Event surveys are a powerful tool to boost engagement at your events. Used strategically, they can help you form a strong understanding of audience needs, wants, and expectations. Monitoring and responding to attendee experience can improve your events year-over-year.

Getting the most out of your event surveys requires you to approach them with your goals in mind. Organize your survey’s around your needs by ensuring you first:

Understand what you want to know

Data doesn’t have value unless it’s helping you understand your problems. Before you collect feedback from an audience, you’ve got to know what feedback to collect.

Before you create your first event survey, put a bit of work into exploring the problems you’d like to solve. Brainstorm a list of issues you’d like to collect feedback on, and document them. Prioritizing the items on this list will help you target each survey questions on important issues, and maximize the impact of your entire survey strategy.

Consider investigating solutions for:

  • Improving Registrant to Attendee Ratios
    • Struggling to convert event registrants to attendants? This is a common problem faced by event managers and could be due to a variety of reasons. Think about likely causes, and consider using survey questions to test if they’re affecting your attendance numbers.
  • Boosting Event Engagement
    • Are you finding it difficult to keep event attendees engaged and on-location throughout your entire event? A short answer field in a post-event survey might reveal friction points you can address to boost engagement.
  • Increasing Registrations
    • Perhaps between this year and last, registrations are down. Target an audience of last year’s registrants that didn’t engage this year, and survey them to find out why!

Prime Participation with your Pre-Event Survey

Pre-event surveys help you anticipate the needs, wants, and expectations of your attendants. They can help you identify potential event issues, allowing you to respond to them before they become problems. They can also provide useful marketing data you can use to measure and optimize the impact of your campaigns

The questions you choose for your pre-event survey depend on your needs. If you’ve taken a bit of time to explore and document your needs, you’ll be able to capture the information you need to meet them with your pre-event survey. Consider questions like:

How did you hear about this event?

This is a standard question for a good reason! Marketing messages travel along many channels to reach your audience. This question helps you measure which are working. Use feedback to help determine return-on-investment for each channel.

 Which speaker are you most looking forward to?

Knowing which speakers are drawing crowds can help you drive engagement. If you haven’t already scheduled speaker talks, strategically space your ‘star’ speakers throughout your talk schedule. If all major speakers are concentrated at a particular time, you can expect many of your attendants to leave shortly after!

Do you have any special needs or require accommodation?

Your event is for everyone who wants to attend and many face barriers that aren’t always obvious. This question gives attendees an opportunity to communicate the challenges they face that you might know about, and gives you an opportunity to respond to them in advance.

Monitor Engagement and Satisfaction Mid-Event

Once your event is underway, monitoring satisfaction with strategic surveys can equip your team with the information they need to maximize engagement. Your attendants may be experiencing issues. A survey is a conveniently accessible channel they can use to share them with you, allowing you to respond on-the-fly and improve their experience. Consider questions like:

Did you find this location easy to get to?

Event managers often face a lot of uncertainty when it comes to picking a venue for their event. There are so many variables to consider that it’s tough to feel confident that you’ve picked the right one. Survey questions like this help reduce uncertainty by helping us evaluate how well we’ve met the needs of our attendants.

Was there any event information you found difficult to find/understand?

Where to go, what to do, who to speak to, how to check-in-attendees have to confront a lot of uncertainties to successfully engage with your event. You do the best you can to provide the information your attendees need, but there will always be confusion.

Survey questions like this help you identify uncertainties experienced by your attendees. If common points of confusion are identified through attendee feedback, you can work to address and reduce them.

Focus on the Future with your Post-Event Survey

Post-event surveys are an opportunity to look back on performance and collect feedback for the future. Use them to identify opportunities for improvement, and prioritize where to invest your time and energy to make next year better. Consider questions like:

How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend/colleague?

This question is a fantastic opportunity to collect quantitative and qualitative feedback from event attendants. Use a 1-10 scale to collect quantitative data, and offer a short-answer field providing survey recipients an opportunity to explain their feelings. Sort feedback according to quantitative responses, and see if you can find patterns among those that were happy or unhappy with your event. 

Will you attend next year?

Responses to this question will not only allow you to form a more solid picture of your next event’s attendance, but also give you everything you need to build targeted lists to boost the impact of your future marketing efforts.

Everyone that answers ‘yes’ to this question can be considered a marketing-qualified lead for your next event. These prospects will be among your easiest to convert to future attendants, so be sure to capture their contact info for next year!

Those that answer ‘no’ to this question may not be indicating themselves as valuable prospects, but they can still offer a lot of value. Configure your survey to present a drop-down short answer field to those that click ‘no’, and give them an opportunity to explain exactly why they won’t attend. You might find that many respond with issues that are easy to address, and doing so will help you ensure that they – and all those who share their concerns – attend next time!