8 tips to help members recertify
Let’s get right to it – we need our members to recertify. It’s good for them (latest and greatest for their industry, job skills, and overall professional development) and it helps us, too (engagement, retention, revenue – all the big ones).
We need quick but thoughtful tactics here – after all, the average worker gets interrupted every 15 minutes these days (per recent studies from the University of California, Irvine). That’s tough competition for attention and eyeballs.
Our quick tips are below – try one, a few, or all eight in your recertification workflows (or heck – start that recertification workflow for the first time, we’re not judging here). Then let us know what’s working best for you.
1. Countdown to recertification.
It may seem eager, but well-placed calendar reminders have saved our skins countless times before. Even if a member completed their certification recently, it’s advantageous to plan ahead. Send well-spaced notes as their recertification deadlines get closer. Like any good muscle, check-ins should be active and consistent. To level up, consider automatic recertification options and build that into your workflow.
When it’s worked: AAAE’s content-filled event promos
“For our events that offered CEU credits to AAEs, AAAE’s highest accreditation, we would put dynamic content into event promotions reminding them how many CEUs they could get with that event,” said Beth Arritt, former VP of Marketing at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “They didn’t have to go looking for the info on the conference site, and it’s a fantastic marketing tool for the event.”
The key here is specificity – a focused audience and an exact number of credits for them.
2. Take out the guesswork with recommendations.
Send members personalized course recommendations that align with their interests and meet CE requirements. You can track this info down many ways: self-reporting data, past event and course history, job title, or outstanding requirements.
3. Play nice with others (course providers, that is).
Do you have an easy way for certificants to report CEs earned through other providers or programs? If they can add them into your system, it’s simpler for everyone to track progress and stay on top of things.
4. Give members the power to choose.
Whether it’s a specific learning pathway that prioritizes online videos versus in-person events, or an option to control course scheduling and timing – support your members in personalizing their recertifying process.
When it’s worked: AAAE members thrive with learning options
“This was one of the ways our members were able to thrive, because they were at different levels at the airport,” Beth explained. “For example, there might be 6 airport operations managers at an airport, which means any one of them being out left a big hole to fill when they had to manage the operations for what was essentially a small city – a definite need for options that don’t require in-person attendance, and in a variety of methods to accommodate for different learning types. But at the same time, there were people who really needed to make those in-person connections, so providing that networking opportunity was critical [for some] in keeping up their CEUs.”
Across industries and disciplines, it can be both tricky and integral to find time and funding for certification. Options create flexibility that ultimately keeps members moving forward.
5. Offer incentives (or what we like to call, positive bribes).
The satisfaction of staying up to date in certification is a great intrinsic motivator – but it doesn’t always quell procrastination or distraction. An easy bribe to get you started: digital badges for completing CEs that members can proudly display across social or their online community.
6. Remind members they’re doing great.
Recognition can feel simple, but it does wonders. Praise recertifying progress publicly in a newsletter, on your social channels, or even at an event. Send a personalized note with words of encouragement or an invitation to join a committee/task force.
When it’s worked: Shouting out success at AAAE
Visibility on who’s recertified was always top of mind in AAAE’s member strategy. They sent out a detailed list of certified members every quarter and displayed recent certifications at their annual conference. “And those people who had certified recently were all put into a drawing for a trip to our annual January conference in Hawaii,” Beth added.
This exposure goes beyond just kudos – to serve on the executive board, you had to be a certified AAE, which helped raise your personal brand within the industry even more.
7. Connect members to each other.
Bribes and praise are great, but a little human interaction goes a long way. Consider providing a space (as simple as a group email or as built out as a member directory or community) for members in the thick of CEs to chat, commiserate, and motivate. Level up with a mentor program that connects new members with veterans in the industry and experience with that certification.
8. Honor the feedback loop.
Ask about your members’ certification experience, no matter the outcome or their status. This info is invaluable for both your program and their recertifying process in the future. Again, it can be as simple as an email or as robust as a survey.