How to use colour to drive sales on your website

Published: Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

The psychology of colour in marketing uses a simple behavioural model; colour affects emotion and emotion affects behaviour. From childhood, we are taught that certain colours represent certain things. Kids learn that faucets have blue and red to represent hot and cold. We learn that for traffic lights red means stop, green means go; the inference being that green means safe while red means danger.

We grow up with this colour coding of objects in the real world and before long we don’t need to think about them anymore; it’s an automatic response. You can apply a similar type of habitual behaviour to web design. There is evidence that colour affects the behaviour of visitors on a website. This is particularly important when it comes to digital marketing and increasing your sales conversion rate.

Here we outline how to use colour to drive sales on your website.

Background colours

The golden rule of colour in web design is to keep your audience in mind. If your business is a health or dental service would a dark background be suitable? I think most people would say no, bright or neutral colours would be more appropriate for those audiences. But dark backgrounds might work very well for a fashion boutique or a video gaming website. The point here is that the background colour really ought to align with the type of audience you’re trying to sell to. This applies to your header and footer choice of colours as well. Your web developer should be able to advise you on this.

Font Colours

Let’s keep this one simple; use dark fonts on light backgrounds and light fonts on dark backgrounds. You can always experiment of course but you can’t go far wrong by using grey for text and dark grey, black or a primary colour for the headings. That’s how we do it right here on the Digitaledge blog! The combination of dark and light helps separate the various sections of page copy and makes it easier for visitors to consume the content. Making it easy for them is vital for your online marketing success.

Call-to-action colours

OK, so you have created the right emotional tone for your background, headers, footers and fonts but there is another critical decision to be made and that concerns the call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your web pages. These are the Buy Now or Subscribe Here buttons we so often see online. Their purpose is simple yet crucial in web design; to get you the visitor to take action. To achieve this, you must first draw the visitor’s eye to the CTA button and colour is a great way to do it. We strongly recommend testing various colours for your CTA buttons and measure and compare the conversion rates. For example, a blue CTA button compared to a green one. When testing, be sure to keep the CTA message, like Buy Now, the same but test different colours for their impact on conversions. You may just find that red results in a higher conversion rate on your CTA than blue or green. You won’t know until you test it!

Which colours works best for creating emotion and on-page conversions

So, which colours are the most effective at creating the right emotional tone for your website and motivating website visitors to answer your call-to-action? Well, let’s look at this from a gender perspective. Is your audience predominantly male or female? The most commonly used and recommended colours for internet marketing include:

For Men
Blue
Green
Black

For Women
Blue
Purple
Green

These are gender-based preferences to act as a guide for creating the right emotional connection to your audience, not an absolute rule. Each business is unique after all. However, your on-page conversion rate will depend on how well the CTA buttons are designed and your colour choice will be critical here, so to reiterate, spend time testing this to maximize your conversion rate.

Using colour in digital marketing

Again, let’s keep this simple; the colour coding principles that you apply to your web pages should be applied across all your other digital marketing channels too. We recommend maintaining a consistent colour scheme across your email marketing, online ad campaigns and your social media channels. Wherever your audience chooses to engage with you – via email, your website or Facebook or Linkedin – your brand colours should remain consistent.

Key Takeaways

Colour affects emotion and human behaviour so choosing the right colours for your website is important to get right. Always keep your audience in mind when choosing colours for the key areas of background, headers, footers, fonts and call-to-action buttons. For women, the most popular web design colours are blue, purple and green while for men it’s blue, green and black. Testing colours, particularly for your CTA buttons, is crucial for increasing your on-page conversion rates. And don’t forget that consistent colour schemes matter across all your digital marketing channels, from email marketing and online advertising to social media.

Get in touch

If you are unsure about the right colour scheme for your website, then get in touch with Digitaledge. We’re a professional web design company based in Galway. Let the professionals help you figure out which colours will create the right emotional tone and drive the most actions on your website.