NEW: How to Make the Most of The Digital Awards

Wherever you’re based, our Digital Awards (DA) schemes offer excellent county-wide exposure.

But if you’re sponsoring a category, how do you make the most of such a great promotional opportunity?

And if you’re lucky enough to be named as a finalist, how do you use this achievement to bring you maximum publicity?

Danielle from Indy Consultancy, our Content Partner for the Essex Digital Awards (EDAs) 2018, is a past sponsor. She’s been involved in the EDAs in a number of capacities for nearly five years, and during that time, she’s witnessed different approaches towards self-promotion and experimented with various marketing ideas.

She’s collected all of her experience into this article, which lists tips to help sponsors and finalists make the most of the Awards before, during and after the main award-giving event.

Sponsors

As part of the largest business awards in the county, the DA sponsorship packages offer exceptional value as it is, but believe it or not, there are even more ways you can use the scheme to get your brand in front of potential customers. It may take a little time and organisation, but the end results are definitely worth the effort.

1.Make room for your marketing materials

It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple roller banner or a whole box full of branded goodies – the more marketing collateral you can place in front of an audience, the more likely they are to remember you. Always speak to the event organisers to see if it will be possible to display your merchandise at a key point during the evening, such as the welcome drinks.

2.It’s all about the freebies

Everyone loves to think they’re getting something for free – including Indy! So why not arrange to give away a unique gift to everyone who attends the event?

You could even take this one step further and organise an exclusive competition for attendees. Regular sponsors Nimbus Hosting have hosted some great giveaways in the past – for example, at the Hertfordshire Digital Awards in September (2017), they gave guests the chance to win a variety of prizes by running a tombola draw. The setup encouraged loads of interaction with the company’s staff (and their Twitter account), and the winners were over the moon with their free gifts.

3.Reach out to other sponsors

Whenever you attend any kind of awards evening or networking event, you’re going to be surrounded by other companies that are clamouring for attention. But why not work with them instead of against them? You never know – you may end up referring business their way, and vice versa.

My advice would to be always take the time to meet and greet other event sponsors and understand what they do. The Awards now offers pre-event networking events that give you the chance to make these valuable connections in a less formal setting.

And if you don’t get a chance to talk to everyone, make a note of their contact details and introduce yourself via email. A quick ‘hello’ might just secure your place as a preferred supplier, if the need arises.

4.Introduce yourself to the finalists

Being shortlisted for an award is always a big deal, so why not give our finalists and winners a well-deserved pat on the back? Whether you choose to approach them in person to offer your congratulations, or drop them a message via email or Twitter, the sentiment will not go unnoticed and you’re sure to stick in their minds.

A great way to keep a record of the winners on the night is to make notes next to the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Awards programme. It may mean foregoing a couple of glasses of wine during the main presentation, but you can always make up for that afterwards…

5.Get writing

Sponsoring the DAs is certainly a great conversation starter, so talk to your audience by putting together some timely, relevant content. To start with, you could write a blog on your website that announces your involvement in the scheme. If you want to take things one step further, you could put useful tips into a mini-whitepaper and hand it out exclusively at the event.

I would recommend rallying support for the event using your various social accounts, too. The advantage here is that the DAs already boast a huge online following. The Essex Digital Awards’ Twitter account, for example, has nearly 4,000 followers at time of writing. So if you talk about the awards as often as you can (and via as many different channels as you can), I guarantee you’ll generate a great deal more exposure for your company.

(If you’re struggling to find the time or the resources to create this kind of content, this is something an external copywriting agency such as Indy can help you with. Just a thought.).

6.Be creative!

If you’ve got extra ideas, don’t be afraid to share them with the Awards organisers. They’re always looking to add as much value to your awards experience as they can, and they’re very open to new ways of engaging their guests and associates.

Finalists and Winners

If you’ve made it to the finals, you deserve a great big well done. You’ve beaten hundreds of other entrants and you’re going to soak up the amazing atmosphere at the next Awards ceremony. But the benefits of being celebrated as a finalist don’t have to end there.

1.Blitz your social accounts

I’m sure you’re very socially active anyway, but make sure you shout about your achievements by announcing your finalist status via social media. It’s an easy way to boost your reputation and encourage enquiries in one fell swoop.

If you’re lucky enough to take away Gold, Silver or Bronze on the night, live-Tweet from the event and share your good news with the rest of the world! Use the right hashtag to associate yourself with the event and you’ll put your brand in front of even more people. For the next Essex Digital Awards, it will be #EDA18 (and it always follows that format for each county).

Bear in mind, too, that the Digital Awards team will be sharing various posts and graphics relating to your win; make sure you like and share everything you see for maximum gain.

2.Prepare your speech in case you win

Nobody ever expects to win – but if and when you do, you’ll be invited to take to the stage and deliver an acceptance speech to around 300 successful business men and women. Have a think about what you’d like to say and who you’d like to thank. It’s worth jotting down a handful of notes prior to the event to make sure this information is fresh in your mind.

3.Share your news

Write a blog post announcing your win – or, better still, send out a press release to industry contacts. The media are always keen to hear about business success in their area, so you may even be able to generate some extra exposure from a local newspaper or community website.

4.Make use of your unique banners

All Award winners will automatically receive a unique digital banner from the team. These can be used on your company website and even within your email signatures, so make good use of them.

5.Watch out for your video interview

If you’ve been involved with the Awards before, you’ll know that all Gold winners take part in a video interview straight after they have collected their award on the night. This footage will be online shortly after the ceremony, so keep an eye out for it and be sure to share, share, share!

