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      12 Ways to Get the First Sale on Your New E-Commerce Site


      You’ve just set up your e-commerce site. The design is trendy, the product descriptions are top-notch, and you’ve set up the perfect payment gateway. You’re officially open for business — boom, mic drop, collar pop!

      Now you just sit back and wait for the orders to come in, right?

      via GIPHY

      Sorry, Charlie. Getting that first sale can be a challenge, even with a solid marketing strategy.

      Ideally, you’ll want to begin to market your offerings even before your store is launched. However, you can take many of the same steps to promote your shop after it’s up and running. All you need is a little patience and an understanding of which techniques are most effective and affordable.

      In this article, we’ll discuss 12 ways you can get that first sale on your e-commerce site. Let’s get started!

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      12 Ways to Make Your First E-commerce Sale

      1. Reach Out to Your Network

      The first people to be aware of your business will likely be family and friends, and you can solicit their help in getting that first sale. If your product genuinely solves a pain point for anyone in your personal network, sell them on the benefits of buying from you.

      This is not much different from promoting to strangers online. To get started, ask your immediate family and friends to try out your products. You could even provide free samples. You can also reach out to your personal network on social platforms like Facebook, where you’ll likely be connected to old classmates and colleagues.

      The key here is to know your products inside and out, be aware of what problems they solve, and sell people on their benefits. Make sure to follow up with anyone interested and take the time to thoroughly answer their questions.

      2. Start a Blog

      A blog offers a way to increase brand awareness and bring new traffic to your website. It’s also a platform where you can better expose your products to your audience. The more visitors you can bring to your site, the higher the probability you will make a sale.

       “A blog for an e-commerce store.”

      Some examples of content you can create on your blog include:

      • Articles that demonstrate how to achieve a goal using your products
      • Roundup posts that showcase your best solutions for solving a specific problem
      • FAQs that answer questions people who might be interested in your products will have

      To improve your success rate, you’ll also want to do some keyword research. Organically working in some relevant keywords can help your posts rank higher in search engines.

      3. Build a List of Email Subscribers

      Email marketing is a proven tactic for customer acquisition and retention. This means it can be a core part of your e-commerce marketing strategy.

      Signups for newsletters generally indicate interest in your brand. Therefore, an email list can generate one-off sales and drive repeat purchases from customers whose interest you’ll keep active by sending them regular (and relevant) content.

      Tools like Jackmail (which enables you to send automated emails) and Mailchimp (which provides email templates and tools for tracking metrics) can help you create and manage your own newsletters easily.

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      4. Solicit Help From Social Influencers

      As a new brand, it’s vital to keep costs low. One cost-effective strategy for getting your first sale is working with influencers – or to be more specific, micro-influencers.

      Micro-influencers give you access to small, targeted audiences who already have a connection with the influencer and trust them. These influencers actively cultivate engaged and loyal followers and can get your product in front of that audience with their seal of approval.

      This is a worthwhile investment because the costs involved are typically low. That also means you can work with multiple influencers to reach increasingly larger audiences as your budget increases.

      "A search for influencers.”

      The first step to getting started with this type of marketing is to search for influencers within your niche. You can explore relevant accounts on social media to locate candidates, or use a dedicated influencer database like Socialbakers.

      5. Host Giveaways

      Everyone loves free things. When you’re just starting out, you can use this simple fact to your advantage to create awareness of your business and products.

      Hosting contests and giveaways can bring much-needed attention and help you build trust with potential customers. You don’t have to start big, nor do you need to give out your most expensive products. However, you do need to be willing to offer a few starter products for free.

      Giveaways can help you generate interest in your brand, as you’re drawing the attention of both participants and winners to your paid offerings. Participants may also share your products or information about the giveaway itself with their friends and networks.

      Services like ViralSweep and Gleam help you run contests and giveaways online while keeping things simple and professional. There are also dedicated WordPress plugins you can try out, such as RafflePress.

      6. Give Discounts

      Unlike giveaways, discounts do not require you to give away your products entirely for free. Plus, discounts may make it easier to persuade a potential customer to buy from you.

      “An example of a giveaway.”

      It can be difficult for new buyers to justify purchasing from your store at full price, especially when you have no established reputation or past customer reviews. Offering some of your best or most affordable products at a reasonable discount can be a strong incentive, reducing the risks and enticing visitors to give you a chance.

