Winning awards for excellence is a valuable way to distinguish your company in a competitive marketplace. Here are five tips to increase your chances of success in business award competitions along with some advice on how to use awards in your marketing strategy:

  1. Select the right competitions. Enter competitions that will give you the most visibility and the most meaningful recognition in your marketplace. You’ll have the best chance of success in regional or industry competitions where your expertise or market presence is an advantage.
  2. Select the right categories. Study the available categories to decide where your entry belongs and where you’ll be most likely to win. Some categories get fewer entries than others, which improves your odds. If you’re unsure which category is the right one, ask the awards program for help. And if last year’s winners are posted online, see how your entry compares.
  3. Shoot for high-publicity opportunities. Competitions with media partners who publicize the winners bring you the most visibility. Regional business competitions in larger cities, for example, usually align with business publications or websites to showcase honorees.
  4. Enter individuals as well as your company. Many awards competitions recognize individuals who have achieved excellence in their organizations or industries. Entering yourself or your employees in competitions creates opportunities for personal recognition that also reflects positively on your organization.
  5. Broaden your thinking. Competitions in your industry should be the first ones you consider, but you could be eligible for awards acknowledging success in many aspects of your business. Your company’s advertising, marketing, website, customer service, product innovation, business growth, staff/supplier diversity, commitment to community service or even your role as a pioneer in your industry could make you a worthy recipient.

Winning an award gives your company two powerful marketing advantages: visibility and credibility. If increasing visibility and differentiating your company from competitors are goals in your marketing plan, winning awards can be a relatively inexpensive way to achieve your objectives.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.