Business awards are brilliant. They massively boost your credibility, raise staff morale and can increase your sales. But often people win an award and don't make the most of it. Their Britishness and not wanting to appear boastful kicks in. So instead of just calling your mum and putting the trophy on a bookshelf to gather dust, here are some ideas you can consider to make the most of your win:
Tell the press
Write a press release and tell your local press or industry trade publications. If the awards are actually run by a news outlet, they will no doubt do a round up of the winners. But don't just rely on their publicity to tell your story. Your award is the news angle to tell the bigger story about how your business got to where it is today. Interesting angles to consider are how far you have come, challenges overcome on the way, unusual offices or workplace practices, interesting staff stories - anything to paint a colourful story. Think bigger than the award, but use your award win as the hook to get you into the papers, on radio or TV.
Get it on your website
Be sure to get the award logo and put it on your home page and About us page. If this is the first award you've won, change your copy to say 'Award-winning xxx'. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Write a blog
You can either write a blog using the content of your award entry to tell your story, or you could focus on the category you've entered as a blog angle. For example, if you've won best Customer Service award or best use of Technology award, then write about why your customer service is great or how you use technology.
Put it in your newsletter
If you send out a newsletter to customers, let them know that you've won an award. It reassures customers that they are doing the right thing by working with you / using your services. And it may convince people who aren't yet your customers to give you a try.
Whichever social media you use, be sure to talk about your award. Share pictures of the award event on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. Tweet during the course of the awards ceremony. Remember to congratulate other winners and finalists. Put it on your LinkedIn profile.
Thank your staff
If you have a larger organisation, be sure to share the good news via your Intranet or staff email. Thank the immediate team involved in winning the award by giving them a bottle of wine or flowers or similar to thank them for their hard work.
Why not spread the excitement and share the love with your social media fans by creating a mini awards ceremony or a competition of some kind. Like ask them to name your trophy. Or ask them to share their own successes, whether that's being conker champion or winning a colouring contest as a kid. Make it fun and build rapport and give away a little prize of your own to participants.
Put it on your packaging or letterhead or in store
If you sell a physical product, put the award logo on the packaging. Or simply add it to your masthead/letterhead or email autosignatures. If you have a physical premises, put the trophy or framed certificate somewhere customers can see it. You've won it, so use it.
Remember winning, is just the first step! So don't waste this opportunity. If you need any help with any of the things mentioned above, contact me to find out how I could help.
Last week I ran my Learn PR in a Day course, during which the news editor from our local commercial radio station came along to chat to us. I asked her to give us some tips on how small businesses can get on a commercial radio station without paying.
These were some of her insights:
Keep it local
If it's a local radio station, your news must be relevant for the local community. Look at the radio station's reach and be sure that your story falls within their geographic boundaries.
Keep it interesting
Stories that sound like an advert for your business are typically not interesting AND will immediately draw the attention of the ad sales team. Think about how your story would be of interest to listeners. Take your ego out of it and focus on the story.
Be willing to provide comment
When a local - or even national - story breaks, do you have an opinion on it? They regularly need local comment or reaction to a story. So if you see a story that you can comment on, get in touch with them.
Be helpful and think multi-media
Like most media outlets these days, radio stations are seriously short staffed. The easier you can make their lives the more likely they are to use your story. So don't just send them a press release, send them a video clip and pictures too as they no longer just broadcast on radio, they have a website they need to keep fresh and social media channels they need content for.
Radio is an immediate news format. There is no point reacting days later. In fact news bulletins change hour by hour. So be ready with comment or expertise, particularly if you have sent out a press release. Don't book yourself into meetings the day you issue it!
Most news editors are on Twitter, so tweet them to let them know that you have comment or a story.
So why not have a go contacting your local radio station? If you need help creating press materials, try my PR Firestarter Kit. Want to learn how to do your own PR? Check out my affordable bite-size coaching videos to learn how to get in the press.
P.S. I got this email from one of the ladies who attended the course last week. 'Just a quick note to say I sent off the press release and it got published today !! Client is ecstatic, I am over the moon so a massive THANK YOU to you.'
So you see, it works!
Last week I came back from two weeks of holiday. Before I went away, I had decided that I was going to take a real break. No scheduling of tweets, posts or newsletters to make it look like I was still working. No checking in. Just silence from me.
Before I left, I sent an email to my newsletter list telling them exactly that.
And I stuck to my guns.
When I returned I felt as though I had left my work mojo in a Namibian desert. Getting started was hard. I knew I needed to send out a newsletter and crank up the social media marketing again, but I was sorely lacking inspiration. For someone whose speciality is writing, I was lost for words.
Eventually, with no great ideas coming to me, I simply wrote a short email that told my subscribers that I was back and I included a list of the different ways I could help them. Nothing fancy. Nothing super creative, just a list of my services saying that I was available if they needed help.
I hit send and looked at my holiday snaps for a while.
Less than a week after sending that email I have made over £2000 in sales and I am booked solid for the next couple of weeks.
So what's the lesson here? Three key learnings:
1. Be unavailable occasionally
There's a saying, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.' This flies in the face of all marketing advice that says you have to keep your visibility up all the time. And it goes against the gut instinct of most hard-working entrepreneurs who are programmed to be always on, always available.
Yes your marketing should be consistent, but making yourself unavailable every now and then makes people realise that they actually need you. It's why people who run successful membership clubs or training programmes only open up enrolment at certain times. So don't be afraid to step away every now and then. Just remember to tell people. Make it a conscious absence rather than a silent disappearing act.
2. Tell people that you're back and open for business
It's easy to return from a holiday or absence and assume that because your 'out of office' is switched off and you're being active on social media again that people know you are available to take on new work. This isn't always the case. Remember, they are busy and may not even have noticed that you've been gone. So tell them that you're back and ready to help them.
3. Remind people of what you do
We are often so busy thinking of clever content that we forget that some people aren't actually all that familiar with what we do. Even those who do know your business well can benefit from an occasional reminder. This can be a very simple list stating clearly what you do and how you can help them. It seems so blindingly obvious, but when last did you let your clients know specifically how you could help them?
So to recap:
1. Tell people you're going away and be properly away
2. Tell people you are back and open for business
3. Remind them how you can help them
Take a look at my services to find out how I could help you.