Awards Marketing 101: Tips & Tricks

Awards are meant to be seen, competitions announced far and wide, and potential participants targeted and reached! However, marketing an awards competition has its specifics that you should know in order for entries to start piling up in your awards management software. Here are 101 effective advices to help you boost your awards marketing ROI and attract more contest participants.

Website & Registration Form

Your website and registration form should be the starting point of your awards marketing endeavors. If not planned and designed well, they might turn out to be the stumbling stone of all your marketing efforts. Here are some useful tips about creating enticing website and registration form.

Your Awards Competition Online Home

 

  1. Have a dedicated webpage for your awards competitions. Even if you don’t have a budget for an expensive webpage, you can always craft a top-quality page with just some basic coding using WordPress themes and plugins.

 2. Yet, the fastest and most hassle-free option if not having a webpage for your awards competition is using Weemss webpage creator. It requires no coding – just a few clicks from your part and you’re good to go. 

  1. Craft an enticing web copy. Put some extra effort and time on this, it will pay off. Start with your awards’ unique selling point (USP) – what makes your awards stand out from the rest. And let people know!
  2.  Create a “Why participate” page where all the benefits of your awards competition are clearly outlined to potential contestants.

To get you started, here are some general benefits of competing in an awards competition that you can present to your target participants:

  1. Remind them that through participating, they will build credibility, be seen and recognized as one of the best in the industry.
  2. They will have their work introduced to and reviewed by leading industry experts and will receive valuable feedback.
  3. Present your awards as a challenge for them–  a competition with the best of best.
  4. Participants might benefit from year-round publicity in the form of press publications and social media mentions.
  5.  They might also generate new business leads by using the awards competition as a networking opportunity.
  6.  They could demonstrate their participation proactively within their current marketing strategy. And respectively impress their clients, partners  and potential customers.
  7. From a strictly practical perspective, participating in an awards competition shows that one has the budgetary  means to take part. Your participants’ business must be doing well!
  8.  … and of course, let’s not forget the chance of them winning a prestigious award trophy, certificate of excellence and a   “winner of…” logo for all their digital communication channels.

Be honest and transparent. The more people trust you, the more sales you’ll make.

  1. A great way to make your awards transparent is have an “Entries webpage”. With Weemss, you can choose to show entries, entry details, average ratings, individual judge votes, comments. Again, no coding or efforts from your part required.

Her Majesty: The Registration Formregistration form

The registration form is often underestimated but that’s a crucial point when building your awards marketing strategy. Incorporate some (or all) of the below listed tips to your marketing plan and watch your sales go through the ceiling.

  1. The registration form should be an integrated part of your awards webpage. Don’t interrupt your customer experience by sending your contest participants to a third-party website. It’s not only annoying but you might also lose their trust. And that’s the last thing you want, right?

15. You can ensure a flawless customer experience by embedding Weemss registration form directly on your own website. It’s as easy as embedding a YouTube video, only it’s an awards registration form.

Here are some of the e-commerce giants’ sales tricks that would work perfectly for your awards competition…

  1. Design a registration form to impress! Use special offers, sales triggers, promo codes and crossed-the-price method.

Keep in mind that conservative spenders make up a large portion of almost every customer base, which means there are many people out there who want to enter your contest, just not at their regular price. Adding an effective special offers and sales triggers to your sales process will increase the contest’s bottom line.

  1.  Weemss’ (not-so-secret) 4 Secret Ingredients to Special Offers:
  • Goal. What do you want to achieve with your special offer? Is it to acquire new customers, reward existing customers or simply increase your event revenue? Once you define a goal, you’re ready to decide on how to meet it.
  • Value. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – your customers can tell a good value offer from a bad one. A sales promotion must never be in the latter category. If you have doubts that your offer isn’t attractive, it probably isn’t.
  • Profitability. The Special offer has to represent good value, but without sacrificing profitability margins. Do the math to calculate its profitability and make sure the offer is healthy for your revenue.
  • Exclusivity. The final ingredient is the element of exclusivity. This usually means making it a timed offer or setting a maximum number of times it can be used.
  1. You need to be able to cross-sell, up-sell and entice participants whose entries fit in more than one category.
  2. Here are some special offer samples: pre-launch offer (discount); early bird discount for the first to enter; 2-for-1 limited time offers; volume discounts (for multiple entries); free entries for a cause.
  3. Special offers need to be few and far between. Don’t go overboard though because you don’t want to establish a third store image!
  4. If you want to have a larger variety of pricing offers to attract more entries, try targeting groups of organizations with special deals only for them: startup, NGOs and charities, students or academia, partners.
  5. Use sale triggers: persuade potential competition participants into submitting an entry with dynamic visual notifications and sale triggers on the registration form.
  6. Attract new clients with promotional codes and create loyalty programs for easy customer retention.
  7. Use the crossed price feature to show the usual price, next to the current and improved one, right on the  registration form. Simple and effective.

25. Weemss has all the above marketing tools to help you sell more entries: from the cross-the-price feature to dynamic sale triggers, custom special offers and promo codes. 

