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How awards and recognition can boost your business

By Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

26002009_sAn inexpensive and practical means to gain credibility for products or services delivered by your business is simply this: earn an award. Industry awards, recognition from chambers of commerce or related small-business organizations or a stamp of approval from a well-known review outfit can provide visibility and improve a business’ reputation. But locating appropriate opportunities and awards takes time, effort and consideration, often causing business owners to abandon the process before it even begins.

Seasoned public relations professionals, however, know exactly where to find the information, how to properly submit it and the deadlines by which it all needs to be done. Here are a few reasons businesses enlist PR support to secure these fantastic business-boosters:

1. Awards increase sales.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. We all feel more comfortable purchasing items others have already vouched for and consider the best. When a company earns a Consumer Report rating of “excellent,” we’re more likely to make an investment. If Parent’s Choice Awards gives your new baby toy top billing, you can expect it’ll fly off store shelves. Consumers prefer to purchase items that are highly rated and positively reviewed. Earn those types of awards and the sales will follow.

2. Awards increase funding opportunities.

For bootstrapped startups seeking venture capital or angel investor support, awards, recognitions and rankings provide a baseline for conservative investors who want some degree of proof prior to writing a check.

3. Awards confer bragging rights.

There are very few operating businesses that don’t enjoy showing off a little bit, and awards, recognition and the like provide a perfect platform. Every business has a competitor somewhere. Therefore, to maintain leadership, each business must do all in its power to rise above the fray. Earning awards automatically places your business in an elite category alongside other remarkable leaders. This lends itself to advantageous networking opportunities and may even sway customers to work with you rather than with a competitor.

Once you’ve obtained an award, certification or recognition, the next thing to do is to publicize it.

1. Write and distribute a news announcement (press release).

Often, organizations that host awards will develop a template release, which can be useful for businesses that don’t have an in-house PR team or hired firm to delegate this responsibility. Keep it short and sweet and just let the news of the win shine!

2. Share with your constituents via email.

For businesses that distribute email newsletters or quick feeds via MailChimp or similar programs, sharing news with current and potential customers is an easy way to keep your business top of mind.

3. Share socially.

The broad reach of social media allows limitless potential for sharing award news. Write a piece for your company blog with links back to the organization delivering the awards. Do the same across all active social media platforms and each of these steps will not only build awareness, but will help with SEO, too.

4. Post and display the award logo.

With permission, winning businesses can add award logos to websites, social media pages, marketing collateral and even packing slips. In addition, to help bolster market position, many add the phrase “award-winning” to written collateral, advertising, direct mail, business cards and Web information. In addition, businesses often hang award plaques or printed posters of awards in main lobbies and storefronts to further showcase prominence based on award receipt.

Awards, certifications and recognition are useful tools to add to your marketing arsenal. This type of marketing often earns new customers, but to keep loyal customers, businesses must deliver on what their awards promise. Call Axia Public Relations today to learn about its AwardAbility program, through which our firm does all the legwork. Find out how this targeted program can help your business earn the reputation it desires.

Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England teams.

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Topics: public relations, awards, inbound marketing

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