Marketing CE: Class Completion CertificatesJohn DeLalla | Director of Continuing Education, University of Arizona South
Most continuing education programs provide a certificate of completion or achievement at the end of class. Typically these are used by students to prove attendance to employers, and then are filed away by the student. But what if this certificate could be on display as a marketing item for your CE program? What if the display of a certificate could be used in word-of-mouth marketing as well?
Having a certificate hanging on office walls serves a few marketing purposes:
- Its presence keeps your institution top of mind with your student.
- Its presence can encourage word-of-mouth marketing, with coworkers of your student seeing the certificate and possibly asking about the class content, student experience and opportunities for professional development.
For the first few years of running a continuing education program, we provided the certificate with university name, student name and class title with dates. This was printed on a thick cardstock paper and handed to students on the last day of class. Yet after visiting a few students in their offices, I realized that students hang their certificates of completion on their office or cubical walls. With their work and our name on display, why not spend a few dollars and make it look nice?
So we began providing the color certificate in a clear plastic holder, which cost roughly $2 each. But with the plastic holder we transitioned to normal copy-machine paper, so there was a small cost savings. Yet within a few months of visiting students in their offices, the plastic frames were being repurposed for other office uses, and the copy-paper certificates were tacked to office walls plainly.
We then transitioned to 8.5″x11″ frames, with glass front and metal edges. But these frames didn’t hang from walls, rather they sat like picture frames on desks. Again in visiting student offices in the community, it became apparent that the certificates would be displayed on workspaces for a short time after class ended, but eventually wound up filed away with the frame being reused for personal photos.
Our current iteration is 8.5″ x 11″ document frames, which have provisions for hanging from the wall. The frames are still metal and glass, and are lightweight but have a solid appearance. Best of all they are $1 each, saving us budget dollars from our earlier solutions of plastic covers. When I visit students in their offices now they have frames hanging from their office or cubical walls, with their name in large letters and the university logo watermarked in the background. We’ve been able to turn a standard issue student item into a classy marketing item that students are happy to display.
Author Perspective: Administrator