      Just remember that when setting up discounts, you’ll need to take production and shipping costs into account and make sure you don’t overextend your budget. It’s also a good idea to create sales with time limits, which play to visitors’ Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

      7. Simplify Your Site’s Design

      By simplifying your website’s design, you can make it easier for potential buyers to use your site without any hassle. This is key for turning interested visitors into e-commerce conversions (in other words, your first sales!).

      One way to simplify your site’s design is by reducing the number of products displayed on its pages. You want to ensure that your site’s interface is not cluttered, and that a visitor doesn’t have to jump through many hoops to find what they want. This is one reason to have a prominent search bar and clear menu options for easy navigation.

      You’ll also want to use a lot of blank space to help focus visitors’ attention on your Calls to Action (CTAs). That can mean removing distracting and unnecessary elements and avoiding the temptation to include too much information on each product page.

      Finally, keep in mind that mobile phones far surpass desktops and laptops for making online purchases. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your store is fully responsive.

      8. Build Your Brand on Social Media

      Building a brand makes it easier for existing customers to stay connected. It also helps potential customers find and learn about your business and the people behind it. To this end, you’ll want to create accounts on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok.

      By using social media, you can tap into audiences that are already using those platforms. You can grab their attention and create positive feelings towards your brand while creating and sharing relevant (and engaging) content.

      “A brand Instagram page.”

      Attracting an audience through social media is a topic worth several posts of its own. In short, you’ll want to begin by doing some audience research, and deciding what platforms to focus on. Then you can start sharing content and promoting your products, linking followers back to your e-commerce site.

      Also, don’t forget that many social media platforms have groups formed around specific interests and topics. Joining these groups can help you connect with relevant potential customers and generate interest in your band. A great place to start is by signing up for and posting on Facebook Groups that are centered on your niche or industry.

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      9. Market to B2B Clients

      An alternative way to generate your first sales is by selling to other businesses, rather than (or along with) directly to individual customers. Ultimately, your goal is to get your products into buyers’ hands, whomever they might be.

      This can be done by selling to wholesale retailers, either on a local, national, or even international level. Selling to businesses might not result in high profit margins, but it is a way to get your products in front of the right consumer audience. Once you have enough brand awareness, you can start to target customers directly.

      10. Refine Your Product Descriptions

      You’ll only make a sale if your site’s visitors understand your products and what benefits they offer. This means creating clear and detailed product descriptions. It’s important to include all the relevant details and specifications, as well as high-quality images and other media.

      An example of a clear product description.

      Some users might research products beforehand and only visit your store to make a purchase. However, others will begin their buyer’s journey on your site and will be entirely dependent on the information you provide.

      You want to ensure that those users can learn everything they need to know about your products without having to leave your site to find more information. To make that happen, you’ll want to find out what questions your target audience is asking, and include those details for your products.

      11. Streamline Your Checkout Process

      You may have generated interest in your products, but people aren’t buying because they’re frustrated by your checkout process. For that reason, you’ll want to do everything you can to reduce cart abandonment.

      If users have to create an account or are forced to answer too many questions during checkout, they may decide it isn’t worth continuing. Each additional step is a chance for your customers to change their minds about following through on their purchases.

      One practical step to take when streamlining your checkout process is asking only for essential information, such as billing and shipping details. You may also want to include a progress indicator to let customers know how close they are to being done.

      12. Attend a Trade Show

      Of course, there are also ways to market your brand offline, such as by attending trade shows. You can likely find both regional and national events that are relevant to your niche and audience. There are plenty of sites that compile trade shows by industry and enable you to search for them, such as 10times, EventsEye, and TradeFairDates.

      A search for trade shows.

      At these events, you’ll get to meet both individual customers and wholesale vendors. You can drum up interest by offering free samples, exclusive coupons, or promo codes to any visitors who come by your booth. While it takes a little more work than some of the other options on this list, trade shows are an excellent way to get some exposure and start building relationships.

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      Get Those Online Sales

      Launching your online store is only the first step in starting an e-commerce business. Getting your first sale can be a real challenge. However, by taking a few well-proven steps, you can start your e-commerce store off on the right foot.

      One of the best strategies for getting those initial sales is to put a lot of high-quality content out there, via your blog and social media profiles. You can also host giveaways and offer discounts to drum up interest or look into less obvious options such as marketing to B2B clients and attending trade shows.

      If you’re looking to build or grow an online store, our WooCommerce hosting packages make it easy to sell anything on the world’s biggest e-commerce platform. Don’t hesitate to check them out!



