While there are many ways to market your business, one effective and often overlooked method is participating in award competitions. The time and money you invest in a quality submission can be repaid in brand recognition and awareness, improved reputation, referrals and new leads.
If you’ve ever thought about showcasing your business and building on your success, you should consider entering small business awards. They can offer your business the advantage of recognition and awareness by both the public and your industry peers.
Choose Your Awards Carefully
Given the time, effort and cost it takes to produce a quality award submission, it’s important to select the competitions carefully. Look at what your competitors are doing and which award programs will have the greatest impact on your customers and peers. Also consider the nomination criteria and whether your business is wholly suited to that particular award or category.
Consider entering award categories in respect of areas that may reveal more about your business than what meets the eye. For example, categories such as innovation, diversity, staff training or environmental sustainability can be great angles for future marketing strategies.
You also need to consider your budget. Many private and government-sponsored award competitions cater to small businesses and the self-employed, which usually have lower entry fees than, say, larger industry awards. You could always use your success in a small business competition as a litmus test for future large-scale industry awards.
Tell Your Story
Entering an award is an opportunity for you to tell your story and position your business in the way you wish for it to be perceived.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your journey, your inspiration, as well as your vision and goals for the future. Use the award submission as an opportunity to credit those who have helped you along the way or driven you to make certain decisions. And create a legacy by sharing your knowledge as a business owner.
Not only will this develop a perception of confidence and trust, but it can also position you as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
Promote Your Entry
A common mistake small businesses make is to wait until the final winner is announced before considering ways to market the award. More often than not, you may not win, or you may only achieve finalist status. In the world of marketing, this is not a failure but an opportunity to create awareness and generate support for your brand.
Inform your internal and external audiences that you are a competition participant through your usual communication collateral, such as media releases, newsletters, website posts and social media updates. This is an ideal opportunity to reinforce why you’ve decided to participate in a particular award, thereby aligning the award with your organisation’s values and goals.
Leverage Positive News
If your business makes it to a ‘finalist’ or ‘winner’ status, be sure to celebrate this recognition through both internal and external marketing campaigns.
Often, small business awards feature a logo or visual identification that you could subsequently include in emails, customer communications, newsletters and product advertising.
Customers choose brands based on trust, so the best way to build that trust is to create a brand that is both recognised and respected. Small business awards remain a great way to achieve this, while also sharing your business journey with others. Learn more about how to market your brand by browsing our extensive list of articles.