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5 Ways Digital Marketers Should Be Using Digital Badges Now

Digital badges may be the best thing since Instagram for digital marketers and few know they even exist. If you’re a digital marketer, here’s a quick primer on digital badges and five ways you can put them to work for your brands right now.

Digital badges are digital tokens that can be used to recognize almost any kind of achievement. It’s the digital equivalent of the merit badges that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts work so hard to earn and covet. Technically, a digital badge is an image file that’s packed full of information about who issued the badge and what the recipient had to do to earn the badge. A badge from my badge collection appears below — and here are the badge details. The badge is verifiable and it can even be revoked by the issuer. It’s a neat little package full of potential for both the badge recipient and the issuer of the badge.

A digital badge I earned for participating in the Technology Association of Oregon’s Ignite event

Digital marketers spend a great deal of time and money trying to build awareness for the brands they represent, the end goal being to sell as much product or service as possible. Building an army of influencers and happy customers to help build brand awareness, is a common tactic — especially in today’s social media fueled world. For a digital marketers, this is a force multiplier that’s hard to beat. Prospects (customers) are more likely to be receptive to marketing efforts if the signals are coming from people they know or follow. Digital marketers are constantly looking for ways to arm this army with the tools they need to promote their favorite brands. This is where digital badges come in.

The uses cases for digital badges in the context of digital marketing are unlimited. Below, I’ve outlined five to give you a taste of what’s possible.

# 1 Associations

Give your members a way to broadcast to their network that they’re a member of your association. Issue membership badges that recognize both new members and long-term members. Keep in mind, that a membership badge can be revoked if membership expires. Issue badges to members that have served on your Board, committees, or working groups. Members will share their badges on the social networks and you can share them as well. It’s a great way to connect your association with a variety of people and companies. Non-members, not wanting to be left out, will rush to join your association. Birds of a feather, flock together.

# 2 Customer Loyalty

Use a badge to reward your most loyal customers. Reward customers for submitting bug reports (the helpful kind) or innovative product suggestions. Reward the customer that has purchased version 1.0, 2.0, and version 3.0 of your product — especially if 1.0 really sucked. It won’t cost you anything to issue the badge, but your customer will appreciate the gesture — increasing the likelihood they’ll stick around for version 4.0. Make the badges really special by creating scarcity — only issue 100, for example.

# 3 Contests

Contest winners deserve a badge — well, most do. A contest winner is more likely to promote their win (and the brand running the contest) if they have something to share. So, the next time you give away a product to the guy or gal with the best comment on your YouTube video, give them a badge for it too. They’ll share the badge and you can too.

# 4 Influencers

Influencers backing your brand (paid or not) should all be badged. This is a great way to recognize your official influencers and it gives them a way to let the world know they’ve made it. The badge can be displayed on their personal websites and shared to their social networks. These badges should be reserved for influencers that reflect the values of your brand — but remember, you can always revoke the badge if things change.

# 5 Events

Lot’s of options here. Issue a single badge for attending an event, or use badges to gamify your event. A simple attendance badge is a great way to encourage your attendees to share their participation, and your event, out to the social networks. It’s also a good way to track participation year-over-year and in future years you can offer perks to holders of badges from previous years. Or, use our product Event Badgr to gamify your event. Event Badgr makes it easy to use badges to encourage participation and movement around your event. Watch the video below to see how we used event Badgr to gamify InstructureCon 2017.

Instructure used Badgr to gamify InstructureCon 2017 (and 2018)

These are just a few ways you can use badges to arm your influencers and promote your brands using digital badges. Another great thing about badges, for the issuer, that’s you, is that badges are currently tied to email addresses. This gives you a great way to build a database of real email address you can use in the future — assuming, of course, that the recipient has consented to receive email communication from you.

If you’re interested in learning more, click over to badgr.com. Issuing badges is free, so set up a Badgr account, create a badge, and see how easy it is to include digital badges in your marketing plan.