Selecting the winners for Wicked Local’s Readers Choice Awards isn’t an easy or quick process. The voting begins early in the year, and businesses and communities are given enough time to advertise and vote for the winners. Then we start counting the votes. Even with the help of electronic balloting, this is a huge job.
This year, we received over 400,000 votes. These votes needed to be counted and sorted for hundreds of local businesses in eastern Massachusetts. Once the votes were verified, we prepared certificates and began notifying the winners. After nearly five months of work, we are ready to publically announce the winners and celebrate the power of local business. Winners should start appearing in your local papers this week and on our new Readers Choice website wickedlocalfavorites.com this Friday.
With all the work that’s gone into winning a Readers Choice Award, take advantage of your win and celebrate it all year long. Don’t just offer discounts for a few weeks after the win announcement, create reasons for customers to turn to you as a community resource. Have a “Thank You” promotion ready for your fans, and then use that momentum to create future campaigns.
Start planning your ad strategy for the months ahead by remembering to reinforce YOUR Readers Choice Award. Create ads for your local paper that include the Readers Choice image next to a picture of your logo. Update the header image on your website and social media sites to include the image as well. Start the process of branding yourself as a 2015 Readers Choice Award winner as often as you can.
Think of promotions you can run throughout the year, and try to prepare them in a way that will communicate with customers, not just to announce discounted items. Use the Readers Choice Award banner as a way to immediately establish your credibility, then build a campaign that not only announces a promotion but asks them to engage with it.
Find a way to create a new campaign that will spotlight a different product or promotion that aligns with the season or month. Use the fact that you are a Readers Choice winner in the copy.
“Our community has chosen us as the place to buy your grill. Are you ready to cook the best burgers in town?”
“Our sundae’s were voted the BEST in town. This weekend, stop by and find out why.”
“Our customers have voted us the best place to buy this summer’s hottest fashions.”
Don’t limit these messages to just print advertising though. Keep the campaign consistent through all of your social media posts too. Post photos and videos that highlight the promoted items. Write Facebook and Google Plus posts that continue to promote you are the community’s choice for particular products. Create a photo essay full of smiling happy customers and their endorsements.
Those are just ideas based on the upcoming summer months, but every month or season offers a new opportunity for you to try and use the Readers Choice Award in your marketing. For the next year, thank consumers and remind them why they voted for your business with these messages. Create a bond between them and you as their favorite business so when 2016 rolls around, they’ll be reminded of your business just in time for the next Readers Choice Awards.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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