tips and tricks

Top ten tips when entering the Big Awards and others

top10tips
top10tips

So you think you deserve a Big Award? You quite possibly do, but standing between you and the recognition you so richly deserve is the small matter of a written entry.

This submission is the one and only chance you have to get your case across. There is no second stage, no face-to-face presentation. This written entry is it. So you really need to ensure it does you justice.

Here are some important pointers from us here at Boost Marketing, the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy.

We've put our heads together and distilled a huge list of suggestions and top tips into just ten vital ingredients. These are based on our experience of writing over 700 winning award entries since we were established in June 2006.

  1. Tell a story – make your submission a compelling read. Yes, you are talking to a “judge”, but this is not a court of law. Make the narrative win them over.
  2. Prove you’re the best – while telling your story, avoid the pitfall of including unsubstantiated assertions like “there was a real buzz in the office” or “feedback was immediately excellent”. Judges get irritated by statements that lack evidence.
  3. Read the instructions – this might seem an obvious point, but ensure you read the guidelines and judging criteria carefully and then ensure you answer all the questions in full without going off at tangents. If you are not 100% sure what a question is after – ask. Never assume.
  4. Interview the right people – even if you think you know the story, you should interview as many other people as possible. Ideally a senior sponsor, external “witnesses”, the implementer of the strategy and maybe even beneficiary like an end-user or customer.
  5. Find a truly independent reviewer – the judges are unlikely to know your industry, so it pays to get someone to read your draft submission who is equally objective.
  6. Imagine you were unsuccessful – when you have written your entry, a good technique is to imagine you were unsuccessful and you narrowly missed the top spot. What would you do to get a few extra marks?
  7. Use images wisely – It’s true that a picture tells a thousand words, but badly used graphs, diagrams and photos can actually do more harm than good. Images are good, but only if they make sense in three seconds, add value and have a clear purpose.
  8. Avoid the quagmire – the biggest trap in any submission writing process is to focus too heavily on “what we did” – the quagmire. It is called this because it you get bogged down in the detail. Remember that awards are as much for what you achieved, as what you did. So balance the two.
  9. Recycle your entries – having spent time and/or money crafting a thorough award entry, it would be a travesty not to use it again. So find some more awards to enter it into. You can browse the Boost Marketing Awards lists for free (and subscribed for free monthly updates). Click on any of these links: UK, Ireland, France, New Zealand and USA.
  10. Use awards for continuous improvement – a survey by Boost of awards organisers showed that a third of awards provide feedback, another third give feedback when asked. Resist the temptation to contest any comments provided by judges, instead use the feedback to improve your initiative, your strategy or maybe just your award entry writing for next time.

If you ever need help choosing which awards to enter, gathering the right sort of evidence of success and uniqueness, writing your award submission or preparing a presentation to judges, then feel free to contact our partners at Boost Marketing in the UK, Ireland, France or New Zealand.

© These top tips are the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Marketing Ltd

Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr

8 Ways To Write A Winning Business Award Nomination

Follow these simple tips to improve your odds of winning a business award

Start now. Don’t miss out by missing a deadline. Also look for ways to stay up to date, like our News and Alerts.

Provide proof. What are the facts? Detail the exact reasons why you are deserving of a BIG Award.

KISS – Keep it simple stupid. While our judges are experienced, they come from various backgrounds and don’t know your business like you do. Write your nomination so your grandmother could follow it.

Make sure you answer the question. Just like your fourth-grade teacher said, “Make sure you go back to the top and double-check that you answered the question being asked.”

Follow the rules. Don’t go over the word count or break any rules. If you have a question…ask.

Show the value. Detail how the person, company or product made an impact. Show the value to stakeholders.

Be passionate. Let us hear the sizzle? We don’t need fluffy words and flowery entries but your passion should show thru.

Proof read. No one likes to try to read poorly written articles and nominations. Frankly it’s hard. Have your work proofed by a professional like Scribendi.

Follow these simple steps to make sure that your nomination has a chance at glory!

BONUS TIP: If you have never written an award submission and find the task daunting…consider getting professional help!

