Email Analysis

How colour can be used to influence readers

I am, like around 8% of European males, partially colour-blind. In women, the rate is considerably lower, at around 0.5%. On top of that, there are many different kinds of colour blindness. You might be wondering whether there’s any point in trying to influence subscribers to your email marketing list with colour when there are so many variables.

Yet all the evidence suggests that the use of colour can affect the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign. It would appear that certain decisions, including whether to continue reading a marketing email, is up to 90% based on colour. We need to come up with a way of exploiting this fact.  

If you are aiming your website, e-newsletter or marketing email at women then it is fairly safe to run on the assumption that they are not colour-blind. You can trust the generally accepted effects of colours. With men, 92% will still give excellent results, and what you miss can be reclaimed using split testing.  

How Colour Can Be Used To Influence ReadersWe are told that red normally gives the impression of energy, orange of fun, yellow of positive thought, blue means trustworthy, green is a bit like nature with the reassurance that goes with it, and white very neutral. Black is rather complex and can be scary if used too much.

Some colours are classed as warm, others as cold. Pastels are rather gender specific, and males are not great fans. Experiment with the layout colours of your emails. There’s a lot of evidence to support blue being the nation’s favourite colour so can be used with more or less abandon. 

You will want to know the best colour for a click-through. Thankfully, there’s been a lot of research on the subject and it supports there being a distinct advantage for one particular colour. On tests of click-throughs, those boxed in red had a significantly higher click rate than those in green. We do not know if the main colour scheme of the email was influential in the outcome. 

There is no way to tell how an individual sees colour. But then, there’s no need for us to. Beyond gender, we have little to restrict us, and this gives an advantage to those who will split test, although your results will be specific to your email marketing lists.

Segment your lists, using gender as the first divider. If you discover a significant advantage for males over females when using blues, then go for it. Pastels are historically favoured by women, but you will not know whether this still stands until you test. There are an awful lot of unevidenced assumptions when it comes to colour.

Experiment with learned reactions. I received a clever marketing email where the click through before the fold was green. The copy turned more urgent with an accompanying colour change to amber, and it was finished by a demand to click through with a red click through. Traffic lights are universal. 

Colour is often vital in a campaign and can not only encourage completions but secure them. Treat colour as you would any other factor.



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