Updated Oct 12th, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
Your event is over, and it was a huge success. Or so you think, based on the number of five-star reviews. Surely, this is enough to guarantee the same outcome for all your future events?
Well, it’s not that simple. Yes, you may have inadvertently found the secret sauce for event success, and by repeating what you did in the future, you could obtain the same results. The reality, though, is that you need hard facts to ensure consistently great outcomes, not mere gut feeling.
And what better way to get those hard facts than by sending out detailed post-event surveys to both your panelists and attendees? Let’s discover the amazing benefits these tools can bring to your business—-and how they can supercharge your event planning and marketing strategy.
As the name suggests, post-event surveys are questionnaires you send to your attendees once a business event is over. The aim is to gather attendee feedback, highlight areas for improvement, and build on past successes.
Usually, these surveys are sent out via email, but you can also consider other methods, including social media, text messages, or even a virtual call center.
There are many different ways in which you can structure your post-event survey. Below, we explore some of the most common and effective for you to choose from.
To begin with, you’ll want to write a concise event recap. This will not only enable the recipient to quickly recall the event the survey is about but is a chance to explain why their feedback is valuable to you too.
Once you’ve completed this section, you can move on to the actual survey. Here, we outline three of the main types of post-event survey question structures to choose from. It’s worth bearing in mind that the same survey may well include several different types of questions.
In fact, while compiling your survey, you’ll probably realize that some questions are better suited to one of these formats than others.
These question types are probably the most commonly used, as they tend to be pretty easy to put together and quite straightforward to answer. A multiple-choice question asks the attendee to provide their feedback on a specific topic while offering a limited number of possible answers.
Here’s an example of a multiple-choice question you could add to your survey:
Which topic was your favorite out of the ones discussed during the event?
To keep it concise and effective, we recommend adding a maximum of four or five different choices to pick from.
Arguably, these kinds of questions provide the most in-depth feedback. With open-ended questions, you give the person the opportunity to discuss a specific topic in as much detail as they like, which provides you with a wealth of information while allowing them to voice their opinion without any limitations.
One open-ended question you could ask might be “What did you think about the venue where the event took place?”.
A word of caution though: these surveys can be quite lengthy for attendees to complete, which in some cases might put them off.
Another effective way to ask questions is by using a scale, such as zero to 10 or similar. If you opt for this approach, a typical question may look like this:
How easy was it to find all the relevant information before the event?
Not at all easy
When opting for this approach, it’s important to keep attendees’ options fairly limited or they might end up finding your questions confusing or too time-consuming. Four to six possible answers are generally more than enough and will allow you to gather important data without overwhelming them.
Free-to-use image sourced from Pexels
Now it’s time to explore the various benefits of a well-structured post-event survey. Keep reading to discover five of the most impressive.
When a customer is asked to provide feedback on a product or service they use, they’ll likely feel valued and important as a result. After all, we all like to think our views and opinions matter, so when offered the chance to voice our thoughts, most of us will happily agree. For example, a business might ask its customers what they think of its latest iPhone remote control feature.
In the same way, requesting attendee feedback after a business event helps you create the same sort of bond with your audience—one rooted in mutual trust, respect, and transparency. This will help you come across as a company that genuinely puts its customers’ requirements at the forefront, which is likely to help you attract even more business in the future.
Now you have some tangible data, you can measure the success of your event in a more accurate and reliable way. For example, many companies use surveys to work out their net promoter score (NPS). This is a useful KPI as it helps you figure out how many attendees are likely to convert to become customers.
If you host business events in different countries and want to track their individual successes to discover which one performed best, you might want to consider creating separate landing pages for each of your event locations.
If you host annual events in Hong Kong, Sydney, and New York, for example, make sure the landing pages for each use a local domain (such as domain HK for Hong Kong, .au for Sydney, and .com for New York). This will make it much easier to track individual metrics.
Free-to-use image sourced from Pexels
Even if the majority of reviews are positive, a detailed post-event survey can unveil some surprising weak spots that you may not have considered before. If you notice a pattern of raised issues or concerns, you know you have a problem you need to tackle.
Uncovering hidden weak spots is vital, and it’s made a lot easier if you pick a survey structure that enables you to dig deep into your attendees’ feedback, such as open-ended questions. Event evaluation templates play a crucial role here, as it allows you to identify areas where the event might have fallen short of expectations and needs improvement.
Remember, you can’t improve your future events until or unless you know there’s an issue.
Ultimately, the overarching aim of post-event surveys is to inform future events to support their success. So, use them to identify what your attendees loved about your event and build on that moving forward.
For example, let’s assume you added a VoIP caller function to your latest virtual event for the first time. As with all new tools, you were probably unsure whether this addition would be well received by attendees.
Then, your post-event survey reveals something amazing: the vast majority of participants loved this addition. If they attend another one of your events, the chances are they’ll expect to see it in action again. The results of your survey mean you can inform your event planning team and make sure they’re aligned with your attendees’ expectations moving forward.
Free-to-use image sourced from Pexels
At the heart of a great event planning strategy is, of course, a well-oiled event planning team. But how can you expect them to deliver top-notch events if they don’t know what’s working and what isn’t?
A post-event survey will help you uncover honest opinions on the performance of your event, so you can discuss these with your wider team, and get everyone on the same page so they can work in tandem toward shared goals.
Organizing and hosting a great business event is only half the battle. To determine whether your event was truly successful, and to continue building on this with your future events, you need hard facts and data.
Such information can be easily extrapolated from post-event surveys. In this guide, we discussed what these are, how they can be structured, and what kind of benefits they can bring.
By implementing the tips in our article, you’ll be one step closer to uncovering important information about how your event has performed and sharing it with your PR team to shape even better events in the future.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to boost your strategy with post-event surveys today!