Winning awards for excellence is a valuable way to distinguish your company in a competitive marketplace, especially if you’re selling business services.
Here are 10 tips for increasing your chances of success in business awards competitions and using awards in a smart marketing strategy.
10 Tips for Success in Business Awards Competitions
- Select the right competitions. Enter competitions that will give you the most visibility and the most meaningful recognition in your marketplace. You’ll have the best chance of success in regional or industry competitions where your expertise or market presence is an advantage.
- Select the right categories. Study the available categories to decide where your entry belongs and where you’ll be most likely to win. Some categories get fewer entries than others, which improves your odds. If you’re unsure which category is the right one, ask the awards program for help. And if last year’s winners are posted online, see how your entry compares.
- Shoot for high-publicity opportunities. Competitions with media partners that publicize the winners bring you the most visibility. Regional business competitions in larger cities, for example, usually align with business publications or websites to showcase honorees.
- Enter individuals as well as your company. Many awards competitions recognize individuals who have achieved excellence in their organization or industry. Entering yourself or your employees in competitions creates opportunities for personal recognition that also reflects positively on your organization.
- Broaden your thinking. Competitions in your industry should be the first ones you consider, but you could be eligible for awards acknowledging success in many aspects of your business. Your advertising, marketing, website, customer service, product innovation, business growth, staff/supplier diversity, commitment to community service, or even your role as a pioneer in your industry could make you a worthy recipient.
- Strike while the iron is hot. If this is the year you blew past your goals and had phenomenal success with your business, a product launch, or an initiative that’s truly unique, capitalize on the opportunity to gain recognition.
- Get professional help. If you have a great copywriter on your staff, have them write your entry. If not, hire a marketing consultant or professional writer who knows how to position your business and convey key themes and messages that will make your entry stand out to the judges.
- Publicize your honors. When you win awards, tell your staff and your entire marketplace about it. Feature your awards in a news release, an email or e-newsletter to your customers, your trade show booth, sales materials, advertising, social media, and your website. If there’s an awards ceremony, ask a friend or staff member to take pictures and video. Post the video on YouTube, your website, and on your Facebook page and post photos on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
- Buy the ad. The media outlet that writes about the winners may offer you (and your accountant, lawyer, marketing agency, and banker) the opportunity to buy an ad if you win. Your suppliers may or may not want to purchase a congratulatory ad, but you should buy one – not to congratulate yourself but to help readers learn more about your business while your visibility is at its highest. And if there’s an awards ceremony, buy a table and invite your top clients to attend.
- Learn from losing. If you’re not a winner, study the winning entries to see what they had that you’d didn’t. Use the opportunity to prepare for the next competition. Most important, don’t give up. Some very competitive programs are so selective you’ll need to enter multiple times before you win.
Why Being in the Spotlight is a Smart Marketing Strategy
Winning an award gives your company two powerful marketing advantages: Visibility and credibility.
When prospective clients of our Cleveland, Ohio marketing agency find out we’ve received many honors from our peers for marketing achievement, it supports our positioning as an experienced resource for marketing strategies and campaigns that deliver results. That’s why we enter carefully selected competitions and use every channel at our disposal to tell our clients, colleagues, and prospects when we win.
If increasing visibility and differentiating your company from competitors are goals in your marketing plan, winning awards can be a relatively inexpensive way to achieve your objectives.
Have you won awards for your business? What advice would you share about how to become a winner?