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The Ultimate Guide to Event Surveys: Inside Tips from SurveyMonkey

Your event is over, and it went great — you think. Stop guessing and start knowing with this guide full of SurveyMonkey's insider insights on how to craft event surveys — and use the data you collect to create better events and grow your business.

Your event is over, and it went great — you think.

Event surveys are the best way to find out how your attendees really feel about your event and collect authentic, usable feedback. After all, you can’t grow your business if you don’t know which changes you need to make to win more attendees over.

Download this guide for SurveyMonkey’s insider insights on how to craft event surveys — and use the data you collect to create better events and grow your business.

Inside, you’ll learn:

  • How to use surveys to collect feedback before, during, and after each event
  • The most important questions to ask — and exclusive benchmarks for attendee responses
  • Insider tips to structure your event surveys so you get the most responses
  • Expert ways to grow and improve your event based on attendee feedback

Preview

“People who had fantastic time will gladly answer a survey. People who had an absolutely terrible time will, too. It’s harder to get the middle group to pay attention.”  — Colette Des Georges, Content Strategist, SurveyMonkey

People are most likely to complete an event survey if they have strong opinions about your event — good or bad. But the data you collect will be more accurate if it’s from a wider range of participants. That middle group of people who liked your event just okay are important. They’re the ones you can convert to superfans if you listen closely to their event feedback.

To inspire the less passionate folks to respond, structure your survey in a way that makes answering extremely easy. Here are four critical tips from the SurveyMonkey team.

1. When it comes to event surveys, shorter is always better

“Attendees are doing you a favor by filling out this survey, so you have to be respectful of their time,” Gebhardt says. She advises you use no more than five questions, so edit your survey down to the essentials.

If you absolutely need to ask more questions, use “skip logic” whenever possible. This mechanism allows you to show people only the questions that are relevant to them. For instance:

Question: Did you attend our leadership brunch on Sunday?
If yes, follow up with related questions:

Which speaker did you enjoy most?

Did you enjoy the breakfast selection?

If no, simply skip respondents to the next relevant question.

Skip logic helps keep your event survey as short as possible for each individual recipient.

2. Don’t require responses to each event survey question

Yes, you want as much event feedback as possible. But requiring answers to every single question is a self-defeating practice.

In fact, “Don’t make any of the questions required questions if you can help it,” Gebhardt says. “Any data you gather is good, and you don’t want to lose those other answers just because the respondent didn’t address every question in the survey.”

Sometimes, you may have questions you absolutely need answered — for instance, if you need to know if someone had VIP or General Admission tickets so you can ask them different questions. But as a general rule, make as many questions optional as possible.

3. Ask your most important event survey question first — and on its own page

Ask your most critical questions first. For most events, this is a broad question about attendee satisfaction, like “Overall, how would you rate the event?” or “How likely is it that you would recommend the event to a friend?”.

Put this question on its own page before getting into more specifics. When respondents click “next,” SurveyMonkey captures and logs the answers to each page’s question, so even if they lose interest halfway through and don’t complete the survey, you’ll still get data on your most important question. For this reason, you always want to organize your questions in descending order of importance.

“It’s better to get incomplete data from a wide range of participants who answer your first couple questions, than fully completed event surveys from fewer people,” Gebhardt says.

Pro tip: Give each question (or topic) its own page

Cluster your questions on pages by topic to avoid survey fatigue. For instance, you might have a few questions about event content on one page, and a few questions about logistics on the next. Adding too many pages to your survey will probably increase survey fatigue, but a survey that’s neatly divided by topic strikes the balance between getting as much data as possible and making it easy for respondents to take.

Save any questions about demographics for the very last page. It’s less important compared to your actual event feedback data.

4. Embed your first event survey question in the email

Don’t simply link to your survey in your post-event email. Embed your first question in the survey itself.

A SurveyMonkey study found a 22% increase in survey opens when the survey’s first question was right in the email. And not only are people more likely to open a survey that teases the first question, they’re also 20% more likely to finish the entire survey.

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