Awards are more popular and widespread than ever. They bring recognition into focus so it’s no wonder that companies are also making good use of them to celebrate industry contributions, promote best practices, and build a sense of community. When properly organized, awards can also bring in revenue, which makes them the ultimate win-win for any organization. So, if your organization is considering an awards program, this guide will show you why it can be a real game-changer and how to turn it into a compelling offer for your business partners.
Awards as a source of revenue
Obviously, starting an awards competition does not automatically mean an instant boost to your revenue. In order to be successful, such programs should be approached strategically and every step should be planned well in advance.
There are usually two types of awards competitions:
- Paid business awards – entrants pay a fee to enter the awards.
- Free business awards – entrants do not pay a fee as it is usually included as a benefit in their annual membership or the awards have other revenue sources such as sponsorships.
Both options are powerful tools to directly or indirectly increase the revenue of your organization so don’t automatically cross any of them out — simply explore what will be the best fit in your case.
Depending on which option you decide to go with, or a combination of both, you would have to convince companies to enter your paid awards and give any potential sponsors and partners reasons to finance them.
Marketing your paid awards
Understanding why companies would consider paying for your awards program will give you a great starting point on how to communicate your awards within your industry.
It’s great marketing
Awards celebrate success and hard work, but also make for great PR and marketing opportunities. Any business can improve brand awareness and acquire new customers by simply being nominated, let alone winning an accolade. Make sure your nominees and winners have all the tools to advertise and communicate their accomplishment.
A good benchmark
Participating in an awards competition is a good way to see how a company compares against the rest. Whether this is then used to convince future clients into doing business, or helps the organization improve various aspects of their work, it’s always a win-win, no matter the benchmarking results. Make sure all your participants are aware of that.
Improved social trust
An organization getting short-listed for an award is essentially viewed as a third-party endorsement, not to mention winning the actual award. This leads to improved social trust in the nominated brand, which can then be used as a sales pitch, help retain existing clients, improve relationships with suppliers, stand out from the competition, etc.
Awards attract talent
It’s a way to strengthen a company’s hiring power. Award-winning organizations pitch themselves as the best and this helps them attract better talent, which in turn empowers them to take their business to the next level.
Awards essentially recognize the hard work of a company’s employees so an award often boosts staff morale and motivation.
Recruiting sponsors for your awards
Regardless of whether you opt for free or paid awards, sponsors and partners are crucial stakeholders that can really help with growing both your program and your revenue. So, let’s see why they would be willing to sponsor your awards to make them a compelling offer.
Awards are the darlings in any industry and that’s what makes sponsors take notice. It’s a chance for them to reach a wider audience, or at least strengthen brand recognition. Which is always a win for them.
An awards competition often serves a good cause. They can be about distinguishing excellence in science, supporting environmental efforts, pushing innovations, etc. A good cause is something that any company is happy to get behind.
Awards as an indirect source of income
Аwards not only directly increase your organization’s revenue but also provide excellent business opportunities that indirectly contribute to the overall growth of your business. It’s why business awards are such an excellent business opportunity.
Get new business leads
No matter how large a database of existing clients you have, an awards program will attract some extra attention to your brand. And this naturally brings many new business leads, which is always good for business.
Strengthen your brand
That extra attention to your brand will of course strengthen it considerably. An awards program is a long-term project and as time goes by, the awards will grow and the benefits to your brand will get bigger and bigger.
Extra publicity for your organization
Not saying here you’ll automatically get free publicity simply because you’re organizing an awards competition. But awards generate a ton of online buzz, media coverage, shares, likes, and commentary across all channels.
New business partnerships
Because everyone’s fascinated by award competitions, there’s great potential for negotiating new business partnerships, even with companies that aren’t part of the industry you operate in. Awards are great for branching out as well.
How to make it work
Now that you know how to promote your awards to all stakeholders, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see how to organize your program as easily and efficiently as possible.
1. Laying the groundwork
Set a budget and make sure you have some of it dedicated to marketing and the tools you’ll be using to make the program a success for everyone involved. Consider your pricing strategy in case you opt for a paid awards program and look for the balance between revenue-effective and affordable. Figure out the key dates like entry submission, judging rounds, winner announcements, etc.
2. Building toward success
An awards program has a lot of moving parts and you will need a dedicated staff to keep everything on track. It helps to have people working on specific goals for the program with set deadlines. Remember that getting your awards ready for accepting entries requires an enormous amount of work.
3. Getting the right tools for the job
One of the big struggles with setting up a successful program is staying organized. At this point, no matter how big your team is, you will need a reliable end-to-end awards management platform. This is basically where a tool like Evalato takes over and helps you literally every step of the way.
- Streamline and automate your work. The software saves you time and makes your program look top-drawer and highly professional. The platform is also highly flexible and customizable so you can tailor everything down to the last detail.
- User-friendly and modern interface. This is another important element, as it directly affects how entrants and program judges perceive your awards. It also guarantees that both judges and entrants have a blast being part of your program, so they’ll gladly come back for more.
- Create a site for your awards. This should be a big focus in the preparation of your call for entry. And even if you have your own website, the platform integrates easily with it, so you’re still making the most out of it.
- Powerful entry submission. Collect more submissions with a sleek and adaptive submission portal. The application process can be customized with various powerful options.
- Easy communication and follow-ups. Whether you wish to send notifications to remind people about submitting their entries, or to instruct judges about their duties, you have the tools you need.
- Custom evaluation phase. You can set up the entry evaluation to your exact requirements, choose various scoring types with custom criteria, scales, and weights, then invite people to the jury panel, create public voting rounds, etc.
- Announce the winners. Then easily set up a gallery of all award entries, so people can admire them long after. You get to showcase program applications, results, judge comments, and individual votes in just a few clicks of the mouse. Sharing this whole experience helps nurture a sense of community within your customers or business partners.
- Analyze data and improve. Benefit from an always complete picture with real-time scores, votes management, a results page, and many features that help improve and grow your awards.
4. Focusing on awards credibility
On one hand, with Evalato you get a secure and fully GDPR-compliant solution, but that’s not enough. To add actual credibility to your program, consider inviting some big names from your industry to judge program entries. Having judges who are well-known will greatly increase the prestige and legitimacy of your awards.
There’s a better way
Awards are a lot of work if you go the old-school route of spreadsheets, folders, endless emails, etc. But this can be so much easier with a good platform that tracks, stores, and helps you manage every stage of entry submission and judging for your program. Saving hours upon hours of work is another way you’ll be increasing your revenue, should you decide to start your own awards program.
Evalato is the next-gen awards management software designed to suit all your needs — free testing available and no credit card required.