You’ve split tested a lot of variables in your online ads.
But have you ever tested their scent?
According to research from the reputable Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, we search the web using a hub and spoke model.
We start in one central area (the hub) where we find a number of different spokes or trails we can follow. The hub might be a search engine or a social site like Facebook.
We follow these trails from the hub as long as we feel confident that we are on the path to our desired outcome. If, at any point, we feel we are not on the right path we return to the hub (or get distracted by cat photos, but that’s for another article).
For example, imagine querying Google and finding four possible paths that “smell” like they can lead to your desired outcome. Your surfing behavior might look like this,
As you can see, only one business is happy in this scenario. The one that provided a consistent scent. The other three led the prospect back to the hub without a conversion.
This is great news for you. If you understand how to maintain a consistent scent you can lead them to your solution.
Marketing that stinks
Have you ever clicked on a link that promised information about puppy dogs, rainbows and ice cream and you end up on a gambling or erectile dysfunction site?
Stinks, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t convert well either. The scent from what was promised to what is delivered is so incongruent that virtually every visitor will bounce immediately.
This is an extreme example but nearly every “path” on the web could stand to improve its scent.
The key to getting the scent right is to understand the importance of maintaining the scent for these three major elements,
Your prospect won’t even know why they left when the design isn’t congruent. It simply won’t look right to them and they’ll back away.
Consider keeping the following elements in your design consistent along your path,
- Color scheme
- Font Selection/Size/Color
Here’s a path from Purina with good design scent. This is a banner ad leading to a landing page.
Same colors. Same lady. Same dog. Good job Purina. Smells great!
A good car salesmen will listen very carefully to what you say. He’ll study your body language. He’ll try to find out if your more interested in horsepower or gas mileage. Luxury or economy? GPS, 4-wheel drive, satellite radio?
Then he’ll craft his pitch around the benefits you care about.
Your ads serve the same purpose. A click on an ad is an indication of interest and the ensuing pitch should be consistent with the benefits from that ad.
Take a look at the scent of this path for GoToMeeting from Citrix. This is a Facebook Sidebar Ad pitching mobile meetings and leading to a landing page.
The ad is good. The landing page is good. But together they smell kind of funny.
The ad is about ‘handheld meetings’, the landing page isn’t. The scent is broken.
The headline, sub headline, and image smell nothing like the ad I clicked. The “mobile meetings” benefit is buried in the 2nd bullet at the bottom of the landing page.
It’s surprising how often marketers get this wrong.
If you make an offer in an ad, maintain the scent of that offer from the ad to the landing page. Otherwise, it’s bye-bye traffic.
The easiest way to do this is to use the exact same language from ad to landing page headline. But it can be done in a more subtle manner.
Notice how Adobe maintains the offer scent from this banner ad promoting a content download,
It’s perplexing how often even the largest companies serve ads that make an offer only to find it difficult (if not impossible) to find that offer on the landing page.
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at how stinky this path is from Universal Orlando theme park,
What happened to the $769 offer in the ad? What about the 30% off?
And this is Universal Orlando! Home of Harry Potter!
No matter how big or small you are, don’t make these mistakes.
Take a whiff of your ads and if they smell a little off, apply these lessons about “scent” to increase your conversion rates.