3 Simple Ways To Differentiate Your Business To Attract Today’s B2B Buyers

How Great Writing, Demos, Testimonials, and Business Awards Can Change B2B Buyers

In the uber-connected and ultra-competitive world we live in today, you have to differentiate your product, your company and your people from others looking to knock you off your game.

It is not a matter of simply showing buyers how good your product is, it’s about connecting with your buyer so they can solve a problem, improve performance or have the confidence necessary to open their wallet.

Building that differentiation is difficult, especially when you offer a commodity-based product. Here are three tips to help you connect more deeply with buyers.

Have a Voice.

Humans are social animals. Facebook has proven that almost a billion times over. B2B marketing tends to be dry and full of “corporate” speak so we don’t offend anyone. The reality: Corporate speak bores people into apathy and inaction.

Buyers want to hear about you (your company, your products, your employees) in your own words.

Putting your voice, your personality and your employees out front implies that you treat every potential buyer as an individual. You are in effect using every medium like a one-on-one conversation.

37Signals does a great job at writing for individuals. Check out Rackspace as a good example of putting employees out front.

Show the Value. What’s shocking is that in this day and age when most of us spend more time online than we do in front of a TV and with all the new media tools at our disposal—usually for free, we haven’t really changed how we engage B2B buyers.

We write and write and write, seamlessly to no end. We are great at producing sell sheets, offer sheets, whitepapers, and spec sheets telling prospects how our products work, feel and operate.

But showing buyers how products will affect their world is far more effective and deepens the connection between buyers and sellers.

The great news is this can be done any almost any budget. While you need to maintain a professional image, you can produce B2B marketing videos, webinars and video demonstrations for virtually free. And if you think you need an actor, think again. Letting your sales people, product managers, executives and founders be your talent improves authenticity. These people know more about your product than anyone else and are generally the most passionate and honest.

You also don’t need much to get started. I use GoToMeeting ($30 a month) and Join Me (free) for live demonstrations and screen sharing sessions with a good HD webcam, like the Logitech C910 (under $100), to record videos and to show my product off. Simply show your screen for websites and PowerPoint materials and spin up your webcam so that you can show your physical product and connect eye-to-eye with attendees.

And oh yeah, don’t forget to hit record! Offering your prospects a replay is a great online asset and conversion point for your website and almost just as effective as live demonstrations.

Get Recognized. Saying your great and your product will change a prospects world is easy…having someone else validate your claims is the best antidote to an unconnected buyer.

There are three different types of third-party validation that are the most effective:

  1. customer testimonials including case studies
  2. external analyst assessments
  3. awards and recognition.

Getting good customer testimonials is easier than you think and an invaluable resource. They show buyers that other people are willing to risk their own brand by standing up for yours. And recording your testimonials (audio or video) is a great way to enhance that connection online. All you have to do is ask. What’s the worst a customer can say? No?

Make asking for testimonials part of your new customer process and account management strategy for existing customers. When it becomes part of your regular routine, you’ll have a testimonial for every type of customer before you know it.

For audio testimonials, I use Google Voice (free) to call and record conversations with customers. If you need to do some audio editing, Audacity (free) is a great open source tool and pretty intuitive. If at all possible, get customers on video! Most cameras and phones have video, so point, shoot and blast it up to You Tube.

Being recognized by industry analysts takes more lead-time depending on your business. Work to establish regular discussions with the people that cover your trade. Large buyers, investors and reporters use analyst reports for expertise and background.

Getting on an analysts calendar is usually easier than getting a report’s. Analysts are paid for quarterly, annual and custom reports so while they don’t publish as often as reports, their validation of your product usually holds more weight.

For a list of analysts covering your industry you can check out http://alltheanalysts.com/ and http://analystdirectory.barbarafrench.net/.

Finally, awards are a great tool to help buyers feel good about your product and company. Lets face it, as consumers we prefer to buy the best product from the best company…not the team that finished second or didn’t even place.

To win awards you have to compete, and by compete, I mean compete. There are plenty of programs and publications that simply take money for awards and reward every nomination. Stay away from these companies, your buyers will see right through these schemes as they scratch beneath the surface.

The BIG Awards and The Stevies are both juried competitions that reward companies for their nominations. Real business people judge nominations, and while there are plenty of categories and industries represented, the results are unbiased and will be held to a higher standard by your prospects.