The key to planning successful events is knowing what people liked (and what they didn’t like) about your past events.
In fact, gathering this information is one of the only ways to make subsequent events better since attendee satisfaction can make or break your success.
So, it’s important to ask the attendees for their opinions, and the best way to get this valuable feedback is through surveys.
But that’s easier said than done though, right?
Because the question is — do you know how to get people to respond to post-event surveys, effectively (and every single time)?
It’s okay if your answer is “no” because getting people to spend their valuable time responding to your survey isn’t an easy task.
However, the good news is that once you perfect the art of survey questions, you can expect higher response rates, with more valuable feedback.
5 Ways To Get People To Respond To Post-Event Surveys
- Incentives & Rewards
Obviously, most people are motivated by instant gratification, like incentives and rewards.
It’s a universally accepted motivator.
It’s because we all value our time.
And because we understand our time is valuable, we tend not to give it away for free.
So, because time is valuable, offering an incentive or reward can go a long way in maximizing participation.
A few ideas to “pay” for someones’ time:
- Gift cards
- A discount
However, the “payment” doesn’t have to be monetary.
What do I mean by this? Well, making people feel important can go a long way to encouraging engagement.
2. Relationship Building
Aside from the traditional (and obvious) reward-based motivation, a person will be more willing to spend their valuable time on something like a survey if they see their opinion as invaluable.
When you make someone feel “seen” they are more likely to return a favour when you ask for one. In fact, if you ask the right way, they won’t even see it as a favour to you, but as an opportunity for them to influence and impact the next event you run.
However, don’t take this emotional transaction for granted by overloading them with a million and one questions on a laborious survey.
You need to recognize that no matter the incentive, the key to maximizing the number of people who respond to your post-event survey is simplicity.
3. Make It Easy
Even by offering incentives like traditional monetary rewards and ego-based motivators, you’ll get less engagement if your post-event survey is:
- Sent out too far after the event
- Too wordy
- Too long
- Unrelated to the event
- Too generic
So, how do you knock down those barriers, bringing you closer to your goal – which is getting people to reply?
Keep in mind, you don’t just want people to reply, you want valuable qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Not only will that type of questioning engage your audience, but it will help you create better events in the future.
How do you build a better survey, you ask?
4. Build a Better Survey
Have you ever sent out a survey, and either had a super low response rate or received vague responses (or worse yet — both)?
Why does that happen? More than likely, you rushed through the survey and didn’t fully think through your questions.
Moreover, you didn’t think of the end result – which is the type of feedback you want to end up with – because you didn’t define a clear, attainable goal for your survey.
Having a clearly defined goal will help you get the information you need.
But, how can you get the attendees to give you the information you want? After all, you can’t control what people say.
Here are 8 ways to increase your chances of success:
- While you want to encourage the people answering your survey to give you the information you’re seeking, you need to make sure the feedback is genuine. By this I mean don’t ask leading questions that will force words into their mouths because those results (while possibly uplifting), won’t be authentic, and therefore, they won’t help towards achieving your overall goal — which is to plan better events.
- Maybe don’t even call it a survey (although, that’s what I’m calling it here to make things easier), but rather create more value. Be creative. Let your guests know they matter. Thank them for attending, letting them know that the event couldn’t have happened without them and that you would love to hear about their experiences by sharing their insights, opinions, and suggestions.
- Remember how I said you want qualitative and quantitative information? Well, to do that, you need to ask a few types of questions like multiple-choice, closed-ended, single-answer, and open-ended questions. However, don’t ask more than 1-2 open-ended questions because the other types are easier for the audience. And the easier the survey, the more buy-in you’ll get.
- Treat the survey like a conversation. You wouldn’t start out a new relationship by asking super personal questions at the beginning. Instead, you would ease them into it with lighter small talk, like “how would you describe today’s event in one word?”
- Keep it short.
- Avoid absolutes, like the words “all,” “every,” and “always” because the results will never ever be authentic. See what I did there? Absolutes can hurt the quality of the response you receive because it will make the respondent have a strong response one way or the other, with no middle ground.
- Don’t ask double-barreled questions, meaning, don’t ask two questions, and only allow for a single response. An example of this would be, “Did you enjoy the food and drinks served?” Because what if the person enjoyed the food, but hated the drinks? They would be forced to dislike both or like both when that wasn’t the case, and you would end up with skewed data.
- Review. Repair. Repeat. You don’t want to launch a survey that has any errors. So be sure to go over it with a fine-tooth comb, and even get it to proofread a few times. Make sure you test it in the way it will be sent. So, if you are emailing it, then email it to someone to make sure it opens properly on their device.
But even if you do all of those things right, timing is everything.
That leads us to the last, but certainly not least, tip in knowing how to get people to respond to post-event surveys.
Because I bet this whole time, you’ve been envisioning people receiving this survey after the event, right?
What if the guests received the survey at the end of the event — while they’re still there? Or maybe you can have the survey throughout the event, like immediately after the keynote speech, dinner, dessert, etc. *Mind blow*
How would you pull this off, and not only that, but what would encourage an attendee to participate?
Firstly, use an event app that they’ve been using since registration. It will make data collection easier and more meaningful. For you and the attendees.
Secondly, have the survey (or live audience poll) on the agenda, so the attendees are expecting it, and hopefully even looking forward to it.
And finally, make the poll live and on the big screens. This will encourage participation because humans are curious, aren’t we? Seriously…we are curious, right?
So, if you’re curious about whether or not these 5 techniques, tips and tricks are really and truly how to get people to respond to post-event surveys, try them out a few times.
It can’t possibly hurt, right?
Do you have any advice on how to get a higher (and more meaningful) response rate?
I’d love to hear them so please share in the comment section, so we can help each other achieve success.