“Worthless” Certificates Are Profitable

laptop-computerThere is a big misconception when it comes to selling online courses, and unfortunately it deters people from pursuing them altogether.

It is an objection that I have come across multiple times, so I felt that I should finally set the record straight on the issue once and for all: you don’t have to be an accredited university or training program to offer a certificate for your course.

Listen, I get it. At first glance it seems silly to promote your course certificate. You probably think that no one would want it or even care. But you’d be wrong.

Sure there will be some who don’t really care about it, but there is also a very large part of the population that are motivated by things like points, badges, and certificates for courses that they take.

I remember talking to Troy Dean from WPElevation about this phenomenon in 2015. At first he didn’t think much of the certificate but found that his students really enjoyed them. Some even printing them out and displaying in their office.

Think about that for a moment.

While the certificate doesn’t carry any weight (in the traditional educational sense), that doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is important to have a carrot for your courses and certificates are one very easy way to provide this. His online courses now pull in seven-figures annually.

Matthew Woodward, a well-known affiliate marketer, also used certificates for his course (which generated over six-figures in sales in just six days).

Digital Marketer offered the same for their students with their course programs. They took it one-step further and also included attractive online badges for users to post to their social profiles and personal websites.

Do you see a pattern here? Don’t write-off using certificates for your courses just because you wouldn’t necessarily want one. There are many people who do.

At the end of the day it is all about having confidence in your course content and what it is you are teaching your students. If you are proud of it then they will be proud when they complete it.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

3 Comments
  1. I hadn’t thought of certificates from a marketing perspective, but what you’re saying makes sense. I would caution people in their language though. It’s fine to call something a “certificate,” but don’t say it’s “accredited” unless it actually has gone though a review with a recognized accrediting body. I had a client many years ago who insisted on calling his course “accredited” to make it seem more valuable even though he had no intention of going through an accrediting process.

  2. I agree, and even in two aspects:

    1. Firstly, gamifying the eLearning process is a wise move. It has already grown to be a must, not a nice to have anymore.

    2. Secondly, promoting your own certificate is by definition a long process. But on the other hand, if a company grows to be a respected e.g. IT company, its certificate might actually be of value – proving that one has some level of skills.

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