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To enter business awards or not? Guest post from The Good Web Guide

It is a question that entrepreneurs, business owners and management should ask themselves – whether to put themselves in the limelight and enter an award. As the organiser of one such programme, Arabella  Dymoke, of The Good Web Guide shares her thoughts. Having worked with businesses and startups over the years, The GWG knows what makes a winning site.

The business arena is awash with awards from best entrepreneur, best ad campaign to website of the year, and each has its place and valid market share whether the entrant is after recognition, validation or purely PR opportunities. Look through the options and choose an award that meets your business needs. You can find a comprehensive list of 2,500 awards at Boost Marketing, a company that can also help with your entry.

For us, at The GWG, we believe that entering our awards, first and foremost, forces the entrant to look at their site through the eyes of a judge, something that you can so easily forget with the day to day running of a business. What’s the customer/visitor experience like; are there broken links; images that aren’t formatted properly, these are the very basic issues you’re forced to address. Should you pick up an award, you’re showing your customers/visitors your commitment to online excellence, whether your offering is purely digital or bricks and mortar.

Once that hurdle is completed and any errors straightened out, your website is ready for scrutiny and this is where the rewards are.  You may be a startup and want to get your brand noticed by seasoned entrepreneurs. Find out who is on the judging panel and this could be the ideal opportunity to make the connection with the entrepreneur on your wishlist. At The GWG, we have been lucky to connect several winners with angel investors who have made game changing investments in their businesses.

Many awards programmes offer PR opportunities during the process, whether it’s tweeting about entries or the chance to take part in an interview – another great way to pick up new followers and traffic and get your brand noticed by journalists. So already, we can say that entering an award is more about the journey than winning. Visit Nunney, shortlisted in 2014, won many new followers and a tweet from a well-known actor during the GWG Awards, all of which helped boost their profile.

For those entrants that are lucky enough to be highly commended or shortlisted, this makes a great story and something to shout about on social media. Shortlists always receive plenty of PR, mentions on awards’ websites and newsletters to subscribers that could run to thousands and thousands. And all for the price of an entry fee and in some cases, you won’t even have to pay to enter.

The benefits of winning an award are multi-faceted. On winning the GWG Website of the Year Awards in 2014, Nick Hungerford, co-founder of Nutmeg commented, “It’s an honour to be the 2014 winner and a fantastic achievement by my diligent and creative team at Nutmeg who constantly push the boundaries to deliver a world-class customer experience and bring innovative new ideas to the fore.” Of course there are the prizes on offer but it goes further than that. Your company also gains recognition and support, whilst boosting its profile with business partners, clients and potential investors.

Finally, don’t forget, it’s not always the big companies that win. Make it part of your marketing plan and commit to entering an award annually.

The GWG Website of the Year Awards close for entry on Friday 9th October 2015.

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