I’m so excited to announce that Market Mommy made StartUp Nation’s top 200 list of Leading Women in Business for 2011. We are thrilled that our fans, clients and colleagues showed their support and voted for us in the competition.

There have been several contests, awards, opportunities for nominations, etc. floating around lately. If you frequent Facebook I’m sure you’ve seen the asks for votes and so on. So what does it all mean for your business? Will an award set you apart from the rest or will the lack of one destroy you?

The short answer is no, I don’t think an award alone is going to make or break you. However, there are several benefits that can come from it.

Publicity. Just being a contestant, or nominated for an award can often garner you and your business some publicity. Being publicized as a nominee can create more traffic to your website. Those who are researching who to vote for will most likely visit your site to take a look. We’ve already mentioned Facebook. That and other social media platforms are a great way to get your name out there to gain exposure and ask for votes. This can multiply if you’re an award recipient.

Media Attention. If you win an award, most likely you will be supplied with a press release template. This was the case with StartUp Nation and is the case with most others. If you’re not provided with a template, you can definitely work to create your own release. Local newspapers and other outlets generally publish business news and include area residents who have received awards. Depending on the contest, it can also generate some larger media attention.

Credibility. By listing your awards and accomplishments you gain credibility. It’s a great thing for potential {and existing} customers to see that you’ve been recognized. By showcasing that others have found you worthy you can increase customer confidence in you as well. The links and SEO that are generated from such awards are invaluable. They will benefit the ‘searchability’ of your website forever.

Networking. By winning an award, you can open a whole new chapter in your networking life. You can open new dialogue with other winners because you have something in common. You can also network with award presenters and organizers. Plus, when introducing yourself you have a new opener. “Hi, I’m Dawn Berryman, owner of Market Mommy and one of the top 200 Leading Women in Business according to StartUp Nation.”

There are many ways you can use an award to your advantage. Be creative and utilize it to the best of its potential.