Nailing Business Awards in 2023
Nailing Business Awards in 2023
Let us count the ways. There’s so many ways to promote your business, it can be overwhelming. Working out the best tactics to get your business in front of prospective clients, so they know who you are and what you do, can take as much time as actually doing the work.
But if you are in business, your number one job is marketing. You may be in law, HR, sell a great product or have the best service on the planet, but if no one knows about you, you are just shouting into the wind and hoping someone hears you.
Working out what people want from you is another stumbling block. How do you get cut through? In this world that demands more and more social proof, a great tactic to add to your marketing mix in 2023 is entering business awards.
After publicity, there is no greater social proof than business awards. Why? Because business awards allow you to showcase your expertise and accomplishments by having them judged by an impartial third party. Third party credibility is incredibly powerful.
Human beings make decisions based on emotions. Yes, having a powerful brand presence certainly helps - a great website, insightful content and appealing branding - but awards give a little oomph to your messaging.
Think of your marketing, including business awards, as bread crumbs you are dropping. These bread crumbs go a long way to building know, like and trust for those who follow you or discover you through all your marketing efforts. The human limbic system - the place in our brain that manages our emotions - drives buying behaviour. You can tap into that with your marketing… and awards.
But like all marketing, you need a strategy. It is not enough to enter, make the finals and win. You need to align the process with your key messaging, ideal audience (what will float their boat to buy from you) and your goals and objectives for the year.
It all starts with a plan for success.
Create an awards calendar to help with planning
Winning starts with not leaving the entry until the last minute. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, spend time planning an awards calendar - find out the open and closing dates so you can plan your time and manage your resources, review the criteria so you know what the awards are looking for, and collate the information that will support your entry claims.
It’s obvious to judges when someone has rushed the entry - there are typos, spelling mistakes, and lots of hyperbole to cover the fact that their submission has little substance.
Get organised to make the process smoother
‘Prior planning prevents poor performance’ is not just a naff saying people pull out to make those who are unorganised feel inadequate. There's a sound time management sense to this saying.
After you have created a 12-month awards calendar so you know what is coming up, you can create an awards black box - a folder on your computer or Cloud drive to collate and file anything and everything to support your award claims.
Go back through your diary/calendar to take note of deals won, podcasts, interviews and other aspects of business you have achieved in.Google yourself and file all media wins and other third-party credibility pieces.
Reach out to clients/ customers for reviews and testimonials. Develop case studies of successful projects or client work. If you make a habit of filing this information regularly, when the awards open, you do not have to wrack your brain trying to remember all the things you have accomplished during the award’s timeline.
Spend time reviewing the questions
Comprehension is also a valuable skill for those who want to walk away with an impressive trophy. This means read the questions over and over to ensure you clearly understand what the judges are looking for. The category criteria will also be a dead giveaway of what will make your submission rise to the top. As you write your answers to the category questions, keep going back to review, asking yourself if you have answered them succinctly, clearly and with substantive evidence or proof.
Once you are happy with your answers, proofread and edit because glaring mistakes can count against you. If you are going to spend money or time or both on this process, making sure you have followed the instructions is key.
Respect work and time limits
Understanding and sticking to word or time limits (if submitting a video) can make or break your entry. Nothing screams ‘disrespect’ more than someone who waffles or goes over the limit. Limits are there for a reason. Respect the judge’s time. Respect other entries who stuck to the limits. If you do go over the limit, re-read the questions and review your answers because you may have repeated yourself or not comprehended the question.
Ignore this at your peril, because if you do the judges will put your submission to the bottom of the pile.
Don’t make claims you can’t prove
In many awards, at the end of all the questions, is the opportunity to upload OPTIONAL supporting documentation. Here is your chance to give a little more information to support your entry. Most awards have tight word limits, and it is hard to convey 12 months of achievements in a few hundred words.
The support documents are your chance to validate, substantiate and qualify your claims in the written section. Say you have achieved a 100% business growth in the past 12 months, the support document can include graphs of your financial growth month-on-month. Or you have helped several people improve their offerings, the support document can highlight case studies and data insights on how you did that.
Go for the win
Making the finals or winning awards all comes down to a few very simple and easy to implement actions.
Given the time it takes to enter an award, or the money invested to get someone to do it for you, it’s worth it for the third party credibility awards given, the PR opportunities, and the business that will come your way because people love doing business with a winner.