Surveys are a vital tool for event planners, as they provide timely and relevant feedback, this allowing them to address shortcomings on the spot and avoid repeating the same mistakes twice. However, to make the most of your event survey, you need to plan ahead and set the right goals that best suit your needs.
An event survey comes in handy in all stages of event planning. Even before the event starts a survey will allow planners to manage expectations, identify targets, create content and gauge attendance. During the event, surveys can be used to keep attendees engaged and get instant feedback. After the event, planners can collect additional data and feedback, allowing them to measure the success of the event and avoid pitfalls in the future. Surveys can be a key tool for measuring and boosting Event ROI
Do your homework before the event
A lot of useful information can be obtained in the planning stage. Event planners need to carefully identify the primary goals of potential attendees, and learn as much as possible about their expectations. A pre-event survey will help you come up with content and an agenda suited to meet the needs of attendees. It can also provide useful feedback beyond simple questions, allowing the attendees to offer their own comments. The questions themselves need to be straightforward and to the point.
- Avoid asking too many questions and keep it simple, ask one thing at a time
- Allow multiple choices, including an option not to answer a particular question
- Ask content-related questions and encourage suggestions
- If someone decides not to attend the event, try to learn why
Keep the attendees on their feet
During the event itself, an event survey can be used to engage the audience and to keep things interesting. You can also use the event to reveal interesting or fun facts from previous surveys, provided the information is relevant to the attendees. This approach will boost interest and interactivity.
- Try to keep it short and convenient
- Use kiosks, tablets or mobile devices to complete the survey online
- Ask attendees about their interests – a one-size-fits-all approach sometimes doesn’t work
Analyzing the success and ROI of your event
The most relevant data pertaining to the ROI and success of the event is usually collected after it concludes. By conducting a post event survey you can ask questions that will help you measure whether or not some of your initial event objectives have been met. Some elements, like attendee experience and satisfaction, can be measured straight after the event. Whereas other elements like retained knowledge and sales results, can only be measured a few months ahead (For more info on this topic, read our blog post “Event ROI: From design to Measurement“). Avoid leading questions at all costs as they could skew results.
- Feel free to ask more specific questions about your brand, your products, the content and even your own performance at the event
- Don’t go overboard with attendee experience questions, ask brief and simple questions about food, venue, transportation, registration etc.
- Try to learn whether the attendees found the event valuable and offer a breakdown of speakers and sessions to identify those that worked and those that didn’t
- Ask networking questions – many attendees get their information online and one of their primary reasons for attending a particular event is networking
Since all the data will eventually be used to plan future events, don’t forget questions that are relevant and encourage participants to provide personal feedback and suggestions. Use the information to determine potential issues and failures, anything from parking to execution, and apply what you learned to your next event.
Personal feedback needs to be encouraged, as some problems might go unnoticed if the attendees just stick to your questions. Also, you can follow up on such comments and use them to give a more personal feel in direct communication with individual attendees, depending on the type of event.