When people visit your Web site, they come with a goal already in mind. Your primary job is to help them meet that goal in such a way as to leave a positive impression, as opposed to visitors either hitting the Back button or vowing "Never again!" after reaching their goal (e.g. a 37-step checkout process).
A visitor to your winery Web site might want to do any of the following things:
- buy your wine (right now, either for themselves or as a gift)
- resell your wine (the trade: distributors, retailers, and restaurants)
- tell others about your wine (the media)
- visit your winery
- get other information about your wine or winery (admittedly, this kind of nebulous)
And if you are actively promoting your wine, your visitor may be following the "scent" of your latest marketing campaign.
The other day, I wrote about the additional value of distinguishing between
- visitors who have never been to your site before
- returning visitors who haven't given you contact information
- returning visitors who have given you contact information but haven't made a purchase
- returning visitors who have previously made a purchase
because, after making a purchase, the next-most-important thing you want from a visitor to your Web site is permission to contact them.
One way to do this is to get them to sign up for your mailing list, and some visitors will do that just by presenting them with the opportunity. Some people may need a little convincing, which is why you should provide a short but compelling list of benefits as well as a link to a sample, the latest mailing, or archives.
Join Our Mailing List
A more attractive version of the basic (ugly) "wireframe" you see above should appear on (nearly) every page of your site (exceptions are those pages which are part of processes you don't want to interrupt, like checkout -- notice how sites like Amazon do this).
This illustrates one reason why we want to know if the visitor has already joined our mailing list: so that we don't show them the signup box again (which makes you look like a competent online retailer). For someone who is already on your list, a reasonable replacement might be an invite to join your wine club (assuming they haven't done that yet) or a special offer (to encourage a purchase).
Underneath all of this is the notion that your winery Web site "knows" who is visiting it. Without this, you can't maximize your return on each visit to your site. That's a technical issue.
I think it also implies a strong mailing list strategy, with monthly mailings that deliver value (which generally means some sort of a goodie not available to people who aren't on the list). This takes planning.
How are you (or aren't you) addressing the needs of different types of visitors on your winery Web site?