Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Use Business Awards to Generate Word-of-Mouth

A great way to get people knowing and talking about your business is to enter (and preferably win) business awards. When you start looking, there are quite a few of these around - some general, others more industry specific.

As I see it, the main benefits are;

  • Media Attention - Businesses that win awards have something to tell the press. Often the award organisers have their own highly polished PR department that will help promote their award, as well as the businesses that achieve some success. The best thing about this is that media coverage leads tends to lead to more media coverage.

  • Exposure to Key Influencers - In my experience, the businesses and people entering awards are often decision-makers and important influencers in their industry and community. While it might not seem like a huge number of people you're physically getting in front of, they're the 'movers and shakers' of our society. (In a previous business we owned, winning an award put us on the radar of the company that ended up acquiring us several years later.)

  • More Web Links - I'm no Search Engine Optimisation expert (I leave this aspect to others I work with), but I know that when you have more links pointing to your website your Page Rank increases and you'll be more likely to show up higher in Google's search results. The more popular the website that links to you, the more impact this has. By entering awards, you're business will often be listed on the awards organiser's website (hopefully with a link to your site). And if you get media attention from the awards, this can also give you more links.

  • Birds-Eye View - Probably the most important benefit of all is that the process of entering awards causes you to reflect and think deeply about the current state of your business. The entry requirements are usually all-encompassing and force you to address every aspect of your business - including the more strategic elements (like your vision, culture, exit strategies, etc) that are easy to neglect on a day-to-day basis. Yes, we all intend to devote some time to long-term thinking, but for most of us, this only happens when we have an awards deadline to work towards!

On the downside, entering awards can be fairly involved and really needs dedicated chunks of time to be done properly. We think it's worth it though and have entered several awards with and our previous business (Invizage Technology).

One business award currently seeking entries is Anthill's Cool Company Awards. We've got our entry in so why not give it a go? In their words...

Is your company a step ahead of the rest? An organisation of rule-making and rule-breaking leaders? To put it simply, is your company 'cool' in 2008? Applications are now open!
Click here to nominate.