Measuring event success part 4: best practices for post-event surveys

When it comes to events, tracking ROI can be quite challenging. And though there are a number of ways to measure event success by looking at attendee data, qualitative data can be just as effective to ensuring success at future events. One of the best ways to get feedback from attendees, is to—wait for it—actually ask them with a post-event survey.  

Why have a survey?

Post-event attendee survey can help provide clarity about the effectiveness of an event. It allows you to get direct feedback from the people that matter most—your guests. Provided you follow survey best practices, you should get a good number of response that are honest and constructive. They also allow you to gather great customer testimonials to use in future marketing materials—provided you ask for approval.

Structuring your survey

The biggest thing to keep in mind when creating a survey is to make it as short and concise as possible. You attendees have already spent a good amount of time with your brand at your event and aren’t likely to give up another hour and a half of their time to tell you how you did. Short surveys tend to get the best response rates, and best practices call for including no more than 12 questions total.

You’ll also want to keep the survey focused on one subject. Trying to cram too much into 10 questions is going to muddy your feedback and give you surface-level answers for each subject. And obviously, you’ll want to focus only on things you have control over. There’s no point in getting feedback on something you don’t have the power to fix at your next event.

The questions

For all Kapow events, we’ve created surveys that can be sent in a few clicks. We’ve structured the survey and added some questions, but you can now add questions of your own. So here are a few tips for asking the right questions in the right way to ensure success. Much like the survey as a whole, you’ll want to keep each question concise. While it might be tempting to ask three smaller questions within one larger questions, the end user is likely going to struggle in answering appropriately. It’s also important to use straightforward language. The attendee shouldn’t have to sift through your jargon to try to understand the question. Verbose and technical questions also might result in ambiguity. The result is a wide variety of answers that may or may not address what you were trying to discover.

The responses

The way you structure the responses is equally important to how you structure your questions. Whenever possible, use radio buttons, dropdown lists and matrix fields. This makes the process much easier on the user, making them more likely to complete the survey. They’re doing you a favor, so don’t ask them to do too much work. That being said, include a few optional open fields to allow users to expand on their response and provide more substantial feedback if they feel compelled to do so.

If your survey asks users to rank the way the felt towards something using your pre-determined scale, be sure to have a full range of responses, including “Don’t know” or “No opinion”. Users may have a neutral response towards your question, and pressuring them to pick one side or the other will skew your results unnecessarily.

The surrounding collateral

Just when you thought you were done, it’s time to set up the email with the survey link and a “thank you” page. If you’re hosting an event with Kapow, we’ve created both of these for you, but you have the opportunity to make adjustments to the copy if you’d like.

For the email content, it’s best to keep it as short as possible. Again, your guest has already taken the time to attend your event—they may disregard a lengthy email and not even noticed the attached survey. The thank you page should also be concise, but sincere. Your guests have just done you a favor, so be sure to thank them for their help!

Sample questions

If you’re ready to get started, check out some sample questions below. Or keep reading to learn about other tactics for measuring event success.

  • Was the event informative?
  • Did you feel the event was worth your time?
  • What did you think of the event location? (if you have control to change it the next time)
  • How likely are you to purchase a product/conduct business with us after the event?
  • In what ways were you swayed?
  • Do you have a better understanding of our products after the event?
  • Are you more or less likely to recommend our services to a colleague after the event?
  • How likely are you to attend another event?
  • How could this event have been more effective?



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