Associations use digital credentials to replace or supplement their existing membership credentials whether these are issued as physical certificates, plastic membership cards, or PDF certificates. There are many reasons associations choose digital credentials: time and cost savings, improved data management, increased control over credentials, and greater internal efficiency, to name a few. One of the most sought after features of digital credentials is the benefit they offer to marketing and the ability to use them as a powerful marketing tool. Let’s explore how digital credentials as marketing tools increase the visibility of membership certifications.
Marketing digital credentials and their benefits to members
Each association created training and development program should have its own landing page on the association website. This provides visitors useful guidance on:
- What topic the program covers
- What modules are included
- What the members will gain
- What learning technologies are used
- How they can enroll
Digital credentials offered for successfully completing programs should also have a dedicated landing page. This page is an opportunity to inform members on:
- What a digital credential is
- How they are used
- Where they can be shared or embedded
- The benefits they provide members
On the digital credential landing page, the association should include a grid of the training and development programs that offer digital credentials on completion. This encourages any visitors that are learning about digital credentials to explore the training programs available to them and increases the likelihood that they enroll.
During the launch for digital credentials, include a link to the landing page in all the launch communications. This might include email newsletters, social posts, posts on internal message boards or forums, and banners or pop-ups in members-only areas of the website. Each engagement with that link increases visibility for both the newly offered digital credentials and the reasons why members want to pursue them. It also increases the visibility of the available programs and increases how enticing they are to members with the offer of shareable, verifiable awards.
Zoom Integration Digital Credentials
Accredible offers integration with the leading video communication software Zoom. Using the integration, issuers can deliver digital credentials to their meeting or webinar attendees. This is a great opportunity to provide an introductory session on digital credentials to members with the reward of their first digital credential. Members get an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of digital badges and digital certificates and earn their own digital credential in the process. Learn more about the Accredible Zoom integration here.
Encourage recipients to engage with their credentials
Once members start receiving their digital credentials, associations should encourage them to engage with and share their credentials. Provide a clear call to action button in the credential delivery email that both advises the recipient what clicking the button will do and encourages them to take action. CTA button text that works well for this purpose includes:
- Share Credential
- Share Credential to [Target Social Platform] (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc)
- Add Credential to LinkedIn
- Open Credential
Each credential engagement and share increases the visibility of the digital credential and the program it was awarded for completing. By encouraging engagement, associations increase the reach of their member’s digital credentials to individuals within their target audience. They may already be members which increases the potential for referrals. Or non-members, which creates opportunities to encourage new member sign-ups as well as certification enrollments.
Individuals that engage with the shared credential are taken to the dedicated credential page where they learn more about the association, the program, and any other available programs. They also learn more about the credential and what the recipient gained by completing the program through contextual credential information and confirmation of demonstrable skills.
Engage with Credential Shares
The influence associations have for encouraging shares shouldn’t stop at the credential delivery email. By engaging with members that share their credentials by commenting, liking, and resharing member celebration posts, they increase their visibility even further. Each time the association engages with their member posts, they show prospective members how much they care for their members' development and celebration. This also helps to encourage other members that have earned digital credentials to share their credentials to receive engagement from their association.
By tracking shares and level of engagement, it becomes easier to identify the association's most influential members. This provides an opportunity to create partnerships with influential members and ask them to share more in exchange for discounts, promotional codes, and rewards.
Celebrate Achievement Internally
Another opportunity for driving engagement with digital credentials is to celebrate member wins internally. This might be through a summarization in a monthly member newsletter, posted on internal messaging boards and forums, or in a dedicated channel in the association’s chosen communication platform (Teams, Slack, etc). Other members see the recognition and celebration their fellow members receive from the community and association and want to achieve this for themselves. They may be inspired to talk to the members holding digital credentials to learn what opportunities it has created for them. This leads to them feeling encouraged to take the certification for their own professional development. The more exposure to certificate programs members receive, the more likely they are to pursue the association's training and development opportunities.
Share Credential Success Stories
After members start receiving their digital credentials, remember to follow up with them to learn how they used their new skills to benefit their employment or career. Set reminders to follow up 3 months, 6 months, and a year after their credentials were received. This provides an opportunity to introduce credential holding members to additional programs that support their professional development and encourage continuing education. Over time this allows associations to create a library of testimonials and success stories. These written pieces serve as social proof and authentic marketing for the association’s training and development programs. The testimonials can be added to program landing pages, posted to social media, and included next to snippets about the program in internal emails and messages to encourage members to learn more.
Utilize Recommendations™ to serve credentials to relevant audiences
Exclusive to Accredible, Recommendations is powered by our Recommendations engine that serves smart course suggestions in specific placements across the credential experience. Issuers that opt-in to Recommendations have the opportunity to show their credentials on other relevant credentials and within CourseFinder search results. They pay per click generated on their credentials similar to a targeted affiliate marketing model. Recommendations serves credentials to prospective candidates based on their current credential or credentials held, helping candidates to find programs relevant to their career path or continuing education journey.
Associations opt-in to Recommendations to serve both their membership credentials and the credentials earned through their certification programs. This provides increased visibility for the association and helps to drive enrollments. There are two options for placements that issuers can choose from:
- General placements - The default placement that carries the lowest PPC fee
- Featured placements - Higher visibility placements that issuers can choose at a higher PPC fee
Associations may choose to place their membership credentials in higher, more visible Featured placements depending on their target goal, e.g to drive more membership enrollments. While leaving their certification credentials in general placements or vice versa where the goal is to encourage more certification sign-ups.
Build talent pipelines with a branded Spotlight Directory
Spotlight is another feature exclusive to Accredible and offers issuers the ability to create a branded, browsable directory of their certification holders. This provides an opportunity to enter into partnerships with local or national organizations that are looking for candidates holding association membership and certifications. Spotlight benefits members by increasing professional development opportunities through improved visibility into their competencies and abilities.
The association Spotlight Directory is fully customizable, with the option to set specific credentials or profiles as hidden or public, create custom attributes that visitors can filter results by, and allow members to manage their individual profiles. Profiles contain details about the individual member including their location, employment status, whether they are looking for work, and what skills and credentials they hold. This makes it easy for third-parties to browse the association directory and find candidates that will help to fill their organizational or departmental skill gaps.
Digital credentials are more than simple digital equivalents of physical credentials and awards. They are powerful marketing tools that enable associations to increase awareness for their organization, membership, and credentials. They help to drive referrals through member shares that expose a wider audience to the benefit of memberships and association training and development programs. By utilizing digital credentials and engaging with member celebrations and shares, associations can further increase the visibility of their certification programs and better showcase the value of association certifications.
Learn more about our digital credentialing platform and using digital credentials to represent membership credentials and certification awards by contacting sales. Or to see how associations use digital credentials and receive a tailored quotation for your requirements, book a platform demo.
Continue learning and exploring how associations use digital credentials with our downloadable Digital Credentials and Professional Associations Guide. Gain insights into how digital credentials better support associations and their members. Use the guide to:
- Identify major credentialing challenges faced by associations
- Research solutions for secure, verifiable membership credentials
- Implement scalable, easy-to-manage digital credentials
- Plan effective digital credential programs that engage members