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How Colors Impact Buying Decisions

2. Differentiation from competitors

When deciding on a color, analyze your key competitors and other products that may sit next to your product in search results.

However, keep in mind that some research suggests it’s important for new brands to pick colors that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors (e.g. if the competition all uses green, you’ll stand out with yellow) [19].

3. Create visibility for different products

If you have a product that is significantly different from your other offerings, choosing a different color can separate different product lines.

Lay’s, for example, uses the classic yellow for its original chips and a variety of other colors to differentiate flavors.

The Chile Limon chip packet, for example, is a deep red that represents the spice. The barbecue chips are mostly black, which remind customers of black grill lines. Consumers intuitively understand aspects of each flavor based solely on the color of the bag.

Color psychology in marketing – Lay's chip packet colors.

Some companies have gone as far as trademarking colors that are specifically associated with their product. For instance, Tiffany’s has trademarked its robin’s egg blue and ‘Coke red’ is protected from other soft drink companies.

Color combinations to use, conversions & testing

There are no clear-cut guidelines for choosing colors when it comes to color psychology in marketing. The colors you use will depend entirely on the factors we’ve explored above — the audience you want to appeal to (i.e. male versus female, their likes and dislikes) and the meaning you want to convey (taking into account your audience’s culture, experience, and the context of your message).

Fortunately, in the digital world, you don’t have to leave anything to chance. A/B testing different color combinations can help you determine which colors appeal to your audience and convert.

A popular example of how a simple color change can impact conversions is Hubspot’s research into call-to-action buttons. The marketing company tested two versions of a landing page with green and red buttons.

Color psychology in marketing – Testing call-to-action buttons.

The version with the red button outperformed the page with green button by 21%. No other content on the page was changed, only the color of the button.

It’s worth pointing out that the page with the green button is mostly green, and the green button is a complementary color, whereas the red button contrasts with the page’s green branding.

Why does this matter? Because people remember things that stand out. This psychological principle is known as the Isolation Effect [20]. Basically, when multiple similar objects are grouped together, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb (i.e. the one that is different in color) is most likely to be remembered.

So the next time you’re designing a landing page for a marketing campaign, don’t forget the Isolation Effect and color psychology in marketing. Choosing a contrasting color for your CTAs could help boost your conversion rate.

Look to your audience to find your colors

Finding the perfect color scheme for your marketing involves more than just choosing your favorite colors. It’s important to look past your own personal preferences and consider your target audience — their gender, culture, and experience, and what meaning they may subconsciously attach to your marketing messages.

That’s why it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of color psychology in marketing so if your marketing isn’t striking the right chord with your audience, you can quickly identify whether color might be a factor.

Lastly, when it comes to choosing colors for your marketing strategy, always test and learn from your results! A/B testing can help determine the best colors for your marketing, and positively impact your revenue.

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