How to Win an Award

AwardCupAwards are valuable assets when it comes to marketing. Sure you can tell everyone you’re the best but let’s be honest, who’s going to really believe you?

A third party endorsement with an award speaks volumes more. Winning awards isn’t just luck either; you can load the dice in your favour.

Parkdean have come top in their category for a British Travel award in 3 out of the last four years and they were runner up in the fourth of those years. Impressive stuff, how do they do it?

British Travel Awards are voted for by consumers and Parkdean are certainly worthy of winning an award, I’ve had great holiday experiences at their parks.

However a customer having a great experience is not enough to get a vote. Your customers are not spending their time seeking out voting opportunities for your company, even if they think you are kinda cool.

An outreach program using email is a powerful tool to beat your competitors and win awards. Parkdean create email campaigns every year asking their customers to vote for them. They prompt customers letting them know:

  • Why they should vote
  • When to vote
  • How to vote

In 2014 they sent two main emails to get votes, the first on the 10th August and the second the day before voting closed. The second creative is shown below:

Email Creative Best Practice

It opens with a good choice of subject line “Hello… Can you help us?”

  • That’s distinctive from most normal marketing emails and other emails sent by Parkdean.
  • The reader can’t answer the question without opening and reading further. It plays to natural curiosity.
  • It appeals to the desire people have to be helpful. Those customers who had good experiences and were well looked after by the staff will be happy to reciprocate and help Parkdean in return.
  • It qualifies the right people to open. Only those people who will be happy to make the effort to vote will open the email. The perfect self-selecting audience.

Once the email has been opened the creative has several strong elements

  • The headline quickly explains what help is needed and repeats the plea to ‘show support’.
  • A button with clear call to action: “Vote for Parkdean >”.
  • The British Travel Awards emblem showing it’s a credible third party award.
  • A strong image of a child. Looking straight at you and with a cheeky happy smile, reminding you of a happy time on holiday
  • The clock icon and urgency driver, “Voting closes at midnight tomorrow”. This is great timing for an email. Sending a few days in advance of the closing date will get a weaker response since it lets customers too easily promise to themselves to ‘do it another day’. Closes tomorrow makes immediate action more likely.

Parkdean don’t leave anything down to chance, rather than just dumping customers straight into the British Travel Awards page the click through takes customers to a dedicated landing page. This explains what the award is, why it’s important, how to vote and crucially gives step by step instructions, to make it as easy as possible for customers to vote.

Similar email campaigns were run in 2012 and 2013 by Parkdean. I’ll be watching if they win again when the results are announced on the 27th November. They have certainly stacked the odds in their favour.