An award win can have a genuinely positive impact on advice businesses, both internally and externally.
With a variety of financial services awards to choose from, you may have been thinking about how your business could share in the success.
There are three main reasons to consider putting yourself forward, as even a nomination can bring benefits.
Firms that have industry accolades positioned prominently on their website demonstrate how they are different to their peers.
Whether it's for customer service, client documentation or something else, this shows what you do better, and can provide a key advantage at a time when prospects are looking for an adviser to work with.
Adding winners’ or even shortlisting logos to pitch presentations and email signatures are other ways of highlighting success. It's also worth sharing the news with professional connections on LinkedIn.
Reinforcing worth to existing clients
Winning an award provides an ideal opportunity to engage with existing clients, reminding them of your value as a business and the service you deliver.
You can also look at issuing an email mailout and blog covering what went into winning the award, as well as why judges selected your business.
Demonstrating company achievements in this way reinforces to clients that they are dealing with the best.
Good PR coverage
Being nominated will lead to good coverage as part of the award host’s marketing, but a win presents a good chance to build some local press interest.
Sharing a press release with the local newspaper and radio station may well attract further exposure. Explain exactly why the business won the award – and therefore what makes it different.
For members of local business organisations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, it may be possible to have the news shared on their website or in their publications.
How to craft a winning entry
Winning an industry award undoubtedly offers some good promotional opportunities.
But this isn't just about the business: nominating individuals is a great way of building trust and morale among the workforce, and in turn helping retain the best people.
Some tips to securing a nomination and making sure your business stands out to the judges include:
Pick awards carefully
Writing an entry can take some time, so it's important to find those awards that the business is a good fit for.
Review the categories closely to determine those where you feel there would be a genuine chance of success.
Pay attention to the brief
Every awards form is different, so take the time to read the questions carefully and address each specific point. Importantly, do not miss any questions.
Make the judge’s life easy
Make the entry easy to read by using sub-headings, bullet points and short sentences.
Use infographics, tables and other supporting documents if you can, but be sure to check the entry allows this first.
Get your team involved
Your colleagues may know specific parts of your business better than you do, so it's worth getting the team together to agree what should be included in the submission.
In some cases, it may make sense to ask individuals to answer questions relevant to their part of the business.
Focus on business achievements
Be careful not to make promises about what might happen in the future by using phrases such as "working towards…" or "planning to change…".
Instead, highlight concrete achievements and be specific in evidencing them, providing the numbers and data where possible.
Quote retention rates, testimonials from clients, the number of referrals received, website traffic, open rates on marketing, the improvement in turnover or the increase in enquiry levels – whatever the question demands.
Engage with judges
Find out who regularly judges awards and get in touch (where the process allows).
A quick chat can help you to understand what's important to a judge, what factors they might be looking for, and the sort of thing that impresses a panel.
You may also want to seek feedback after the judging or awards process, so that if you're unsuccessful you know what to work on for next time.
Writing good entries is likely to take some time, particularly if you're entering multiple categories or submitting across a range of awards. However, it could also be very rewarding long-term.