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      How to Set Up a Jekyll Development Site on Ubuntu 18.04


      Not using Ubuntu 18.04?


      Choose a different version or distribution.

      Introduction

      If you’re looking to build a static website or blog quickly, Jekyll could be a great solution. An open-source static-site generator written in Ruby, Jekyll allows for quick execution of commands that help manage your site from initial to production deployment, all from your command line. Jekyll is blog-aware, giving priority to categories, posts, and layouts with a range of importers available to import previous blog content. If you need to work offline often, prefer using lightweight editors to web forms for content maintenance, or wish to use version control to track changes to your website, Jekyll could provide you with what you need to accomplish your goals.

      In this tutorial, we will install a Jekyll development site on Ubuntu 18.04 with automatically-generated content. With Jekyll installed, you’ll be able to create a personal site or blog primarily using markdown files and a few Jekyll commands.

      Prerequisites

      To follow this tutorial, you will need:

      Once you’ve completed this prerequisite, you’re ready to install Jekyll and its dependencies.

      Step 1 — Installing Jekyll

      We’ll start by updating our package list to be sure we have the latest information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies:

      Next, let’s install make and build-essential so that Jekyll’s libraries will compile, and for Ruby and its development libraries to use. We include the y flag here to confirm that yes, we would like to install the packages and avoid the prompt to confirm.

      • sudo apt -y install make build-essential ruby ruby-dev

      When that’s complete, let’s add two lines to our .bashrc file to tell Ruby’s gem package manager to place gems in our user’s home folder. This avoids problems occurring from system-wide installations while also adding the local jekyll command to the user’s PATH.

      Open .bashrc with an editor of your choice, such as nano:

      At the bottom of the file, add the following lines:

      .bashrc

      # Ruby exports
      
      export GEM_HOME=$HOME/gems
      export PATH=$HOME/gems/bin:$PATH
      

      Save and close the file. To activate the exports, run the following:

      When that’s complete, we’ll use gem to install Jekyll itself as well as Bundler, which manages gem dependencies. Note that this may take some time.

      • gem install jekyll bundler

      Next, we’ll make sure that our firewall settings allow traffic to and from Jekyll’s development web server.

      Step 2 — Opening the Firewall

      Let’s check whether the firewall is enabled. If so, we’ll ensure traffic to our site is permitted so we will be able to view our development site in a web browser.

      If you’ve encountered a status showing inactive, run the following commands.

      ufw allow OpenSSH
      sudo ufw enable
      

      This will enable your firewall to run on system startup. You may get the following prompts (confirm with ‘y’ to continue):

      Command may disrupt existing ssh connections. Proceed with operation (y|n)? y
      Firewall is active and enabled on system startup
      

      In our case, only SSH is allowed through:

      Output

      Status: active To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)

      You may have other rules in place or no firewall rules at all depending on how you have set up your firewall. Since only SSH traffic is permitted in this case, we’ll need to open port 4000, the default port for the Jekyll development server:

      Now our firewall rules should include the following:

      Output

      To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere 4000 ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6) 4000 (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)

      Now with the software installed and the necessary port open, we’re ready to create the development site.

      Step 3 — Creating a New Development Site

      From our home directory, we’re using Jekyll’s new command to create scaffolding for a site in a subdirectory called www:

      The jekyll new command initiates a bundle install to install the required dependencies, then automatically installs a theme called Minima. Following a successful installation, you should receive output like the following:

      Output

      New jekyll site installed in /home/sammy/www.

      Jekyll’s new command creates the following directories and files:

      ...
      ├── 404.html
      ├── about.markdown
      ├── _config.yml
      ├── Gemfile
      ├── Gemfile.lock
      ├── index.markdown
      ├── _posts
      │   └── 2020-05-29-welcome-to-jekyll.markdown
      └── _site
      

      These aren’t the actual web site files. They are the source files that Jekyll will use to create the static site. Jekyll relies on specific names, naming patterns, and directory structures to parse the different sources of content and assemble them into a static site. It’s important to use the existing structure and follow Jekyll’s naming conventions when adding new posts and pages.

      Tip: tree is a useful command for inspecting file and directory structures from the command-line. You can install it with the following command:

      To use it, cd into the directory you want and type tree or provide the path to the starting point with tree /home/sammy/www

      Step 4 — Starting Jekyll’s Web Server

      Jekyll’s built-in lightweight web server is tailored to support site development by monitoring the files in the directory and automatically regenerating the static site any time a change is saved.

