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May 9, 2023

Awards Marketing 101: Tips & Tricks

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Awards are meant to be seen, competitions announced far and wide, and potential entrants targeted and reached. Marketing awards, however, is easier said than done and you need to do it right so that submissions start piling up in your awards management software. To that end, we’ve prepared 101 effective tips to help you boost your awards marketing ROI.

Where it all begins

Your website should be your awards marketing starting point. If not planned and designed well, the face of your awards might backfire and thwart your marketing efforts. Here are some useful tips about creating an enticing awards website.

👉 1. Create a dedicated webpage for your awards and keep your users on it to increase conversions. Even if your budget or resources are limited, you can still craft an impressive webpage using basic coding techniques with the assistance of WordPress themes and plugins.  Evalato’s embeddable registration form meanwhile ensures that your customers never leave your webpage to register for your awards.

👉 2. Or use Evalato’s webpage creator. It requires no coding – just a few clicks on your end and you’re good to go.

👉 3. When crafting your awards webpage, make sure that it matches your organization’s colors, logos, etc. Evalato’s branding options give you the option to personalize your awards webpage for a bigger marketing impact. 

👉 4. Craft an enticing web copy. Put some extra effort and time into this, it will pay off. Start with your awards’ unique selling point (USP) – figure out what makes your program stand out from the rest and let people know. 

👉 5. Create a “Why participate” page where all the benefits of your awards competition are clearly outlined to potential contestants.

Not sure how to do it? Here’s a list of some general benefits of competing in an awards competition that you can present to your target applicants.

👉 6. Remind your applicants that through participating, they will build credibility, and be seen and recognized as one of the best in their industry.

👉 7. They will have their work introduced to and reviewed by leading industry experts and will receive valuable feedback.

👉 8. Present your awards as a challenge — a competition with the best of the best.

👉 9. Explain that they will benefit from year-round publicity in the form of press publications and social media mentions.

👉 10. They might generate new business leads by using the awards as a networking opportunity.

👉 11. They could impress clients, partners, and potential customers by including their participation proactively within their current marketing strategy. 

👉 12. Winning an awards competition gives them a competitive edge over their rivals, and boosts credibility and brand awareness. 

👉 13. All of this ultimately results in more sales and revenue.  

👉 14. … and of course, let’s not forget the chance of winning a prestigious award trophy, certificate of excellence, and a “winner of…” logo for all their digital communication channels, in short, some well-deserved bragging rights.

👉 15. Be honest and transparent. The more people trust you, the more sales you’ll make.

How to set up conversions-friendly registration 

The registration form is often underestimated but that’s a crucial part of your awards program management and marketing strategy. Incorporate some (or all) of the below-listed tips into your marketing plan and watch your sales go through the ceiling.‍

👉 16. The registration form should be integrated into your awards webpage. Don’t interrupt your customer experience by sending your contest entrants to a third-party website. You can ensure a flawless customer experience by embedding the Evalato registration form directly on your website. It’s as easy as embedding a YouTube video.

Check out these ecommerce sales tricks that work perfectly for your awards competition‍

👉 17. Use special offers and promo codes. Keep in mind that conservative spenders make up a large portion of almost every customer base, which means there are many people out there who want to enter your contest if nudged with a discount. Adding effective special offers and promo codes to your sales process will increase the contest’s bottom line.

👉 18. Evalato’s (not-so-secret) secret ingredients to special offers:‍

  • Goal: What do you want to achieve with your special offer? Is it to acquire new customers, reward existing ones, or simply increase your revenue? Figure out your goals and tweak your special offer to meet them.
  • Value: Let’s make one thing clear – your customers can tell a good value offer from a bad one. A sales promotion must never be in the latter category. If you have doubts that your offer isn’t attractive, it probably isn’t.
  • Profitability: The Special offer has to represent good value, but without sacrificing profitability margins. Do the math to calculate its profitability and make sure the offer is healthy for your revenue.
  • Exclusivity: The final ingredient is the element of exclusivity. This usually means making it a timed offer or setting a maximum number of times it can be used.‍

👉 19. You need to cross-sell, up-sell, and entice entrants whose submissions fit in more than one category.

👉 20. Here are some special offer samples: pre-launch offer (discount); early bird discount for the first to enter; 2-for-1 limited-time offers; volume discounts (for multiple submissions); free submissions for a cause.

👉 21. Special offers need to be few and far between. Don’t go overboard though because you don’t want to establish a thrift-store image.

👉 22. If you want a larger variety of pricing offers to attract more submissions, try targeting groups of organizations with special deals only for them: startups, NGOs and charities, students, and partners.

👉 23. Use conversion triggers: persuade potential applicants into joining the program with dynamic visual notifications and conversion triggers on the registration form.

👉 24. Attract new clients with promotional codes and create loyalty programs for easy customer retention.

