October has been a great news month for business awards. The story that I wrote for Reigate Manor about the VIP Bride and Groom return to Reigate Manor after 50 Years won Best PR Story 2016.

Here you can see Giles Thomas, General Manager at Reigate Manor Hotel and me being presented with the winners trophy by the Presidents for Surrey Chambers and the British Chamber of Commerce.

Winner Best PR Story 2016

SME Surrey Business Awards – Finalists

Reigate Manor is also a double finalist in the SME Surrey Business Awards in the category Reigate and Banstead Council Business of the Year and Best Customer Service.  Another of my clients, Connick Tree Care, is also a finalist for Best Customer Service.

Business awards are a great way for you to stand out from your competitors. It helps customers to make the decision to choose you. It also provides a great PR opportunity and there’s the ongoing benefit of using award logos on your website and other marketing material. These definitely get you noticed and could be the difference between gaining a new customer or not.

I’d like to encourage you to consider entering for an award, if you’ve not already done so. To help, here are my 6 top tips for winning a business award. These are points that I keep front of mind and help me to help my clients become winners.

Business award winning tips

Plan well ahead

By that I mean a year in advance! Possibly the first time you become aware of an award that you would like to win is when you see one of your competitors win it! So, make a note if it and search for other industry and local awards and make them part of your marketing plan for the following year.

Give yourself time

An awards submission can be a time-consuming task. The very fact that the award is on your radar means that when they announce that entries are open, you have plenty of time to work on your submission.

A submission worthy of an award isn’t just thrown together. Information will need to be gathered. There’s nothing more frustrating than thinking of something that you should have included, but it’s too late. Giving yourself plenty of time will make sure that all the good facts are included.

Remember who your audience is

When you write marketing material it’s helpful to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. This makes sure that you are communicating your messages in a way that’s of interest and appealing to your target audience. Just the same for writing awards submissions, think of the judges as your target audience and answer the questions in a way that tells them exactly what they need to know and why your business is worthy of the award.

Follow the rules

Judges have very limited time to read your entry. If they ask for 250 words do not submit 251 words!

Remember the judge is likely to have many entries to read in one day. The easier yours is to read the quicker they will be able to realise they are reading an entry that’s worthy to be a finalist. So, use titles and bullet points to highlight important facts. Graphs and pictures can help to quickly get your point across.

Treat it like an exam

Do you remember your teacher saying, “Only answer the question. Keep referring back to the question to make sure you haven’t gone off track.” This is great advise for award submissions too!

You’re a Finalist!

When you receive the news that you have made it to the shortlist or are a finalist, grab the opportunity to share the good news via a press release and on social media. You don’t have to wait to find out if you are a winner before you do this! It’s a fantastic achievement and one to be celebrated.

Next steps…

I hope I’ve inspired you to add a business award to your 2017 Marketing Plan!

Which business award are you going to enter next year?

If you would like help to put a winning award submission together, please give me a call on 07565 382803 or contact me