Graphic designer choosing a color

By Mike Tinz

Your advertising and marketing materials should do three things to consumers – generate interest, drive action and elicit emotion. One of the simplest ways to achieve these goals is by tapping into the psychology of color. Consumers react and respond differently to a variety of factors involving color, as various shades, hues and combinations can lead to higher conversions and response rates than others. As you move forward with creating your ad and marketing materials, keep the following thoughts in mind in order to utilize the right colors to prompt the right action for your target market.

Understand the Impact of Color in Advertising and Marketing

There are strong associations between color and emotions. Some of these emotional responses are more obvious than others – red feels exciting and bold while blue feels trustworthy and dependable. While these emotional associations may seem simple and straightforward, the primary and secondary colors you choose to incorporate could have a larger impact on consumer behavior than you think. In a study titled Impact of Color in Marketing, researchers found that consumers make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with products, and about 62‐90 percent of their assessment are based on colors alone. Knowing this, it’s especially important to be aware that the colors you choose can influence consumers’ attitudes and feelings about your brand.

Therefore, the colors you put together should strongly reflect the type of product or services you’re offering. For example, an advertisement for dental services should incorporate various shades of blue and soft greens in order to elicit connotations of trust and safety, but should avoid the use of any reds and yellows.

Know How to Appeal to Different Demographics

If you’re targeting men or women, your color choice can help reach your target consumer. The feeling, mood and image that your brand portrays can play an integral role in persuasion, so understanding how genders react to different color combinations is essential.

Men tend to heavily favor blue, while women are split between blue and purple. Men also prefer brighter colors and shades, with women preferring softer colors and tints. These factors can help shape the overall look and feel of your ad or marketing material, and can ensure that you draw the attention of the demographic you’re targeting.

While not as impactful as gender, age can also play a factor in how consumers react to your ads and marketing materials. It’s been noted that as consumers grow older, orange and yellow grow increasingly disliked by both genders. Another aversion shared by both men and women of all ages are browns and oranges – depending on the way you use these colors, it’s safe to avoid using them as the main colors in your ad or marketing materials.

Create a Hierarchy of Colors

In order to create effective advertisements and marketing materials, you’ll need to utilize more than just strategic color choices. It’s crucial to create synergy between the background, base and accent colors in order to produce a visually appealing image that will catch the consumer’s eye and generate a higher conversion rate.

For example, a single item that stands out in the ad is more likely to be remembered. Therefore, any call to action that is included should be in a contrasting, yet complimentary color from the background and base colors of the ad. A good example would be a green color palette as the base with a red accent color to draw attention to your call to action in a quick and effective way.

This is also where you should be incorporating a base color that reflects the nature of your business – use a color palette that prompts the appropriate response, whether it’s excitement, trust or confidence.

Make sure your marketing materials and your next ad speak to your target audience, and make the colors work for you.

Mike Tinz is vice president of Sales & Training at Money Mailer, and has over 20 years’ experience within the direct marketing industry. Prior to joining Money Mailer in 2012, Tinz held positions as ValPak’s VP of Sales and has also managed sales teams in territories across the country. Follow Money Mailer on Facebook.