Awards: An Important Part of Your Business Marketing Strategy
As humans, it’s often in our nature to appreciate, and even actively pursue, recognition for a job well done. Who doesn’t enjoy a pat on the back every now and again? But what many business owners don’t understand is that, for them, the value of an award that they’ve achieved for work done (for their clients or within their own operations) goes far beyond a plaque, a certificate and a warm fuzzy feeling.
Leveraging the recognition and publicity of awards should be considered as a legitimate and highly effective aspect of your overall long term marketing strategy. I know that some business owners may be a little sceptical, so I’d like to break down just why it’s so important. For those who think the time investment is not worth the rewards, think again.
Why Are Awards Important to My Business?
It’s helpful if you get out of the mind-set that an award is all about the physical representation of a trophy or a framed certificate – or even the prestige that comes with it. What it represents to other people, particularly industry peers and potential clients, is a credible endorsement of your services or products. Trust is the one thing money can’t buy – but one of the best ways to build it is through independent recommendations. Winning an award is the ultimate proof of other people’s trust.
Gaining New Business
Winning an award will gain you valuable publicity so, not only will your existing clients be reassured they’ve made the right decision to continue to give you their business, you’ll invariably attract the attention of new clients. Positive PR and industry kudos go a long way towards reputation building and, ultimately, more profits coming your way.
Team Building and Attraction of New Staff
Winning an award is (nearly) always a team effort, and when your employees receive accolades for their achievements and hard work, it can be a great force for motivation and morale. Every manager or business owner knows that an affirmation of an employee’s performance shows them they are valued and appreciated and drives them to continue to succeed.
Not only that, when a workplace receives recognition of its achievements and establishes it as a desirable employer, you’ll have a better chance of attracting (and keeping) high quality staff.
Boost Your Marketing Strategies
Winning awards not only helps with your business’s credibility, it can also become a very effective part of your marketing strategy. How you specifically make use of it will depend on the scope and particulars of your marketing plan, but almost everyone can leverage winning an award in the following ways – no matter how large or small.
Brand awareness: There’s quite often a buzz around awards, and you get to jump on for a free ride when you’re a winner! Winning an award will put your business in front of a whole new audience and get you valuable publicity that will raise awareness of your brand, drive more traffic to your website and, ultimately, make a big difference to your bottom line. You could say it’s a win-win situation…
Link building: Link building is a big part of an online marketing strategy. By winning an award, you’ll gain the valuable and reputable links back to your site that Google loves so much to boost your search rankings.
Social media: Assuming you’re active on social media for your business (and if you’re not, you need to look at your marketing strategy quick smart!), you can leverage the accounts of the awards themselves to increase engagement with your own. This, in turn, can allow you opportunities to drive more traffic to your website.
There are plenty of awards that you can put your business forward for, depending on your industry or sector. If you’re looking for inspiration, the following is just a selection of the more general UK ones.
Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For: This is a fantastic way to generate a huge amount of positive PR and showcase your organisation’s workplace and employees. A win here will set you apart from competitors and cement the workplace engagement within your business. As they say: ‘Celebrate your achievement!’
UK Business Awards (The Dons): UKBA recognises and awards achievements of excellence in British business. Over 16 categories, they celebrate the accomplishments and innovations of businesses of every size – for organisations, teams and individuals. Gold, Silver and Bronze winners are announced at a ceremony that also features a range of keynote speakers.
1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain: As the name suggests, these annual awards are a celebration of the country’s most inspirational and dynamic SMEs. Gaining a place on this well-read report provides invaluable PR and esteem from your business peers, and gives you benchmark status in the businesses the panel believes will shape the future.
The Queen’s awards for Enterprise: Run by the UK Government, this offers recognition for outstanding achievements and innovation in trade, sustainable development and social mobility. As well as receiving your award at a Royal reception, you’ll be allowed to use the official emblem on your marketing and make the most of the extensive press coverage.
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 UK: This is a very high profile one, which celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s been running for 23 years and is recognised as one of the most prestigious technology award programmes in the UK.
Sunday Times Profit Track 100: This gives a hefty pat on the back to UK businesses with the fastest growing profits over the past three years. Those who make it to the top 100 have their names and details printed in a supplement in the paper, along with attendance to an event dinner.
The Contracting Awards: If your business operates in the contracting sector, this recognises the top service providers in the field over multiple categories. A win here delivers a superb leg up in terms of promotion, prestige and credibility.
PMI UK National Project Awards: These awards are for anyone who thinks they deserve recognition within their chosen industry and want to showcase it to their peers and the wider community. Across multiple categories you can promote your team, organisation or an individual.
This is just a snapshot of the many awards that run in the UK every year. There are others specific to your own industry, so just get Googling and find a few that are relevant.
Good to know: Every time you enter an award the process gets easier as you become familiar with the registration, nomination and criteria process. Don’t be intimidated, dive in! Your business will reap the rewards.