We were delighted to begin the new year with the news that we have been shortlisted for Digital Business of the Year in the FSB East of England Awards. Over the years Cariad has won many awards so we know a thing or two about how useful they are when it comes to boosting business. The advantages aren’t just confined to being a winner, you can use being listed as a finalist to benefit your business too.Winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business Click To Tweet
Saves you hiring a business consultant
Winning, or being chosen as a finalist for a business award is great in terms of your business strategy. Awards are judged independently by business people who have proven success in their field (our MD Justine, having won many awards is now often asked to be a judge herself). If independent experts think you’re doing well, then you’re doing well! Being shortlisted for an award isn’t just a chance for you to dress up and smile for the camera, it’s a genuine indication that you’re doing business right.
Use the judges’ feedback as part of your business plan
Conversely, if you don’t even get to be a finalist, that’s also valuable feedback about your business. What is it that you’re not doing that maybe you should be? Contact the organisers of the award to see if they can tell you where you went wrong – not all organisers will give feedback, but there’s no harm in asking. And if you do manage to get hold of the judges’ comments, use that information to start planning how to make your business better in the future.
If you think your business isn’t quite ready to enter an award for this year, don’t just leave it. It’s a really useful exercise to look at the different categories, pick the ones you’re interested in entering next year and research the information the judges are asking for. What you’ve then got are useful indications of the direction you need to take your business in if you want to be in with a chance of winning the award the following year.
For instance, if the award is asking for evidence of your company’s CSR policy but you don’t have one, create one and make it into a policy document! Then, when you enter the award the following year, you’ll not only be able to use it as supporting evidence, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk about the positive effects introducing it has had on your business in terms of customer engagement, staff engagement etc. The more information and evidence you put into your entry, the greater your chances of getting into the final.
Similarly, if the category information mentions testimonials, then use that as a reason to ask your customers and clients to give you testimonials throughout the year – the more the merrier!
Everyone loves a winner and winning an award can be an excellent way of getting free publicity for your business. There will usually be a professional photographer at the event, so make sure you get hold of a high resolution copy of you with your award (maybe you’ll even get to stand next to someone famous). Then write a short press release about the win, add a quote about how delighted you are, attach the photo and send it off to the local paper, trade press, and any trade bodies you’re associated with (they usually have a news section on their website).
You must also post it on all your social media channels and add it as a news story or blog onto your website. The news will give your clients or customers extra assurance that they’re dealing with a great company.
The organisers of the award will send you a logo saying ‘winner’ or ‘finalist’ which you must add to the homepage of your website. This will give future clients or customers the assurance of the quality of your company, which can only result in more sales.
Use social media to your advantage
Don’t just use social media to post photos of you and your award. The value of social media can be best seen before the ceremony begins. Find the social media details of all the other finalists the day of the ceremony, then post ‘good luck for tonight’ messages to them. By tagging them in to your message, you’ll reach not only the company but all their followers too!
There are literally hundreds of business awards you could enter, some specialising in trade, some are national, and some are local. Many are free to enter making it affordable for even the smallest of businesses – a lot of awards cover start-up businesses so don’t discount entering even if you’ve only been going for a few months. Bear in mind, though, that if you are short-listed, you will have to pay to attend the ceremony, so if cost is an issue when it comes to entering, do some research about how much it’ll cost to attend it.
Here’s our recommended list of Hertfordshire awards that are free to enter, have a broad range of categories, and bring prestige to the winners and finalists.
Inspiring Herts – administered by the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, information about entry for the 2018 awards should be available at the end of January/beginning of February.
SME Hertfordshire Business Awards – watch out for details of the 2018 awards in mid- to late-February.
Hertfordshire Business Awards – run by the Archant newspaper group, winners are bound to get publicity! Look out for details of the 2018 awards in late June.
Biz4Biz Awards – getting into the finals of this award relies on the public vote which usually opens in July, after which the short-listed businesses will have to do a presentation to the judges.
Best Business Women Awards – whilst this is a national award, its home is in Hertfordshire and we love it, so we’re including it in the list! Look out for details in March.
If you are entering business awards and would like to capitalise on any of your successes, we can handle the management of your social media and content marketing. Contact us at the award-winning Cariad Towers to find out more. And please keep your fingers crossed for us at the FSB East of England Awards on 1st March 2018!