When it comes to conversion, scent matters.

As website optimization thought leader Bryan Eisenberg explains, it’s like your website visitors are following a “scent trail” from the emails you send to the products they’d like to buy. If this scent trail is strong, these visitors will convert. But:

If you interrupt your scent trail, you leave your customer stranded. The path she was following becomes a dead end. Where’s she supposed to go? Do you really want to trust that she’s motivated enough to continue on her own? When it comes to scent trails, dropping the ball is one of the leading causes of abandonment!

Establishing and maintaining your scent trail is essential to keeping your persuasive momentum, establishing your credibility, and building your customers’ confidence. You simply can’t motivate folks to move from click to click without it.

– Bryan Eisenberg, Always Be Testing

Because scent is so important, I’m always on the lookout for good examples of this best practice —and, over the years, I’ve seen many good examples. But none better than this:

37signals described how they ran a series of A/B tests that increased conversion for Highrise by a whopping 102.5%. What they don’t tell you is that they also started using the new homepage’s creative in a series of display ads.

This is a crystal-clear example of how to use scent to your advantage. Most organizations, in my experience, don’t do this … ironically because it’s so simple. Seduced as they are by the need to be “creative” and come up with something “new,” they end up missing the obvious: Echoing the images, offers, and calls-to-action exactly is the best way to go. Remember, conversion rate optimization doesn’t have to be complicated!