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A Delicious Conversion Path: How keeping it simple can get more signups

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I’m a sucker for a good conversion path. And with so much noise on the Web, it’s always a nice surprise to come across one that does its job with style and efficiency. I recently received an email from Open Table, the online restaurant reservation service. Now, I’m also a sucker for a good restaurant. Open Table already provides a valuable service for free—one that I use on a regular basis. They started this path out right—with a compelling subject line that said:

Win a $3000 Dinner at an OpenTable Restaurant

Simple and effective. I opened it immediately. The email is admittedly image-heavy, but I had images on already since I’m a regular recipient. So beyond that, it’s beautiful, provides eye candy and gets the message across quickly. The Dinner Party to End All Dinner Parties. Not a lot of copy, just a few lines explaining that the winner get a table for 10 friends and three grand in spending money at the Open Table restaurant of my choice. And a clear CTA button. Did I click? Does bacon taste good?

The click-through took me to a gorgeous landing page. Open Table used a technique called Parallax in the design of the page. Originally used in 2-D games, it allows the background to remain static while the foreground scrolls, or vice versa.

It’s also a DC Comics villain.

What’s great about this Open Table landing page is that it’s designed beautifully, but it’s also designed intelligently. Registration paths, even for sweepstakes, can see a lot of drop-off when created with multiple fields stacked on one another or too much extraneous information.

This landing page does it right.

The headline from the email is repeated immediately and similar visuals are used for a smooth continuity. Though a landing page traditionally does the heavy lifting for the email, providing the user with more in-depth information, this still keeps it short and sweet. The prize is reiterated, and the bonus of a stretch limo is introduced. As for info fields, there are just two; your email and your zip code. Bam. Enter that info and the Parallax kicks in (not the villain, but the technique), auto-scrolling to the next step and making it appear as though you’re panning down the length of a table set with decadent food.

The scrolling stops on an optional page that allows you to select your guest list. It encourages you to increase your chances to win by inviting friends, with the convenience of grabbing address books from Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Don’t want to do this yet? Hit the skip link.

Keep eating…

You’re then once again panned down the table. At this point, if you’re not hungry, you probably shouldn’t have entered this contest. It ends so cleverly on a finished glass of wine and a completed dessert. With a charming French sendoff to boot, and some subtle social media icons.

Simple? Yes. Gorgeous? Yes. And effective? I clicked and signed up. And I’m hoping I’ll win that $3,000 dinner. Anyone want to join me?

More Parallax (the technique, not the villain)

This technique isn’t new, but it sure is cool. Check out these sites that use it well…

http://www.nikebetterworld.com/
http://benthebodyguard.com/
http://www.iutopi.com/