Guest post by Natasha Lane.
Effective landing page design is in the eye of the beholder—or more precisely, your prospective customer. What works for your brand may very well not work for another company with a different industry focus, target audience, or offer.
However, there are certain aspects of it that are generally established. One is that the colors you choose for your landing pages can have a profound effect on your conversion rates.
We all make numerous subconscious decisions when looking at a website. As a marketer, it’s helpful to get familiar with some of the ways in which our subconscious works. That knowledge can help you design pages that produce the results you’re after.
Here are several ways to use the emotional effects of color to develop more effective landing pages.
How to Choose Your Colors
Before jumping into examples, it’s best to take a look at some basic color theory. Get familiar with terms such as primary colors, hues and tones, complementary and analogous shades. You can also explore more in-depth information about the different emotions different colors can spark.
According to Kissmetrics, the colors that universally appeal to both men and women are green and blue, while both genders dislike orange and brown. Purple is liked by women but disliked by men.
However, this doesn’t mean you should not use purple. For example, one of the most popular website themes in the world, Divi, uses some very vibrant purple on their landing pages—and they are certainly not aiming for an exclusively female audience.
Check out these examples.
Use a Color Other Than White
White space is incredibly important in web design. However, though it’s called “white space,” you can choose other colors to fill in your blank or negative space.
Sometimes, the white can be too bright and too harsh, especially if you are promoting a more subtle product. You want something that is still neutral, but not as bleached and devoid of color completely.
For example, Dollar Shave Club has a very neutral oat shade on their how it works page – and it’s very effective. It doesn’t jump out at you, but still conveys the sense of masculinity and put-togetherness the brand is all about.
Use Contrasting Colors to Make Elements Stand Out
One of the cleverest ways you can use color is to make certain elements stand out – most notably, your calls to action (CTAs) and other important buttons.
You can use very vibrant colors on neutral backgrounds, or you can use contrasting colors on top of each other to draw a visitor’s eye toward an important page element.
File Camp does a great job of this on their digital asset management software page as it uses a very noticeable green button on top of a blue-ish background.
This color combination works much better than, for example, an orange or red button on the same background. True, orange or red would certainly stand out, but the clash of colors would not be as pleasant.
Don’t Be Afraid of Black
In color theory, black is sometimes associated with negative emotions. And while black is the color of mourning in certain cultures, it is also the color of elegance and style.
Don’t be afraid to use black on your pages, especially if that fits with your brand’s vibe. You don’t want to make your website completely dark, but the clever use of black can exude elegance and sophistication, as opposed to death and sadness.
Here is an example from Just Luxe, which does an amazing job of using black on their best of luxury page.
It’s not overpowering; there are other colors on the page (and plenty of white), but the combination of colors is luxurious—just like the theme of the website itself.
Try Muted Hues
Sometimes, you don’t need to use vibrant and edgy colors to achieve the effect you’re after. More muted hues and softer shades can help you inject some much-needed color to your page without making it too clownish and overpowering.
Muted shades also help inspire a feeling of calm and competence, so if this is the message you are trying to communicate, try a more neutral color palette.
For example, In Flow uses muted shades incredibly well on their B2B portal software page.
The landing page is colorful yet neutral at the same time, and it is very serene and soft. Unlike some other SaaS websites that try to grab your attention with the vibrancy of their pages, this one works well precisely because it is so understated.
Tie the Color to the Story
While the colors you choose for your landing pages obviously need to appeal to your target audience, they also need to be in line with your brand.
Think about the message and story you want to tell as much as you think about your target audience. You don’t want to choose a color that gives off fun and energetic vibes if you’re actually a much more sophisticated and upscale brand.
For example, a lot of green and eco brands use the color green on their website—like Ora Organic. The accents of their website are in different shades of green (notice how cleverly they use the darker forest green with their images), which naturally provides associations with a plant-based lifestyle and eco-friendly products.
Test Your Theories
Once you come up with a color scheme, don’t neglect to test it out.
Design a landing page based on your initial ideal, and see how it performs. Track user behavior, user demographics, and what kinds of conversions and leads the page is attracting, so you can compare them to the other version of the page.
When you’ve gathered enough data, change the colors. Maybe you were torn between a different set of shades, or maybe you’ve just learned from this article that color theory recommends a different color than the one you’ve settled on.
Again, note all the same metrics and see which page performs better. You might be surprised by the reactions of your visitors.
There’s no precise recipe for designing effective landing pages—and how people react to different colors will never be something we can predict with absolute certainty.
Take the guidance and examples above into consideration and see how they work for you. Don’t forget to test your theories until you nail down a page design that you’re happy with and your audience loves.
Natasha Lane is a lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about branding, digital marketing trends, and business growth strategies. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter feed.