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How an award can drive customers to your business

Winning a business award is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business, so Michelle Gamble has some tips for making an award work for you.

Walking past a cinema recently, I noticed it seemed a lot busier than usual. There was a crowd hanging around the entrance and there was a huge line up for tickets. Strange, as it wasn’t a Tuesday. And it wasn’t raining either.

Soon after, it dawned on me… of course the cinema was packed, it’s movie award season!

The first few months of the year are always crammed with screen awards – there’s the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, Peoples Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and, the jewel in the award crown, The Oscars.

Seeing so many people queuing to see an award-winning movie simply reaffirmed what I have always believed – a good award win creates interest in your brand. People flock to your business to see what all the fuss is about.

But you don’t always have to be a winner to reap the benefits of an award nomination.

Awards are cost-effective marketing tools

Entering a business award is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. The cost of an entry fee is tiny compared with the price of a full page ad, a corporate function or the design of a promotional flyer.

While simply entering an award won’t guarantee you a win, rest assured the money spent in entering an award will benefit your business in the long run.  You can’t always say the same for advertising and other promotional activities.

Getting to know your business

As most award nominations require you to provide information on business achievements and successes, the simple process of entering an award allows you to take a step back and view your business from the outside, in.

You can learn a lot about your business by completing an award submission.  It allows you to:

●      Gain a greater understanding of how your business works

●      Analyse the business financials

●      Determine if you met your business goals: where you made money, and where you may have lost it

●      Understand and improve the internal workings of your business; and

●      Set a benchmark around financials and operations to improve on each year

Even if you don’t submit an application, completing one will help you understand your business and identify areas for improvement.

Develop your elevator pitch

Because of the limited word counts associated with award applications, you only get a certain space to get your point across and make an impression.

If you don’t already have your 30-second elevator pitch, this is the time to write one!

An elevator pitch is a succinct description of who you are, what you do, how you do it and what makes you different. The process of writing an elevator pitch will force you to think about what’s important and what you want your customers to know.

And the winner is…..

Winning an award is a tremendous acknowledgment of your hard work and dedication.

It provides your business with invaluable third party endorsement and credibility, gives you an edge over your competitors and presents fantastic opportunities for publicity, networking and promotion.

As an award winner you should:

●      Promote the win in ads, press releases, email signatures, across social media platforms and other marketing communications

●      Work with the award sponsors to prepare and undertake a media campaign

●      Use the award winner’s logo for your corporate marketing materials; and

●      Promote the win through the award sponsor’s network

You can still be a winner

You don’t have to win an award to receive favourable publicity either. Finalists and those highly commended can also take advantage of marketing and PR opportunities. Many contracts have been won and grants awarded as a result of the attention received by finalists and notable entrants.

Simply being nominated for an award (or being announced a finalist) is a fantastic boost for any business –  It means you are doing something right!

You won’t win every award you enter. But don’t let that stop you from entering. Take stock and assess all that you learnt from the process itself.

Keep at it and you will eventually score a win. And, just like an Oscar award-winning movie, the crowds will follow.