No, this isn't a political post. It's a marketing post.
No, this isn't a political post. It's a marketing post.
In the "Now I've Seen Everything" Department, an epic quest to find the 12 best wines in the world.
The following is a public service announcement on behalf of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra:
Subject: Do you need grapes? You can harvest grapes and support music education!
Do you need Syrah Grapes to make your own wine at home? Do you know someone who does?
We have the opportunity for you to harvest approximately 300-340 vines of Syrah grapes in Kenwood. The grapes should be harvestable within the next 7 days. If you were to buy these grapes off a vineyard, the value is approximately $2,500. However, the owner is willing to let you have the grapes if you make a donation to the Youth Orchestra 2009 European Tour. You bring the labor, harvest the grapes, and take them home to make your own wine. The Youth Orchestra receives a donation towards our first international tour. It is truly a win-win situation!
The vineyard is near Highway 12 in Kenwood by the old Stone Creek Tasting Room.
If you (or anyone you know) are interested in this opportunity, please have them contact me directly at (707) 546-7097 x219.
Director of Education
Santa Rosa Symphony
50 Santa Rosa Avenue, Suite 410
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-546-7097 x 219
Let's say that your winery makes a lovely
Merlot Pinot Noir every year. So, every year you make a nice new product page for your winery Web site describing the latest vintage.
Here is the full text of a press release from New Vine Logistics:
Amazon Selects New Vine as its Compliance and
Fulfillment Partner for the New Online Wine Initiative
Get Your Wine in Front of 60-Million Amazon Consumers
Streamlined Set Up for New Vine Customers
In the partnership, Amazon will provide front-end marketing services for wineries to list, promote and sell their brands, and New Vine will store, pack, and ship orders placed through Amazon's new online wine initiative. Like many of our customers, Amazon values New Vine because of its ability to provide an all-inclusive solution that will ensure the highest quality of fulfillment and compliant shipments.
As a New Vine client with existing inventory and compliance arrangements, participation in the Amazon wine initiative will be streamlined. With minimal effort and commitment, you can add exposure to the millions of loyal Amazon consumers.
Account Managers from Amazon are contacting wineries now to present the opportunity to list their unique wines on the new online site.
If you would like more information on how to take advantage of the Amazon opportunity, please send inquiries to email@example.com or to Nate Glissmeyer (Amazon Services - Category Manager, Wine) at Nate@amazon.com.
I imagine Nate Glissmeyer is a pretty popular guy these days!
Additional coverage of the Amazon wine program and New Vine Logistics is available here.
Inquiring reader Jack d'Agostino asks: Where will Amazon be shipping wine?
New Vine Logistics, who will apparently be doing fulfillment for Amazon, claims that they can deliver wine in 45 states. Press reports have stated that Amazon will ship wine to 25 or 26 states. There are currently 15 states where direct shipment of wine is prohibited (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah), plus one state (Kansas) where you must purchase the wine on-site. The Wine Institute has more details on each state's shipping laws.
This represents the last-likely-to-cause-problems approach, which makes good sense.
Of course, since Amazon has made no official announcement, and New Vine Logistics refers all questions to Amazon, this is (educated) speculation. It will be interesting to see where they roll out initially, and what happens over time as a result of Amazon's entry into the marketplace.
(Astute readers will notice that eight states -- Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Vermont -- are not part of the 15 + 1 + 26.)
Start with a large one. Ba-dump-bump!
Many successful CEOs love wine, and some choose to make their own. Then they find out just how difficult—and expensive—it can be
From Business Week magazine: When CEOs Become Winemakers.
Seth Godin's latest post has so much relevance for wineries. Thinking bigger isn't about being bigger. It's about changing the game. Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always gotten.
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:
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
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?
Go read this post: Make Your Customers Fall in Love with You AND Your Wine
Every winery, and every winemaker, has a story and a personality that appeals to people on a much more profound level than just what someone enjoys drinking.
This looks like a series worth following. Remember, all you need is 1,000 True Fans for your wines.
The listing on Merger Networks (free registration required) describes it as:
Unique, award winning brand highly favored by millennials, seeking a strategic or financial buyer with capital, sales, marketing, and distribution experience who can leverage the already established and popular brand in order to grow the company to a new level.
Wine 2.0 goes mainstream, as evidenced by this FastCompany interview with Gary V: Selling Wine the Web 2.0 Way
Steve Bachmann of Vinfolio has an excellent summary of what we currently know of the Amazon.com wine program, and its effects on the industry.
According to Reuters (and confirmed by Steve Heimoff), Napa Valley Vinters (NVV) is now holding introductory meetings for Napa-based wineries to meet with Amazon.com regarding the requirements for selling their wines through Amazon. In other areas, Amazon is meeting directly with wineries, but the large number of Napa-based wineries seems to be the motivation for group meetings (also as a way for NVV members to get value from their membership fees).
Note that this coverage is based on a press release from NVV, not an official annoucement by Amazon.
