Organic marketing is the holy grail of advertising and winning an award can be the best way to help you win it.
As the US inches towards their election both sides are pouring billions of dollars into advertising. But the kind of impact they are really looking for won’t come from their own ads, it comes from the kind of organic marketing which takes on a life of its own.
What’s true for the politicians is also true for businesses. While you will invest heavily in traditional marketing techniques, none of it compares to the impact which comes when people start talking about your business of their own free will.
Businesses come up with all sorts of innovative ways to get it, but one most likely strategies is to put you business in places where it will be talked about. That means putting yourself up for an award.
By organic marketing we mean coverage which is earned rather than bought such as someone writing an article about you or sharing your content.
Mentions such as these are the digital equivalent of word of mouth advertising and are incredibly valuable for your business. They boost visibility, improve click conversion and increase the credibility of your business. Best of all, they all come free of charge.
How awards can help
Smart businesses today are gearing their marketing to achieving that precious organic coverage, which is why many will put themselves up for a business award.
Every awards ceremony will come with its own marketing plan. Shortlisted businesses and people may be featured on their website; they may write blogs and profiles about some of the business, and the media may want to write features about the nominees.
Take, for example, the rather nice profile entrepreneur Victoria Cartwright scored in her local paper when she won the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for the North East in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Harry Parslow, meanwhile, who started his business TourLive when he was 18, scored a similar profile simply for being nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
At the time of writing, these two were the top results when you search for news of the awards on Google, something which will do wonders for their own SEO rankings. Links from high traffic locations such as this make you increasingly attractive to search algorithms.
This, in the digital age, is one of the most important benefits of organic marketing. As both those entrepreneurs discovered winning the award saw them written about, mentioned and promoted by other people in high quality websites.
The more visits you get and the better the quality of websites you have linking to your own site, the more attractive you’ll look to search engines.
In the digital age, SEO should not be seen as an optional extra. The higher you climb on those search engines the more likely it is that you’ll gain even more organic exposure. The ultimate goal is to get into those top positions for your chosen search phrases so you will be the first port of call for potential customers.
Web visits from organic content is also likely to lead to better quality and warmer leads than other types of mentions.
They are doing more than just checking your company out; they are coming because they have seen content which genuinely sparks their interest. Either they want to find out more about your company or they are actively looking to buy.
The net effect will be to drive down the dreaded bounce rate; those people who come to your website but don’t stick around because they haven’t seen anything they particularly like. Bit by bit conversion rates will rise and you’ll start to see more bang for your marketing buck.
The credibility game
One of the benefits from winning is the boost to your credibility. However, this goes far beyond simply allowing you to show the awards on your marketing material. It will also help to establish you as an industry leader who is talked about.
As a result, visits will start coming to you. Life for your marketing team will become much easier. Rather than spending their time trying to drum up visits to your website, generating new contacts or building your profile, people will start coming to you.
Because you’ve won an award, you instantly become more recognised and trusted. Potential customers will start seeking you out rather than the other way around. The more you build your profile, the more of these warm initial leads you’ll attract.
Making the most of awards
Those are just a few of the benefits, but they have to be earned. Simply winning or being nominated for an award won’t necessarily get the job done for you. Your marketing team will need to work hard to capitalise on this opportunity.
Here are just some of the areas you could look at:
- Marketing materials: If you win, all your marketing materials should be updated as quickly as possible to include mentions of your victory.
- Web and social media: As soon as the ceremony is over, you should work to get the word out. Post a news piece on your website, write a blog post, brag about it on social media, anything to let the world know that you’ve won.
- Media outreach: Taking part in a reputable business awards is a great PR opportunity, but the journalists won’t necessarily come to you. You’ll need to generate press releases, make leaders in your team available for interview and reach out to relevant media outlets.
A successful awards strategy will be part of an ongoing, joined up strategy involving everyone in your business from those delivering the service, to those handling the application and those in your marketing team responsible for getting the message across. Everyone will have a part to play and should communicate closely in order to deliver on their part of their plan.
If you get this right, the impact can be enormously beneficial, especially if you’re in the early stages. Every business is looking for something to put them out ahead of the pack and get noticed. Winning an award would give you a great head start.