How confident are you that attendees loved your last event? If you’re not using event surveys to gather feedback, you could be missing key insights — and losing repeat business because of it.

Event surveys are vital for understanding how you can improve your event. But it’s not always easy to get the feedback you need when many people delete survey requests on sight. So what can you do?

Here are five tips for increasing event survey response rates, so you can fine tune your event and keep your attendees, vendors, and sponsors coming back.

Tip 1: Offer an incentive — quickly

Timing, as they say, is everything. A post-event survey should be sent within 24 hours of your event. That’s because the experience is still fresh in people’s minds and they are still engaged enough to motivate them to participate.

In addition to timing, another way to encourage people to complete your survey is to offer an incentive. Participants are much more likely to give you feedback if there’s a chance they might win a gift card or VIP tickets to next year’s event. Consider partnering with one of your event sponsors to offer an incentive that brings value to participants and your sponsor.

Tip 2: Make it short and personal

When you ask people to give up their time to take a short survey, make sure it’s as short as you promise. Keep your questions focused and relevant to the kind of information you need. A maximum of 10 questions will ensure the highest completion rates, while anything beyond that may be asking too much.

Avoid sending one blanket survey to your exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, and attendees. Use conditional formatting so that respondents only have to answer relevant questions. Tailoring your survey for each audience will help you get the most useful data.

Tip 3: Choose the right type of survey question

Nobody wants to answer one complicated question after another. Your survey isn’t a standardized test, after all! So keep your questions brief and direct.

Make sure to choose the right type of survey question for the kind of information you’re after. Here are the most common types of survey questions:

  • Open-ended question: The hardest to analyze because they’re answered in the respondent’s own words, this type of question can help you gain insight into how the respondent feels. However, too many open-ended questions can scare participants away, as they require more effort than multiple choice questions to complete.
  • Multiple choice questions: Any standardized test taker knows this type well. Multiple choice questions have a determined set of answers and can have a single or multiple answers. These are best used to gather demographic data. See the next section for some best practices on formatting for multiple choice survey questions.
  • Ordinal scale: This type of question asks respondents to rate an idea or experience on a scale of one to five, with one being the most important. Very familiar to event-goers, ordinal scale questions can help you prioritize what’s important to participants. For example, you could ask participants to rate from one to five which element of the event they enjoyed most: the food, the entertainment, the venue, the activities, or their fellow attendees.
  • Interval scale: This type asks respondents to rate how likely they are to do something on a scale of one to five, with one being extremely unlikely and five being extremely likely. These are useful for determining how likely participants are to recommend your event. For example, you could ask “How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend?” or “How likely are you to come back to this event next year?”
  • Ratio scale: Used to ask questions with measurable responses, this question type is a great way to measure data like the hours someone spent at your event, demographic information like the age or income of respondents (great to share with sponsors), or how much someone would be willing to pay for tickets (valuable insights to improve your pricing strategy).

Tip 4: Increase survey response rates with your question formatting

Multiple choice questions are one of the most commonly used types in surveys. While they seem pretty straightforward, there are some best practices you need to know before adding this type of question to your survey.

  • Remind respondents if they must select “one” or if they can select “all that apply”
  • Always include a “none apply” option so respondents don’t get stuck with no options
  • Avoid list answers and drop downs as they can be overwhelming
  • Randomize the order of multiple choice responses so that respondents aren’t biased to pick the first option

Of course, the format of your survey overall also has an impact on your survey response rates. Make sure your survey tool is mobile optimized so it’s easy for respondents to complete the questions on their phone or tablet.

Tip 5: Streamline with a ticketing partner that integrates with survey providers

There are free tools available to help you save time on surveying. For example, Eventbrite offers a built-in extension to SurveyMonkey, letting you get feedback fast. In one click, you can send out different surveys by ticket type or attendance status. Doing so streamlines the feedback process, making it easier for you to gather the data you need and your event attendees to take your survey.

Want more strategies to gather feedback from attendees, vendors, or sponsors? Learn more about how to master your event survey in this on-demand webinar with the experts at SurveyMonkey.

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