      Because we are working on a remote server, we’ll specify the host address in order to browse the site from our local machine. If you are working on a local machine, you can run jekyll serve without the host setting and connect with http://localhost:4000.

      • cd ~/www
      • jekyll serve --host=203.0.113.0

      Output of jekyll server

      Configuration file: /home/sammy/www/_config.yml Source: /home/sammy/www Destination: /home/sammy/www/_site Incremental build: disabled. Enable with --incremental Generating... done in 0.645 seconds. Auto-regeneration: enabled for '/home/sammy/www' Server address: http://203.0.113.0:4000/ Server running... press ctrl-c to stop.

      When we invoked jekyll serve, Jekyll parsed the configuration and content files into a new directory, _site and started serving the content in that _site folder:

      ...
      ├── 404.html
      ├── about.markdown
      ├── _config.yml
      ├── Gemfile
      ├── Gemfile.lock
      ├── index.markdown
      ├── _posts
      │   └── 2020-05-29-welcome-to-jekyll.markdown
      └── _site
          ├── 404.html
          ├── about
          │   └── index.html
          ├── assets
          │   ├── main.css
          │   │   ├── main.css.map
          │   └── minima-social-icons.svg
          ├── feed.xml
          ├── index.html
          └── jekyll
              └── update
                  └── 2020
                      └── 05
                          └── 29
                              └── welcome-to-jekyll.html
      

      It also started watching the current directory, www, for changes. As soon as a change to a post or page is saved, the static site will automatically be rebuilt, so it’s important not to make changes directly to files in the _site folder.

      If we leave this terminal open with the development server running in the foreground when working on our site, we’ll receive immediate feedback as we add pages and posts and change content.

      Note: If you’re working with a large site, enabling the --incremental build can speed up the rebuild each time you make a change by only regenerating the files that are changed, but we don’t need it for this small site. You can learn more about this experimental feature on the Jekyll website.

      The site is now available. In a web browser, we can visit it at the server address and port shown in the the output from jekyll serve:

      Screenshot of the Jekyll homepage

      Conclusion

      In this tutorial, we installed Jekyll and created a development site with some automatically-generated content. You can learn more about Jekyll by reading our other tutorials on the subject:



      Source link

      How to Set Up a Jekyll Development Site on Ubuntu 20.04


      Not using Ubuntu 20.04?


      Choose a different version or distribution.

      Introduction

      If you’re looking to build a static website or blog quickly, Jekyll could be a great solution. An open-source static-site generator written in Ruby, Jekyll allows for quick execution of commands that help manage your site from initial to production deployment, all from your command line. Jekyll is blog-aware, giving priority to categories, posts, and layouts with a range of importers available to import previous blog content. If you need to work offline often, prefer using lightweight editors to web forms for content maintenance, or wish to use version control to track changes to your website, Jekyll could provide you with what you need to accomplish your goals.

      In this tutorial, we will install a Jekyll development site on Ubuntu 20.04 with automatically-generated content. With Jekyll installed, you’ll be able to create a personal site or blog primarily using markdown files and a few Jekyll commands.

      Prerequisites

      To follow this tutorial, you will need:

      Once you’ve completed this prerequisite, you’re ready to install Jekyll and its dependencies.

      Step 1 — Installing Jekyll

      We’ll start by updating our package list to be sure we have the latest information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies:

      Next, let’s install make and build-essential so that Jekyll’s libraries will compile, and for Ruby and its development libraries to use. We include the y flag here to confirm that yes, we would like to install the packages and avoid the prompt to confirm.

      • sudo apt -y install make build-essential ruby ruby-dev

      When that’s complete, let’s add two lines to our .bashrc file to tell Ruby’s gem package manager to place gems in our user’s home folder. This avoids problems occurring from system-wide installations while also adding the local jekyll command to the user’s PATH.

      Open .bashrc with an editor of your choice, such as nano:

      At the bottom of the file, add the following lines:

      .bashrc

      # Ruby exports
      
      export GEM_HOME=$HOME/gems
      export PATH=$HOME/gems/bin:$PATH
      

      Save and close the file. To activate the exports, run the following:

      When that’s complete, we’ll use gem to install Jekyll itself as well as Bundler, which manages gem dependencies. Note that this may take some time.

      • gem install jekyll bundler

      Next, we’ll make sure that our firewall settings allow traffic to and from Jekyll’s development web server.

