3 Reasons you Should Submit Award Entries – and some tips to help you win

25th July 2019

With a variety of awards available to financial services firms throughout the year, it’s important to think carefully about getting your submissions in.

Having just been fortunate enough to win the Best Discretionary Fund Manager at the 2019 Money Marketing awards for Beaufort Investment, our discretionary fund management business, I know from first-hand experience how beneficial winning an award can be for your business!

Here are a few reasons why you should consider putting yourself forward for awards, and some tips for making your business stand out in front of the judge

3 Reasons to Enter Awards

A study by researchers at Plymouth University called The Value of Business Awards to Small Businesses found that winning an award had a positive impact both internally and externally

It’s also worth mentioning that even being nominated for an award can result in many of the positive benefits below.

Convert your Prospects

Winning an award can help build your social profile and convert your current prospects into clients.

Writing in Forbes, Alex Fusman says: “In a B2C setting, consumers are always looking for trust signals – why should they trust your brand and its products, especially if they haven’t heard of you?

“Consumer reviews are usually a common source of trust, but everyone knows that reviews don’t always tell the whole story. Third-party recognition in the form of awards goes a long way toward building trust.”

Positioning the award prominently on your website and within any marketing material highlights to your prospects that you’re different from your peers.

It demonstrates that you do something much better (whether that is customer service, better client documentation etc.) than your competitors, giving you the upper hand at a key time when your prospects need to make their decision.

Additional ways that you can highlight your win include:

  • Adding it to your pitch presentations
  • Adding the logo to your email signature/footer
  • Add it to the header or footer of any email/newsletter content you send out
  • Adding it to all your business stationery – even invoices
  • Tell your professional connections, e.g. on LinkedIn

Reinforce to your Existing Clients why they Choose you

Winning an award provides you with a great opportunity to engage with your existing clients.

Send out an email showcasing your award win and host a blog on your website talking about what you had to do to win the award, and why your business was chosen. Showcasing your achievement helps to reinforce the message that your clients are dealing with the best.

Winning an award also positions you as an attractive employer. This will help you to retain your

staff, and to attract the best talent.

Good PR Coverage

A win gives you a great opportunity to get some local press coverage.

Send a press release to your local newspapers and radio and you may well attract further coverage. Explain why you won the award and what makes you different from other businesses.

If you are a member of a local business organisation, such as the Chamber of Commerce, they may also be happy to share your success on their website or in their publications.

Tips to give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning

So, we’ve seen that winning an award gives your business some great opportunities.

A research study conducted by the University of Western Ontario and Georgia Institute of Technology of more than 600 quality corporate award winners found that they enjoyed 37% more sales growth and a 44% higher stock price return than their peers.

And, it’s not just your business that you might want to enter. Nominating individuals within your business for awards can also help build trust and improve morale – and it can help you to retain your best people.

But how do you go about getting nominated, and then winning?

  • Pick the awards carefully. Writing your entry can take a lot of time, so it’s important to find awards that are a) worth winning and b) that you have a chance of winning. Not all awards are equal, so enter categories where you feel you have a genuine chance of success. Here’s a comprehensive list of the financial services awards currently available.
  • Read and answer the brief. Every awards form is different, so make sure you read the questions carefully and answer the specific question you are being asked. And, don’t forget to answer all the questions.
  • Make the judge’s life easy. Make your entry easy to read by using sub-headings, bullet points and short sentences. If you can use infographics, tables or other supporting documents, then use them (if the entry allows this!)
  • Get your team involved. Your colleagues may know specific parts of your business better than you do. Get together and highlight everything that you want to include in your submission, and even ask individuals to answer the questions relevant to their part of the business.
  • Focus on your achievements. Don’t make promises about what might happen in the future by using phrases such as ‘working towards…’ or ‘planning to change…’. Highlight things that have already happened and be specific. Evidence exactly what you have achieved and provide the numbers and data where possible. Quote your retention rates, testimonials from clients, the number of referrals you have received, your website traffic, the open rates on your marketing, the improvement in turnover or the increase in enquiry levels – whatever the question demands.
  • Chat to judges. Find out who regularly judges awards and get in touch. A quick chat will help you to understand what is important to a judge, what factors they are looking for, and the sort of thing that impresses a panel.

With plenty of awards to choose from throughout the year, writing your entries may take up some time. However, it could be very rewarding long-term.

Regards

Simon Goldthorpe

Executive Chairman, The Beaufort Group