Sales & marketing

Awards! What are they good for?

Being able to describe your company as ‘award-winning’ is a great way to grab people’s attention, boost your reputation and attract new business.

That said, not all awards are made equal. So, before you invest the time and effort necessary to put your company up for an award, there are some important points to consider.

Is the award credible?

An internet search for ‘business awards’ will bring up so many results, it can be difficult to know where to start. The first thing to consider is whether the award in question is an authentic recognition of your staff or business’s achievements.

Although there are some fantastic award schemes out there, business communities are well aware of a minority of awards where the winners are those who buy a table at the event or where a win depends on getting the most votes, which in reality can come from friends, family and others with no real understanding of the business and what it has achieved. When this kind of general awareness circulates about an award ceremony, it inevitably becomes devalued and seen as meaningless.

For this reason, awards which are entered anonymously and do not require candidates to buy an expensive ticket for an awards ceremony are by their nature credible and therefore worth having as proof of excelling in a certain area of your business.

Is the award relevant?

In industries varying from hairdressing to estate agency, there are well-established and prestigious industry awards that can launch careers and skyrocket business profiles. It can be more difficult to decide which more general business awards it’s worth your while entering, so it’s important to do your homework. Have a look at the other businesses who have entered and won in recent years and check the entry criteria is transparent and authentic.

It’s also worth taking a look at who the judges are. Are they professionals you respect and would like to gain the respect of? If so, you’ve probably found the right fit.

What do you want the award to achieve?

Being nominated for and ultimately winning an award is always an ego boost but when choosing which categories to enter, it’s important to think about how an eventual win could best be leveraged to benefit your business. Sit down as a team and think about your standout achievements over the past 12 months and which ones will benefit your customers most. It could be a new innovation, a high-achieving young team member or excellence in customer service. Whatever it is, the more your customers and potential customers care about it, the more likely it is to result in an improved ROI for your company.

Is the application a good use of your time?

Even awards with a simple application process and a low entry fee involve time and investment on your part. Before you commit to applying for an award, it’s important to check what the application process involves as well as how much it costs. These days, many organisations who run awards take into account the busy lives of the professionals they need to attract and streamline the process as much as possible. However, a 250-word entry can be trickier to write than a 1000 word one – whatever the process, your entry is representing your company, so it needs to be professional, slick, tailored to its audience and typo-free!

With that in mind, a carefully targeted approach is key. Once you’ve established the categories that best fit your company’s needs, it’s a case of whittling down your entries to ones you have the best chance of being shortlisted for. A sharply focussed and well-executed approach to entering an awards ceremony is far more likely to get you the winning results you want than a more general, hedging your bets type approach.

And whatever you do, remember to read the small print! Don’t waste your time by mistakenly applying for an award you’re not eligible for or entering in more categories than are allowed.

Maximising your award

Don’t wait until you win! As soon as you’re nominated for an award, it’s worth sharing that well-deserved endorsement of the great work you do with your online and in-person network. And if you’re shortlisted, make sure you share that too, to demonstrate this valuable endorsement of your professional prowess.

When the award is actually in your hands it’s time to really shout about it so that everyone knows how great you are – officially!

No matter what the format of the awards, make sure you get some great pictures you can use to your advantage in the aftermath.

Display it

Your physical award should take pride of place in your reception, meeting room, or wherever it’s likely to attract the most attention from customers and visitors to your premises.

Publicise it

Winning a coveted award is a fantastic PR opportunity both for general local news and in your industry’s publications. Don’t miss this chance for your company to get fantastic free publicity as it shines in the best possible light.

Update your website

Don’t delay in blogging about this fantastic news and adding it to the ‘About Us’ section of your website, so that everyone who finds you online finds out the good news.

Get social

Whether that means telling your business networking group in person, composing a post on LinkedIn (linking to your blog) or posting on your other social media channels, use your online presence to shout about your achievement.

Leverage it

Been hoping to land a public speaking, magazine article or podcast guest opportunity? Adding ‘award-winning’ to your professional bio should help open doors to some exciting new opportunities.

Jessica Shailes
The Business Bulletin

Don't miss out...

Enter your email address to ensure you receive the next edition of The Business Bulletin as it is published.

Jessica Shailes

Jess is MD of The Ideal Marketing Company, a full-service marketing agency. She has specialised in digital marketing for over 10 years and in that time has watched it evolve from an experimental marketing option to an essential tool for the majority of businesses. Jess’s interest in strategy and passion for delving into the numbers means she is driven to help businesses achieve their objectives with a bespoke approach using the best marketing resources available.

Awards! What are they good for?

by Jessica Shailes Time to read: 3 min