Getting nominated for awards and accreditations is far from an organic process. It can take a lot of work to get your company into the line-up for consideration – applications can be long-winded and the criteria changes for each awarding body. So, is the pay-off worth the significant staff hours you will need to spend on each application?
An accreditation or award from a household name, an independent watchdog or a respected industry body is a ‘stamp of approval’ that will generate immediate reassurance and trust among your customers. We found that receiving accreditation from Ofcom in 2008, along with permission to use their logo on our website, led to a direct uplift in visitor conversion rates. However the benefits go beyond sales:
1. Putting you on the map
Investment companies look at awards listings for investment prospects. This brings the opportunity for direct financial investment as well as a range of networking opportunities. Since appearing in the Tech Track 100 for two years running, we have been inundated with calls from private equity firms and other corporate companies looking for meetings with us. The end result was a £10m funding round we announced recently.
2. Fast tracking growth
As a start-up, gaining trust and recognition from third parties can be tough and may take years to achieve. Gaining accreditation from a well respected body can send you straight to the front of the queue opening numerous doors to new business partnerships and accelerating networking opportunities.
3. Strengthening natural SEO
Each time you are shortlisted for, or win an award or accreditation, your natural SEO will receive a major boost from the links to your site from a range of online publications and articles reporting the story.
4. Make it count in PR
Having accreditation from a recognised industry body is a great USP and can bring significant PR opportunities. Accreditations and awards enable to you to continually reinforce positive messages about your business and website, and when awards are prestigious enough it won’t just be you shouting it from the rooftops, you are likely to enjoy external coverage too – great PR for your business.
5. The halo effect
Accreditation from a charity whose work your company has supported can be worth the money you have donated many times over. It demonstrates that profits aren’t the only thing you stand for and is a big tick in the eyes of consumers. Hopefully this isn’t the only reason you’d support worthy causes but it is an added benefit to the feel-good factor.
Despite the benefits, award seeking is time consuming and I would advise that businesses consider the “winnability” factor carefully. There is learning to be done from completing the application process once or twice, even if you are unlikely to win – after all, practice makes perfect – but applying for awards and continually failing to meet the shortlist is a waste of your time.
Look carefully at the accreditations and awards out there and select the ones that: a) are most relevant to your business; b) will bring the biggest payback in terms of the positive benefits detailed above; and c) you are most likely to be shortlisted for or even win. Awards from unrecognised bodies will count for little, even if you win. Stick to the awards and accreditations that are prestigious amongst your industry peers and are highly sought-after. And if you win – let the world know!
Michael Phillips is managing director at Broadbandchoices.co.uk
and in 2010 was named the
haysmacintyre Top Gun
, meaning he was chosen as the outstanding member of the that year's
group. Follow his tweets here: