[Guide] 6 Tips to choose the right color for your call-to-action [CTA] button

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Online marketers know that the real metric that defines a campaign’s success, is conversions. Depending on what your goal is, it’s the click on your call to action buttons to ‘subscribe’ or ‘buy’ that matters in the end. While we all know that a call-to-action button is something that should stand out in your message, most marketers struggle in picking the right color for them.

Why?

Take, for instance, you send a consumer an email. This email comprises a few offers but the key call to action button for you it the ‘subscribe to deals’ button at the end of the email. 

Now if all the call to action buttons look the same and the recipient is given the choice of interacting with one – there’s a high chance they click on an offer instead. After all, you did share multiple pieces of content and offers with them. That’s where the importance of clearly demarcating your call-to-action button comes in. It’s like defining the next step you want a recipient to take after reading your email. 

So in this article, we’re covering everything about your call-to-action buttons. Right from why they’re important, why you need to apply color psychology to them, which colors present what emotion and action, and how you can create a call-to-action button that actually converts.

Does the call-to-action button color really matter? 

Scientific research has found that the colors visible to us have a direct impact on our brain and body. For instance, in one study,

The color red has shown to increase blood pressure and quicken the heart rate. But different shades of blue have the complete opposite effect on the body. The color calms down the brain and the body.

Another study published in the NY Times suggests that blue is the color that represents creativity. On the other hand, red is associated with attention and is good to maintain focus. 

That’s exactly why brands take months and sometimes even years to decide what color their logo will be in. They want their logo to represent what they believe in, what their culture is and what they want their target market to perceive them as. The Logo Company explains the co-relation of brands and their choice of color for their logos in this video below. 

Brands follow the emotional quotient while deciding their brand logo color, which means, they want to pick a color that will resonate with their target audience every single time. Each color evokes a certain kind of emotion in humans, making it important for brands to pick their brand palette cautiously. Check this infographic from The Logo Company decoding color psychology and how brands have leveraged the same.

color-emotion-guide-infographic

Source: The Logo Company

The same theory holds true for your call-to-action buttons. 

If you want your consumers to focus on details, you could use red. But if you want them to take action on something, you could opt for the color green, that has a direct implication of ‘do it’ or ‘go’.

Let’s take a couple of examples here. 

The first is from an email from Brownie Pops. The marketer uses a shade of blue for the call-to-action button. There are two reasons for this – a new recipe is a chef being creative, and it also shows how the overall brand has a creative approach to things. You can also see it reflected in the tone of voice being followed in the copy on the call-to-action button and in the body of the email. 

brownie pops call-to-action example

Here’s another example. This is an email popup on Neil Patel’s website, promoting a specific category of resources from the blog. If you notice, the popup uses a pop green color for the call to action button they want visitors to click on. The additionally added red arrow to the design is to get the visitor’s focus towards the button. 

Simply put, the email popup uses the color theory behind green and red on its call to action buttons to nudge an interaction from the targeted visitor. 

neil patel call-to-action-example

So long answer short, yes, the colors have a direct impact on the conversions your call-to-action buttons drive. 

Understanding the different colors for call-to-action buttons 

Once you start looking, there are hundreds of colors and thousands of palettes that can be used for call-to-action buttons. So how do you figure which color stands for what and is suited for which marketing campaign of yours?  

Let us help you understand the different colors that are commonly used by brands for call-to-action buttons and what they depict.

Blue 

Apart from creativity, the color blue stands for trustworthiness, sincerity, and intelligence. That’s why you’ll see many software companies using the color for their call-to-action buttons. 

Think about it. You’re downloading software for which you need to make an upfront payment. You want to be assured that the software uses the latest technology, is built on logical intelligence and is trustworthy to associate with. 

Here’s an example of Dropbox using the color theory. If their target users need to trust them with all their data, they need to make themselves look trustworthy!  

dropbox call-to-action button example

Yellow 

If you go through the color theory carefully, you will notice that the color yellow and shades close to it denote optimism, creativity, and friendliness. It’s also a great shade to grab attention – be it on a website or in marketing collaterals like the email.  

