What psychological effects are your direct mail colors having on your potential customers? Are your colors making them beg to buy from you or are they chasing those buyers away?
From G. Gilbert Carlson

Take advantage of the secret
selling power of color…

Color is an important consideration of selling.  Meanings are attached to colors in the same way meanings are attached to words.

When creating a direct mail package, there many aspects we need to concern ourselves with… Such as are we offering the right products at the right price, does our copy sell, how are we going to promote this offer. But, do we ever really consider the colors we are using? Have we ever considered what our color selections are doing to our customers, our image and our sales?

How does your mailing measure up? Background colors, the color of your artwork, the color of your text, headlines and sub-headlines and elements can all have a psychological impact on your recipients.

To sell, you have to be exciting….

In my 37 years of marketing, I’ve learned to do everything I could do to avoid boring my audience. You have to create excitement, get attention, show you are human, show that you really care about that potential customer. You have to set the mood and reach out to them.

I personally like reds, such as I'm using on this website, something that gets attention and stands out and makes your products stand out.

Someone once told me that I shouldn’t use red, it makes people mad. (Guess he thought we were like bulls with the red cape waved in front of them) I don’t buy it, but even if it is true, we need to wake people up. They aren’t going to buy from us if they are sleeping!

Here come the colors…

Now let’s take a look at the colors and see what they do to people.

Below is a list of some of the common colors and what type of psychological emotion they invoke in people:

BABY BLUE: Is a color which implies weakness.

BLACK: Is sophistication, elegant, seductive, mystery. It is associated with seriousness, darkness, mystery, secrecy.

BLUE: Is the color the majority of the world population calls its favorite color. It represents to "Trust". It is associated with trustworthiness, success, seriousness, calmness, power, professionalism. (IBM)

BROWN: Is associated with earth, nature, tribal, primitive, simplicity.

GOLD: Is the color of wealth. Associated with prestige, expensive.

GREEN: Nature, fresh, cool, growth, abundance. It is the color of nature. It is associated with money, animals, health, healing, life, harmony.

GREY: Is associated with neutrality, indifference, reserved.

ORANGE: Is a color which implies cheerful "levity". (Orange is one of Americans’ least favorite colors.) It is associated with comfort, creativity, celebration, fun, youth, affordability.

PINK: Nurture, security. It is the color of femininity. It is associated with softness, sweetness, innocence, youthfulness, tenderness.

PURPLE: Royal, spirituality, dignity. It is associated with royalty, justice, ambiguity, uncertainty, luxury, fantasy, dreams. It can also have religious meaning to some people.

RED: Is the color of danger. It can imply risk. It is associated with love, passion, warning, excitement, food, impulse, action, adventure, excitement, strength, sex, passion, speed. They say this is good for food websites.

SILVER: Prestige, cold, scientific.

WHITE: Is associated with innocence, purity, cleanliness, simplicity. The color of pure innocence.

YELLOW: Warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness. It is associated with curiosity, playfulness, cheerfulness, amusement.

Market researchers have also determined that color affects shopping habits. Impulse shoppers respond best to red-orange, black and royal blue. Shoppers who plan and stick to budgets respond best to pink, teal, light blue and navy. Traditionalists respond to pastels - pink, rose, sky blue. So how can you put this information to use?

It all depends on what kind of psychological message you want to convey with your color selection.

So what colors are you using on with your
catalog, direct mail, on your website?

The say that blues against a white background should be used for business mailings. I like white backgrounds and I like blue, (I’ve had several blue cars) but I’ve seen too many mailings that have used blues and they were boring. So be careful!

Of course you shouldn’t count on your colors to pull all the weight. It’s your artwork, logos and product photos that should stand out. Put them on, and extend them over your borders and edges. This gives them a 3-D look and they will appear to be popping off the pages.

Careful with using colors for your type font…

Although I don’t always follow my own advice… Keep in mind that black type against a white background is best for readability. And this is your main concern. If they don’t read your message, they won’t buy from you.

Even making your message just a bit difficult to read will turn off a lot of readers. Remember, most people don’t have eyesight as good as yours! Type that too small, too fancy or has a conflicting background, won’t get read.

If you can’t use a white background behind your type, a light yellow is a good choice. Kind of like a giant Post-it note. But please, please, don’t but don’t put a giant version of your logo behind your copy block! Your designer may love it, but anyone who manages to read your whole copy block will end up with permanent eye damage!

Black type is the most readable. But sometimes we need to use a little color. Red is next best after black. Try to limit text in color to just large type like headlines.

Need more great marketing advice?

My Free-Catalog-Marketing-Tips.com website for great catalog marketing!

At Internet-Copywriting-Secrets.com you will learn all the secrets of website marketing – website copywriting, design, marketing, and much more! 

Your friend for direct mail response,

Gil Carlson
Colors you choose can hurt Direct Mail Response
Colors you choose can hurt Direct Mail Response
From G. Gilbert Carlson
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Direct Mail Facts & Figures Report written by Gil Carlson