What’s the Best CTA Button Color for Emails?

When it comes to your CTA button, every design decision matters. After all, your email’s call to action is the driving force behind your whole campaign. You want readers to take action, whether it’s registering for an event, making a purchase, or reading more of your content.

Color, in particular, is one of the most significant features in making your CTA button noticeable and actionable. But how do you know which color to choose? Today, we’ll look a little closer at how brands choose a CTA button color and we’ll offer guidance for how to level-up your CTA button design with color strategy.

Two approaches to choosing a CTA button color

1. Use your brand color

Often, a brand will choose a CTA button color that matches its logo color (which typically appears in the header). In fact, when the Really Good Emails blog looked at every email submitted to the site in 2016, they found that 48% of brands match their CTA to a color within their brand logo (of non-black or non-white logos). Here’s what a matching scheme looks like in action:

InVision CTA button color

Sprout Social CTA button color

Air BnB CTA button color

When your CTA button color matches your logo/header, it accomplishes a few things:

  • It establishes design cohesion in your message. When a primary color repeats itself throughout an email—especially at the top and bottom—it helps the whole message look balanced and unified.
  • It reinforces the brand. If you’re signed up for Sprout Social emails, chances are, you could squint your eyes and still recognize one of their emails, even if it’s blurry. Their email design is consistently formatted and accented by the brand’s green.

2. Match the email’s color scheme

Matching your logo/header to your email’s CTA button isn’t the only way to choose a color. Many brands, instead, choose a CTA color that works within the color scheme of a particular email or campaign. Moo, the business card company, often changes button color between emails:

Moo CTA button color

Likewise, the stationary company Paper Culture, updates its CTA button color from email to email:

Paper Culture CTA button color

Note that both brands change only color from email to email. Size, shape, and text all remain the same. By doing so, both companies establish consistency in their visual brand identity, even though they’re varying button colors.

Changing your CTA button color from one email to another is effective when you:

  • Have a well-established style guide and visual identity. So even when you change color schemes from email to email, your emails still reflect the look of your brand.
  • Stick with your brand colors. Even though the color changes, it falls within the brand’s color palette, which helps maintain a uniform look.
  • Choose a color that works with the email’s color scheme. Just make sure the color still stands out against the background.

How to choose a color scheme

Color has a big impact on how we interpret information. When you’re choosing a color—whether it’s for your CTA button or even for your logo or brand—it’s important to consider the connotations of color. While color interpretation is highly dependent upon personal experiences, certain generalizations are often made about the psychology of color. This Color Emotion Guide from the Logo Company is often cited as a general guide:

Color Emotion Guide Logo Company

Another study, cited by Help Scout, found that people judge a color on its perceived appropriateness for the particular brand. In other words, they gauge if the color “fits” the personality of the product or brand. The fact is, colors can have different associations depending on the brand—the color green, for example, connotes environmental friendliness for Seventh Generation products, while for Sprout Social, above, it connotes modernity and trustworthiness. In other words, there’s no single “right” color to choose. It’s more a matter of what color evokes the energy and personality of your brand.

Why a Blue CTA Button Color Might Be Best

In an analysis from Really Good Emails, though, there was a clear winner when it came to a color used most often for CTA buttons: blue.

Really Good Emails CTA button color

In general, blue is also popular as a favorite color among men and women, according to research by Joe Hallock. Help Scout visualizes those stats:

Men Women favorite colors CTA button color

Still, another important color consideration is the “isolation effect,” which is basically the phenomena that something looks more or less attractive depending on what it’s surrounded by. When it comes to color, some research has shown that people have a preference for one strong, bold color that stands out more than the rest. For example, even though the red CTA button in the example below boosted conversions by 21%, Help Scout points out that the color red may not actually be a popular CTA color. Instead, the driving force for the popularity may be the fact that red stands out more prominently when compared to the body of the email:

performable CTA button color

Combine the popularity of the color blue with the isolation effect, and you get a CTA button that can’t be missed, like in this email from beauty company Glossier:

Glossier CTA button color

Glossier’s brand color is pale pink—the background of the image—and its emails primarily follow a black, white, and pink color scheme. But the exception to the color scheme is the CTA button color is always the same royal blue color. They’re consistently designed and always stand out.

Follow these design best practices for choosing a CTA button color:

  • Pick a color that contrasts or “pops” against the background.
  • Write a compelling CTA using an action verb in your brand voice. (Never say “Click here.” Be more creative than “Learn more.”)
  • Size the button so it’s easy to spot but not overpowering within the context of the email.
  • Make sure the font is large and easy to read.
  • Keep the button simple and modern: avoid gradients, borders, and drop shadows.
  • Make the CTA bulletproof so it always appears.

For more tips, check out our post, Top Tips for CTA Button Design, to make sure you’re covering your bases! When you design your emails in our BEE editor, your buttons will always be bulletproof. No coding required!

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