It seems like every time you turn the corner, there’s another “award-winning” restaurant. At this point, most restaurants are so heavily decorated, having an award is the bare minimum. Awards can be challenging to procure, and once you have one, it’s not clear what you need to do with it.
Here, we’ve broken down how you can make the most of your business awards and generate new advertising campaigns around them. For small businesses, it’s important to build as much brand recognition as possible — and awards are a great way to do so.
How to Win an Award
Most industries have award ceremonies for the small businesses in their community. For restaurants, this is especially true, and positive write-ups or reviews can function the same as a flashy badge.
For salons, boutiques, and even dry cleaners, it may be worth it to reach out to your local chamber of commerce to ask about what small business awards they plan on hosting.
If you’re a game-changer in your field and don’t fit in any standard competition, consider hosting your own! Only you know where your business fits into the mix in your community, and taking a second to recognize other local leaders can generate a lot of positive buzz.
Plus, if you host a ceremony where a portion of food sales, raffle purchases, or proceeds go to charity, you can use the event to your advantage come tax season.
The Benefits of Award Ceremonies
Award ceremonies — as opposed to the awards themselves — can be an excellent means of local advertising. Whether you host or attend one of these events, your presence builds brand recognition in your town.
Take it upon yourself to get involved in any ceremonies you’re invited to by donating what you can or offering to volunteer ahead of time. Taking a second out of your day to help your community will not go unnoticed and only build on the award-winning brand you represent.
Word of Mouth Advertising
Perhaps most importantly, awards and ceremonies can spur word of mouth advertising. Advertisers and national brands around the country try to replicate this medium, but few are successful.
Word of mouth advertising is so difficult to recreate because, at its core, it’s simply a means of one person naturally telling another about your business. The more locals mention your business or recommend it to their friends, the more quickly you’ll be able to build a trustworthy brand.
One medium that comes close to neighborly word of mouth is grocery store advertising. Many small businesses rely on grocery store advertising to get the word out about their brand because this platform allows for hyper-local targeting. Just as a community event draws in a local audience, grocery stores typically pull most of their shoppers in from a three-mile radius of the store.
This means the likelihood of a shopper returning and seeing your supermarket advertisement 2-3 times a week is much higher than if you were to take out a print ad, which may allow your ad to generate significant repetition. This medium also allows you to take advantage of the grocery store’s local branding and cast your business under the same locals-only feel.
All in all, grocery store advertising is a great way to reach your community, and the right supermarket advertisement can bring in a ton of new customers.
How to Advertise Your Award
There are several ways you can show off your new award, both in person and digitally. Creating a new banner or sharing a sticker badge in your window may be all a walk-in needs to trust your business. If you want to get fancy, consider reaching out to a local artist and asking them to create a bright new badge to show off your award.
If you receive a digital badge, you should add it to your website. Of course, you can then rewrite copy on your website — or even your website’s meta description — around your new award.
If you’re writing on your website, make sure to shout out the organization that gave you the award and describe to fans exactly what it signifies. If you’re changing your meta description, the text that shows up under your business’s name in search engine results, then you will want to keep your wording tight, mention the award by name, and relate it to how you already describe your business.
Create Campaigns Around Your Award
If you really want to cash in on your award, you may consider adding it to your next campaign or designing a new advertising strategy around it. This may mean you add the badge to the coupons you share through grocery store advertising or print it on your takeout menus.
You can also create digital campaigns around your award by creating a video highlighting the award, ceremony, or team that won it! Digital media is a great way to connect with your fans and show off why your business is receiving recognition in the first place.
Today, the majority of new shoppers check out a restaurant or salon online before they visit. Creating a social media campaign around your award is a great way to win over new customers even before they visit. Consider including your award in your about section or running a social media contest to celebrate. This can generate a ton of new impressions, followers, and buzz for your business.
Run a Promotion
Once you get the word out about your new award, you’ll want to deliver award-winning service. A promotion is an easy way to get fans in the building and make sure your customers know what products or services led to your new status in the first place.
Running a locals-only deal is a great way to celebrate with your community and make sure you’re serving your most important fans.