Try them out for free!

  1. Always measure your results and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

27. With Weemss you can track real-time statistics and reports on your key performance indicators, so you can keep improving all the time.

Media Coverage

Some marketers ignore media and rely solely on other ways of promoting their awards competitions. Huge mistake. Media will always influence people. It might change together with the development of technology, but it stays a trusted source of information and a great channel to spread the word about your event. Here are some tips regarding your PR efforts.

Media Partnerships

  1. Find the right media partners.

You will need to scour the Internet for industry-specific and general media outlets that cover your industry as well as influential industry bloggers.

  1. Create win-win media partnerships.

For any partnership to work, it needs to be mutually beneficial for both parties. You should give something extra to your media partners that non-partner media will not be receiving. In return, you can ask for something extra as well.

In addition to the publication of press releases, interviews and other promotional materials, ask the media outlets you are partnering with for:

  1. permanent or periodic presence in their publications (online and offline)
  2. place your organization’s or event’s logo as their partner
  3. ad space (e.g. banners)
  4. publish some promotional materials for the competition
  5. permanent or periodic presence in their newsletter or bulletin

For Traditional and Online Media (non-Partners)

  1. Target and localize as much as possible

If your awards competition is local, create a targeted media list. Set your sights on local media outlets and get as local as possible. Journalists are after stories that are important to the community they cover, so if your competition is calling for entries from London, look for media based there.

Localize by industry too. Find media outlets that cover your particular industry or field, or that of the awards competition and add those to your list as well.

That is not to say you should avoid big media outlets, just tailor your message and focus more on the ones above.

  1. Build a trusting relationship with media representative

Don’t just send press releases hoping to get published – introduce yourself and your idea first. Explain how your contest matches the interests of their readers. Mention the names of your prominent judges and the companies that will be partnering with your awards competition.

Prepare Press Releases like a PR Pro

Now that you have your list of media outlets, you need to prepare an engaging press release.

  1. Make sure you are covering your PR basics – the five W’s & one H:
  •        Who is organizing the competition?
  •        What are the awards about?
  •        Where is it happening – online, awards gala event?
  •        When is it happening – what are the key dates for contestants?
  •        Why is it important or interesting?
  •        How is it relevant to the media outlet and audience?

Press Release Topics and Ideas:

  1. Awards Competition Announcement
  2. New Category Announcement
  3. New Partner Onboard
  4. New Sponsor Onboard
  5. Interview with a judge or contestant (careful not to enter into a conflict of interest)
  6. New Prize Announcement
  7. New Promotion or Offer Announcement
  8. New Milestone Reached

Social Media and Content Marketing

  1. Why Not Start a Blog?

Although it may seem difficult to organize and follow, try to have a schedule for your blog articles and post regularly. A blog is only as good as its updates, so keep it active.

Blog Topics and Ideas:

  1. Any of the press release (news) topics above re-written in a more casual, everyday tone of voice
  2. An exciting, new development in your target industry
  3. Advice, how-to, useful tips, tricks or “hacks” article related to your audience or industry
  4. Interview with a judge or contestant from your competition
  5. Interview with someone from your team
  6. Interview with a partner, sponsor or endorser
  7. Will you have a gala awards ceremony? Give the audience a teaser about how awesome the event is going to be!
  8. Some off-topic banter that people are likely to relate to, for example “5 Ways To Be Happier” (keep this type of posts to a minimum, otherwise you risk making the blog irrelevant)

Use influencers in your industry to spread the word for your awards competition.

  1. Find the right influencers and offer them incentives to raise awareness for your awards contest. It could be a referral program or any kind of partnership agreement.
  1. Ask your jury to help you spread the word about your contest

You jury members are most probably among the influencers in your industry. That, plus the fact that they are already an important part of your competition, makes them the perfect ambassadors for your awards. So don’t forget to ask them to help you promote your event through their social media channels, newsletters or blogs.

Social Media Basics

  1. Find the right social media channels: be only where your target audience is.
  2. Join conversations. Don’t just “like” other people’s comments, add a reply and make it more personal.
  3. Share useful information with your audience like industry-related articles, blog posts from your blog, tips and tricks etc.
  4. Start meaningful and engaging discussions.
  5. Of course, all of this will go alongside the promotions, updates, press releases and news coverage you will be publishing on a regular basis.
  6. Never use social media solely as a platform for promotional content though.

Make sure your content is:

  1. visual (pictures/graphics/video)
  2. relevant to the event and event topic (at least 80% of the time)
  3. useful or fun for your potential participants
  4. positive rather than negative
  5. engaging and encouraging conversation

Now let’s have a deeper look into the most popular social media outlets…

Twitter

  1.  Your Twitter profile should be an engaging, up-to-date conversation about your competition, industry and audience.
  2. Reply to people and companies instead of just liking their Tweets
  3. Engage new followers in a conversation instead of just “thanking” them for the “follow.” Sell them entries by explaining how awesome the awards competition is!
  4. Join in and start your own conversations. Ask questions and ask for opinions.
  5. @Tag organizations, people and partners when possible.
  6. Make a unique #hashtag for your competition. Use it regularly and make sure you are tracking it. The bigger the momentum, the higher the chance your event will go viral or at least reach the intended audience.

