Wherever you’re based, our Digital Awards (DA) schemes offer excellent county-wide exposure.
But if you’re sponsoring a category, how do you make the most of such a great promotional opportunity?
And if you’re lucky enough to be named as a finalist, how do you use this achievement to bring you maximum publicity?
Danielle from Indy Consultancy, our Content Partner for the Essex Digital Awards (EDAs) 2018, is a past sponsor. She’s been involved in the EDAs in a number of capacities for nearly five years, and during that time, she’s witnessed different approaches towards self-promotion and experimented with various marketing ideas.
She’s collected all of her experience into this article, which lists tips to help sponsors and finalists make the most of the Awards before, during and after the main award-giving event.
As part of the largest business awards in the county, the DA sponsorship packages offer exceptional value as it is, but believe it or not, there are even more ways you can use the scheme to get your brand in front of potential customers. It may take a little time and organisation, but the end results are definitely worth the effort.
1.Make room for your marketing materials
It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple roller banner or a whole box full of branded goodies – the more marketing collateral you can place in front of an audience, the more likely they are to remember you. Always speak to the event organisers to see if it will be possible to display your merchandise at a key point during the evening, such as the welcome drinks.
2.It’s all about the freebies
Everyone loves to think they’re getting something for free – including Indy! So why not arrange to give away a unique gift to everyone who attends the event?
You could even take this one step further and organise an exclusive competition for attendees. Regular sponsors Nimbus Hosting have hosted some great giveaways in the past – for example, at the Hertfordshire Digital Awards in September (2017), they gave guests the chance to win a variety of prizes by running a tombola draw. The setup encouraged loads of interaction with the company’s staff (and their Twitter account), and the winners were over the moon with their free gifts.
3.Reach out to other sponsors
Whenever you attend any kind of awards evening or networking event, you’re going to be surrounded by other companies that are clamouring for attention. But why not work with them instead of against them? You never know – you may end up referring business their way, and vice versa.
My advice would to be always take the time to meet and greet other event sponsors and understand what they do. The Awards now offers pre-event networking events that give you the chance to make these valuable connections in a less formal setting.
And if you don’t get a chance to talk to everyone, make a note of their contact details and introduce yourself via email. A quick ‘hello’ might just secure your place as a preferred supplier, if the need arises.
4.Introduce yourself to the finalists
Being shortlisted for an award is always a big deal, so why not give our finalists and winners a well-deserved pat on the back? Whether you choose to approach them in person to offer your congratulations, or drop them a message via email or Twitter, the sentiment will not go unnoticed and you’re sure to stick in their minds.
A great way to keep a record of the winners on the night is to make notes next to the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Awards programme. It may mean foregoing a couple of glasses of wine during the main presentation, but you can always make up for that afterwards…
Sponsoring the DAs is certainly a great conversation starter, so talk to your audience by putting together some timely, relevant content. To start with, you could write a blog on your website that announces your involvement in the scheme. If you want to take things one step further, you could put useful tips into a mini-whitepaper and hand it out exclusively at the event.
I would recommend rallying support for the event using your various social accounts, too. The advantage here is that the DAs already boast a huge online following. The Essex Digital Awards’ Twitter account, for example, has nearly 4,000 followers at time of writing. So if you talk about the awards as often as you can (and via as many different channels as you can), I guarantee you’ll generate a great deal more exposure for your company.
(If you’re struggling to find the time or the resources to create this kind of content, this is something an external copywriting agency such as Indy can help you with. Just a thought.).
If you’ve got extra ideas, don’t be afraid to share them with the Awards organisers. They’re always looking to add as much value to your awards experience as they can, and they’re very open to new ways of engaging their guests and associates.
Finalists and Winners
If you’ve made it to the finals, you deserve a great big well done. You’ve beaten hundreds of other entrants and you’re going to soak up the amazing atmosphere at the next Awards ceremony. But the benefits of being celebrated as a finalist don’t have to end there.
1.Blitz your social accounts
I’m sure you’re very socially active anyway, but make sure you shout about your achievements by announcing your finalist status via social media. It’s an easy way to boost your reputation and encourage enquiries in one fell swoop.
If you’re lucky enough to take away Gold, Silver or Bronze on the night, live-Tweet from the event and share your good news with the rest of the world! Use the right hashtag to associate yourself with the event and you’ll put your brand in front of even more people. For the next Essex Digital Awards, it will be #EDA18 (and it always follows that format for each county).
Bear in mind, too, that the Digital Awards team will be sharing various posts and graphics relating to your win; make sure you like and share everything you see for maximum gain.
2.Prepare your speech in case you win
Nobody ever expects to win – but if and when you do, you’ll be invited to take to the stage and deliver an acceptance speech to around 300 successful business men and women. Have a think about what you’d like to say and who you’d like to thank. It’s worth jotting down a handful of notes prior to the event to make sure this information is fresh in your mind.
3.Share your news
Write a blog post announcing your win – or, better still, send out a press release to industry contacts. The media are always keen to hear about business success in their area, so you may even be able to generate some extra exposure from a local newspaper or community website.
4.Make use of your unique banners
All Award winners will automatically receive a unique digital banner from the team. These can be used on your company website and even within your email signatures, so make good use of them.
5.Watch out for your video interview
If you’ve been involved with the Awards before, you’ll know that all Gold winners take part in a video interview straight after they have collected their award on the night. This footage will be online shortly after the ceremony, so keep an eye out for it and be sure to share, share, share!
6.Show off your accolades
Prizes are a fantastic talking point in any work space – and if you’ve won an award, you want to show it off to as many people as possible, right? If you manage multiple offices, be sure to buy a plaque for each location and display it proudly in a prominent place.
I’ve mentioned a few ways of making the most of the Awards here, but this list is by no means definitive. I’d love to hear your own ideas in the Comments section below.