For the last twenty years, Wicked Local has asked consumers to vote for their favorite local businesses in its’ annual Readers Choice poll. This year, we had 450,000 votes cast for all sorts of businesses, from restaurants to hair salons. The results of the 2015 Readers Choice Awards will be released later this month, but we wanted to start preparing businesses for a very busy summer.
The Readers Choice results offer meaning to different audiences. For consumers, it’s a chance for them to make their voice heard. It gives them the opportunity to engage with their favorite business.
For local businesses, a Readers Choice award is an opportunity for you to announce that you are the fan’s favorite and to thank loyal customers for their support. Anyone can say that they are the most popular business in town, but you actually have the evidence to prove it.
You’ll be issued a 2015 Readers Choice certificate, for you to display in your business. Place it by the door, so that people can see it when they walk in. Put it on a sales counter so that customers will see it when making a purchase. This award also includes the ability to use the official Readers Choice logo. You can use this image in all of your advertising!
The first ad you run should be to thank the voters. That’s true of any contest. Whether you win or lose, thank those people who took a little extra time out of their day to vote for you. Thank them with a promotion. Thank them with a coupon. Thank them with a giveaway.
For the rest of the year, include that you are an award winner in every advertisement and piece of marketing. Create a graphic that you can run in all of your ads. Make that award a part of your visual campaign. The Readers Choice logo is a well recognized and respected icon that customers are aware of. It doesn’t matter if the customers are new or familiar, the Readers Choice logo promotes that you are a trusted company within the community.
For those of you who didn’t win, this isn’t a black mark against your business. No one is saying your business is sub par, it just means that your company isn’t as well known. For the next year, your goal should be to increase the number of people who can visit your business. Your ads should look to engage customers. If you think you have the best sandwiches in your town - say so. Invite customers to come in and see for themselves.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to share some ideas about how you can share your Wicked Local Readers Choice award. Social media is going to be a great tool for you to use when announcing your Readers Choice award. We’ll help you figure out what social media platforms and strategies to use.
Wicked Local’s Readers Choice Awards has recognized hundreds of businesses over the last twenty years. It’s one of the only awards that is hyperlocal. We have counted hundreds of thousands of votes from your friends and neighbors. It is a true sign that local consumers trust and turn to you for products and services.
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.