It’s awards season once more with some key small business awards closing soon. Some of the significant awards that are relevant for small to medium businesses in Australia include the Australian Marketing Institute Awards, and of course, the SmartCompany awards.
Industry awards like these not only provide a great platform for businesses to showcase their best work and be recognised by peers. They also open doors and create new business opportunities because people are drawn to winners. This is why entering and winning awards is something we always recommend to our clients to include in their long-term goals as it’s good for business.
Why businesses should consider entering in awards
They say before a door opens for you, you must knock. This is also true when it comes to winning awards. As a small business, you can’t wait for awards to just come. There will be times you need to submit an application before you can be considered for an award. In other words, to have a chance of winning, you need invest time, budget, resources — and put yourself out there.
Others may find this discouraging, you shouldn’t. Entering awards may not be an easy undertaking, but in the end, you’d realise it’s worth it. We know this because we have embarked on same journey, and only came out victorious after several attempts.
In 2013, Marketing Angels took home three awards from the NSW 2013 Australian Marketing Institute Awards (AMI) – thanks to the outstanding work of our consultant Katrina Flynn for her client Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria. Marketing Angels topped three categories for that year, namely:
- Best Business to Business Marketing Communications
- Best Business to Consumer Marketing Communications
- Best New Brand, Product or Service Launch
We then went on to win the National Award for Best Business to Business Marketing Communications.
This year, we are happy to be considered as one of the national finalists in the “Marketing on a Shoestring” category in this year’s awards. Good times!
Since winning in the 2013 awards, we have used the award logos across our communications, included details of the award in client proposals, generated news articles in two high-profile newspapers, and have been invited to be featured as a case study in a national marketing publication.
As a result of our marketing and PR efforts using the awards we received, we have never been busier. The acknowledgement that we got from the industry for our hard work gave us leverage to position our team as viable marketing partner to SMEs.
The benefits of winning an award
Keep in mind that an award differentiates you from your competitors. It gives you positive exposure and strengthens your brand. Moreover, it also:
- Retains your existing customers which is more cost-effective in the marketing point of view
- Attracts the best new employees because, hey, who doesn’t want to work for winners?
- Gets you the much-needed funding to grow your business
- Helps associate your business with industry leaders which is great for networking
- Raises the bar high for your future work/projects and spur further innovation
- Boosts workplace morale
Even if you don’t win every award you apply for, the increased awareness for your business is worth the effort. Failed attempts tell you that there’s still room for improvement and that you need to prepare even more next time.
To put together a good entry and maximize your chances of winning, consider doing these:
1. Start early so you can have enough time to be ready. A good entry can take time to prepare.
2. It’s a good idea to do some research before diving right into the application. Target awards that are specific to your region. Additionally, choose industry-specific awards where you can highlight expertise.
3. If possible, enter in multiple categories to increase your chances of winning. But do make sure you qualify! There’s nothing worse than submitting an application only to find out you’re disqualified because your company or product doesn’t meet the entry guidelines.
4. Ensure your entry has a combination of strong results and high standards.
5. If you have the budget, get professional help. 75% of winning entries come from a client-agency team.
6. Learn from the past winners and industry best practices. Take note of how they put their entries together, the details they included, and the kind of campaign and results that win.
Winning an award is a goal every business should set out to achieve. You may be opening yourself to criticisms, but you are also opening yourself to learning.
And when you finally get that award, use it to promote your business through email marketing, social media, press releases, and more.
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.