June 16, 2020   |   Vol. 19   |   Issue 6
By Michelle Peterson, MGI Senior Account Director

Certification Marketing in a Time of Crisis

Meeting your certificant goals is still possible, even in an uncertain climate. Members and prospects are currently seeking ways to enhance their knowledge and marketability in their fields. And some groups are seeing record demand for their online education offerings.

But there are some steps your organization can take to ensure that your certification is the one professionals in your industry think of first.

Awareness and Value. Now is the time to ramp up your certification marketing efforts. Even if you consider pausing higher-cost channels, continue your email and digital efforts. Online ad inventory is inexpensive right now, and your prospects are online more than ever, so keep your name and your certification in front of them.

As candidates think about finding or holding onto a job in an uncertain employment market, clearly tell them how your certification helps. Can it give them a competitive advantage in the job market? Strengthen client relationships? How does it benefit them right now?

Communicating the Process. You may have an excellent communication stream highlighting the standard process for earning your certification, but during this unique time you need to be clear about what’s changed.

Don’t make your candidates wait to hear about changes through third parties–be the official, definitive source of the most up-to-date information regarding course schedules, exam offerings, and formats. Consider establishing a temporary webpage where candidates can access the most current information.

And for candidates who have taken steps toward earning certification already, explore adding efforts to make sure they are aware of any changes and encouraged to complete the process.

Encouragement and Support. As your candidates juggle many responsibilities and evolving work or family circumstances, be empathetic and supportive. Offer flexibility where you can, whether that means relaxing policies around exam scheduling or postponement, considering additional online resources or testing options, or even extending your normal deadlines for different steps of the process.

Be responsive to questions and concerns. And be sure that your candidates are able to easily find and access the resources they need.

Renewing the Certification. Once your candidates have earned certification, you want them to keep it active. Update messaging in any engagement pieces to highlight the power and value of the certification during this time. Remind your certificants of the benefits they can access through your organization. And when it is time to renew, make sure your certificants know it!

They may have forgotten amid everything else that’s on their minds. Your normal communication may not be enough–consider adding an additional touch to ensure that your certificants know the steps they need to take to renew. And where you can, work to offer flexibility with payment plans or extended renewal deadlines.

With clear and empathetic communication, you can gain certificants during these unprecedented times.

If you need help growing your certificant numbers, contact Michelle Peterson, Senior Account Director, at mpeterson@marketinggeneral.com or 703.706.0327.

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