“Oh, let me shop around even MORE websites for pricing and delivery options. I just LOVE doing this!” said no one ever.In the Google age, every competitor you have is instantly available to your prospects. Procurement and office managers open website after website and read customer reviews ad nauseum. But the truth? After a handful, they’re looking for a reason to stop. The information becomes a blur of minor differences, plus they don’t want myriad emails and calls from sales reps.
So as a vendor, how do you stand out, in the 30 seconds you’ve got them on your website?
Awards, prominently posted on your home page are an excellent attention-grabber. They’re third-party validation that your company, products/services, management, and/or customer service is exceptional, and that goes a lot farther than the top website design ever will.
Awards also offer:
- Increased brand awareness
- Differentiation from your competition
- Opportunities for immediate and ongoing press
- A boost in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Validation of your most valuable employees
- Validation of your company for recruiting.
Selecting What to Apply For
There are myriad options for awards – Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes have awards with SEO value, but they are very hard to win because they have SEO value. You’ll be going up against household brand names with multi-million-dollar marketing budgets and the show-stopping materials to match, as well as vastly bigger financials, all of which can be intimidating if you’re a small or mid-sized business with limited budget to do this.
If you’re looking for a solid ROI for the time and money your team spends on applying, the American Business Awards are a great option. They offer a much wider variety of awards, the ability to show off by products/management/department or company, and they offer categories for small and medium sized B2B companies, so you’re not always muscled out by Target, Microsoft, CISCO, and Amazon.
For more info how to select and apply, see our previous blog, Best in Show.
What to Do with the Awards You Win
It is not which awards you win, so much as what you do with them. If you rely exclusively on a press release, and a lone social media announcement, or even a big feature in a popular magazine, expect 15 minutes of fame. Content doesn’t have a long shelf life on the world wide web.
But, with a little work, you can make those awards work for you long term and get GREAT ROI.
“Everyone likes a winner” a veteran CEO once taught me. “The trick is reminding them you’re a winner – regularly.” He was right: company awards do not require humility. They’re a sales tool you want to max out. Beyond the necessary press release you can:
- Make them prominent on your home page for the attention-grabber
- Make sure any department or product pages feature relevant awards
- Gather your team to announce the awards internally and videotape their reaction for more team-building as well as social media
- Do an email blast to your customers and prospects
- Write a variety of social media posts announcing individual awards, as well as groupings of awards if you’ve won several
- Make sure they’re added to your print marketing materials
- Have your team add the award banner(s) to their signature line
- Add relevant awards to case studies, white papers, reference them in trade journal articles
- Add awards to your recruiting platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed
- Make sure your sales staff use the awards as an excuse to call prospects sitting on the fence.
Year after year, you can build on the awards you win. With the next awards application, you can cite the awards you’ve already won as third-party validation for the nomination. The tide grows with each successive win: you can build out an awards page on your website, and on social media and in press releases, and you can group awards you’ve won in successive years so they continue to contribute to customer confidence. For instance, if you win for best new product two years in a row, you might just want to emphasize your R&D capabilities for prospects in search of a custom solution.
A Process That Works
If you remind your team to keep reminding your customers, the process pays off. Last year, a very enterprising salesman for a B2B client heard the news his company had won multiple gold medals at the American Business Awards. He immediately sent the release to a prospect that had been on the fence, deliberating between them and several other vendors.
The household brand name franchise sent back a verbal commitment in three minutes. Why? Because everyone likes a winner.