A lot of businesses use this color for their call-to-action buttons on the website and the email to nudge an action out of their target users. 

For example, Moz. Their brand color is a pastel blue so they use a pastel yellow for their call-to-action buttons to make them stand out. The buttons standing out on their site to make them more interactive and actionable. 

moz-call-to-action-button-example

Red 

As we mentioned before, red is one color that immediately stimulates a reaction from the human brain and the body. It is known to quicken the heart rate and promote urgency but stands for being bold – no matter what marketing collateral or industry it is being used in. 

Since the color is too bright, it should be used in moderation. You could use it for your emails or on the website call-to-action buttons to pack a powerful punch! 

For example, Mention uses it on their website call-to-action buttons. The color is also known to help visitors focus on one action, making it more conversion-driven. 

mention-call-to-action-button-example

Green 

The color green is often associated with wealth and obviously, the banking and finance sector. But the color also stands for growth and is indicative of ‘do it now’. Think of it as the green light in the traffic signal. 

You will see a lot of businesses using this color for their call-to-action buttons when they want their target user to take immediate action. 

Take, for example, Trello. The software has a free version that its target users can get started with immediately. They want them to know that and nudge them towards creating their first board of tasks immediately. So combining it with a copy that says ‘free’, they use green for their call-to-action button. 

Trello-CTA

Orange 

Orange is a color that exudes friendliness and is cheerful for any brand to perk up their online collaterals. It also reflects passion and security as per the color theory and stands out on most color palettes. That’s another reason for marketers to use it for their call-to-action buttons. 

You’ll notice this call-to-action button color being used by different brands in different ways. Some use it in solid colors and some use it as an outline for their call-to-action button. It’s a color that adds a creative touch to marketing collaterals. 

For example, Blogger. They have a dynamic hero section on the website and use an orange call-to-action button because it stands out on each palette. 

Blogger-CTA-grn

One amazing thing you will notice on the Blogger platform is that the background changes into three colors in total. One is the above, and the other two being red and blue depending on the type of templates. However, their Call-to-action button remains constant.

CTA

Pink 

Pink is a shade that is often associated with a feminine touch and stands for warmth, love and nurturing. With a lot of businesses experimenting with color palettes today, you will see different shades of pink being used across different brand elements. 

While the takers for pink call-to-action buttons are more women-centric businesses in the industry, you can see others experimenting with the color too. Simply because it tends to stand out on online collaterals like the website and in emails.

Here’s an example of an email popup using a pink call-to-action button. The button stands out clearly on the black backdrop, bringing the site visitor’s attention to it immediately. Clubbed with a good offer, it makes the visitor want to engage with it. 

CTA-pink

Purple

The color purple stands for creativity and imagination. It also represents a wise approach to what a brand is doing. But more than what it represents, purple is a shade that definitely stands out on a minimalistic design, demanding attention to be clicked on. 

A more modern color, you will see young companies using purple in their general brand palette and for their call-to-action buttons. 

For instance, Slack. The company’s vision is to make working together seamless with creative solutions that can be implemented right out of their chat app. They’re also a young company in terms of culture and the purple call-to-action buttons add to the same vibe. 

slack-cta

Black 

Black call-to-actions are not a common choice but are effective nevertheless. The color black exudes efficiency and power, and yet adds to a minimalistic sophistication. 

You’ll see industry leaders like Apple using the color to further enhance and present their sophisticated approach to innovation. But at the same time, you will also see software companies using modern technology like artificial intelligence experimenting with the color to depict its ‘power’. 

For example, RevTap uses black for their call-to-action buttons. The idea is to reinforce their hero title and convey how powerful its analytics software is.  

RevTap CTA

Even their landing page follows the same theory.

Ghost  

You may have noticed that in some of our above examples, there are two call-to-action buttons. While one is clearly using a bold color, the other is mostly an outline or has a transparent overlay of sorts, commonly called ‘ghost’ buttons.  

It exudes minimalism and sleekness, depictive of the approach a business follows for their processes. 

The transparent shade is not commonly used as it tends to blend with the rest of the design. But you will see businesses that have bolder, solid colors being used in the backdrop of their sites, dashboard or marketing collaterals, using it for the call-to-action buttons. 

For instance, we at Aritic PinPoint have our “Contact Us” button as a ghost button. It complements our theme and background color as well as the blue ‘sign up’ button.

Aritic CTA

ConversionXL shared an in-depth piece on the usage of the ghost buttons and where they are effective. Read it here

Tips to create a high-converting call-to-action button 

1. Should convey a meaning or message 

Remember, an effective call-to-action button is one that clearly states the next steps for the user. So the copy or message you convey on the button should be simple to understand, but at the same time, compelling to read. 

A good practice is to use your hero title to convey your business proposition or key message. The call-to-action button copy should reinforce the action the visitor needs to take on reading the core message. But remember, if the visitor notices the call-to-action first, it should still be able to convey the same meaning in reverse. Or it should be able to engage them so much that they go back to reading the hero title key message after noticing the call-to-action button.

For instance, in our last blog on when to use GIF emails, you will see Call-to-action buttons throughout the post encouraging our readers to get started with GIF emails right from there. Our internal reports show that using such call-to-action buttons with proper message has improved our lead capture rates 2X in over three months.

aritic call-to-action-example

2. Maintain consistency in Call To Action Button color

You could continually experiment using different colored call-to-action buttons. But at any given point in time, it is important to maintain consistency. 

Simply put, if you decide to use ‘yellow’ as your call-to-action button color, make sure all collaterals follow the same. Be it your website or a promotional email, they should both use the same call-to-action button color. This improves the recall of the next steps a user is supposed to take on seeing the call-to-action button, making them more likely to convert on it.  

For instance, we always follow the ‘blue’ color on our blogs, website, landing pages, emails, and mobile messages. This consistency helps in creating a static image in your users’ minds so that whenever they see that color they can relate it to your brand.

3. Understand what size fits and where 

A call-to-action button is meant to draw attention. But that does not mean it jumps at the reader so much that the rest of your message gets lost. Or makes them feel you’re being pushy with your demands. 

The right size of a call-to-action button should be ‘not too big’ and definitely ‘not too small’. 

Strike a balance by optimizing the size of your call-to-action buttons based on where you’re placing them. For instance, if it’s too tall, you can make it a little wider instead. And if it’s too wide, you can make it a little taller – the idea being that the space it is placed in, doesn’t look too cramped and there’s enough padding around it to make the button stand out. 

4. Know where to place the Call To Action button

One of the most important aspects of creating a converting call-to-action button is to know where to place it. It needs to grab the visitor or the recipient’s attention immediately, but not too soon as well.  

Neil Patel conducted an in-depth study of different call-to-action button placements. The article shares that placing the button below the fold can increase clicks by 304% as by then they know what they’re signing up for. But at the same time, for some businesses, placing it above the fold brought in conversions as well. 

Simply put, it’s all about how engaged you’ve kept the reader. That will make them want to click on your call-to-action button. But keeping it visible is always a best practice! 

Conclusion: Choosing the right color for your call-to-action buttons 

The truth is, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach here. A color that might work for one business, might not bring in as many conversions for yours. 

The only way to know which color works for you best is to continually keep testing different ones across different collaterals. All you need to keep in mind is that no matter what color you choose, it should stand out from the rest of the elements to capture the visitor or the recipient’s attention immediately. 

It’s also important to combine the right call-to-action button color with the right copy. If your offer is not good or compelling enough, you wouldn’t be able to turn the visitor’s attention into a conversion. 

Ankit Prakash
Ankit Prakash is principal founder of Aritic. Ankit is a passionate and determined entrepreneur; building successful Internet product since 2006.
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