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  • Writer's pictureTom Kothman

What Color is Your CTA?

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Barriers to Email Marketing Success for Small Business: # 4 of 7

Graphic designers spend years studying aspects of their craft as well as years “in the saddle” creating graphic elements that work. So, it’s unrealistic to think that a small business entrepreneur without graphic design training and experience will master the skills. But, a small business entrepreneur can become skilled in applying some foundational basics of graphic design such as color.

Enter the Color Wheel

Knowing the Basic Color Wheel and how to use it in email design is a fundamental skill and likely the most important element in a Call-to-Action.

Newton's wheel is made up of 12 colors. In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton performed a prism experiment in which he discovered that pure white light contains the full spectrum of colors — in

While there are many ways a call-to-action can be included in an email, the most common way is as a button with text. According to g the components of color and its physical, psychological and philosophical effects. o

While there are many ways a call-t-action can be included in an email, the most common way is as a button with text. According to Canva,

“Complementary pairs that are opposites on the color wheel, like red/green and blue/orange, have high visual impact and are sure to attract attention.

1) Button Color vs. Background Color: If the color of the button blends in with the background color of the webpage, your call to action might get overlooked. You want your button color to stand out sufficiently without clashing with the background or other colors on the page.

2) Text Color vs. Button Color: You don’t want users straining to read the text on your button. Aside from picking a legible font at a large enough size, choosing an appropriate color for the text will help enhance readability. You’ll want to avoid colors that are too similar to the button itself and also colors that are just hard to see when paired together (e.g., white text against a yellow button). White against darker colors and black or dark blue against lighter colors are generally safe choices."

MailChimp makes an important point for email newbies about button CTA’s.

.“Generally, email buttons are done in two ways. They’re either built with HTML or designed as images. Both methods have pros and cons, but we prefer (and urge you to prefer) HTML buttons. HTML buttons aren’t dependent on your email recipient having images enabled in their email client, which means that your call to action is always obvious. HTML buttons will load faster, and they don’t vanish if an image server goes down.”

Another consideration when choosing contrasting colors is Color Blindness. The most common type of color blindness makes it hard to tell the difference between red and green.other type makes it hard to tell the difference between blue and yellow.

Master the basics of the color wheel, display principles and focus on meaningful text and you’ll make great strides in improving your CTA performance.

Action Item 1: Look at the emails you respond to and study their CTA buttons for color.

Action Item 2: Review #3 Your CTA-CTR-KPI is Crappy

Action Item 3: Review #2: Your Content Isn’t Connecting

Action Item 4: Review #1 Your Subject Lines Don't Work

Next Up: #5 of 7: Improving CTAs with Graphics: The Pros and Cons


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