Napa Valley Vintners describes themselves as follows:
Now in our seventh decade, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association is the sole organization responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley Appellation as a winegrowing region second to none in the world. Respect for our history reinforces our commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the Valley's land, wine, and community for future generations. We address the shared interests of more than 310 member wineries and aspire to be the essential organization for all Napa Valley vintners.
Previous posts about Amazon.com moving into online wine sales:
This is the first report that states Amazon will be using New Vine Logistics (NVL) for fulfillment.
According to Jeff Stai of Twisted Oak (who has met with Amazon), wineries will set the price at which their wines will be sold, and Amazon will pay them 50% of the selling price.
Do readers know of any other winery associations being approached by Amazon?
UPDATE: New Vine Logistics aquired their initial fulfillment infrastructure from the failure of WineShopper.com, which had previously received a $30 million investment from Amazon.com. In other words, wine has been on Amazon's mind for a long time, and there is a previous relationship between Amazon and NVL.
The most important thing that can happen when someone visits your site is that they end up buying something, right? Seems obvious enough, except...
What if that site visitor was looking for directions to your winery, and they bring three friends, and all of them end up buying some wine when they visit?
As I've said many times, every visitor to your site comes with a goal already in mind, and a Back button. If you help them reach their goal, then they walk away with a positive impression of your site. If you make it hard to reach their goal, you lose them to the Back button, and possibly forever.
So what's the best thing that can happen during a visit to your winery Web site, assuming that the visitor didn't come to buy wine?
The answer? The visitor gives you permission to contact them later (probably via e-mail).
So, you should make it easy and beneficial for them to give you that permission. Obviously, if they make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter or mailing list, you've met this goal.
But what if they don't do any of those things? Then you should offer them something in return for permission to contact them (perhaps free shipping on their next online order, or a nice piece of schwag if they visit). You should also be clear and up front about how and when you will use their contact information. Ask for as little information as possible (a valid e-mail), and then *do* follow up with a contact in relatively short order (e.g. a reminder of how to get free shipping or their schwag).
And it goes without saying that the first time you contact them, they should find it sincere, personal, and most of all worthwhile (you'll know whether you succeeded in this regard, based on how many people revoke permission after being contacted, an option which you should make obvious).
Permission to interact with a visitor after they leave your site is the most valuable result short of a sale (which includes that permission implicitly). This is the basic unit of conversion for every winery Web site.
This also implies that you should treat first-time visitors different from returning visitors, and you should treat returning visitors differently depending on whether you have received their permission to contact them.
And those people who made a purchase or signed up for your newsletter? Give them the same benefit as those who needed persuading. They will sing your praise to others ("Do you know what they did for me?").
Agree? Disagree? Post a comment!
How would you like to double your online sales numbers?
It's easy, IF you can raise the conversion rate on your winery Web site from 1 percent to 2 percent (a typical retail site conversion rate).
There are just two little problems in doubling your conversion rate. First, you need to know your current conversion rate, i.e. what percentage of visitors to your site make a purchase. Second, you have to do something about it, which means understanding how to test.
Internet Retailer reports that 76 percent of all online retailers don't test the impact of changes to Web site content and design on their conversion rate (which probably means *at least* 76 percent of all winery Web sites).
In that light, I offer you a free excerpt (PDF) from Always Be Testing: the complete guide to Google Website Optimizer. Here's a taste:
Whether you are pursuing sales, securing leads, or encouraging subscriptions, your website is out there interacting with your potential customers, trying to persuade them to take action. It’s the connective tissue that binds all aspects of your marketing. In theory you can fire it, but you can’t intimidate or shame it into better performance.
What you can do is test it.
The excerpt contains Chapters 1 (Always Be Testing), 36 (Headlines) and 43 (Website Optimizer Scripts).
For those of you you haven't heard of it before, here's a two-minute video tour of Google Website Optimizer, a free tool from the Googleplex which allows you to test the content and appearance of your winery Web site.
Anyone care to share their conversion rates and/or experience? Anyone used Google Website Optimizer on their winery Web site? Post a comment.
I spent some extra time last month looking for winery blogs which hadn't made it to The List (our comprehensive list of winery blogs), and I found quite a few, some brand-new, and some older ones which I just hadn't come across before now. These blogs were all added to The List during August:
Bella Terrazza Vineyards (no RSS feed)
Hess Collection -- Rocks, Roots, and Reds
Iron Horse Vineyards -- Laurence Sterling's Blog (no RSS feed)
Romililly Wines -- The Story of a Russian River Pinot
It's great to see the growth of winery blogs, but of course, not all of them will survive. I encourage you to add these blogs to your RSS/feed reader (e.g. Bloglines), especially if you are a winery blogger yourself. Remember, an RSS subscription is the easiest way to find out when a blog is updated, which is particularly important when a blog is infrequently updated.
The List now shows 114 winery blogs.