Tuesday, February 14, 2017

And the Winner Is…

By Karen Preston-Loeb

Entering your company into awards competitions is an important aspect of your company’s marketing plan. Awards programs administered by reputable third parties bestow recognition on your company and help position your executives as leaders in their fields – all of which helps validate your business to existing customers and can help attract new customers.

While the daily grind can push entering awards contests to the back burner, making the effort to complete awards applications boosts the chance that your business brings home a shiny new trophy. Multiple entries can raise your chances of winning, as long as the entries are smart and well thought out. Undeniably, awards entries are time-consuming and can seem costly at potentially hundreds of dollars per entrance, but the benefits generally outweigh the labor involved in completing the application or nomination.

Benefits of award submissions
  • Increase name recognition: Whether you win or not, if you are among your competitors in appropriate awards categories, your name gets out there as a credible member of the industry.
  • Retain and acquire employees: Gaining accolades boosts employee morale and entices potential future talent.
  • Generate great public relations: If you win a particular award, a press release can be distributed to generate free publicity for your company. Don’t forget to post it to your company’s website to drive traffic and further spread the news. 
  • Gain customers: The free publicity generated can lead to new customers and more business—especially if you win.
  • Improve industry positioning: Once you’ve won an award, your company’s marketing language should incorporate such descriptors as “award-winning,” which again acts as validation when seeking new business or retaining existing customers.
Awards submissions sometimes may be greeted with an inter-office groan, as they can be perceived as “extra” work that is outside of daily tasks. Though they can be time-consuming, awards entries can be tackled more easily when your company has an awards submission plan.

Tips to make your contest-entering process less daunting:
  • Plan your award strategy by researching the types of awards your company would be suited to enter.
  • Once determined, make a list of due dates, submission requirements and entry fees for each award.
  • For annual awards, keep a calendar of due dates and set reminders as submission dates are approaching for the following year.
  • Throughout the year, maintain a folder of projects that would be appropriate to enter into awards competitions. By saving PDFs of media coverage, marketing collateral, reports, data and other supporting materials, the amount of work needed to track down the items needed for entry requirements at submission time will be substantially lessened.
  • Evaluate the impact of your initiatives once the awards have been announced to determine future award submissions.
When your company does win, take advantage of the PR opportunities to announce your achievement. In addition to distributing a press release to local media and posting it to your website, share the news in email newsletters, congratulate your company on social media platforms, and display your trophy or certificate with pride in the office for co-workers and visitors to view.

The awards-submission process may seem daunting but the payoff is worth the investment of time and effort. And remember – you can’t win it if you are not in it.

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