The following is an excerpt of a so-far unfinished book/report of mine called The Visuals of Sales. I may actually release it some time, but for now feast your eyes on this:
Which Colors Matter In Getting A Sale Or A Conversion
The proper use of color in copy is a really, really underrated art.
Whenever I bring this topic up, most people think of yellow highlight and red headlines. Sure, those have their place but it’s hardly the whole story.
If you remember nothing else from this topic, remember the ‘Facebook principle’.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that the most popular, most addictive social network in the world is using ONLY two colors on their site?
And no, I don’t mean black and white. Sure, you need those for the sheer readability of text, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about DARK BLUE and BRIGHT RED.
Facebook uses a big dark blue banner to frame the whole screen area, and tiny bright red squares superimposed on it to notify of updates.
But the contrast between the two is far from being the whole story. Let’s examine these two highly important colors in some more detail now.
Why Exactly Dark Blue And Fire Engine Red?
DARK BLUE is a color that denotes trust, comfort, tradition, trustworthiness, and authority.
Why do you think the police forces around the world tend to use blue in their uniforms and vehicles? It is hard-wired into humans that dark blue marks something trustworthy. Why would you be wary of Blueberry pie? What about blues music? Are you beginning to see the soothing common thread?
In sales copy, dark blue is great for headlines, subheadings and I would even test using dark blue for body copy, instead of black .
I’ve had many pleasant surprises with this color, it works in such a subtle way. Use it conservatively, and it’ll work for you too.
BRIGHT RED is a color that traditionally denotes feelings of extreme alert.
Blood, war, passion, upwelling of emotion… everything that really ‘gets in your face’.
In ancient Sanskrit, the same word root word is used for both blood (rakta) and passion (raga) and many other things within a similar theme.
All this is to say – if you want attention, bright red is hard-wired into us to take notice. But beware – overuse of it can also be a turnoff, because you can’t overload the system either. Hence Facebook’s tiny, tiny red squares.
If you have a long sprawling headline, be sure to test before you run it on fire-engine red. On the other hand, it’s great for ‘telegraphing the prospect’, like this:
New solution promises to sedate your customers in 5 seconds….
You get the picture.
Also, bright red can be great for the legend text below images – when you really want to make a point with the picture. Legend text can be like a mini headline used to great effect, bright red can help pop it out of the page.
By the way, have you noticed it’s not just Facebook that’s predominantly blue. Twitter, Tumblr, Paypal… need I say more? You’ll be in pretty good company!
PS. If you want further proof, check out some old-time sales pages that keep selling year after year – and sure enough you’ll find that indeed, they use blue for comfort and red to get attention and/or elicit response. And that’s about it. Case in point: Instant Sales Letters by Yanik Silver. Or, pretty much anything from Perry Marshall.