No matter your industry, there are awards to be won.
Not only does this give you well-deserved recognition, but it also builds your company’s authority and credibility in your industry.
In this article, we’ll review why you should focus on winning awards as part of your marketing plan as well as some of the easiest ways to find the most impactful awards for your brand and business. We’ll give you tips on ways you can set yourself and your company apart from the competition so that you can walk away with some new industry awards on your plate.
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What is an Industry Award?
We all want awards.
It’s instinct, really, to want to be recognized for your successes. Which is why almost every industry has third-party companies that issue awards and recognition for your hard work. These awards often help to prove that you are the best in the business and that you really know your stuff.
And while awards and recognition always feel good, industry awards aren’t just for the feels. They’re also a great way to boost your authority and presence in your industry.
Awards, especially high-profile ones, give consumers a good guideline on which companies to use by recognizing the ones that are at the top of their game. These awards also give others in your industry a goal to strive for.
There are a variety of things you can win awards for. Some awards will focus on your work overall and some will focus on a particular project or campaign that you’ve worked on. It’s up to you to decide which you want to be rewarded for.
A common misconception regarding competing for and winning awards is that you have to be a long-standing staple in your industry. This isn’t true. There are plenty of awards that recognize how hard it can be to gain traction in an industry and reward newcomers for their achievements. You just have to find them.
Why Industry Awards Are Invaluable
Having an award tied to your name has perks when it comes to elevating your business.
It’s one thing when you say that you’re the best, but when someone else confirms that statement, it carries more weight and starts to create a buzz around your brand. This puts you on your potential customer’s radar, as well as the radar of your competitors’.
Industry Awards Elevate Your Brand
Winning an award will create a buzz around your business that you can’t manufacture.
Being able to tie an award to your brand automatically boosts your credibility. It can make your company one of the go-to companies in your industry. Consumers will know that you’re a trusted brand and competitors will look to you for ways to elevate their own brand presence. Winning industry awards is a quick and trusted way to position yourself as a leader.
Awards Help to Land New Customers
Think of how many times you’ve seen an advertisement for a local restaurant with something like “Voted Best Ribs in Texas by the Houston Chronicle” as a tagline.
Seeing that a reputable publication or company claims these ribs are the best must mean they are, right?
Winning that award is going to drive customers who may have gone elsewhere into that restaurant to try those ribs.
The same idea applies to any industry.
When potential new customers see that your work has won awards, they’ll be swayed towards your company and away from your award-less competitor.
In addition, whenever you win an award, it’s a good time to reach out to warm leads to let them know about your new win. Your breaking news opens the door to start a conversation with them that could turn a lead on a list into a new, paying customer.
You could use this award as a reason to revamp your marketing materials or send out a new email marketing sequence. You worked hard for that award so you might as well share the good news!
Industry Awards Open Your Business Up to New Networks
Winning an award also opens you up to the award giver’s network.
This is the kind of traffic you want. They, most likely, are well-versed in your industry. They know what to look for and they know how to spot the signs that you are a quality company. They know your industry and they’re ready to make connections and purchases.
Awards Also Help to Retain and Attract Employees
High-caliber companies attract high-quality talent. And nothing says high-caliber life a few top industry awards.
New talent sees this as a sign that the company is stable, knowledgeable, and committed to its industry. New employees feel that they can learn a lot and sharpen their skills from working at an award-winning business, which makes the arrangement beneficial for both parties.
Not only does it look good from a hiring standpoint, but it helps in retention as well. People want to be recognized for the differences they’re making through their company. It gives them a sense of pride in their work, and that pride is tenfold when the recognition comes from a third party.
It’s Easier to Land Financial Support
If your company is looking to expand, be purchased, or go through an IPO, it’s easier to do so when investors and potential buyers see that your company has a quality product and is a secure bet for their money.
You can provide all of the valuations necessary but having third-party recognition helps drive home the point that your company has a strong future.
If your company has a strong future, then it also has the ability to earn your investors or potential buyers a lot of money.
How to Get Awards for Your Business
There are industry awards for every single industry. If you can think of it, there’s probably an award for it.
To find the right fit, start small. Figure out what type of award you want to win, which would matter the most to you, and which would bring the most attention from your customers or competitors.
Also make sure to consider things like cost — financial, time, and manpower — of the application. You don’t want to waste your time and resources on a lengthy application for an award that you don’t want to win, or one that won’t bring any buzz to your brand.
Now that you know which type of award you want to win, let’s figure out how to find it.
A quick Google search for “small business awards”, “[insert industry here] awards”, “find business awards” is a great way to get started. From there, you can narrow down your search to focus on the areas that you truly excel in.
Check Out Competitors’ Sites
A quick search on your competitors’ websites and social media channels could open you up to a whole new world of awards.
Make a list of these awards and dedicate some time to research what goes into winning them. You’ll want to strive for awards that have been given to companies that you know are trustworthy and stable.
Join Professional Networking Groups
You can learn a lot from your competitors and this is another way to do so. By networking with them directly, you’ll learn of new opportunities that you may not have known of before — either directly from the connections you make in these groups or by keeping an eye on their press releases and marketing materials.
Use an Online Tool
There are certain websites and tools, like Awards Finder, available to you that will quickly search thousands of awards to find ones that suit you.
Just keep in mind, it’s important to do your research on the opportunities that you find. Tools like these can be a mixed bag, so make sure you’re spending your time trying to win awards that really make a difference in your industry.
Read Top Industry Publications
All of the best awards are usually published in the top publications of your industry.
This is a great way to look for awards that will carry a lot of credibility and really elevate your brand. It also gives you an idea of who has won — and how they’ve won — previously.
Look into local publications and organizations that may give awards for the type of work you do. Especially if you’re trying to establish a strong tie to your local community or bring in more local employees, having a local industry award under your belt could make all of the difference.
As you’re looking over the industry award opportunities you’ve found, be certain to check the credibility of the award, too. You want to win awards that you can be proud of. While it’s nice to be acknowledged for your work, you’re also using industry awards as a way to elevate your brand and you can’t do that with awards that don’t have merit.
Now that you’ve established which applications you want to focus on, let’s cover some tips and tricks that will help set you apart from the competition.
How to Win Industry Awards
Like anything worth having, you’ll have to put some work into your award applications. Follow these tips to build an application that will have you winning all of the industry awards.
- Develop a unique angle: What makes your work or project different from the other applicants? What do you do that they can’t?
- Focus on the impact of your project — not necessarily the highest dollar amount win: This will show the awards committee that you’re dedicated to the work you’re doing, not just the money you’re making.
- Get a team involved: While your application should be written in one voice, use a variety of people’s experiences with the work to craft the application. Not only will this ensure that you cover every section of the project, but it will help your employees feel more connected to the award.
- Study the former winners: By studying what they did, you’ll be able to see what resonates with the judges and what the committee is looking for.
- Communicate your brand story: Make your brand feel personable. Let the judges get to know the story behind your business.
After the Win
Winning an industry award is half the battle. Knowing what to do after you win is another story.
While you’re putting together your application, come up with a plan of how you will incorporate this win into your marketing strategy.
Will you send an email blast? Will you involve your social media channels? Will the win be featured in industry or local publications?
Set a plan to make sure that you get as much publicity out of your award as possible. You’ve worked hard for this recognition. Make sure people notice it!