Color Psychology in Emailing: How Color Choices Impact Subscriber Action

Sales strategy
2 october 2023


Fifty shades of…


According to color psychology, every color, shade, and hue has different implications and effects on the mind of the person seeing it.

The human eye can scan an email very quickly without necessarily reading it. A beautiful color placed in the right place will make all the difference.

Each color has its own vibrancy and meaning. Color serves the message.

An email full of black text vs. an email with a few well-placed colors: It's a bit like Apple vs. Windows if you know what I mean :)

Colors have an impact on the psychology of readers. You want to create a “trigger” effect with your emailing so that your recipient takes action. Color can help you in this sense.

🍭 Bright, vibrant colors like red or yellow evoke excitement and urgency, while muted tones like pastels convey calmness and elegance. The first glimpse of your email's color scheme can set the tone for how subscribers perceive your message.💌💥

⚠️I don't want to spoil it but there is a personal anecdote inside the article!☺️

🌈Let's see how to use rainbows to trigger actions for your subscribers :)🌈

I. How colors in Email Marketing can affect your recipient?

🎨 Basics of Color Psychology

Before we start splashing colors all over your email campaigns, let's brush up on the basics. Color psychology is all about how colors affect human behavior and emotions.

Different colors can trigger various emotions and associations. For instance, red can stir up excitement, while blue exudes trust and calmness.

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science found that warm colors like red and yellow can influence impulsive buying decisions ("The Influence of Warm Colors on Consumer Behavior," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science).

The perception and feeling of a color will depend on multiple factors such as:

  • Personal and professional experiences
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Cultural differences
  • From the place of residence
  • Time of day
  • The emotional state of the person

🧠 It's not easy to take all these criteria into account! But for the criteria that are “measurable”, companies must take them into account before creating the email campaign and choosing the colors to convey the brand values.

📈 5 Reasons Why Using Colors in Email Marketing is a Game Changer

  1. 🎯 Grab Attention: Bold and contrasting colors scream, "Look at me!" Use 'em on your Call to Action (CTA) buttons, and watch those clicks roll in. 🚀
  2. 😍 Create Emotions: Colors can make your subscribers feel something. Need excitement? Go for red. Want trustworthiness? Blue's your friend. It's like having a mood ring for your emails. 🌟
  3. 🌍 Personalization: Tailor your emails with color preferences in mind. Send vibrant, energetic hues to your young and hip crowd, and more subdued shades to your sophisticated subscribers. 🕶️
  4. 💰 Boost Conversions: When your email design is on point, it can lead to more conversions. That means more sales, folks! Cha-ching! 💵
  5. 💼 Branding Consistency: Using your brand's colors consistently reinforces your brand identity. It's like your emails are wearing your brand's snazzy uniform.

🎨 Using Color for Specific Email Elements

Now that we've convinced you that colors are the secret sauce, here's how to use them effectively in your emails:

  • Headers and Banners: Your header is like the red carpet for your content. Roll it out with a color that screams, "Welcome, VIP subscribers!" 🎉
  • CTA Buttons: The big one! Use a color that stands out from the rest of your email, like a neon sign in a dark alley. 💡

HubSpot's research shows that a red CTA button outperforms a green one by 21% in terms of conversion rates ("The Power of Red in Conversion Rate Optimization," HubSpot).

Look at the orange CTA button ⬇️

  • 📝 Text and Background: Ensure readability by using high-contrast colors. Don't make your subscribers squint; they won't like you for it! 👓
  • Links: Changing the blue hyperlink definitely stands out from the usual, making a difference in the minds of your email recipients!

🌍 Cultural Considerations

Before crafting your email: Do your homework!

Remember that the world is a diverse place, and colors can mean different things to different people.

🧋➡️ Let me tell you a story that really comes to mind. I worked in China for my first job, I was 22 years old. I created a graphic poster for an event. In the middle of the poster was an aesthetic image of an orange candle on a black background. I was very pleased with the design. I proudly showed it to my Chinese director and it turned blue.

I didn't immediately understand what was happening, I needed the translation! Even with the translation, I didn't realize my mistake until my intern showed me the image of a Day of the Dead that looked eerily similar to my poster!!

That’s when I realized that what worked in one culture could run counter to meaning in another. 🌍🌎🌏

“A color that's seen as lucky in one culture might be viewed as unlucky in another." - John Haltiwanger, International Marketing Expert

II. Pick your color!

In this part, we will explore the psychological effects and success stories following different colors.

Pick your color!

