You’ve just completed your latest event. Over the past few weeks prior to it, you’ve worked hard to get everyone there, you’ve organised it meticulously and delivered it without a hitch. It was an exciting, seamless professional event. But, was it a success?  At face value, yes. But what about when you dig a little deeper? The event itself may have been a success but did it meet its commercial and strategic expectations?  We’re these expectations even set at the outset and how are they being measured?

Measurable metrics including number of leads, attendance numbers, press coverage and social engagement are some of the many metrics you can use to manage your ROI on a given event, but if your event has only a couple or even only one (number of attendees) then what other avenues are open to you to measure your success?

Feedback surveys can be an incredibly effective way of measuring success and gaining all sorts of qualitative feedback and intelligence that can be used to improve the ‘how, who and what’ of your engagement strategy for future events to ensure you maximise your budget and return on your investment.

Structuring a Post-event Survey: Scale-based questions

There are a few key options when it comes to designing a feedback survey. The first is scale-based questions, such as the below:

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, how much did you enjoy this event?

While the scale-based questionnaire approach is quite limiting in terms of qualitative feedback as respondents cannot describe why they did or didn’t enjoy the event it has a huge advantage over open questions in that it can be used to statistically measure improvement or decline, offering a fantastic metric for demonstrating the value of a single event or a series of events. Of course questions don’t have to be around enjoyment, but can be focused on any element that may not be directly measurable. Think of questions like:

How likely are you to purchase based on today’s event? (1-10)

How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague? (1-10)

Again, these give you quantities values which sit alongside your ROI and inform your pipeline.

Also, don’t forget surveys also don’t have to be anonymised – GDPR permitting of course, so feel free to use these to inform your follow up of leads if permission has been granted.

Multiple Choice and Yes/No

Multiple choice again has the benefit of providing statistical data that can be used to measure improvement and shape future events.

Which part of the event did you find most valuable? (Select from the following)

  • Opening Talk
  • Product Demonstration
  • 1:1 Session
  • Interactive Session

Responses to multiple choice questions allow you to refocus future events on the areas that attendees get the most out of, as well as focus marketing around the most popular sessions. For example, if 1:1 Sessions are the most valuable, then maybe these should be the lead topic on invites to the next event. Also if a session is perennially unpopular, maybe the session could be improved or removed from the agenda.

Open Questions

Open questions typically look like the below:

How could today’s event have been improved?

This doesn’t necessarily give any data that can easily be put into a graph, but can give valuable insight into what can be done to improve future events. The key is to look for trends in responses. If only one person complains about the food or the venue, it’s probably fine, but if a large proportion of attendees suggest that the same element requires improvement, then it’s worth looking at.

Open questions can also be used to capture testimonials. A testimonial question might look like the following:

What were your favourite features of the product demonstrated? How would it help your business?

This might not be completed by all respondents, but it gives an opportunity to capture quotes about your product to help market it in the future, or responses to questions about the event that can be used to promote future events.

Getting Responses

Having the right questions is important, but the greatest challenge for many is getting attendees to fill out surveys at all. Incentivising surveys with a prize draw is a big help. Paper versions on the day can make people feel obligated to fill them in, however digital versions sent out with post events communications can be followed up and translated into data far more easily, and there are even options to integrate feedback into your event app and gamify the leaving of feedback. What works will depend on your target audience, and might need refining over time. In the first instance, a digital survey sent out post-event is a low-investment way to get started, and offers and additional, positive reason to send post-event communications, which can also include further ‘call to action’ messaging.

You’ve got the answers, now what?

All of this feedback has to be used strategically. There will always be outlier feedback and the key is to intelligently look for trends, rather than focus too much on individual comments. You should always build a survey thinking about what actions you are able to take, for example, if you have to hold your event in a specific venue, it might not be worth getting feedback on the location, as you can’t change it, whatever feedback you receive. If you need to demonstrate value to secure budget for future events, focus on having a few scale-based questions, rather than open questions, that can be used to show what attendees get out of the event and percentages of those thinking of making a purchase post-event.

Your survey will need to be tailored to your event, and it’s worth revisiting the questions periodically to ensure it’s giving you valuable, actionable insight. OrangeDoor uses feedback surveys for client events as well as our own projects, to demonstrate ROI, capture case study information, and send out surveys ahead of events to enable co-creation. For strategic advice on implementing a communications strategy integrating feedback into your events, contact OrangeDoor today.