How to Use Color Psychology in Your Email Marketing

Email marketing is like a puzzle.

When all of the pieces of your copy, design and offer come together, your messages are set up for success and those ever-so-precious clicks.

One piece of that puzzle that’s often overlooked, though?


Choosing the right colors for your email can make a world of difference when it comes to encouraging readers to take action.

Checking out headlines, scrolling through your copy, clicking links… the list goes on and on.

And while the colors you choose for your emails might not seem like a big deal, a poor color scheme can set the totally wrong tone for your messages.

Don’t consider yourself an artistic genius? Don’t panic!

We’ve put together a quick guide to help use color psychology in your messages that’ll help you score more clicks!

The Psychology of Color (and Why It Matters!)

Here’s the deal: color is a staple of marketing psychology.

This rings true with email marketing and how businesses entice buyers offline, too.

The red and yellow arches of McDonalds?

The funky carpets and brightly lit ceilings you see at casinos?

The smiling green mermaid on your venti latte?

These color choices are no accident: they’re all psychologically proven to evoke emotions in us as buyers.

Broken down below is a quick guide to common colors in marketing and some positive and negative feelings we subconsciously associate with them.

While these principles aren’t mind control by any means, there’s no denying the associations that people make with certain colors.

If you’re trying to achieve a specific tone within a message, these pointers are definitely worth keeping in mind.

Now, let’s quickly cover some other tips for fine-tuning your color strategy for maximum engagement and readability!

1. Keep Your Color Scheme Simple

When it comes to making your emails more attractive, stick to the principle of “less is more.”

In other words, you don’t want your emails to look like a unicorn threw up a rainbow up on them.

Most brands stick to a dual color scheme, sometimes using three colors to highlight a certain headline or call-to-action.

This sort of simplicity makes it easier for readers to spot your CTAs and most important copy. Also, it avoids the problem of clashing colors that could make your messages visually unappealing.

If you need further ideas on which color schemes go together, try experimenting with tools like Adobe’s color wheel for some ideas. The takeaway here is to use colors to make your emails more readable, not less.

2. Color Your CTAs

Perhaps the most significant way to use color in your emails is to highlight to links and calls-to-action.

After all, what are your readers supposed to do if they don’t know where to click?

Using bright, contrasting buttons and links throughout your messages serve to help your links stand out. People should be able to glance at your messages and know exactly where they can click.

Check out how we make our links pop in our own newsletters:

Simple, but effective!

Centering your emails around bright buttons is a foolproof tactic that just about every big brand uses to ensure their links are can’t-miss.

3. Pick Colors That Set a Mood

Colors represent a brilliant way to grab someone’s attention without saying anything at all.

For example, a bright and bold color scheme can help highlight a happy, light-hearted message like this one from PrettyLittleThing.

Notice how they use two tones of pink which is both in line with their brand and set the right tone.

And on the flip side, you might want to send messages that are more relaxed or subdued. In this case, the right color combination might be no color at all. Check out how Beardbrand keeps things simple with their black-and-white, minimalist color scheme.

These brands take totally different approaches, but both work brilliantly for their respective audiences.

Again, it all depends on the sort of tone you want to set for your readers.

4. When In Doubt, Use Your Brand’s Colors

There’s a good chance you already thought about your brand’s colors when you started your business.

If so, great! That makes your job a lot easier.

Branding your emails with your own color scheme is a smart move to help readers better associate your marketing materials with your business.

For example, Netflix uses their bold black, white and red in every message they send out.

Similarly, Lyft uses their pink, white and blue scheme which is perfect for helping their calls-to-action pop.

If you already have a logo and color scheme in mind for your brand, try experimenting with that first. Then you can start supplementing your messages with psychology-driven color choices based on the types of messages you’re sending

And with that, we wrap things up!

How Are You Coloring Your Campaigns?

Don’t be afraid to get creative, but also keep in mind the principles and best practices for coloring your marketing messages.

Color psychology might seem simple on the surface, but it’s a game-changer for making your emails more attractive and encouraging people to take action!

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Caitlin Hutchinson

Caitlin Hutchinson

Brand Marketing ManagerSendlane
A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. Primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels while maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. Host of The Marketing Automation Hustle Podcast and Sendlane Youtube Training Channel. Works closely with the marketing team to manage creative projects and develop creative assets/solutions to enhance the brand. Collaborates at the intersection of marketing, product, content, and sales to develop powerful and memorable stories and interactive experiences that bring the Sendlane vision to life.
Caitlin Hutchinson