How to make the most of your awards?

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

This year has been great to us in terms of recognition. We got through to the finals of FSB awards in Employer of The Year category, as well as 3 categories of the Best New Business awards in: Best Customer Service, Business Innovation, Business Woman of the Year. This has made us ask a question, how do we make the most of this?

We realised that as finalists, we were in an excellent company, with plenty of other experienced and dedicated business owners we could ask for advice, and so we did. Below you can read about their experience and their advice for your business.

While we have contacted them because of the FSB and BNB Awards, their success doesn’t stop there. Most of them have more awards than we would be able to list here - you can look them up on their websites.

Mark Layzell, MBA, FCIM, FCMI, BSc

Founder and MD of Web Works Well®

Most valuable awards

We got most value from the awards related to our industry (for example Digital Leader of the Year by Digileaders) and FSB awards. The former are great in showing our expertise in our subject matter, while the latter help with credibility, as they are run by a recognised organisation.

Benefits of the awards

To be honest, we do not have as much time as we would need to make the most of our awards. We have managed to get quite a lot of publicity locally. One of the local papers wrote about us and others picked the news up.

Getting awards helps businesses stand out. It shows that they are a reliable partner. One of the additional benefits is that judges are often influential business people, and it might be your only chance to get your business in front of them.

To make the most of your awards, you should display the logos in a prominent place on your website, on your social media, your email signature.

How to get media involved

You should be contacting the press as soon as you have been shortlisted. This means you have 1 in 5 chances of winning and is definitely noteworthy. This strategy gives you a second chance for exposure, when you win.

Best way is to contact local papers and local networking organisations. The press release we sent to Cambridge Network gave us best results.

Your PR piece should be more of the story than self promotion. Talk about what makes you unique, what difference did the award make to your business, why it is relevant.  You can use the material from your application, let them know what was it that made you win.

Apply for success

Writing a proposal takes a lot of time, and as a small business owner you will have to be selective about which awards you enter. Some awards are free of charge, some cost a few hundreds to get into. In terms of filling in the application form you can either do it yourself, or work with a copywriter or a partner organisation.

We would always advise to take a strategic view of this and see which awards are available in the industry, which ones your competitors entered, plan for them in terms of timing. Once you have done one of the entry forms, others are easier to create.

Don’t forget that the content can also be re-used on your website, blogs and social media.

It’s all about the demonstrable evidence - everyone can say they are the best, but you actually have to provide evidence to back this statement up.

Winning strategy

The amount of knowledge we have about the industry, as well as the difference we can make to other businesses is what made us the winner. Even though we have been around for only a couple of years, we made some big ripples.

Patrick Horan

Owner of Bombinate Web Design

Most valuable awards

We got a few awards within 6 months of setting up the business and we have been going from strength to strength since. The most impactful awards were the ones directly related to the business, such as the best website of the year or digital awards champion.

Best new business was surprising for us. On the back of this we were contacted by Natwest bank to do some mentoring, which allowed us to be involved in other small businesses and to help them set up.

Benefits of the awards

Awards help you establish credibility and you should be sharing this information wherever you can. You need to start changing your mindset - if you have been nominated, you are an awards winning business. Be proud of being a nominee, it is not something everyone has. Even if you don’t win, being in the final 5 shows the commitment to your business and is a great recognition.

Make sure you let your clients, as wella s potential clients know. Your clients are the reason for your awards, and even a small gesture, such as sending them a personalised thank you email will show your appreciation. Even though it was not our goal, we had quite a bit of repeat business form the one we sent out - our clients decided to take up some extra work.

Share it on social media - not just your business page, but also on your personal profile. Don’t forget to add it to your website, you might even want to create a specific page dedicated to this topic. Awards reflect what you are about as a business. Write a blog post about your core values and the awards.

Award ceremonies are a great way of meeting like minded business owners, exceptional people with the drive and skills that 80% of the population does not have.

How to get media involved

We had a couple of articles in the press and even ended up on a radio station because of our awards. When you contact the press, make it easy for them. When you have written up a nice little article they might publish it.

Don’t be shy about the fact that you won. Be proud of it. Enjoy and celebrate, but make sure that you celebrate your customers more than yourself. Write the article yourself if you can and go back to where you started the process - look at your application. You have done something right there, so let this voice come through.

It might help to link it to a bigger cause than just your business. For example saying that you represented your local borough makes it about everyone, not just your business.

Apply for success

The biggest piece of advice is for people to take their time. If you rush it or l