So your accounting firm has only gone and won an award! You know there is a lot of marketing and PR you can do to make the most of it, but you’re hesitant to brag about yourself.
Is it arrogant to say “Look at us, we are awesome”? Could it put people off if you’re seen to be constantly boasting about yourself? And isn’t PF always telling you that marketing is about solving others’ problems, rather than talking about your own firm?
First…congratulations!! Winning an award of whatever kind – whether it’s a small local thing you didn’t even know you were up for, or a major national or global organisation recognising your accounting firm – is a big deal. It’s worth shouting about, and worth telling the world about.
And it makes sense you’d be concerned about showing off in an arrogant way. Most of the firms I work with are so concerned about “not being salesy” that they end up hiding their award or good work under a bushel.
But when it comes to an award, you don’t have to worry. You’re not boasting at all. You’re simply stating a fact. Someone else gave you the recognition. Someone else says that you are great. Someone else is praising you, and not your own words.
If you don’t want to be arrogant in mentioning the award, then…don’t be. The proverb “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” is appropriate here: whatever you’re actually thinking will come out. If what you’re thinking is “This is incredible! I’m not sure I deserve it! I’m so honoured!” then that will come out, whatever words you use. If what you’re thinking is, “Well it’s about time, last year the firms who won were pathetic”, then that will subtly be revealed in what you say.
Remember too that you have a lot of fans. Your clients, strategic partners, suppliers, family, friends…even prospects think highly of you, and will rejoice in your good news with you. They want to. They’d love to tell others about how great you are. Let them!
Here are a few ways to promote and mention your award.
(Oh – and whether the award is for yourself personally or for your firm will direct where you put mention of the award. If it’s for a person, it goes on personal social media channels, the About/meet section about that person, and in a blog post written by that person. If it’s for the firm, it will be shared more broadly.)
1. Prepare for the awards night or event
If you know you’ve won the award, and it’s going to be presented to you at an official event, prepare well for it, because you can gather great marketing materials to be used later:
Take photographs and video of the event, the award itself, others who won awards, the venue, people who work for the organisation, etc.
These photographs and video do not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Even your newest iphone can capture very good quality photos and video that can be used as a background to a custom image, or a blog post image, or in social posts.
Do make an effort to remember how the photos and video will be used, and pay attention to small things like lighting, audio, and placement of people (or of water bottles or jackets or other things crowding your shot).
2. Congratulate other winners
The single best way to show you’re not being arrogant is to praise others equally as yourself. You can do this publicly – but remember, you can also do it privately. Sending a quiet message or a text that no one but you and the other award winner sees, is still valuable. It is worthwhile. It’s not boasting and it’s real. They’ll remember it – and may tell other people about it. Even if they don’t, it’s still a kind thing to do.
- Share social posts tagging other winners
- Send direct messages to winners, commenting on what they did well
- Send a small gift to winners you know personally (or don’t). Depending how many other winners there are you can send gifts to some and cards to some and DMs on social to others.
- Mention the other winners in your marketing – your blog post or video or social posts
3. Write a blog post
This is your opportunity to share your thoughts with the world. Talk about:
- Issues relevant to the award: If it’s about customer service, talk about some of the things you mentioned in your awards entry. If it’s about being a pioneer of tech, talk about the tools you use and why they’re so innovative
- Your clients: Remember, they’re the true heroes. Thank them for being such a big part of your business and the reason you do what you do. Tell stories or thank particular clients for how they’ve been involved since day one, or their generous and encouraging attitude throughout.
- The awards process: What did you do to win this award? What forms did you fill in, what research in your own accounting business did you do, and how did you decide to apply for it? Who encouraged you?
- How you feel: This needs to be one of the least dry blog posts you’ve ever read. Be honest about your feelings of amazement or encouragement or even confusion. Talk about the whole process and how you felt throughout.
4. Use the official badge / award icon in all your marketing
Generally you have either a badge or icon, or a physical award, or both. If you do have an official awards badge, you can use it in some of these places:
- Website home page or footer
- Social media cover image
- Email signatures
Find out if the awards organisation has provided you with an official award pack, and make the most of it. If they don’t, you can at least ask them for some custom imagery.
5. Take photographs and video of the award
If it’s a physical award, place it on display in the office, and take photographs and video footage of it (and other awards if you have them). Use those photographs and footage in your marketing – again, in blog posts, in social, in video intro files, on your website.
These are also handy for the custom images you’ll create.
6. Get custom images created
You can show off your brand by combining it with the award win. Create custom designed images that include the badge or organisation name or award title.
You can use something as simple as Canva, or sign up for a service like Design Pickle, or of course your friends at PF are here to help as well. We use ‘marketing credits’ to estimate the time needed for your project, and you can just ask how many credits would be required to create a few custom images you can use in your marketing.
The resulting images can be used everywhere (see the previous point).
7. Record a video
There are multiple ways to create video footage that enhances the award. You can:
- Share a video that was recorded on the awards night
- Record a video on your thoughts about the award
- Record an all-team video, and go through the office asking team members what they think about it
- Hire a videographer to shoot footage of your offices, the award, you and the team, etc
Once you have the video, share it (and clips of it) throughout your marketing.
8. Ask others to share it, too
There’s nothing wrong with specifically asking others to mention or share it as well.
It’s rather like asking for a referral. Just as you would say something like, “You really appreciate the work we’re doing for you: do you know anyone else who might need this too?”, then you can do that for an award as well. You can be honest. “Hey, this is sort of embarrassing, but we won this award and it’s pretty cool – would you mind sharing a social post on it, or retweeting?”
Remember, those who think you’re great will be thrilled at the opportunity to share it.
Have you won an award recently?
Drop me a note to let me know – I’d love to share it and tell the world how great you are!