Who doesn’t love recognition for their work? All those warm DMs, testimonials and comments on your posts… they get us in our feels and remind us that we’re doing something right.
We see so many businesses shy away from engaging with the small business awards out of intimidation, when they’re no more than a tangible form of a DM or glowing email. Awards are official confirmation that people really resonate with your offer and that your services are valued.
Beyond making you feel good, being associated with small business awards sends a clear and objective message that your brand and your services are of a high quality. We believe the small business awards should really be a key component of any brand’s annual strategy and we’re here to demonstrate how to leverage them. Read more to find out!
Why awards are valuable for your brand
While it may seem very trivial and even a tad cringe, winning awards is significant in any context and has the potential to benefit your business in many ways – albeit subliminally. Irrespective if you’re grinning winners or just finalists (still an accomplishment, well done!) , the brand association that comes with the small business awards will assist in:
- Building authority and credibility
- Boosting your brand exposure
- Industry-Specific Networking
- Boosting morale of your employees
- Stimulating word-of-mouth marketing (yes, this is still valuable!)
Authority is inherently formed through relational aspects. For this reason, brand authority is perhaps one of the most crucial yet hard to attain elements of brand relevance. Unlike brand personality, or even credibility, it’s not really something you can cultivate yourself, leaving you at the mercy of bigger players.
Given the far-reaching and long legacy of the small business awards, they hold a universal authority that will be connotative to your brand through association and you should definitely be using this to your advantage!
How to leverage the small business awards
Send an email campaign to your data-base
If you’re a finalist in the small business awards, let your customers in on the exciting news by sending out an email-marketing campaign. While this may feel like you’re boasting – ego isn’t taboo over here – it’s actually a perfect opportunity to flip the attention back on your customers!
Thank those who have been with you on your journey or voted for you! You can extend this personable tone and even make some special mentions or reminisce on a hardship that your business overcame – go with what feels natural to share.
Share your awards on social media
This one may seem obvious but it’s amazing how often this step is skipped in fear of seeming like you’re showing off! The bottom line is, being deemed a small business finalist is a big deal and should be treated as such. It is considered by many a personal and business milestone and we encourage you to celebrate it across your social media platforms in different forms.
You’ll find that the posts and content you create will generate organic traction, adding to the buzz of the occasion. By celebrating your achievements, you are effortlessly boosting your brand exposure and credibility, whilst simultaneously increasing your company’s appeal to potential customers, employees and clients.
A one-week lead-up to the ceremony in particular, is a great way to stimulate excitement and capitalise on the suspense of the night. A fun way to do this is through leveraging the count-down sticker in stories.
Feature your awards on your website
When you are deemed a finalist, you are actually given a free-marketing pack from the small business awards with assets that can be integrated digitally and physically. While we do recommend you frame those finalist certificates and adorn your front door with window-stickers, remember not all businesses are physically, customer facing so don’t let your hard work go to waste! – make sure you are integrating these visual assets on your website somehow.
Although simply placing the logo on your website does wonders for your credibility, what’s even better is linking award announcements to your news (or similar) page, as backlinks add incredible SEO value. For more on how backlinks can boost your Google ranking, check out our blog ‘More to Metrics than ‘Likes.’
Develop an SEO strategy around your award
Speaking of SEO, it would be wise 😉 to develop an SEO strategy around your finalist position with long-tail keywords that integrate terms like “best”, “award-winning” and “top.”
To contextualize, long-tail keywords just refer to terms that are longer and would probably resonate more with users’ search intent. This is because they’re generally more humanistic and have a consumer tone.
Think about it, when you’re on holiday looking for a feed, you’ve likely searched for “best brunch places near me.”
Feature your finalist award in your local business listing
Similarly, another valuable way to cut-through and generate more noise is to include your award in your Google My Business Listing. Your profile should include a section for ‘updates’ where integrating your award would be suitable. If you get some cute team pics from the night, you should consider publishing these in the videos and photo section.
What to do if you win besides pop some bubbly
You’re 2022 champions… congratulations! Reflecting on this achievement internally with your team is crucial and you should all use this time to give yourself a pat on the back and revel in all you have accomplished together.
Beyond celebrations, here’s what we recommend you do if you’ve won:
Keep it top-of-mind
Make sure you keep your accomplishments top of mind for your customers through all your marketing communications. Specifically, include a mention of your award in any follow-up email marketing communications. For initial communications, a nice call-out banner would be appropriate and for the long run, integrating the award as a badge in your staffs’ email signatures would be valuable.
Reward your community
Really entice your customers and prospective customers to celebrate your award with you by running a special promotion. Consider a flash sale, a future-use coupon with something corny like “winner” or “gold” or perhaps offer free-shipping for a set period! FYI according to market research, free shipping has the capacity to increase average order volume by 97%!
Yes we’re saying it, make a Reel
By now we know how most of our clients feel about Reels – and hey, a few months ago, we were right there with you! – but seriously, Reels aren’t going anyway and are in fact, just becoming further embedded in Meta’s ecosystem.
Creating a video to highlight your company’s achievement is invaluable as a memory but will also elevate your celebration and help boost your organic social reach and engagement. Whilst Reels are prime social media real-estate right now, you can also take this video and integrate it onto your website.
Don’t have an idea? Whilst jumping on a trending audio with a snippy video is perfect for virality here, we do suggest making a more in-depth, personal video as well.
If you can, why not feature customers who voted for your business, so they can express in their own words, why you guys are so amazing!
After all that, we are being a bit cheeky here in saying that we are one of the silly ones who haven’t leveraged the small business marketing strategy to its full capacity – if we had more time, trust us we would be!!
In saying that, we hope we have demonstrated just how valuable these awards can be for your personal and business growth and we would also love to reiterate our gratitude for those in our community who voted us in as finalists.