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Understanding the Psychology of Colors in Email Marketing

  • January 6, 2017

There are a lot of different elements that go into designing a successful email marketing campaign and while color might not seem as important, it definitely does play a role in how someone feels when they open your email.

A study by About.com indicates that psychologists have found that how people respond to color contributes to about 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service, proving that color does indeed make a difference to your email campaign results.

Along with choosing colors based on their connection to specific emotional responses, you should note that certain colors can mean something completely different in various cultures. For example, while white might be associated with purity, cleanliness and weddings in the US, it’s associated with funerals in China.

In order to choose the appropriate colors for your email campaign you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Who you will be sending the email to and do any cultural differences need to be taken into account?
  • What are your brand values and personality and what colors would best fit in with your company?
  • How do you want your readers to feel when they open your email? What emotions are you looking to evoke and does it fit in with your campaign objectives?

A guide to the psychology of colors

Below are the meanings of specific colors to help you decide what to use in your emails.

Red – Use red to stand out and grab peoples’ attention but use it sparingly to avoid seeming aggressive or negative. Additional meanings include:

  • Energy
  • Passion
  • Adrenaline

Orange – This is a very warm and comforting color and represents a positive outlook and enthusiasm. Additional meanings include:

  • Fun
  • Happiness
  • Motivation
  • Sport

Yellow – This is definitely one of the happiest colors but for some people it can represent fear and anxiety so don’t use too much of it. Additional meanings include:

  • Optimism
  • Cheerfulness
  • Self Esteem
  • Joy

Blue – This is a color that gives a feeling of trustworthiness and dependability but if too much of it is used it can make a brand look cold and distant. Additional meanings include:

  • Trust
  • Honest
  • Loyalty
  • Unfriendly
  • Fresh
  • Calm

Green – This peaceful color brings about feelings of balance and harmony. While some people do associate it with money and possessiveness, it’s definitely one of the more positive colors. Additional meanings include:

  • Growth
  • Nature
  • Peacefulness
  • Health
  • Rest

Purple – Imagination and magic springs to mind when this color is used. Since purple is made up of both red and blue it has a good physical and spiritual balance. Additional meanings include:

  • Stability
  • Spirituality
  • Luxury
  • Mystery
  • Courage

Pink – Love springs to mind as soon as pink is used. Too much of it can come across as slightly immature though. Additional meanings include:

  • Compassion
  • Nurturing
  • Understanding
  • Romance

Brown – This is not everyone’s go-to color as it’s not as exciting as the others but brown brings a sense of structure. Additional meanings include:

  • Security
  • Protection
  • Scheduled

White – Purity and innocence are the name of the game when it comes to white. Additional meanings include:

  • Cleanliness
  • Peace
  • Simplicity
  • Emptiness
  • Isolation

Black – This color tends to come across as serious and sophisticated but too much of it can bring about a sense of negativity. Additional meanings include:

  • Reserved
  • Control
  • Death
  • Power
  • Fear
  • Luxury