How to win business awards

How to win business awards
Denise O'Leary
Denise O'LearyPurpol Marketing Limited

Posted: Thu 21st Nov 2019

Do you want to win business awards? Multi-award winner Denise O'Leary of Purpol Marketing explains how to consistently win business awards and leverage the great PR opportunities they present. The tips are based on the book, WINNER: How to Win Business Awards.

Many business owners and small businesses dream of the profile they could create and look on in admiration at other award winners.
They wonder how they can achieve that success for themselves and their business.

Lack of confidence is an often-cited problem for small businesses alongside limited time and resources. They are keen to understand what benefits will be derived from winning awards, based on tips from prior winners and judges and, just as importantly, they also need to know what to avoid.

The process for winning awards is very similar to my proven formula for winning bids - each award entry needs to be treated as a bespoke marketing campaign.

Winning an award has numerous benefits for your business and there is an award for everyone. Awards enable you to:

  • Gain competitive advantage

  • Achieve independent validation

  • Generate free PR

  • Boost team morale

  • Secure trust in your business

What award types are on offer? There are awards of every description!

  • International and national

  • Regional and local

  • By sector, e.g. construction

  • By role, e.g. architect

  • By demographic, e.g. gender

Below are my top 10 tips to help you win business awards:

1. USP: Unique selling point

Every company will be different so you have got to determine what your company USP is. This is the unique selling point that makes you stand out and makes your business memorable.

2. Evidence is key

Award entries give you the opportunity to document your achievements, but if you haven't done yourself justice on that entry form, they can't give you the credit, even if they are already aware of your business. Evidence is key, and what they might already know about you cannot be considered unless it is presented.

3. Chose the right awards to enter

You need to choose the right award to enter, and take the necessary time to do your entry justice. This involves a planning stage, a scripting stage and the essential final proofing stage.

4. Check your entry criteria

Do they have a minimum turnover requirement? Who took home the trophy in previous years? Is there a trend toward larger organisations with a national profile or toward companies of all sizes?

To give yourself the best chance of winning, the entry criteria needs to be evaluated and matched against your individual and company attributes.

5. Get client testimonials

If someone outside the business has realised you are good and has been prepared to go on the record to say so, it is far more powerful than if you, as a business, say how good you are.

6. Can you effectively answer all the award questions?

This might sound obvious, but if there are responses that you are not confident in, this will affect the overall likelihood of success. If you are asked to submit a business plan, do you want to reveal your future direction? If you are asked for accounts, do you want to reveal this level of financial detail?

7. Build an award calendar

Finding the right sorts of awards to enter can be time-consuming, but the good news is that most are an annual occurrence. This means that rather than having to do the leg work each year to find awards, you should build yourself a calendar that includes the details, due dates, etc.

8. Make your submission stand out

Judges will be reading a lot of award submissions, which often blend into one. It is, therefore, important to make your submission stand out. While it's not always possible to use interesting colours or a lot of imagery, as answers may need to be entered in boxes on the application, you can make your answers stand out through your writing.

9. Do you have the capacity to win?

Almost certainly yes, provided you choose the right award for your company and dedicate the time to write a compelling entry. There is a myth that only big companies win awards, but this is not true, and you have to be in it to win it.

10. What if I lose?

Commending your opponent for an award well-won is a classy way to handle defeat, and a good habit to develop for all types of competition including business awards. If you are not the winner this time, you have the chance to be a networking ninja instead. Get up from your table and go and meet other people. Learn from your experience.

In WINNER: How to Win Business Awards, Denise O'Leary shares her proven award-winning process, showing you how to find awards to enter, what evidence to gather, techniques for maximum entry standout and how to maximise PR.

Denise O'Leary
Denise O'LearyPurpol Marketing Limited
Purpol Marketing provides marketing director level expertise on a ‘pay as you go’ basis making professional advice tailored and affordable. They are experts in all areas of marketing and specialists in PQQ and Bid management.

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