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Market & Grow Your Product Certification Program with Digital Credentials

image of computer on desk showing marketing of product certification program

Digital credentials can be a powerful marketing tool for your product certification program.

Certification breeds loyalty, creates community, and gives users a reason to continue their career and learning journey with your products.

Once certified, users will advocate for you during the product renewal process and bring you along to other jobs as they progress through their career. They’ll also invest in best practices, publish workarounds, and become an evangelist within their profession and industry.

But without a portable digital credential that users can showcase, share, and take with them throughout their career, they may simply take your product certification course and never think about the credential again.

Product Certification Experts Share Tips for Using Digital Credentials

Allowing people to show competency in a skill can help them gain access to opportunities, move up the corporate ladder, and successfully petition for raises. But you have to show them how an investment in your product and your product certification program will return value—that’s where digital credentials come in.

In a webinar Credly hosted with product certification experts from Juniper, Tableau, and Smartsheet, we covered how organizations can use digital credentials to market their product certification program and improve user experience. Here are five questions and their consolidated answers from the panelists:

1. Do you need to have multiple product certification programs to start issuing digital credentials?

No, you don’t need to have multiple certifications to get started. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend it. The key to getting a successful digital credentialing program off the ground is simplicity. It’s a good idea to really get to know your key user and determine what credential would be most beneficial to them. For some, it may be a general certification. For others, a more specialized certification may be a good start.

From there, it’s easier to determine the impact of digital credentials on your product certification program and see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. Starting small allows you to focus on a single certification, get it right, show value to your users, and build a business case.

2. When is the right time to expand down the multi-certification path?

Once you’ve learned to walk, you can then take off and run with a larger product certification program. You may want to add digital credentials aligned to certifications for various personas or job titles. Perhaps you play in different verticals and can expand that way.

Certifications that demonstrate advanced levels of competency are also a good way to grow your digital credentialing program. Give users a reason to invest in your product, and they will express their loyalty throughout their career.

3. How do you encourage earners to share their digital credentials and promote your product certification program?

Credly’s digital credentials are designed to be easily shared by earners. To increase the share rate of your product certification program’s badge, you should embed the ability to share directly into the marketing and communications about your learning program. Remind your learner community to use the built-in sharing features when they accept their digital badge to spread the word to their networks on LinkedIn and other relevant social platforms.

Continue to follow up with a marketing campaign that provides examples and incentives for certification earners to promote their earned credential. For example, you can provide templates for email signatures and Slack profiles, as well as create a buzz on your social assets by publishing a list of users who earned a certification each week or creating a Wall of Fame on your website or blog. Hashtags are an easy way to call out certifications across platforms as well.

4. How do you incentivize people to start earning credentials?

As a product certification provider, the best thing you can do to incentivize learners is to break down barriers. This means avoiding prerequisites and gate-keeping, and potentially making some of your certifications available publicly.

Remember that users have already invested a lot of time, energy, and brainpower into learning your products, so try not to tax much more of their time during the certification process. And because people learn in different ways, you can provide different ways of earning certifications.

Some people can just take a test or put together a demo, while others may need to digest source materials and guidebooks. Instructor-led courses may work best for some users. Giving people multiple learning and certification paths makes it more likely they take the plunge.

5. How do you measure the ROI of your digital credential program?

It’s important to measure ROI in different ways. First, there’s revenue. Are you charging for certifications and are you bringing in more than it costs to run your program? Second, you need to measure the impact on user experience. Can you see increased engagement with your brand after a certification? How about growth within an account? Are earners spreading the word to other departments or business units?

Renewals are also a good measurement, as are references and other loyalty metrics. Some product certification programs we’ve seen even use mentions of their certification in job postings as an ROI metric. It’s really up to you to decide what’s important to your business, your users, and your industry.

Show Learners the Value of Your Product Certification with Digital Credentials

Whether you’re issuing product certifications for software savviness, IT skills, or technical expertise, badging on the Credly network has powerful benefits.

Digital credentials are not only a great way to market your product certification programs—they also help to reinforce the value of the learning you’re providing.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about Credly Acclaim, or download our white paper Transform Earners Into Advocates: How Product Certification Providers Can Build an Engaged Community of Badge Earners to learn more.