind of message you are trying to send to your audience. How do you want them to feel when they come to your website? Excited? Calm? Intimidated? From there, you can determine the color scheme of your site.

Think About Gender

Many people associate blue with men and pink with women. You might be surprised to find that most women actually prefer blue, purple and green (and dislike grey, orange and brown). Pink does not top the list at all. Meanwhile, men prefer blue, green and black (and dislike purple, orange and brown).

So when designing (or redesigning) your website, think about your target audience. If they are mostly male, consider adding some more blues, greens and blacks throughout. If they are primarily female, add some blues, purples and greens to your color palette.

Create Contrast

Some might argue that color is only effective insofar as it is used correctly. Red might work perfectly with your brand, but if it’s paired with pink, orange and other bright colors, it probably won’t be very effective. People are drawn to contrasting colors, so you should make sure to juxtapose different colors on your website.

The “isolation effect” in color psychology states that when various colors are present, the color that is different from the rest will stand out and be remembered. So when you want people to focus on one thing on your website, make that one thing a different color than its surroundings so that it stands out more. A primary example here would be CTAs (call-to-actions). You probably know by now that your CTA should be a different color than its surroundings, preferably a brighter color since brighter colors have higher conversion rates than darker colors.

Test Away

When all is said and done, there is no right or wrong way to color your website. An article for “Color Matters” claims that “psychologically, the ‘anti-aesthetic’ colors may well capture more attention than those on the aesthetically-correct list.” The important thing is to test and find out what works best for your brand and what best captures the attention of your audience.

But whatever you do, don’t have too many colors on your website. Pick just a few (three or four) colors that represent your brand and will capture the attention of your audience. Make sure those colors bode well together and create contrast. Use bright colors sparingly when you want to draw attention to certain things.

Lastly, don’t forget about perhaps the most important color of all: white.

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