6.Show off your accolades

Prizes are a fantastic talking point in any work space – and if you’ve won an award, you want to show it off to as many people as possible, right? If you manage multiple offices, be sure to buy a plaque for each location and display it proudly in a prominent place.

I’ve mentioned a few ways of making the most of the Awards here, but this list is by no means definitive. I’d love to hear your own ideas in the Comments section below.

ESSEX: Heart Radio Tunes In For EDA17

The biggest radio station in the county has tuned into the Essex Digital Awards 2017.

Heart Essex has signed up as “Broadcast Media Partner” for EDA17 following a successful tie up between the Digital Awards and its sister station in Milton Keynes.

Heart Essex – which boasts a weekly audience of 415,000 (RAJAR Q.3 2016) – is part of Global, the media and entertainment group, which is home to a host of other household names including Smooth Radio Classic FM, LBC and Capital.

The station is home to long-running breakfast show presenters Martin and Su along with Essex favourite Mark Wright and Emma Bunton.

The EDAs is the first and only awards solely to recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities and now has the largest following of any awards in the county.

Entry for EDA17 closes on February 17, 2017.

In recent years, Heart Essex has grown its multi-platform business with a popular website as well as establishing an influential presence on social media platforms.

Every day Heart Essex delivers breaking news, travel, showbiz and competitions to more than 32,000 followers on Twitter and more than 110,000 fans on Facebook.

As broadcast media partner, Heart Essex will share news on the Awards through social media and www.heart.co.uk/essex

The EDA17 Presentation Evening will take place at Boreham House on May 18, 2017, and members of the Heart Essex team will attend.

Robin Bailey, Head of the EDA Judging Panel, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Heart Essex for EDA17.

“Their migration across to digital platforms over the past few years has been executed with great energy and imagination, they have a substantial online reach and we are delighted to be getting involved with them.”

Katy Flower, Commercial Director at Heart Essex, added: “We are thrilled to be working with EDA17.

“Essex is a vibrant county with so many digital entrepreneurs and it’s great that we’re able to help celebrate this culture of innovation.”

ESSEX: Nimbus Hosting Is Headline Sponsor of EDA17

Nimbus Hosting – a company that specialises in providing web hosting services to digital agencies and ecommerce sites, has signed up as Headline Sponsor of the Essex Digital Awards 2017.

The appointment underlines the company’s commitment to supporting the digital sector and encouraging more businesses to improve their website infrastructure.

One of Nimbus’ missions is to allow digital professionals to focus on core projects rather than dealing with “hosting headaches” and the, often, complex details of IT.

Hosting services form the backbone of the internet as we know it, from simple HTML files to databases, all that data needs somewhere safe to call home.

While the cost is important, reliability is invariably the key factor for web designers and developers when choosing a host.

Nimbus ticks both boxes.

The company prides itself on offering a “personal and competitive service” in cloud hosting, dedicated servers and third party applications such as Magento, WordPress and XenForo.

To celebrate their connection with EDA17, Nimbus is offering a special promotion just for entrants of the scheme, which is the first and only awards in Essex dedicated to celebrating the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

Meghan, Marketing Manager at Nimbus Hosting, revealed that her team is “very proud” to be involved with the EDAs and offer two exclusive deals as a result.

“We are delighted to be Headline Sponsor of the EDAs, having previously taken the same position at the Digital Awards in both Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

“To celebrate working with the EDAs, we are offering all entrants of EDA17 a free migration to cloud hosting, so we’ll move all your sites over for you and we’re offering to migrate as many websites as you’d like us to.

“We’ll also throw in the first month free on any VPS (Virtual Private Server) or cloud based hosting packages and this is all covered by our six month guarantee.

“This is just our way of saying thank you to the businesses, charities and schools of Essex who have put a lot of work into developing their digital platforms.”

As Headline Sponsor, Nimbus Hosting will enjoy a range of benefits including the opportunity to present the flagship “Website” award at the EDA17 Presentation Evening at Boreham House on May 18.

Meghan added: “Both launching a new sites or transferring existing websites can be one of the most critical tasks in its lifecycle, but the our team are specialists at ensuring the transfer happens quickly, carefully and professionally.”

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the EDA Judging Panel, said: “Having known Nimbus Hosting from a number of the Digital Awards events now I can say they are a real pleasure to work with.

“They are also highly successful and respected in offering website hosting solutions, so if you are considering this or want to find out why it’s worth doing, I’d recommend you contact them.”

For more information about Nimbus Hosting Click

To get in touch with Nimbus Hosting about the EDA17 promotion email: [email protected]

PM Declares Support for Superfast Broadband

The Prime Minister has declared her future support for High Speed Broadband in Parliament today (September 7, 2016).

Teresa May, who came to office in July, gave her backing to the UK-wide rollout of internet connectivity in the first Prime Minister’s Questions since the Summer recess.

Her statement came following a call for continued Government backing for the Superfast Broadband schemes across the country from James Heappey, MP, who supports a rollout in his Somerset constituency.

Mrs May said: “I am very happy to give my Right Honourable Friend that assurance and also to join with him in paying tribute to his Council and the work that they are doing and indeed all those involved in that innovative scheme. High Speed Broadband is an important part of the 21st century infrastructure and we will be doing everything we can to ensure it is there and available for people because that will enable us to develop jobs and grow prosperity in this country”.

The Digital Awards is working with and fully supports Superfast Broadband rollouts in Essex, Surrey and Cambridgeshire through Superfast Essex, Surrey Connects and Connecting Cambridgeshire.