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How To Start Your Own Awards Program To Market Your Accounting Services

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We’ve been talking a lot lately about how the large firms (EY, PwC, BDO, etc.) use awards as a major tactic in their marketing program, and how small local practitioners miss out on this powerful tactic out of fear, a lack of knowledge about what is involved, and a lack of resources to implement a program.


As we looked into awards programs, we discovered how much work is usually involved, and realized that the amount of work and the time commitment can be greatly reduced with access to the correct tools. We also discovered that most of these tools are way overpriced, and I do mean way overpriced.

We also found some powerful alternatives.

So, if you are really serious about building a premium practice, building a powerful referral network, then its time to get started.

The following is a good list of the steps involved that may help you get your thinking started as you prepare for your own offering during awards season.

The first thing the public will know about your award is your call for entries and there’s a lot to get done before that time. So, before opening the floodgates, make sure you’ve got everything in ship-shape!

Use this checklist as a guide to help you make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

1. Create your awards website -Your awards website is where people go to learn more about your program and apply. As the main source of information, it’s one of the most important elements of your program to have ready. Your website should include the following:

  • Overview Page
  • Call for Entry
  • Submission Form
  • Information About Your Judges
  • Historical Winners Gallery
  • Rules / Eligibility Requirements
  • FAQ
  • Awards Gala Info
  • Contact Page

2. Prepare your marketing strategy – We think it goes without saying, but if you don’t have a solid marketing plan, who’s going to apply or even hear about your awards program? A killer awards marketing strategy should include:

  • Press Release(s)
  • Emails
  • Content Calendar
  • Prepared messages for social media
  • Ads

3. Set up your judging process -There’s more to judging than just having some folks sift through submissions. To really get a judging process that not only stands out, but improves your awards program (instead of causing additional headaches) be sure to:

  • Select Industry Experts to Judge Entries
  • Train Judges on Your Unique Judging Processes
  • Create a Plan for the Judging Process
  • Prepare Arrangements for Any Judges Attending the Awards Ceremony
  • Create Judging Criteria

4. Get up to speed -Your awards program isn’t going to prepare itself! It’s important to have a team that’s dedicated to making your program a success. If you can recruit folks to help you, then these are some of the folks you would want on your team:

  1. Executive Director
  2. Program Manager
  3. Marketing
  4. Support
  5. Event Planner
  6. Chair / Committee (if applicable)

5. Get a “sales” strategy in place – Getting the desired number of entrants can be difficult. Getting these entrants to complete their entries can be even more difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up a “sales” strategy. Some of the tasks will include:

  • Compiling a List of Potential Entrants
  • Establish a Strategy for Contacting Entrants

Once you’ve worked through these steps, you’re ready to go. Congratulate yourself on getting this far, and get ready to roll out your program.

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Best to you and yours,




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