Apr 9, 2010

MailChimp Webinar Program Expanding

raul-webinarWe’ve recently made some changes to our MailChimp webinar schedule that we wanted to bring to everyone’s attention.

First a little background.

MailChimp webinar training started back in late 2007 as a once-a-week program that ran every Wednesday morning. That quickly grew to a morning and afternoon program, thanks to feedback from our friends on the West Coast and Australia.

The Wednesday time slot worked really well for quite some time. Then one day I was looking at site usage stats and noticed that more folks where in the MailChimp application getting their work done on Tuesday and Thursday versus Wednesday…

Obviously it would be more useful to host a training program on a day where the "students" would be more likely to put their newly absorbed knowledge to work. Also if they have time blocked in their schedule to work in MailChimp, they should hopefully have no trouble blocking out a little extra time to squeeze in some training if they need it. So we stopped the Wednesday slot and expanded the program to 4 sessions, and scheduled them on Tuesday and Thursday. Boy was my hunch right. Per session attendance immediately saw a 15% increase. Not too shabby.

Raul, from the MailChimp Customer Svc team, hosting a webinar in Dan's office

Raul, from the MailChimp Customer Svc team, hosting a webinar in my office. We're expanding our office space, so I'll be moving soon to make this the dedicated "webinar room."

Lately our average registration for each scheduled session has been around 160 to 200 attendees (160 for afternoon programs and 200 for late morning). Between my asking our testing guru to run some referral keyword tests (See: A/B testing the word webinar vs. online training) and the marketing chimps coming up with fun promotional programs (See: Freemium Email Marketing from MailChimp), we are now outgrowing the two-day-a-week schedule. That average head count can easily translate to an hour-and-a-half Q&A session at the end of each presentation.

This is a problem.

We’re of course always going to hang around at the end of each session as long as it takes to make sure everyone’s questions are answered. We respect that everyone’s time is valuable and it could be challenging to ask some folks to stay connected for an hour past the program to learn how our system can be applied to help with their specific needs. With the program running 45 minutes and Q&A sometimes exceeding an hour, we still on average saw 75%+ of those in attendance hang around until the very end. Wow. That’s beyond cool. Still 25% had to jump back into their day and are missing out on the benefit of the Q&A. This needs to be fixed.

Daily MailChimp Webinars

So to help cut down on the length of the Q&A sessions, and to better accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, we have expanded webinars to run daily. The heart of the program will still run right at 45 minutes. This expansion should trim time off the end of the program and get people to lunch, dinner or bed sooner. Our full schedule can always be found here (http://blog.mailchimp.com/support/webinars/).

In addition to the basic getting started program, we also added a schedule of "advanced user" programs. Topics covered so far include open format "town hall sessions" with a Co-Founder, WordPress integrations, general blogger integrations, and non-profit and church integrations, to name a few. We’re always open to suggestions for topics, if you have any. Please comment below with any ideas or suggestions.

Lots of great content, program additions and fun surprises still to come. Stay tuned…