Attendee feedback is crucial to evaluating — and improving — your event. Even if you sold out, you can’t call your event a success if your attendees aren’t satisfied.

An easy way to collect feedback is through a post-event survey. SurveyMonkey is a really intuitive tool, and if you use Eventbrite, you can take advantage of a free integration that makes the process even easier. You can choose a template with pre-set questions if you’re in a hurry, but a custom survey will get you deeper insights.

Not sure where to start? Follow these tips to create a post-event survey with truly useful and actionable data.

1. Send it quickly

To get the best possible response rate, you need to act fast. Send your survey within 24 hours of the end of the event to capture attendees while they are still engaged and everything is still fresh in their minds.

2. Keep it short

While you want to obtain feedback that’s specific enough to be useful, you don’t want to scare off respondents with too many questions. We’re all busy, and no one wants to spend 20 minutes completing a survey — no matter how engaged they are.

Set up the survey by telling the reader how many questions are in the survey and how long it’s likely to take. This helps manage expectations, and makes it more likely that someone will complete the survey in its entirety.

Determine what kind of feedback will be most valuable, and keep questions to an absolute minimum. A maximum of 10 questions will ensure the highest completion rates.

3. Stick to multiple-choice answers

To make it as quick and easy as possible for people to complete your survey, provide multiple-choice answers instead of requiring them to fill out text.

Open-ended essay boxes can be daunting and off-putting since they require more time and thought (and if your reader is on their phone, this will be even more difficult).

Not only that, while free-text answers provide bespoke feedback, they are much harder to analyze. Form fields such as checkboxes, lists, number fields and rating scales can be turned into charts or graphs, giving you much better overall visibility of your event’s performance.

If you’re worried about missing out on ‘off-survey’ feedback, you can provide a comment box at the end of the survey for any other thoughts your respondents want to share. You can also include “other”’ as a choice on each question, with the ability to give a tailored answer for those who want to.

4. Get to know your respondents

It’s a good idea to give respondents the opportunity to reply anonymously so they can answer freely, but don’t forget to clarify what ‘type’ of attendee they are.

If your event program was designed for a range of attendees with different interests (and job titles), you’ll want to know who is answering.

On top of obtaining respondents’ professional status, you may want to request their age range and gender (or other pertinent demographic / firmographic data). This can help you drill down in the data and see the opinions of different segments of your audience.

5. Create a narrative

The questions in your survey should follow a natural order, leading respondents through your survey — much like the plot of a story. Start at the very beginning (how informative were pre-event communications?) and progress through the event, right to the end (how likely are they to attend next year’s event?).

Ask questions that are in line with your event goals. For example, say one of your goals was to provide networking opportunities that would help attendees grow their businesses. In this case, you might ask: “Did you make new contacts that will be useful to your business/career?”

To gauge how successful you were in achieving your goal, give more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer choice. For example: “Yes, I made lots of useful contacts” or “I made one or two, but was hoping for more.”

If you’re looking for feedback on the quality of educational sessions, provide a list of sessions with tick boxes so respondents can select the ones they attended. This will help put their feedback into context.

6. Calculate your Event “Net Promoter Score”

If you want to know how likely your attendees would be to recommend your event, include the following question to enable you to calculate your event ‘Net Promoter Score ‘(NPS):

“Between 0 and 10, how likely are you to recommend this event to someone else?”

  • Those who respond with 9 or 10 are your “promoters” — those who are most likely to tell others to come to your next event.
  • Attendees who give you a 7 or an 8 are your “passive respondents”— people who are fairly indifferent about your event.
  • Those who give you a 6 or below are considered your “detractors” — the people who are least likely to tell others to come to your next event.

To calculate your Event NSP, take the percentage of respondents who are promoters and then subtract the percentage of respondents who are detractors. This gives you a clear numerical value, which you can aim to improve on next time.

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Image courtesy reviewtrackers.com

Attendee feedback is gold, so don’t miss your opportunity to get it while you can! For more tips on crafting a killer event survey, check out this on-demand webinar with experts at SurveyMonkey.