The Logo That Cost $321,400: How Colour Can RUIN Your Sales…

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“Big, Bold and Bright” are often the keys to creating contrast. But a mistake a lot of people make is to use TOO MUCH colour.

And TOO MUCH colour can ruin your sales.

Note: If you missed out on the previous two pieces in this series, you’ll want to check out:

The Pathway to Action

Before every action we make – including every purchasing decision – we need to give that decision our attention, and then be motivated to take action on that decision.

Attention -> Attraction -> Action

Once we understand this predictable sequence of events, we gain a lot more control over how we influence people.

The Problem with Big, Bold and Bright…

As humans, we’re hard-wired to be constantly looking for contrasts.

It was hard-wired into us to help us spot threats and opportunities in our evolutionary past – like the contrast of a predator hidden in the bushes, or fruit on a bush.

Contrast gets our attention. And using big, bright, bold and colourful elements on our website can help to create that attention and contrast.

But too much colour or activity on the page creates distraction, confusion, and a LACK of contrast.

Trying to draw customers’ attention to ALL of the appeals of your product – your free shipping offer, your 100% money back guarantee period, your generous discounts, your interest-free finance offer, your payment options, etc, etc – typically results in FEWER sales.

If we use a more primitive model, it would be like:

  1. ATTENTION: Monkey sees a banana. And a toy. And a snake. And a monkey friend. And (etc, etc)…
  2. ATTRACTION: Instead of being attracted by a singular opportunity, the monkey is distracted by a mess of opportunities and threats.
  3. ACTION: The monkey either takes longer to grab the banana, or doesn’t grab the banana at all.

The Paradox of Choice

When people have a lot of things they COULD give their attention to – it takes a lot of mental energy to decide WHERE they SHOULD give your attention.

And this means people are LESS likely to give their attention to the RIGHT thing.

In fact, they’re LESS likely to give their attention to any particular thing at all – and they’re more likely to do nothing.

And – when they have multiple choices about what they COULD give their attention to – if they do finally make a decision, they’re likely to feel less happy about the decision they’ve made.


With all this in mind, it’s clear that sometimes the best way to create contrast (and make sure your key sales messages pop!) is to consider the DISTRACTIONS that are getting in the way of people making decisions rather than trying to add MORE colour (creating more distraction!)

Perhaps making some parts of your website less vivid or visible – or perhaps removing sections of your webpages entirely – will increase sales!

All too often we see webpages that have a big bold “Buy” button that is hidden in amongst a jumble of equally big, bold and bright special offers.

Making sure the single most important action that you want customers to take on your web page (typically the “Buy” button) is the part of the page that is most obvious and visible is a no-brainer for improving sales – and consistently increases conversion rates.

Case Study: The Logo That Cost Over $321,400

A multi-million dollar ecommerce client loved his logo so much that it appeared twice on every product page of his website:

  • Once at the top of the website template (appearing at the top of every page of their site);
  • And again in another prominent position – beside the title of each product on every product page in their ecommerce store.

This second logo was causing distraction – and costing sales!

When we tested removing this second logo, we discovered it led to 16.07% more sales (at a 95% statistical confidence interval, for the statistics nerds out there).

On a multi-million dollar ecommerce site, this is at least $321,400 in lost revenue per year that we recovered from this one tiny little tweak.

Similar improvements can be made from removing other distracting elements (buttons, guarantee seals, text highlighting discounts etc) – particularly where those elements appear in prominent locations, are bright, big or bold.

The One Key for Where You Should Direct Customers’ Attention

If there’s one key principle that should be in the back of your mind, as you apply this to your website, it’s this…

Work out what the most important part of your web page is,
and direct your customers’ attention to it,
at the exclusion of all other parts of your web-page.

Typically, the most important part of your web page is the button someone needs to click to “buy” or “add to cart”, or the signup box, or a enquiry form.

(There should only be one of these on your web page – and all attention, attraction and action should flow towards this singular focus of the page.)

Don’t worry too much about making the other information on the page more prominent.

If people need more information about your offer, or your terms, or your guarantee, or your shipping timeframes – they will still be able to find that information on the page.

But, if you want people to take the singular most important sales action on your web page, their attention needs to be focussed towards that action – at the exclusion of everything else on your web page.

-Brent Hodgson

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