👉 25. Use the crossed price feature to show the usual price, next to the current and improved one, right on the registration form. Simple and effective.

👉 26. Evalato has all the above sales tools to help you sell more submissions: from the crossed-out price feature to dynamic conversion triggers, custom special offers, and promo codes. Need more tips on how to price your awards? We got you covered.

Media relations & coverage

Some marketers ignore media and rely solely on other ways of promoting their awards competitions. Huge mistake. Media will always influence people. It might evolve alongside technology, but it remains a trusted source of information and a great channel to spread the word about your program. Here are some tips regarding your PR efforts.

Media partnerships

👉 27. Find the right media partners. You will need to scour the Internet for industry-specific and general media outlets that cover your industry as well as influential industry bloggers.

👉 28. Narrow down the circle of potential partners to reach out to based on what will be most interesting and beneficial to your program’s future applicants. 

👉 29. Create win-win media partnerships. For any partnership to work, it needs to be mutually beneficial for both parties. You should give something extra to your media partners that non-partner media will not be receiving. In return, you can ask for something extra as well. 

You can also ask your media partners for:

👉 30. Permanent or periodic presence in their publications (online and offline)

👉 31. Placement of your organization’s or program’s logo as their partner

👉 32. Ad space (e.g. banners)

👉 33. Publication of promotional materials for your awards program 

👉 34. Permanent or periodic presence in their newsletter or bulletin.

For traditional and online media (non-partners)

👉 35. Target and localize as much as possible. If your awards competition is local, create a targeted media list. Set your sights on local media outlets and get as local as possible. Journalists are after stories that are important to the community they cover, so if your competition is calling for submissions from London, look for media based there. 

👉 36. Localize by industry too. Find media outlets that cover your particular industry or field, or that of the awards competition and add those to your list as well. That is not to say you should avoid big media outlets, just tailor your message and focus more on the ones above.

Prepare press releases like a PR pro

Now that you have your list of media outlets, you need to prepare an engaging press release.

👉 37. Make sure you are covering your PR basics – the five Ws & one H:

  • Who is organizing the competition?
  • What are the awards about?
  • Where is it happening – online, live gala ceremony?
  • When is it happening – what are the key dates for contestants?
  • Why is it important or interesting?
  • How is it relevant to the media outlet and audience?

Press release topic ideas

👉 38. Awards competition announcement

👉 39. New category announcement

👉 40. New partner onboard

👉 41. New sponsor onboard

👉 42. Jury announcement

👉 43. Interview with a judge or contestant 

👉 44. New prize announcement

👉 45. New promotion or offer announcement

👉 46. New milestone reached

👉 47. Industry report or research you’ve done

Content marketing for awards

👉 48. Why not start a blog?

👉 49. Set a schedule for your blog articles and stick to it. A blog is only as good as its updates, so keep it active.

Blog topics and ideas

👉 50. Any of the press release (news) topics above can be re-written in a more casual, everyday tone of voice

👉 51. An exciting, new development in your target industry

👉 52. Advice, how-to, useful tips, tricks, or “hacks” articles related to your audience or industry

👉 53. An interview with someone from your team

👉 54. An interview with a partner, sponsor, or endorser

👉 55. Tips for your contestants on how to market their award. 

👉 56. Will you have a gala awards ceremony? Give the audience a teaser about how awesome it’s going to be!

Influencer marketing

Don’t forget the power of influencers.

👉 57. Find the right influencers and offer them incentives to raise awareness for your awards contest. It could be a referral program or any kind of partnership agreement.

👉 58. Ask your jury to help you spread the word about your contest.

Your jury members are most probably among the influencers in your industry. That, and the fact that they are already an important part of your competition, makes them the perfect ambassadors for your awards. So don’t forget to ask them to help you promote your program through their social media channels, newsletters, or blogs.

👉 59. To achieve the above, you need to keep your jury happy. The best way to do that is to make sure the evaluation process of your awards is as smooth as possible, ideally, with a dedicated portal where your jury members can work comfortably, accessible from any device. 

Social media marketing

👉 60. Find the right social media channels: be only where your target audience is.

👉 61. Join conversations. Don’t just “like” other people’s comments, add a reply and make it more personal.

👉 62. Share useful information with your audience like industry-related articles, blog posts, tips and tricks, or entertaining content — it all depends on your brand strategy and target audience.

👉 63. Start meaningful and engaging discussions.

👉 64. Never use social media solely as a platform for promotional content, make sure your followers get value out of your social media presence.

👉 65. Allocate some budget for paid advertising on social media. It’s almost impossible to reach your target audience relying only on organic reach alone.

👉 66. When posting, tag sponsors, partners, and entrants to induce engagement. 

👉 67. Depending on the social network, create a relevant hashtag for your competition and use it. 

👉 68. And the most important rule of all — keep in mind that trends, rules, and algorithms change, so, always stay up-to-date with the latest social media developments and use them to your advantage. 

