Here’s why you should check that ego, stop worrying people will think you have tickets on yourself and start entering awards, writes marketing coach and founder of Marketing to Mums, Katrina McCarter.
It’s hard to push aside that feeling of not wanting to blow your own trumpet but if you don’t, you’re squandering a great opportunity to market with no money and boost your profile and brand.
How entering awards boosts your business – even if you don’t win
For the last five years, I’ve been a finalist in B&T’s Women in Media Awards in the categories of Marketing and Entrepreneur. I’ve been up against senior representatives like the Coles CMO Lisa Ronson and senior executives from the ABC, Spotify and even my old employer, Mars – but I’m a one-woman show.
It proves even micro businesses can make a real impact in the media and marketing world. Being a finalist in such esteemed company demonstrates I’m a strong performer. It validates my work in marketing and partnerships and acts as an important third-party endorsement for my businesses. It shows my business is reputable.
The most exciting award I won was the M2Moms ‘You Take the Cake’ Award’ in 2018. It’s a gong given to whoever is voted Best Speaker at the M2Moms Conference in New York. It was special because it was voted for by my peers in the US, including senior representatives from Google, Facebook and AARP – great validation that my business and skills can hold their own among global brands.
Awards can grow your profile and are fantastic opportunity generators, which make you more attractive to potential partners. They build trust and confidence, and you gain credibility. If you have an emerging business or one that has repositioned itself, entering awards will support your brand positioning.
I love the story of Nikki Parkinson, a journalist who founded lifestyle and beauty blog Styling You. It has a monthly readership of over 100,000 and attracts sponsorship from many national brands.
In 2015, Nikki was the first blogger to win a Telstra Business Award. She feels it’s given her greater credibility when negotiating with brands and brought attention to influencer marketing as a viable marketing strategy to grow sales.
Tips for entering business awards
Here’s the two steps to take to enter awards:
1. Work out the key differences that make your business special. These are what you’ll amplify with awards. They act as an endorsement that your business is valued and recognised.
2. Look at what’s available in your industry sector, but don’t stick to awards only in your sphere. Look outside your industry too for bigger awards. Customer experience awards are always a category worth considering. Winning one makes potential customers and clients feel comfortable choosing you.
The most recognised and respected business awards in Australia are the Telstra Business Awards. They’re supported with great media exposure. Be prepared to spend around 40 hours on the application process. The Australian Small Business Champion Awards have around 48 categories on offer, and are open to small businesses in retail, service and manufacturing.
Remember, entering awards is about recognising you have valuable skills and your business is outstanding and can hold its own in any company.
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