October 14, 2020

Engaging your attendees with Post Event Surveys

The event that you and your team have been planning for months has come and gone. Now it is time to reflect on areas of the event that were a success, and areas that require improvement. How will you determine those areas? How do you know that key attendee pain points have been addressed so customers return?
Many attendees will have an incredible time and will celebrate the event on social media. Others may have a negative experience and share that experience with anyone who will listen. But most will be somewhere in the middle, loving some aspects of the event and not others.
It’s pretty easy to get feedback from those with the strongest positive or negative reactions, but the real insights come from the “big middle” — those that don’t feel particularly passionate about providing feedback. They’ll have to be asked, probably a couple of times, to give their feedback. A friendly, conversational tone is helpful, and begging certainly never hurts.
For the survey itself, keep the questions short and quick to answer. Most attendees are willing to spend a couple of minutes providing feedback, but much more than that will result in significant dropoff. Be sure and end with an optional question about “anything else we could do to help create an even better event next year?” Many enjoy providing questions, just not when it is required. And remember, when it comes to post event surveys, having a lot of attendees answering a few questions is much better than having few attendees answer a lot of questions!
Finally, even the best survey is useless if your attendees don’t see it. Of course, the days of handing out or mailing paper surveys is long past. Asking for feedback on the event website may draw a few clicks. An event app survey can also work but, since most attendees immediately delete the app when the event is over, you’ll need to reach them quickly. And an event app survey can’t do anything to reach those that never downloaded or logged into the app in the first place.
Email isn’t a bad option and the most popular tool. he challenge is that with industry open rates of 15-20%, and even lower read and click-through rates, few attendees actually see, let alone respond to, your amazing survey
For that reason, leading event organizers are increasingly turning to SMS for post event surveys.  The statistics are compelling. Almost everyone can text, and text messages have a 98% open rate, far exceeding any other channel.  Most texts are read in less than five seconds, allowing messages to cut through the clutter.  A friendly text, with a link to the survey, means that it can be completed anywhere and anytime that is convenient for the user.  Throw in an emoji and the response rate is surprisingly even higher.
Text is also the purest 1:1 channel in the world today. You know exactly who the text is being sent to, so the survey questions can be customized based upon identity or segment. Speakers can receive a different survey than attendees, volunteers or exhibitors, allowing planners to ask the right questions to gain the greatest insights.
Understanding the expectations of those who attend your event, and whether they were met, is critical to ensuring attendees return to your event year after year. Text is the answer!

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