Digital credentials in higher education are used to represent achievement, boost engagement, reduce the time and spend of credentialing, and incentivize progression. They replace or supplement the traditional physical certificate and benefit the student by providing a clearer picture of their competencies and knowledge. Higher education digital credentials are secure, easy to share, and quick to verify, and provide assured longevity against mergers, acquisitions, or closure of institutions. For the issuing institution, digital credentials are a cost-effective way to recognize and motivate continuous learning, and support digital marketing strategies by harnessing the online reach of alumni. 

Organic, Targeted Social Media Posts

The shareability of digital credentials appeals to today’s digitally connected communities. Social media platforms are a huge part of our lives and are where many users share their milestones, achievements, and updates. In one-click, graduates can share their digital badge or certificate to their social networks in celebration of their success. This greatly benefits higher education marketing strategies in several ways;

  • Serves as authentic social proof for credentialed programs
  • Boosts visibility for available certifications, programs, and courses
  • Increases brand awareness across target audiences

These organic shares are more effective at attracting the attention of users within the institution’s target demographic compared to ppc (pay-per-click) ads and can be used alongside or to replace a paid social ad strategy. The accompanying messaging copy for social shares can be customized by the institution with the relevant user or institution tags and hashtags that further boost visibility. 

Content Marketing Strategy

A key benefit of digital credentials is the dedicated credential page on which the badge or certificate is hosted. The page provides more room than a traditional certificate to include details of the program, attach student evidence, link to the course overview and institution's website, and add skill tags that detail the earned demonstrable skills. All of which contribute to improved search visibility for SEO (search engine optimization). Not only does the credential page provide in-depth information for prospective students but it makes it easier for students to discover the courses that serve their chosen career path through organic search. The increased visibility provided through the use of digital credentials supplements paid search campaigns and over time can reduce spend on digital advertising. 

Digital Credential Page Example

It is also recommended that institutions create dedicated pages on the college or university website that provides information about the issued digital credentials. The page should summarize what the credentials are, how they are used, and how they benefit graduates. As digital credentials grow in popularity, these pages target candidates that are specifically looking for programs that issue digital credential awards. 

Influencer Marketing Campaigns

A marketing tool included as part of the Accredible Growth Plan package is the ability to identify influencer recipients that have received the most engagement from their shared credentials. Influencer metrics are tracked across credential groups, views, referrals generated, and the target social media platforms. This simplifies the process of identifying which alumni issuers should work with to create testimonials, video content, and alumni interviews. They can then offer them rewards in the form of coupons, vouchers, or discount codes in exchange for sharing created materials. By working with identified influencers, the institution can have confidence that these assets will be seen by their target audience and receive high-levels of engagement. 

Influencer List View

An additional benefit of identifying credential influencers is the ability for the issuing institution to engage with their posts through comments, shares, and reposting. Prospective students often look to social media for guidance, resources, and to communicate with higher ed institutions. By being active in engaging with recipient social shares, this helps to build relationships and trust with both potential and current students. 

Actioning Higher Education Digital Marketing Plans

The first step in actioning the above suggestions for higher ed marketing is the credential delivery email. This is the delivery method for which recipients receive their new digital credential and needs to be clear and targeted to ensure graduates open the email and engage with their credentials. Email marketing best practices recommend personalizing email subject lines and being direct with what the email is about and what it contains. For example, using a subject line of ‘[Name], here is your [Program Name] digital credential from [Institution]!’ rather than ‘We’ve got something for you!’. With the number of emails that are received every day, it’s important that the credential email stands out amongst the rest to boost conversion rates for both email and credential opens, and credential shares. 

It is also important that emails are accessible across all devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Over 40% of all emails are opened and read on a mobile device and where an email hasn’t been optimized - 42.3% readers delete it immediately. Emails created via our digital credentialing solution are accessible to all users. However, emails created and designed outside the platform should be checked thoroughly to ensure a good user experience across all devices.

Digital Credentials in Higher Education Case Study

We partner with many higher education institutions to deliver digital credentials to their students, including Miami University. They needed a user-friendly platform that would seamlessly integrate with Canvas, enhance their student experience, and offer complete automation of their learning pathways. Accredible was able to provide all this and more, supported by a CRM-style dashboard that allows them to quickly see the number of eligible students, credentials issued, credential share rates, and course completion metrics. Learn how they benefited from switching to Accredible to deliver micro-credentials to their students in our Miami University Case Study.

In Summary

Digital credentials deliver an enhanced recipient experience to graduates, allowing them to easily share and showcase their competencies, knowledge, and skills. For issuers, digital credentials provide cost-effective methods for recognizing achievement, and can supplement or replace paid digital marketing ads. Institutions using digital credentials can harness the online reach of their graduates and identify influential alumni to work with to create additional promotion materials that help to boost visibility and build relationships with prospective students. 

For more information on digital credentials in higher education, using digital credentials in higher education marketing, or to see digital credentials in action, book a demo with our team today.