Marketing and HR: How entering Awards will boost your business internally and externally
Last week was busy for me with positive celebrations, with the Freelance Mums on International Women’s Day, and then Women of the Year Awards with the Bristol Women’s Tech Hub. These events got me thinking about who wants to be an award-winning business? And why awards are important for small businesses, just as much as for large corporates.
There are two distinct benefits to the label, “award-winning.” The first benefit is all about boosting your marketing. The second benefit is how motivating awards can be for your people. If you ever hesitate to enter your business for an award, have a look at the positive impact they can have on your business, both internally and externally – and go for it:
“My business is too small.”
Specifically designed for small businesses, a new round of awards are open for entries until 31 March – The Small Awards with plenty of publicity from the team behind Small Business Saturday.
“I don’t know which awards to enter”
This is easily solved, when you make the decision as part of your marketing strategy. Applying for any award should always link back to a specific business goal. Some examples:
Demonstrate service quality: if your business focuses on providing excellent service, you can show your commitment by entering UK Customer Satisfaction Awards.
“What difference will winning an award make to my clients or our business marketing?”
To build existing relationships, you can invite clients along to celebrate success with you. To reach new audiences, you can make the most of the publicity and community which builds in the run up to the awards event. The marketing surrounding the event will amplify your message for potential new clients to hear about you, once you’re a finalist.
Becoming an award-winning business
“I don’t think we will win” – well, it’s time to roll out an old cliché – you’ve got to be in it!
Entering awards means practicing and perfecting your written pitch. Submitting the form raises your business profile, because people who may never have heard of you will be reviewing the applications and entry forms. And often, a community evolves on social media among the entrants.
When completing the awards submission form, take a similar approach as you would in a face to face sales pitch. Who do you help, why do they need you and what results do you achieve?
Include your key marketing messages and benefits of your services, matching the tone of your statements or answers with what you say on your website.
Use your planned milestones and key case studies to demonstrate what you have achieved against your business goals. Keep client case studies short, yet tell the story of their pain and how you provided a solution. (Note: You don’t need to use the word solution!)
Even if you only make the shortlist or finalists for an award, you can share it on social media and engage with the other participants in the run up to the ceremony.
“We don’t have time to enter Awards and go to celebratory dinners.”
Here’s the perspective where the Human Resources factors are at play. How much does it affect your business productivity when your people are feeling more motivated, and proud of the place they work?
A method like Insights Discovery profiling (using DISC – which I first learned about, over ten years ago) will show you what mix of skills and personality types you have employed in your company. If your team is made up of an average mix of people, there will be a number of Red and Yellow types (the extroverts) who would care, and be proud to work for an award-winning business. The Greens will care about how their team-mates are feeling. Making an effort to enter awards reflects positive recognition for team efforts – which can have a positive effect on their overall motivation. (And when it comes to submitting your award entry, the Blues can check whether you’ve presented all the arguments relevant to winning the award.)
It’s possible that some Awards appear frivolous, or it may feel slightly embarrassing to nominate your own company. However, to boost your marketing by entering awards, you’ll need to flip that attitude around and start thinking about the positives for your business.
Awards are a great way to reward the hard work of your people – and for some, it will be fun way to celebrate the year of working together.