Keep the Scent: Using Paid Traffic for Your Landing Pages

by Peep Laja last updated on

Want to know how to deal a serious blow to your landing page conversions? Have the landing page look different from the online advertisement the consumer just  viewed and have the landing page contain a different message/keywords.

In other words, one of the best ways to improve landing page conversions is to create and maintain scent: make pre-click advertisements and post-click messages look and feel the same. There needs to be “scent”. The ad they see or the email they read needs to smell like the landing page they land on. You have to maintain the same scent.

The concept of scent was  first introduced by Bryan Eisenberg in Always Be Testing.

“When you abandon your scent trail, you strand visitors and destroy the persuasive movement on your site.”

While so many landing page optimization efforts go toward better structure, copy,design, and/or call to action – it’s often the missing scent that’s the culprit.

A great example to show “scent” is the remarketing ad and landing page for Highrise:


They match! It’s like they coordinated!

Same girl, same design, same call to action look, same copy. Great stuff.

How to maintain strong scent

It’s very easy, you only need to keep  a few rules in mind:

  1. Ad copy (or email copy, or copy of whatever promotional channel you use) needs to match the landing page copy. The closer, the better. Verbatim would be best.
  2. While your landing page can fit much more content than a display ad, make the ad message the central piece of the landing page message.
  3. Ad design (or email design, etc) needs to match landing page design.

That’s it! If you follow these three steps, you’re rocking.

Yes, that means you should have a tailored landing page for each ad. No, you don’t need to have 1000 different landing pages that you manually created – you can use dynamic copy.

A simple example would be displaying different content for each of your query strings [query string – the stuff in a URL that starts after  the question mark (?)] :  Ad #1 takes you to and ad #2 takes you to Any 6th grader can write a script that would serve different content based on the query string. Ask your developer, (s)he knows how. No excuses.


Don’t forget trigger/key words

While people are browsing your site, they’re having a silent conversation in their mind. They’re asking themselves ‘where is X?’ or ‘how do I solve my problem Y?’. In most cases, people are looking for a specific wording.

Trigger/Key words are the words and phrases that trigger a user into clicking and visiting your landing page. So when the user types “invoicing app” into Google search, that’s the trigger word in their mind. That’s what you should use in your ad copy AND on your landing page copy. Trigger words are powerful.

Next: Check all your PPC and banner ads, and make sure your landing page matches the creatives and copy!

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