SaaS marketers have plenty of tools and platforms at their disposal to promote their product. PPC, SEO, PR… the acronyms fill to bursting the marketer’s cup of jargon. But there’s one platform given less attention by companies eager to get new leads: industry and quality awards.
These types of awards aren’t just ego boosters; they are promotional tools, too. But you probably know that already. What you may not know is how exactly to squeeze marketing juice out of them should you one day wake up to a trophy or seal bestowed upon your software. Let’s count the effective ways to use such awards.
But first, we’re not talking about the Oscars or Nobel Prize here. SaaS industry awards are a motley crew with varying levels of credibility and reasons granted by bodies of different backgrounds. Take a look at the Output Messenger review of FinancesOnline for an example. However, they share a common focus, demonstrating any or all of these aspects:
- Product quality
- Customer service excellence
- Business legitimacy
4 Ways to Leverage Industry Awards
When an award is granted to your software, rejoice. But don’t stop there. Use it as an opportunity to get more customers. Here are four ways to use awards as a marketing tool to generate more leads.
1. Increase brand awareness
Brand value isn’t just about your logo or design interface. It’s the totality of the customer’s commitment to want your product based on his experience with it. Seth Godin sums it best as “how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”
It’s what industry and quality awards tell customers. Experts had poked their noses into your software from all probable angles and concluded that their experience is great. The customer is thinking–my experience will likely be the same.
Awards rub off “winnability” on your software and trigger top-of-mind awareness in the customer. For less known SaaS vendors the rewards are starker, especially if the award-giving body is a well known brand. For instance, Project Manager bragged about their FinancesOnline review and award they won here.
Tip: Display your award on promotional materials like product catalogue, website and social media pages to get more branding points.
2. Get media mileage
It’s one of the bonuses of winning an award–you get to tell the world about it. You get a legitimate reason to send a story–not a product pitch–to media sites and blogs in your network. The bigger the award the more likely you’ll get your media friends’ nod.
But even smaller awards deliver a tactical advantage. The world of SaaS is filled with niche sites and trade newsletters that lend a close ear to the latest industry news. Moreover, you can feed your social media pages with your winning story.
You can also expect the award-winning body to promote your story, which is also their story. Not all exposure will be freely given, for sure. But you get to frame a press release without appearing to be self-absorbed and reporters like that.
Lastly, you get to populate your blog with a compelling story. Here’s an example of Zola Suite review by FinancesOnline used for promotional purposes.
Tip: Don’t just tell readers you’ve won an award. Focus on the reasons why your software won. Those are your value propositions.
3. Improve user trust
Industry and quality awards, like trustmarks, are a seal of approval from a credible third party. Trustmarks have been found to be the leading factor why visitors trust a site they’ve seen for the first time.
When you win an industry award you earn a whopping testimonial and social proof that backs up your claims. That’s a big plus in an industry where vendors struggle to claim market territory by the inch.
Furthermore, a Google CEB study revealed that buyers make their own product research prior to purchase. By the time they’re contacted by sales, 57% of their decision is done. When prospects come across your brand for the first time, will they trust it? Maybe if they see an award or quality seal.
Tip: Place the award or quality seal prominently on your homepage.
4. Stand out on review sites
B2B software review platforms like FinancesOnline, GetApp and Capterra help you get leads from organic search. But with vendors crowding it out on these directories, you need to stand out.
One way is to submit your software for a thorough review by the site’s review panel. These directories usually bestow “the best” software award for each category. This gives you a higher chance of dominating your niche.
Make sure to highlight your software’s value propositions and key benefits to help reviewers assess your product on the right angles. The award is often displayed on your product page in the directory, which distinguishes your software from the competition. For example, Paradiso LMS got an award in their FinancesOnline.com review that actually helped them stand out from many other LMS solutions.
Where to get industry awards from?
There are plenty of channels to have your software nominated. While a few major awards don’t entertain self-submission, many awards are within your reach.
Awards can be granted by industry shakers like “The Cloud and SaaS Awards.” They can also come from research bodies such as Gartner and Forrester. Thought leaders, whether vendors (HubSpot) or media consulting (Content Marketing Institute), also give out software recognitions.
And as discussed above, B2B software review directories like FinancesOnline also offer industry and quality awards that can spell more leads for you. You can check some more examples of FinancesOnline reviews here.
Industry and quality awards aren’t vanity trinkets. They’re golden eggs that can make you richer with leads and, hopefully, sales. Strive to win an award by, first off, developing a quality product. Thereafter, strive to leverage it for more marketing success. Good luck!