Blue 💙

  • Psychological Effect: Blue is the symbol of calm and confidence. It exudes professionalism, reliability, and a sense of security. It's like the corporate suit of colors.
  • Success Story: IBM is a tech giant known for its iconic blue logo and branding. IBM has successfully leveraged this color to establish itself as a trusted provider of technology solutions, software, and services.

Green 💚

  • Psychological Effect: Green is Mother Nature's favorite color. It's all about growth, health and sustainability. Green seems to be telling us, “Hey, we’re environmentally friendly and we care about your well-being!”
  • Success Story: Starbucks, a global coffeehouse chain, has embraced green as a prominent color in its branding. This green image has resonated with consumers who value ethical, eco-friendliness and environmentally conscious businesses.

Pink 💖

  • Psychological Effect: Pink is the color of sweetness and affection. It's like a warm hug in marketing form. Use pink to convey love, compassion, and a dash of playfulness.
  • Success Story: Victoria's Secret, a renowned lingerie and beauty brand, uses pink as a dominant color in its marketing and store design. Pink conveys a sense of femininity, romance, and playfulness, aligning perfectly with the brand's image.
  • Emailing example:

White 🤍

  • Psychological Effect: White is the canvas of purity and simplicity. It's like a blank slate waiting for your brand's story. It's clean, fresh, and oh-soooooo-elegant.
  • Success Story: Apple, one of the world's leading tech companies, is famous for its minimalist design and clean, white aesthetics. The use of white in its product design and marketing materials reflects simplicity, elegance, and a focus on user experience. Apple's success lies in its ability to make cutting-edge technology feel approachable and user-friendly.

Black 🖤

  • Psychological Effect: Black is the color of sophistication and mystery. It's like the James Bond of colors.🕶️  Use it to convey luxury, exclusivity, and a touch of intrigue.
  • Success Story: Chanel embodies sophistication and exclusivity with its black-themed brand. Chanel's use of black in its packaging, logo, and fashion designs has contributed to its status as a symbol of high-end luxury and timeless style.
  • Emailing example:

Purple 💜

  • Psychological Effect: Purple is the color of creativity and imagination. It's a whimsical unicorn in the marketing world. Use it to spark curiosity and artistic vibes. 🦄🦄
  • Success Story: Twitch, a popular live-streaming platform primarily focused on video games and esports, prominently features purple in its branding. Purple represents community, and entertainment, aligning perfectly with Twitch's mission to connect gamers, streamers, and viewers worldwide.
  • Emailing example:

Red ❤️

  • Psychological Effect: Red is the color of passion, urgency, and excitement. It's like a fireworks show in your marketing campaign. Use it when you want to ignite action.
  • Success Story: Netflix, the streaming giant, features red prominently in its branding. While not as traditional as Coca-Cola, Netflix's use of red symbolizes passion, excitement, and entertainment. Red conveys the idea that watching content on Netflix is an exhilarating and immersive experience.

Orange 🧡

  • Psychological Effect: Orange is the enthusiastic cheerleader of colors. It radiates energy and a sense of adventure. It's like a sunrise in your inbox.
  • Success Story: Amazon, the e-commerce and tech giant, uses orange accents in its branding, most notably in the Amazon Smile logo. Amazon's use of orange contributes to its image as a dynamic and customer-friendly company.

Recommend tools and resources for selecting color schemes →

👀 Color Psychology Resources:

  • Pantone Color Institute (Website): Pantone is a reputable source for color trends and psychology. They offer insights into color choices and their impact on branding and marketing.
  • Pantone Color Institute
  • Color Matters (Website): Color Matters is an educational resource dedicated to color and its significance in various fields, including marketing and design.
  • Color Matters

🎴 Color Palette Generators:

From: Influence of Colors

    • Coolors (Website and Mobile App): Coolors allows you to generate color schemes quickly. It provides the option to explore, tweak, and save your favorite color palettes.
    • Coolors Website
    • Adobe Color Wheel (Website): Adobe Color Wheel, formerly known as Adobe Kuler, is a robust tool for creating color palettes. It offers various color harmony rules and integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud.
    • Adobe Color Wheel

    Conclusion: Color Your Email Success! 🎨📧✨

    • Colors are more than just eye candy; they're your email's mood-setters! 😄🌈
    • Consistent branding, flashy CTA buttons, and culture-aware choices are your email allies. 💪🌍
    • So, grab your virtual paintbrush and let color psychology boost your email game! 🖌️📧🔥
    • Color psychology in emailing is a powerful tool for shaping subscriber reception and action.

    By strategically selecting colors that align with your brand, emotional goals, and the preferences of your target audience, you can enhance the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns and improve engagement rates.

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