Awards can be an effective method to establish your company as a thought-leader and innovator. They often come with promotional efforts and present opportunities to connect with current or past clients. But, figuring out how to win can take time.
Today, we’re sharing our five, tested strategies for securing awards.
- Start early. No really. If an effort or project might be award-worthy, create a plan before your project starts. Identify the items you’ll need, like before and after photos and the numbers you’ll have to collect to show measurable results. Taking these kinds of steps can ensure you have the information required when a call for awards comes out. Few things are more defeating than discovering you’d need a time-machine to gather all the details they’re requesting.
- Be honest. Consider if you can truly tell a compelling story as to why your effort should win. If a project was overbudget or completed late, make sure you can easily explain why and include client testimonials to offset those factors.
- Follow every, little step – even the ones that don’t make sense. Award submittals are full of tiny rules that may seem inconsequential, like font size or word count – they’re not. Reviewers will sometimes use these measures to weed out a stack of submittals or cast a deciding vote between two. Make sure your project falls within their requirements and that you have the information needed before putting forth the time and effort to prepare a response.
- Stick to the facts. As you write your response, make sure you’re creating a convincing argument as to why your project should win. Include specific numbers to show growth, tables and testimonials. As you review, check your response against each question. Analyze it to see if you’ve covered everything they’ve asked.
- Make it pretty. Photography is a key element to most award submittals. “After” photos should be eye-catching and if in your budget, taken by a professional. Make sure the angles of your before and after pictures match, so they can easily be compared. In addition to those, capture moments throughout your project, showcasing your process. Photograph events, meetings and deliverables. You will want as many options as possible when it is time to prepare your response.
After you win, plan to celebrate. While, winning an award is exciting, make sure you’re getting the best return on investment. Think about your existing marketing outlets and create a strategy for how to share it. Update project information, post to your social media accounts, host a party and if the winning project was completed for a client, don’t forget to let them know.
(We’ve had clients get new work, by simply presenting their client with an award for a project they completed together. True Story.)