Awards are your golden ticket
Debbie Gilbert is a multi-award winning entrepreneur and owner of The Best Business Women Awards. In this episode she will share tips and insights into business awards and why they are the golden ticket to business success.
Why are Awards so important for businesses?
- It gives you the opportunity to deep dive into your business and analyse what you're doing.
- Once you win no one can take that award away from you it is yours forever and it gives you instant credibility. Raises you to the level of expert in your industry.
- The feel good factor its nice to be recognised for all your hard work
- Publicity opportunity is enormous.
- It's great for team morale if you have a team.
Are All Awards created equal?
In my opinion no I'm a real fan of awards that are properly entered and go in front of a judging panel. In theory a business competition rather than a vote for type which is more of a popularity contest.
However, consumers generally gravitate towards businesses that have won awards so no they aren't all equal but when it comes from the consumer perspective they kind of are. Consumers are unlikely to do the research to see where the award came from and how it was awarded.
Think also about what you want to be known for if you are a local business then entering local ones makes sense, if you're a woman in business, gender specific might be something you want to go for.
Do your due diligence and research because remember you are giving your details to these companies so be aware. With vote for type they are usually getting all the data of the voters too so think about that too. Make an informed decision, some awards are purely traffic building exercises for the companies hosting them.
Some even contact you to tell you you have won an award you just have to pay £500 for the logo be aware there are scams out there. Go with awards you can verify (list of opportunities below).
There are ones you can enter for free but paying for entries is common in the industry. The Best Business Women Awards has a nominal fee to cover our admin costs we have a lot we have to go through also having the fee stopped people just entering because it was free and not filling in the application properly. Adding a fee got rid of 200-300 entire but these were people who weren't putting the effort in.
So a fee also helps ensure on the whole that people will put in a full entry. It just depends on the awards I believe the Times cost around £250 per category but they are aimed at large corporations to who this fee isn't a big deal.
Don't forget to factor in the extra costs, is there an awards presentation event, will that need transport etc. Also, look at what you get and if the answer is if you are not a winner you get anything, no certificate, no logo, no recognition then is it worth it for you to enter it?
How much publicity do the awards company give their entrants, how active are they on social media, do they help with press releases? Way up the cost vs what you get out of it.
What are the PR opportunities how do we leverage the awards?
You automatically go up in the pecking order with journalists because you have credibility. But you have to put yourself out there, press won't come to you. You can look to get press coverage from a number of sources here are some of the press winners of the Best Business Women Awards have secured:
- Sky News
- BBC News
- The Victoria Derbyshire Show
- Trade Magazines
- National Magazines
- Local Radio
I advise people to work with a PR Agency or learn how to do PR there are many courses and companies out there that can help you with that.
Local press can be picked up by the national press so don't overlook local press. Go out and get as much as you can. Include your stories they are looking for the human interest that's what can make the difference.
Added bonuses it will also help with your SEO and often the awards will give you a backlink to your site. It can also boost your social media engagement as well and if you are sharing it on Twitter it can get picked up by journalists as they are all looking for stories and opportunities on there.
The wedding industry has a lot of awards should we be looking at awards outside our industry?
Yes! It's really important because it can help you get known in your local area if you enter the local small business or the local chamber awards this can help you elevate your profile locally. Industry awards are great but look locally too. Most cities and counties have their own as well.
They have tremendous value because you are demonstrating your business and industry expertises and from a networking perspective for getting yourself known in your local area it's a great opportunity.
Have a plan know what you want to achieve and perhaps enter industry one year and business the next. They are a lot of awards out there so it's really worth looking at what's out there
Tell us about the Best Business Women Awards?
They are for women in business, it's fine if their are men working in the business but if it's an all male business sorry guys this is not the awards for you. It was set up to recognise female entrepreneurs who I believe face a unique set of challenges and I wanted to set it up for them.
They are open until the 30th of June and I would strongly think about the Best Customer Service category, if you have 3 or 4 years of great testimonials and case studies because it's a great accolade to have it has wedding industry written all over it because you are all about your customer service. You could look at the Best Consumer category too.
Best new business is a great option for you in any business awards as well.
Explain yourself in your entries the judging panel knows the year the wedding industry have had and that you are likely not to have been doing what you normally would so just explain what you have been doing and know there will be the expectation that financials aren't going to be what they usually would be.
What are the do's and don't of filling in our entries?
What you need to do:
- Focus on Facts, Figures and no fluff.
- Tell your story make it an inspirational read for the audience that will be reading it.
- Include evidence to back up what you're saying, financials images, case studies, testimonials etc.
The mistakes people makes is they don't do this and they leave stuff out. They submit entries without evidence or low evidence. They:
- Don't sell their business to the judges.
- Don't read the questions properly or the category criteria.
- Waffle and repeat themselves.
- Don't take notice of deadlines.
Don't leave out important stuff, if you do pro bono work or charity work put it in people forget about this stuff but it's important. Put it all in, if you volunteer, take in work experience students, donate raffle prizes, send flowers, to the local hospice include it all.
Connect with Debbie
For a free awards tip sheet email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them you heard about it on the Wedding Pro Cast UK
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