      Step 2 — Opening the Firewall

      Let’s check whether the firewall is enabled. If so, we’ll ensure traffic to our site is permitted so we will be able to view our development site in a web browser.

      If you’ve encountered a status showing inactive, run the following commands.

      ufw allow OpenSSH
      sudo ufw enable
      

      This will enable your firewall to run on system startup. You may get the following prompts (confirm with ‘y’ to continue):

      Command may disrupt existing ssh connections. Proceed with operation (y|n)? y
      Firewall is active and enabled on system startup
      

      In our case, only SSH is allowed through:

      Output

      Status: active To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)

      You may have other rules in place or no firewall rules at all depending on how you have set up your firewall. Since only SSH traffic is permitted in this case, we’ll need to open port 4000, the default port for the Jekyll development server:

      Now our firewall rules should include the following:

      Output

      To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere 4000 ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6) 4000 (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)

      Now with the software installed and the necessary port open, we’re ready to create the development site.

      Step 3 — Creating a New Development Site

      From our home directory, we’re using Jekyll’s new command to create scaffolding for a site in a subdirectory called www:

      The jekyll new command initiates a bundle install to install the required dependencies, then automatically installs a theme called Minima. Following a successful installation, you should receive output like the following:

      Output

      New jekyll site installed in /home/sammy/www.

      Jekyll’s new command creates the following directories and files:

      ...
      ├── 404.html
      ├── about.markdown
      ├── _config.yml
      ├── Gemfile
      ├── Gemfile.lock
      ├── index.markdown
      ├── _posts
      │   └── 2020-05-29-welcome-to-jekyll.markdown
      └── _site
      

      These aren’t the actual web site files. They are the source files that Jekyll will use to create the static site. Jekyll relies on specific names, naming patterns, and directory structures to parse the different sources of content and assemble them into a static site. It’s important to use the existing structure and follow Jekyll’s naming conventions when adding new posts and pages.

      Tip: tree is a useful command for inspecting file and directory structures from the command-line. You can install it with the following command:

      To use it, cd into the directory you want and type tree or provide the path to the starting point with tree /home/sammy/www

      Step 4 — Starting Jekyll’s Web Server

      Jekyll’s built-in lightweight web server is tailored to support site development by monitoring the files in the directory and automatically regenerating the static site any time a change is saved.

      Because we are working on a remote server, we’ll specify the host address in order to browse the site from our local machine. If you are working on a local machine, you can run jekyll serve without the host setting and connect with http://localhost:4000.

      • cd ~/www
      • jekyll serve --host=203.0.113.0

      Output of jekyll server

      Configuration file: /home/sammy/www/_config.yml Source: /home/sammy/www Destination: /home/sammy/www/_site Incremental build: disabled. Enable with --incremental Generating... done in 0.645 seconds. Auto-regeneration: enabled for '/home/sammy/www' Server address: http://203.0.113.0:4000/ Server running... press ctrl-c to stop.

      When we invoked jekyll serve, Jekyll parsed the configuration and content files into a new directory, _site and started serving the content in that _site folder:

      ...
      ├── 404.html
      ├── about.markdown
      ├── _config.yml
      ├── Gemfile
      ├── Gemfile.lock
      ├── index.markdown
      ├── _posts
      │   └── 2020-05-29-welcome-to-jekyll.markdown
      └── _site
          ├── 404.html
          ├── about
          │   └── index.html
          ├── assets
          │   ├── main.css
          │   │   ├── main.css.map
          │   └── minima-social-icons.svg
          ├── feed.xml
          ├── index.html
          └── jekyll
              └── update
                  └── 2020
                      └── 05
                          └── 29
                              └── welcome-to-jekyll.html
      

      It also started watching the current directory, www, for changes. As soon as a change to a post or page is saved, the static site will automatically be rebuilt, so it’s important not to make changes directly to files in the _site folder.

      If we leave this terminal open with the development server running in the foreground when working on our site, we’ll receive immediate feedback as we add pages and posts and change content.

      Note: If you’re working with a large site, enabling the --incremental build can speed up the rebuild each time you make a change by only regenerating the files that are changed, but we don’t need it for this small site. You can learn more about this experimental feature on the Jekyll website.

      The site is now available. In a web browser, we can visit it at the server address and port shown in the the output from jekyll serve:

      Screenshot of the Jekyll homepage

      Conclusion

      In this tutorial, we installed Jekyll and created a development site with some automatically-generated content. You can learn more about Jekyll by reading our other tutorials on the subject:



      Source link