Behind the Scenes: Creating a New Training Course/
December 20, 2016
Many people ask us how we design our courses and decide what to cover, and to be honest, it’s probably harder than you think! We’ve offered our Google Analytics and Google AdWords courses for many years now and have made drastic changes as new features have been released or retired, the industries have changed, and strategies and best practices have been refined.
When we introduced our Google Tag Manager workshop in 2014, we knew we had to break the model entirely. As a team, we decided that the concepts and features of the tool would not be easily communicated through slides in a presentation format, so we created our hands-on workshop with a custom sandbox environment. That was the fun part, because we also had the opportunity to create our fake amusement park website complete with a blog, ecommerce, and downloads. (If you’ve been to the training, you likely remember the website!)
However – most people don’t know that when we first offered the Google Tag Manager workshop, we thought it could be accomplished in just four hours, and we offered back-to-back sessions. Looking back, that was definitely optimistic.
This brings us to the next part in designing our trainings: collecting feedback. We chatted with attendees, collected data about their experiences, and asked them for honest assessments of our trainers and the content. And we get a lot of feedback after every training.
The most important part of this process is the final step: using the data to take action. If you’ve taken our Google Analytics courses, this should sound like a mantra at this point. You can collect all the data in the world, but it’s the actions you take after the data is collected that are the most meaningful.
Our trainings are constantly refined and updated. Sometimes Google makes changes to the interfaces in Google AdWords or Google Analytics, and more than once that happened during the week of a training! But more often, we take the feedback from our attendees and our trainers and work to constantly refine or dare I say, optimize our material to deliver the best experience possible.
This leads us to our two new courses we launched today: Google Data Studio Training and Data Visualization Workshop and Google Optimize Training and Conversion Optimization Workshop.
March 2016 – Google Announces Google Analytics 360 Suite
This was a fun day for us! Google made a huge announcement in March, introducing new products and renaming some old products. This was the beginning of it all.
Immediately we realized the potential for new courses, but at the time details were a little murky over whether these products would be exclusively enterprise offerings or if there would be free versions available.
Learning To Love The Tools
As a Google Analytics Service Partner and Sales Partner, we get a few perks here and there. Working with some of the best companies in the United States is definitely one of them, and closely followed by early access to products. Depending on the product and the timeline, we sometimes have the opportunity to experiment with products and provide feedback to help improve the product.
Let me just say this, we love these tools. As the person responsible for the LunaMetrics website, I was launching Google Optimize experiments within the hour that I got access. I’ve used other A/B testing tools before, but the option to connect to Google Analytics audiences is an absolute dream that allows us to connect past behavior to current experiment targeting.
Data Studio is intuitive and visually light-years beyond the default Google Analytics visualizations. We immediately saw value and started producing free templates for anyone to start using.
We began using these products internally and with our clients and quickly realized there was potential.
Creating the Training
Shortly after these products came out, we uttered those 5 words everyone says at least once in their life.
Oh wait, not “We should buy a bar” and really not something that everyone utters, maybe just us. We should create a training.
We started talking about new training ideas in June 2016. Based on the new suite offerings and wishlists from former attendees, we identified a few ideas that could have been turned into LunaMetrics courses. Ideally, we’d love to teach everything, and we do custom trainings for clients for anything that’s not a public course, but to plan and launch a public training is a gamble that we’ll be able to fill enough seats.
Internally, we tapped some of our consultants to help design the courses. In addition to client work and their superhero jobs flying around the country to train, they put hours and hours of work into creating the slide decks, planning the workshops, and preparing for the possible trainings.
We met, we discussed, we tweaked. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Testing the Courses
Finally, we had actual courses we were almost ready to release to the public. But, would a true marketing company release anything without testing it first?
One of the benefits of attending our courses is our LunaMetrics Training Alumni Community where we share exclusive content, ask for feedback and blog ideas, and more. We reached out to this community of former training attendees and offered them the exclusive opportunity to attend a secret training day. We also offered current clients the chance to attend.
Deciding to test the training in our hometown of Pittsburgh meant we could have some fun with the day and show our attendees more of LunaMetrics than they normally get during training.
We started the day at the office with breakfast, tours, and short talks by some staff members. This Q&A sessions focused on the future of our industry, trends from 2016 and predicted trends in 2017.
We got really into it. Our Operations Manager, Bryan, dressed up like a chef and cooked everyone pancakes. Brittany, training planner extraordinaire, even shaved the old-school Google Analytics logo into her hair.
— LunaMetrics (@LunaMetrics) December 8, 2016
Then, the fun really started. We had everyone board a trolley to start the training at an unusual training venue.
PPG Paints Arena, home of the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (sorry, proud Pittsburgher moment), served as our venue for training. While the Penguins practiced on the ice before their 7 p.m. puck drop, our attendees learned and implemented their new skills in Google Data Studio and Google Optimize.
— Andrew Garberson (@Garberson) December 5, 2016
After class, in addition to surveys with qualitative and quantitative data, we conducted an extensive Q&A with attendees to get a feel for how the day went and what they’d like to see from a public version of these courses. This portion of the day provided us with invaluable insight into how to fine-tune our presentations for debut.
LunaMetrics lives by a “work hard, play hard” mantra, and we took this to heart in planning our demo day. As a thank you for participation, everyone was invited to happy hour at the arena and the Penguins-Senators game. (By the way, the Pens won 8-5!)
— Amy Weedon (@WeedonAmy) December 6, 2016
Rolling It Out To The Public
After the training, we collected our data, regrouped, and got back to work. We’ve tweaked and reorganized, redesigned and updated. And now, the trainings are ready for the public.