How to increase your association’s revenue by starting an awards competition
Awards are more popular than ever. It’s all about being superior in sport, quality, service, industry, etc. If you wish to improve your brand recognition and your revenue, starting a business award program can be a real game-changer and quite beneficial for everyone associated, including the organizer, sponsors, programme judges, everyone recognized with a nomination, and of course the worthy winners.
Business awards as a source of revenue
There are usually two types of awards competitions:
- Paid business awards - entrants pay a fee to enter the awards
- Free business awards - entrants are either members of an association/membership organization and pay an annual fee that includes nominations for the awards or the awards competition is sponsored by a large organization/corporation and entrants can enter for free
Both options are powerful tools to increase the revenue of your organization and are often the main source of revenue for some associations or membership organizations.
Obviously, starting an awards competition does not automatically mean increasing your revenue. In order to be successful, such programmes should be approached strategically and every step should be planned well in advance.
It starts with understanding why other companies would consider being part of your business awards.
It’s great marketing
Business awards celebrate success and hard work, but also make for great PR opportunities. They’re a fantastic marketing tool, full stop! Any business can improve brand awareness and acquire new customers by simply being nominated, let alone winning an accolade.
A good benchmark
Participating in an awards competition is a good way to see how a company compares against the rest. Whether this is then used to convince future clients into doing business, or helps the company improve various aspects of their work, it’s always a win-win, no matter the benchmarking results.
Improved social trust
A business getting short-listed for an award is essentially viewed as a 3rd party endorsement. It can improve social trust in the nominated brand, which can then be used as a sales pitch, help retain existing clients, improve relationships with suppliers, stand out from the competition, etc.
Awards attract talent
It’s a way to strengthen a company’s hiring power. Award-winning companies pitch themselves as the best and this helps them attract better talent, which in turn empowers them to take their business to the next level.
Awards essentially recognise the hard work of a company’s employees so an award or two often boosts staff morale and motivation. It also shows people what’s great about the company they work for and this gives them pride to be a part of that.
How to make it work
1. Laying the groundwork
Set a budget and make sure you have some of it dedicated to marketing and the tools you’ll be using to make the programme a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Consider your pricing strategy as well, it’s quite important. Figure out the key dates like entry submission, judging rounds, winner announcements, etc.
2. Building towards success
An awards programme has a lot of moving parts and you will need a dedicated staff to keep everything on track. It helps to have people working on specific goals for the programme with set deadlines. Remember that getting your awards ready for accepting entries requires an enormous amount of work.
3. Getting the right tools for the job
One of the big struggles with organizing a successful programme is staying organized. At this point, no matter how big your team is, you will need a reliable end-to-end awards management platform. This is basically where a tool like Evalato takes over and helps you at literally every step of the way.
- Streamline and automate your work. Saves you time and makes your programme look top drawer and highly professional. Not only that, but the platform is also highly flexible and customizable so you can tailor everything down to the last detail.
- User-friendly and modern interface. This is another important element, as it directly affects how entrants and programme judges perceive your awards. It also guarantees that both judges and entrants have a blast being part of your programme, so they’ll gladly come back for more.
- Create a site for your awards. This is quite an important part and should be a big focus in the preparation of your call for entry. And even if you have your own website, the platform integrates easily with it, so you’re still making the most out of it.
- Powerful entry submission. Collect more submissions with a sleek and adaptive submission portal. The application process can be customized with various powerful options.
- Easy communication and follow-ups. Whether you wish to send notifications to remind people about submitting their entries, or to instruct judges about their duties, you have the tools you need.
- Custom evaluation phase. You can set up the entry evaluation to your exact requirements, choose various scoring types with custom criteria, scales, and weights, then invite people to the jury panel, create public voting rounds, etc.
- Announce the winners. Then easily set up a gallery of all award entries, so people can admire them long after. You get to showcase programme applications, results, judge comments, individual votes in just a few clicks of the mouse.
- Analyze data and improve. Benefit from an always complete picture with real-time scores, votes management, results page and many features that help improve and grow your awards.
4. Focusing on awards credibility
On one hand, with Evalato you get a secure and fully GDPR-compliant solution, but that’s not enough. To add actual credibility to your programme, consider inviting some big names from your industry to judge programme entries. Having judges who are well known will greatly increase the prestige and legitimacy of your awards.
Sponsors as a source of revenue
Sponsors and partners are crucial stakeholders that can really help with growing your programme and your revenue. Here it’s important to understand why they would be willing to sponsor your awards to make them a compelling offer.
Awards are the darlings in any industry and that’s what makes sponsors take notice. It’s a chance for them to reach a wide audience, or at least strengthen brand recognition. Which is always a win for them.
An awards competition often serves a good cause. They can be about distinguishing excellence in science, supporting environmental efforts, pushing innovations, etc. A good cause is something that any company is happy to get behind.
Business awards as an indirect source of revenue
Business awards not only directly increase your organization’s revenue but they also provide excellent business opportunities that indirectly contribute to the overall growth of your business. It’s why business awards are such an excellent business opportunity.
Get new business leads
No matter how large a database of existing clients you have, an awards programme will attract some extra attention to your brand. And this naturally brings many new business leads, which is always good for business.
Strengthen your brand
That extra attention to your brand will of course strengthen it considerably. An awards programme is a long-term project and as time goes by, the awards will grow and the benefits to your brand will get bigger and bigger.
Extra publicity for your organization
Not saying here you’ll automatically get free publicity simply because you’re organizing an awards competition. But awards such generate a ton of online buzz, media coverage, shares, likes and commentary across all channels.
New business partnerships
Because everyone’s fascinated by award competitions, there’s great potential for negotiating new business partnerships, even with companies that aren’t part of the industry you operate in. Awards are great for branching out as well.
There’s a better way
Awards are a lot of work, if you go the old-school route of spreadsheets, folders, endless emails, etc. But this can be so much easier with a good platform that tracks, stores, and helps you manage every stage of entry submission and judging for your programme. Saving hours upon hours of work is another way you’ll be increasing your revenue, should you decide to start your own awards programme.
This article is contributed by Evalato, the next-gen awards management software designed to suit all your needs – free testing available and no credit card required.