You might have a great product, website and sales pitch, but unless your target market takes you seriously, your startup may never get off the ground. E-commerce businesses in particular have a hard time gaining credibility at first because their customers can't see them in person. Entrepreneur and public relations expert Nicole Bandklayder experienced this problem firsthand when she launched an online jewelry retail company earlier this year.
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"We all wish that building a company was as easy as putting up a website, but it's not that simple," said Bandklayder, co-founder of Bijouxx Jewels. "If we had a physical location, we may have gotten more visibility and credibility from day one because people could actually try on our jewelry and see it for themselves before purchasing."
Although the Bijouxx founders were able to put together an excellent website, a solid inventory base and marketing materials in a matter of days, they still needed to earn customer trust in order to make their startup viable. Bandklayder shared a few lessons she learned about building the credibility a new business needs to start selling and growing. [Building a Business Website: A Small Business Guide]
Go on the PR offensive. Once you've decided on your target audience, getting a solid marketing and public relations campaign going is the first step to getting your name out there. You don't have to shell out big bucks to a PR firm, either: Bijouxx started by reaching out to fashion bloggers and small websites to ask for features.
"Having your business featured on someone else's website shows that other people vouch for you and believe in your business," Bandklayder told BusinessNewsDaily.
Be visible. Any startup should have a social media presence to begin building up a community around it. Connecting with potential customers and industry influencers on Twitter and Facebook lend legitimacy to your business, and allow you to be visible in more places on the Web. Bandklayder recommended that retailers sign up for as many e-commerce platforms as possible to get their name out there.
Get family and friends involved. Use the people who already believe in you to help others believe in your new business. Have friends and family members share and comment on your social media pages, and give testimonials on your website. Reading and hearing about others' success with purchasing from your company will give potential customers more incentive to buy.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.