12 Top Tips
On winning an Exeter Living Award
1. Take time on your Nomination
Please don’t sell your company short by leaving it to the last day. There will have been ample time between the Nominations opening and the closing date to marshal your most effective case.
Use that lead-in time to gather your thoughts and position your company’s success in 2017 persuasively.
What truly marks out 2017 for you? What have you done or achieved that is so much better than you’d expected, or had done last year, or is better than your competitors?
2. Give measures of success
Saying “We’ve had a great year” really isn’t enough. Everyone says that. The Judges will want to know more precisely what has been great. For example, are sales up? Have you taken on more people? Or entered a new business area, launched a new product or opened up another outlet? Or increased marketing successfully? Or acquired a company? Or won an award?
Anything which makes it clear that your success is based on something tangible.
3. Awards are open to all
The Awards are free to enter and can be won by any company: first timers, previous winners, advertisers, non-advertisers. If you’re in the area and have had a strong performance in one of our categories, then you can win.
Please note: for the New Business category, companies need to have begun no earlier than July 1st 2016. Please give your starting date.
4. Make sure you qualify
Winners need to be based in the Exeter area. There’s not a precise geographical definition (no tape measures here!). But if you’re close enough and much of your business is here, then you’ll be in. If in doubt – ask us!
You can enter any category into which your business fits. So you might be both a New Business and a Best Restaurant. Or Creative and Event. You decide: it’s free!
5. Avoid empty claims
Saying, “We’re the best in Exeter” lacks context. So say why you’re the best. What marks you out? What are the key strengths of your company?
6. Make sure your website is in order
The Judges will look carefully at your Nomination, of course. But we encourage them to visit the Finalists where possible and in all cases to look at your websites. So make sure yours is in good shape. For example, if your last entry in “News” was in February, then that doesn’t suggest you’re particularly active in marketing yourself.
Similarly, broken links or typos or fuzzy pics or anything which you know isn’t good enough will undermine your pitch.
Polish it up! There’s time. (And MediaClash’s web team can help, by the way!)
7. If you’re using social media, then be active!
Imagine a pitch which says, “We’ve successfully used social media to build our customer base” – and then the reality that you’ve tweeted only twice since the summer! Again, Judges will be looking at any and all aspects of your business.
8. Testimonials: gather them from customers
It’s one thing for you to say you’re great. But it’s often more persuasive if customers says that. Give examples. The more specific the better. And please make sure all testimonials are from 2017.
And please don’t just say, “Check out TripAdvisor” (or similar). Do the legwork yourself and include or quote the best examples in your submission. (Besides, there are usually some ropey critiques on TripAdvisor, even on the best regarded places!)
9. Put yourself in the shoes of the Judges
The Awards are decided by our independent Judges. They’ll look at your Nomination, visit your website and maybe even visit your business.
And then they – and they alone – will decide.
The Judges will be faced with a number of Finalists in each category. Imagine what it’d be like wading through a big pack of info! Make it easy for them. Write clearly with key points. Please don’t let it be a bit of a ramble about your life in business!
Try to create some empathy with those judging you. Emotion is fine. If it really would mean the world to you to win this Award – steady! – then say so.
10. Use Twitter to build support for your bid
If you know you’ll be entering for the Awards, then stick it out there on Twitter, making sure you tag @ExeterLivingAwd and #ExeterLivingAwards. You’re likely to gain some comments you can use in your Nomination. But please do not lobby the Judges, either on twitter or elsewhere: it’ll be counter-productive.
11. Enjoy the Nomination process!
This is one of the very few opportunities in professional life to tell people about just how and why your business or organisation is exceptional. We all work so hard, all believe so hard in what we do. So enjoy the chance to assemble your arguments and to say EXACTLY why you are great!
12. Keep April 12th clear!
Just imagine how great it would feel to win an Exeter Living Award…