Traditional and digital marketing can work together.
We know inbound marketing takes some time to be effective. What can you do in the meantime, when senior management is pushing for results sooner than later? This is part of a series of blogs that explains how to use traditional, non-digital ways to kick start your inbound marketing for tech companies.
5 Alaniz Ways to Bolster Your Inbound Initiatives with Awards
Winning an award brings third-party endorsement to your company, product or service. That’s a good thing. But the real value that comes from winning the award depends on you, the inbound marketing magician, and how you leverage the award. Here are some ways to maximize the value of awards for your marketing.
Use your bragging rights
Almost any legitimate award brings your company bragging rights. So get the word out to your team about the award. Make sure you give them all the details including why the award was won and the significance of it for the company and for your customers. Give them all the tools they need to communicate the news to their audiences. Some examples are:
- Make sure the award is announced broadly to your in-house staff and team. Don’t neglect the back office teams in billing, HR, facilities, etc. Let everyone in the company know about the award.
- Create a .pdf or link which sales teams and account managers can share with their prospects and customers to spread the news. Make sure the .pdf or link provides the audience a clear and powerful explanation of the award and the impact of it.
- Announce the award at monthly or quarterly meetings to build company spirit.
- Have a special event for prospects and customers to announce the award (use the Event Marketing Checklist linked at the end of this blog)
Squeeze the inbound juice out of the award
Start with a press release type of write-up and publish it through a press release site. Make sure it contains links with appropriate keywords for your SEO initiatives. Next, double check that links from the organization giving the award are customized as much as possible. Then post the press release on your website as a landing page with a related call to action (CTA). Finally, publicize the award through a special email to appropriate audiences, and through social media, directing traffic to the landing page. Don’t forget to measure and report on the related traffic so you have enough data to justify submitting for more awards!
Create blog content around the process of winning the award
Tell the story of how your company was considered, what the competition was like and what is the impact of the award. If appropriate, give credit to teams in your company that were particularly involved in winning the award.
Cross-market with partners
Look for cross-marketing or partnership opportunities with other award members. For example, when you win the best-of-show for new technology, check with the winners of the show for best mobile solution, or most innovative design, etc. Trade links and cross-promote via social media, helping each other drive traffic.
Frequently asked questions about awards in marketing
What kinds of awards can you use for marketing?
While your first thought may be to win an award for the product or service your company provides, such as best-in-class technology or highest customer satisfaction, don’t neglect other areas that can also add some prestige to how your company is perceived. Some examples:
- Best place to work in your city/state
- Outstanding performance by company leaders – such as 40 under 40, top executives
- Recognition for charitable works done in the community
- Best in a functional area of the company – marketing campaign, inventory system, recruiting process, safety, environmental impact, etc.
How do we win awards?
The most obvious answer is that you have to submit/apply for them. Most awards have very specific processes to follow. The more prestigious the award, the more complex the application process. Some awards require some basic facts and a few paragraphs in the application. Others include gathering third party endorsements, testing and comparisons, interviews and more. One recommendation is to research previous award recipients about their winning process. Find out what they did to win and what they learned along the way.
How do I know what awards to apply for?
There are several ways to evaluate which awards to apply for. First, brainstorm to identify what types of awards would carry the most influence with your customers or prospects. If you are a Microsoft Partner, winning an award from Microsoft would be significant. Microsoft has a variety of awards for its partners, including Application Developer Awards, Citizenship Awards, Cloud Award, Competency Awards, Microsoft Dynamics Award, Public Sector Awards and Sales Excellence Award. See more at Microsoft Partner Awards.
If your business is heavily involved in a specific community or geography, consider applying for awards with the local Business Journal. You’ll find awards for Best CFO, Most Admired Leaders, Health Care Heroes and more.
Also look in your specific industry. You should have no question about which organizations are well respected by your target customers. Make sure you apply for any awards for which you qualify.
How do I manage the process of selecting and submitting awards among all the other marketing activities I need to accomplish?
As with your other marketing activities, we suggest you invest some time to research and select the awards that make sense. Typically the deadlines for submission are staggered throughout the year. Create a schedule now for the next twelve months and backward plan to prepare each submission.
How much should it cost to apply for an award?
For many quality awards, there is no fee for applying. For some highly sought after awards, it is not unusual for the organization to charge a $200 fee for the application. One example is the SXSW Accelerator Award for 2015. Be cautious, however, of solicitations by organizations that want you to pay to apply for awards that you are not familiar with. There are businesses who’s business is just to sell awards.
It is time to get started
The reward for winning a business contest is big. It feeds the ego – which is a good thing – but it also helps to keep you (and your entire team) motivated. It also creates really great exposure that you can leverage to drive inbound traffic. Winning gives you a reason to reach out to the world and to share the story. Plus, it provides a great networking opportunity. So, the question now becomes, which contest will you enter first?