Make sure your social media content is...

👉 69. Visual (pictures/graphics/video). Even if you are not a social media pro, you must know that video is content king

👉 70. Relevant to your awards and industry

👉 71. Useful or fun for your potential entrants

👉 72. Positive rather than negative

👉 73. Engaging and encouraging conversation.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a good way to generate more buzz around your competition and even increase the number of submissions.

👉 74. Make sure you are not sending spam, and have a list of contacts that have subscribed or have signed up to receive your emails.

👉 75. Never send promotional content only. Add useful information like your top blog posts or interesting articles in your industry.

👉 76. Make your email subscribers feel special: send them exclusive special offers or promo codes for them only.

👉 77. Use a smart email marketing solution to automate your work.

👉 78. With Evalato you can add and update contacts in email marketing or CRM software (e.g. Mailchimp, HubSpot CRM, Salesforce, ActiveCampaign, etc.).

👉 79. Test before you send — if you make any last-minute changes after testing, test again. 

👉 80. Test on multiple devices. A lot of the people receiving your email will open it from their mobile devices. You want them to be able to read it effortlessly, otherwise, they won’t read it at all. 

👉 81. Always add a Call-to-Action. Make sure it’s obvious, but not too obvious to the point where it takes the whole screen of the mobile phone. 

👉 82. Keep your message brief. Anything that is too long or wordy risks people flat-out refusing to enter your awards competition, unsubscribing, adding your email to the spam filter, or all of the above.

👉 83. Always check your links. Check if they work and whether they lead to where they’re supposed to.

👉 84. Add a personal touch. Personalize your messages so that the recipient feels as though you’re reaching out to them alone. Try addressing them by their first name only.

👉 85. Use the right language. Know your audience and address them accordingly.

👉 86. Evalato lets you export the contestant data from your award program. Use that data for future email marketing campaigns. Evalato also integrates effortlessly with the most popular email marketing solutions out there for an even more efficient online award program management. You want automation – we have it!

The Ultimate Guide to Organizing an Awards

Don’t forget to celebrate the winners 

👉 87. Showcasing the winners is its own form of marketing. Evalato has you covered with a ready-to-use webpage where you can show the world how great it is to participate in your awards. 

👉 88. Hold an awards ceremony, if possible, in person or online — it’s great for marketing. 

👉 89. Prepare marketing materials for your winners, such as digital seals, press releases, social media images, etc. 

👉 90. Urge the winners to promote their achievements. This will help spread the word about your awards well beyond your immediate network. 

Prepare for the next edition 

While it might seem premature, it’s never too early to start marketing the next edition of your awards. 

👉 91. As you wrap up your awards, analyze the data (number of registrations, applications, revenue, etc.), and identify “strong” and “weak” periods. Evalato’s analytics options can help you do just that.  

👉 92. Tweak your timeline and marketing strategy accordingly to make the next edition a bigger success. 

👉 93. Check in with your awards jury and see what tips they have for your future applicants based on the previous edition — this will help you create useful marketing content for both former and future applicants.  

👉 94. Open registrations for your new program as early as feasible, while the memory of the previous edition is still fresh. Evalato’s one-click program clone option will enable you to do that fast, so you can focus your efforts on marketing. 

👉 95. Keep your blog and social media content fresh and up-to-date between editions, so that you stay relevant while you prepare for the next edition. 

Use the right tools

👉 96. Make sure you are equipped with all the tools you need to make the job of organizing and marketing your awards easier — from something to aid communication within your team, to marketing, sales, and CRM. 

👉 97. Use online awards program software — not only will it help you with your marketing efforts, but it will save you tons of time and energy that you can invest in being more creative and attracting more applicants.

👉 98. Make sure the tool you use is also applicant and judge-friendly — this will ensure that people keep coming back to your program. 

👉 99. While there are lots of awards management solutions out there, aim for one that could cover all your awards competition needs: from encompassing all phases of your awards competition to the option to connect with other apps you use like HubSpot, Intercom, etc.

👉 100. Try Evalato’s 2-step application process to increase the number of entries and make it all more convenient for your applicants:

  • Step 1: your applicants choose entry categories, fill in the registration form with basic contact information and pay for the entries.
  • Step 2: entries are filled in and submitted. Applicants could edit their entries as much as they need within the timeframe you’ve set.

101. Use the time that Evalato saves you by streamlining your processes (our stats show it’s 40+ hours per month) to fine-tune your marketing strategy to make your awards program a smashing success. 

Evalato is next-gen awards management software to manage your nominations, awards, competitions, contests, recognitions, prizes, and more. With Evalato you save hundreds of hours with all the features you need built into a single platform. Powerful, versatile, super customizable, highly scalable, lightning-fast, and secure – Evalato will help you with every phase of your program – web presence, marketing, registration, submissions, evaluation, and analytics. Try it out for free!

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