Welcome to the Vin65 blog. We are using this space to try and convey our little piece of insight into winery websites and best practices to sell more wine online.
We are currently working on a social media / wine related website. Our designer is doing a great job of the interface, but I wonder if having too many features over complicates the main focus and goals of the site.
Consider the controls in these vehicles. Which of these two pictures represents your website?
Does having more options represent a better website?
As a small winery owner you are expected to do it all. You are running the big show. You are on the hook for the results.
Here is a shortened list of responsibilities:
As a web service provider we also like to add some, because if you have a web site you should also be doing these things:
My guess is that all the things that go into making the most of your web site and making your web site great fall between the cracks. Unless you are a larger winery who can afford to have a dedicated staff or multiple staff in the web department most of those web tasks simply don't get thought about, much less accomplished.
At Vin | 65 we are passionate about the web and making your sure your customers have a great experience buying your wine. We also bring a lot of experience and a great tool set to our customers so that they don't have to stress out about a lot of this stuff because it is built right in. We know our winery and wine retail customers are busy enough already. Let us be the web experts in your corner, so that you can focus on making amazing wine.
Want to know more about what we offer, how we can make your life easier, what the heck a blog is...contact us.
It's 2009 and if you don't have an opt-in email list and want to start sending out an email newsletter what should you do?
Seth Godin has a great post this weekend on Email Campaigns. The take away:
"The problem with believing that just because you have access to an address you have the right to mail is that there is no friction with email. It's free. You can email a million people in a heartbeat, costing the recipients time (and thus money) and you not much of either. The recipient knows this, and feels exploited or cheated. It's not fair, and so the lack of friction backfires. The very ease of interruption makes the interruption more annoying."
If people haven't signed up on a sheet in your tasting room or through an easy to understand subscribe form on your website, they probably haven't given you permission to send them email. You can't just import the list into a system and start emailing them. Having an 'opt out' policy on your spam (sending them spam with an easy unsubscribe link) is also not a great policy.
So to answer my opening question, if you don't have an email list and want to start, go at it the hard way. Don't take short-cuts. Have people subscribe on a form on your website. Have people give you their email address in a tasting room. Make sure they know what they are subscribing to. Also it's a good idea to let them know how often they will receive your message.
Read another great post on email marketing by Inertia Beverage.
It's pretty easy to spend an entire day hiding behind technology and forgetting personal service.
When I was in high school in the late 80s I worked for a local realtor who really understood technology. We were using multiple databases to target specific areas (a combination of phone records, tax records, and real estate records). In our mail campaigns we were monitoring the message, the frequency, and overall effectiveness. We had our systems pretty well tuned.
We were data mining the real estate board and finding listings about to expire and then mailing them. We were testing out different phone technology. We were constantly testing out different mediums. We once sent out a newspaper like piece, and the recipient's name appeared in the headline of the top story - remember this was late 80's before stuff like this was common place.
My boss was a good realtor but despite our huge technical advantage there were several guys around town who consistently outperformed him. I once asked a top realtor how he got his business, and he told me that he was just as friendly as possible, and meet as many people as possible. He would walk into a local bar or the super market and talk with everyone.
I had an interesting conversation this past week with a prospective client. She was talking to me of the importance of having personal relationships.
In the end, you can have nice tasting sheets, a great website that really conveys your brand, mass email that is highly targeted, but nothing beats personal relationships. When the economy is down, and people are starting to choose which wine clubs they want to belong to and which ones to drop, I beat you the choice overwhelming comes down to who they have personal relationship with.
Side note: This message of personal service applies to us at Vin|65 as much as it applies to wineries.
Ever wonder who is talking about you? Or want to know who is talking about your competitiors?
Here are a couple of tools that can help you:
And if you really want to dig deep and spy on your competition or see how well your website ranks, Future Now provides links to these 14 Tools to Legally Spy On Your Competition.
When a customer walks into the tasting room their experience is incredibly important. Everything has to be just right. The right atmosphere leads to higher sales.
The same thing happens online. Your brand and image is conveyed in your site design, how fast your pages load, how easy it is to navigate, how easy the user can accomplish their goals.
Just like your tasting room, your website user experience should be monitored and improved over time. People's expectations continually raise, your industry continually raises the bar, and your website is something that should be continually looked at. If you haven't changed much in your site in the last year or two, it's probably time to review and look at the overall experience.
Getting found on Google always seems to be a hot topic for our website clients. Here are a couple of interesting blogs that came out last week.
While we don't provide Search Engine Optimization for clients, we do have a very Search Engine friendly platform and we can recommend a few search engine optimization companies and are more than happy to talk with you.
Have you used your own website? Try completing an order on your site. Try ordering multiple products. Where does the 'continue shopping' button take you? Can you figure out the shipping easily?
What are the most common questions customers ask? Try finding the answers from the homepage on your website - can you?
Have you tried emailing customer service from your website? How many clicks till you found the customer service email address? How long till someone responds?
Do you trust a consumer review more than a professional review? Do you care more about what your friends think or what professionals think? Will a consumer review out perform a professional review?
I was watching Sex and the City Saturday night on TV. (Okay I don't watch TV much, and my wife had it on). A stranger's facial expression seemed to worry Carrie Bradshaw more than a professional book review.
When I pick a movie, I tend to listen to my friends' opinions and could really care less about the professional reviews. When I rent a video, I ask the checkout clerk if the video is good and often listen to his/her opinion.
I've been in a wine store and asked the clerk if they have had the bottle of wine that I'm contemplating and what they thought about it. I often pick up a bottle of wine because a friend mentioned it, or perhaps I read something on twitter or in a blog.
In today's manufactured society, I crave for something more real and real comes from other consumers rather than professionals.
This is the first time I've publicly stated a new year’s resolution for our platform.
Truthfully, we have all been thinking about these three ideas for awhile. Our new platform launches in January and we are really excited about some of the new features. (If you want a private demo, email me and we can show you some of the new features).
In 2009 we have some giant plans. We've shared a few of these plans with some of our partners. 2009 is going to be a great year and you should see some amazing work by everyone one. (Hopefully that statement doesn't sound to arrogant)
If you have a new year’s resolution around your website I would love to hear about it.
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