How to Conduct a Successful Event Survey: A Data-Driven Approach

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Posted on February 7, 2024

How to Conduct a Successful Event Survey: A Data-Driven Approach

After weeks of planning, you’ve successfully pulled off your online event. Attendees showed up, speakers were excellent, and your event sponsors loved it, or so you think.

To determine if your virtual event was as amazing as you think, ask your attendees for feedback and listen to what they say about their experience. 

Conducting a post-event survey is an amazing way to gather critical and constructive feedback on the overall event experience and what you can do to improve attendee satisfaction and positive experience in future editions. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide to conducting a successful event survey.

Ready? Let’s dive in. 

Step 1: Define your survey objectives 

Before you start listing post-event survey questions you’d like answers to, it’s important to define your survey objectives.

  • Are there specific questions you want to know the answers to that may affect how you plan and execute your events? 
  • Are there specific attendees whose opinions are crucial to the future of your events?
  • What’s the ideal number of responses, given the number of attendees? 

Once you have answers to 80% of these fundamental questions, it’s time for step two: setting clear goals for your event survey. Examples of goals you could set are: 

  • Personally reaching out to X number of attendees and persuading them to fill out the survey 
  • Sending X number of emails to promote the survey
  • Getting responses from X% of attendees

Ideally, you should be working towards getting feedback that can help you level up how you run your events. 

Pro-tip: You can also send pre-event surveys. For example, when hosting in-person events, you can send an email before the event inquiring about any dietary restrictions. A good meal can significantly improve the attendee’s experience.  

Step 2: Select an event survey platform that suits your needs

Selecting the right survey tool can be tough because there are so many options. However, you need to remember that there’s no perfect tool, so you can focus on finding a tool that suits your needs. 

Ideally, if you’re hosting an online or hybrid event, you should choose an event app or virtual event platform that has a built-in survey tool. That makes reaching out to attendees and tracking their responses much easier. 

But if you want to work with a separate or custom event survey tool to extend the impact of your event, here are a few boxes to check before opting for a tool: 

✅ Does the tool have data analysis and reporting capabilities? 

✅ Does the tool offer all the specific features you need to run your survey?

✅ Does the tool have a user-friendly interface?

Consider leveraging QR Codes for survey sharing, as this simplifies participant access. Explore using a reliable QR Code generator such as Uniqode for this purpose. The goal is to create custom QR Codes that stand out and, at the same time, offer a secure experience for the participant and provide detailed analytics on survey participation for you.

Step 3: Personalize and segment surveys 

When planning your event survey, consider segmenting your survey to target different attendee groups. For instance, speakers may have different perspectives than sponsors or actual attendees. 

Personalizing the questions based on each group’s roles and experiences will gather more relevant insights. This segmentation will also help you tailor your future events to meet these diverse attendees’ specific needs and expectations.

Pro Tip: Create a survey that’s easy to navigate and user-friendly. We’re all busy people. The last thing we want to do is spend 20+ minutes filling out a survey after a long day of networking.

Step 4: Design Inclusive Event Surveys

When hosted online, event surveys are dynamic tools for gathering participant insights. Ensuring these surveys are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, is a commitment to creating an event experience that leaves no one behind. Adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is essential, and leveraging a WCAG compliance checker becomes indispensable in this process.

Clear and intuitive designs, alternative text for images, and keyboard navigability are vital components. A WCAG compliance checker meticulously examines these elements, ensuring your online surveys align with accessibility standards and provide a seamless user experience. 

Pro tip: To encourage honest feedback, anonymize your survey. Make it clear that the responses will be used solely for improving future events and not for individual evaluation.

Step 5: Analyze and interpret your data

Once you’ve collected survey responses, the next step is to analyze the data. 

How? Look at all of your data in aggregate — or the totals for each question and any averages or percentages. Doing so will give you an overview of what event attendees thought about their experience overall.

You can also segment the data based on demographics if questions on those were included in your survey. Understanding age, location, or marital status can provide richer insights. 

For instance, did you know that the current median age for first marriages is the highest it has ever been in American history? And only 27% of millennials are married. 

These data points indicate a shift in societal norms and values. Insights like these can help you better contextualize your target audience’s responses. 

Next, dive deeper into specific parts of your survey by reviewing answers to open-ended questions. Depending on the type of feedback you receive, you need to be careful not to let bias creep in and make you dismiss actionable feedback because the tone or language is critical. 

It may be helpful to have someone outside your organization do a separate analysis and round up the key findings. 

Step 6: Implement changes based on feedback

One of the most crucial steps in taking a data-driven approach is‌ implementing changes based on ‌feedback from your most recent attendees. 

Look closely at the data and pay attention to what your attendees are saying. Are there any recurring themes or patterns emerging? Perhaps they have suggestions for enhancing session content, optimizing logistics, or refining networking opportunities. 

By using this valuable feedback from your event attendees, you can make informed decisions that directly address their needs and enhance the overall event experience

Remember, the ultimate goal is to create an event that satisfies and delights your participants. So, let the data guide you in making those necessary tweaks and improvements to ensure your future events continue to impress. P.s. using event proposal software can make organising your next event a breeze!

Take Your Events to the Next Level with Data-Driven Insights

To make your next event a hit, it’s crucial to understand what your attendees really think about how the last event went. That’s where a survey becomes your new best friend. 

Remember, different people might have different views. So, tailor your follow-up questions to different groups to make sure you gather the appropriate feedback to answer your most desirable questions. 

Once you have all the responses, dive deep into what they’re saying, but be careful not to read into them what you want to see. Positive feedback is great. However, constructive criticisms are the valuable insights you should crave. 

Why? You can learn from them to make your next event even better. Listen to what your attendees are saying, base your decisions on that, and you’ll be on your way to creating events that not only hit the mark but blow people away.

Need help with your next event? Try InEvent – it’s the most flexible event management software on the market. And the best part? It’s compatible with any type of event (in-person or virtual).

Here’s to boosting event success tenfold! 

The author Jeremy is co-founder & CEO atuSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency working with brands like Monday, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar, and more. He also buys and builds SaaS companies likeWordable.io and writes for publications like Entrepreneur and Search Engine Journal.

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