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Awards Are A Great Marketing Tool

Aug 17, 2007
When we hear of others winning business awards, we tend to think that they are people who have really got 'their act together' and are very good or very lucky or both. We don't realise that because so many business operators feel this way, that in fact, very few actually will take the trouble to enter awards - they don't think they have a chance. Wrong! With such low numbers of entrants in most awards, the chances of winning are much greater than you think.

So why do people enter awards? I guess the reasons vary, but I know of businesses that have in their marketing plan that they will enter awards. In fact, most do not enter to win. They enter to force themselves to look carefully at the structure, goals and outcomes of their business. Others enter because it offers them the opportunity to network with fellow business operators who also 'think they run successful businesses' (or they would not have entered for an award in the first place). These fellow businesses are often open to joint venture partnerships and alliances. Still others enter to meet the dignitaries who present the awards, offering great photo opportunities for future marketing and promotional content.

If you do enter an award, don't waste the effort. Make sure you start using that information immediately as part of your marketing strategy. On your web site; in your email signature; in your e-zine; on flyers and advertisements - simply state that you are an entrant in the 'XYZ Award'. This lets potential customers and suppliers know that you are a confident business operator and are prepared to put your business up for scrutiny to experts outside of your field of acquaintances.

Then if you become a finalist - quickly change your promotional material to include this information. And of course if you win a category - another quick change. I know a motel operator who put a great banner across the front of their motel saying that they were State winners in an Award. Two weeks later they became the overall National winner and had to rush to change the banner.

But they did more than that. They then sent a card to every one of their past clients with a small blue sash enclosed - congratulating them - as they pointed out they would not have had the courage to enter had it not been for the support and testimonials that their customers constantly gave them. They also held a party and invited all their suppliers and local dignitaries. Of course they had on display their certificates and trophies - but again, they put an emphasis on the importance of good suppliers and the support they received from the local press, Government, Tourist Authority etc. The marketing strategy worked - their business dramatically increased and the owner was invited to sit on a State Government Small Business Council to discuss issues relating to small business.

Entering awards can certainly add to your credibility and winning is the icing on the cake. So perhaps the question should be 'why don't people enter awards?' There are many business awards available and you can find one or more to suit your type of business, so don't procrastinate. Get your act together and decide to enter an award this year!
About the Author
Barbara Gabogrecan won 7 Gift of the Year Awards and judges Micro Business, International Marketing and Government Training Awards. You can get a free e-book telling you how your business can be a 'super winner'. http://www.mcei.org.au/index.php?module=Website&action=Text&content=1138261000125-1023
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