Facebook

Facebook is introducing new updates and changes in its algorithm all the time. Here are some tips that could help you spread the word about your awards on Facebook:

  1. Post more videos, especially live videos (they receive 6 times more engagement than regular videos)
  2. Allocate at least a small part of your marketing budget for Facebook advertising. It’s almost impossible to reach your target audience relying only on organic reach.
  3. Whether you have a separate page for your awards or not, make sure you also create a Facebook event for your awards gala.

Here are some details you need to iron out when it comes to your Facebook event:

  1. Details. In the details section start with a link to your competition’s website. If participants need to register elsewhere make sure you explain that clearly. Always add the necessary links.
  2. Add more hosts. Click Edit at the top right of the event and then add sponsor or partner names in the Host field.
  3. Event wall. Don’t tick the “Only admins can post” to the event wall option. You want everyone to be active on the event page – organizers, sponsors and participants.
  4. Use Tags. To generate even more likes, shares and comments, get the sponsors involved. Tag sponsors, partners and entrants in your posts. Encourage their activity online.

Instagram

Instagram is all about visual content. It’s simply an indispensable social media channel for some awards competitions, like photo contests, for example.

  1. It’s the perfect place to visually present your jury, entrants, values and story in a creative way and win the hearts of your target participants.
  2. Use #relevant #hashtags.
  3. Use ‘Live Stories’ regularly (they get the same results as Facebook live videos)

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a good way to generate more buzz around your competition and even increase the number of entries.

  1. Make sure you are not sending spam, have a list of contacts that have subscribed or have signed up to receive your emails.
  2. Never send only promotional content. Send useful information like your top blog posts or interesting articles in your industry.
  3. Don’t forget to remind your email subscribers that they are special for you: send them exclusive special offers or promo codes for them only.
  4. Use a smart e-mail marketing solution to automate your work.

88. With Weemss you can add and update contacts in email marketing or CRM software (e.g. Mailchimp, Hubspot CRM, Salesforce, Activecampaign etc.).

Here are some more tips regarding your email marketing efforts:

  1. Test before you send! Really, testing is always important, and if you can test something by all means, do so! Test on multiple devices.
  2. Make it responsive. A lot of the people receiving your email will open it from their mobile devices. You want them to be able to read it effortlessly, otherwise they probably won’t read it at all. Test the email on a mobile device.
  3. Always add a Call-to-Action. Make sure it’s obvious, but not too obvious to the point where it takes the whole screen of the mobile phone. Links are better CTAs in emails if you’re going the responsive route.
  4. Keep your message brief! Anything above 3 or 4 sentences will not be read, or may even have negative effects, such as people flat-out refusing to enter your awards competition, unsubscribing, adding your email to the spam filter or all of these together at the same time.
  5. Always check your links. Check if they work, check if they lead to where they’re supposed to.
  6. Add a personal touch. Personalise your messages so that the recipient feels as though you’re reaching out to them alone. Try addressing them by their first name only.
  7. Use the right language. Know your audience and address them accordingly.
  8. Just don’t overdo it with the mass emails or else they might end up in the spam filter.

97. Weemss lets you export the contestant data from your awards. Use that data for future mass email marketing campaigns. The software also integrates effortlessly with the most popular email marketing solutions out there. You want automation – we have it!

Use the right tools

  1. Use awards management software! Not only will it help you with your marketing efforts, but it will save you tons of time and energy that you can invest in being more creative and attracting more entry submitters.
  2. While there are lots of awards management solutions out there, aim for one that could cover all your awards competition needs: from encompassing all phases of your awards competition to the option to connect with other apps you use like CRM system, email marketing software or accounting software.

 100. Weemss is an all-in-one awards management platform that helps you with every phase of  your awards competition – registration, entry submissions, judging and marketing. It gives you the level of freedom and control to organize an award competition in an efficient manner. You can customize almost anything, retain all of the event data and receive money from your sales right away directly to your account. 

Try it out for free!

  1.  Try Weemss “Entry Plus” ™ 2-step registration process for awards and contests to increase your income and receive more entries:
  • Step 1: your customers choose the entry categories, fill in the registration form with basic contact information and pay for the entries.
  • Step 2: entries can be filled in, edited and submitted at any point during the period you’ve set.

Our continuous testing shows that the reason the “Entry Plus” process works so well, is the fact your customers can register and pay at the moment they decide to enter, not the moment their entry is ready for submission. When people choose to enter at the last minute they often miss the entry deadline. In contrast, when they pay at the moment of registering, they feel obliged to fill in and submit their entries.

To learn everything about organizing a successful awards competition, check out our great (and free) guide: “The Ultimate Guide to Organizing an Awards Competition”