What’s the point in holding an event if you have no way of measuring its success? Whether you’re hoping to boost brand awareness, sales or anything else in between, selecting the right KPIs to assess whether you achieved your goals is a vital step in planning your event. No matter what your goals are, collecting feedback is key to measuring success.
Not only can feedback help you to understand exactly what your audience thought of your event, but it can also provide you with essential information on what you should do differently next time.
Here are 5 crucial tips for collecting constructive and usable feedback from your audience.
1. Collect feedback in real-time
At in-person events, feedback can often be informal, gathered through networking sessions or sentiment at the event. It's usually not too difficult to see if there's something people are enjoying and interacting with, and to ask them on the spot how they feel about the event so far.
However, it can also be useful to have on-the-spot feedback forms, such as surveys on iPads, to capture real-time sentiment. You could simply ask attendees to tap a facial expression as they leave content sessions to get an indication of how they feel about a particular panel discussion.
Virtual events are different from in-person events in that your audience probably won’t feel the need to stick around just to be polite. Instead, they can leave at the click of a button without facing any repercussions.
Developing real-time feedback is vital to providing you with as much of this information as possible. If a delegate goes to log out, why not face them with a pop-up asking why they’re leaving? If that’s not possible, you could instead follow up by email afterwards.
Similarly, many virtual event platforms will give you the ability to post audience polls. These can be a great way of finding out what your audience wants more of, and how they’re absorbing your content. Not only can does this provide a great measurement tool for you to dissect after your event, but it also gives you the opportunity to make changes in real-time so that you’re responding to your audience’s wants and needs. It’s a win-win!
2. Nail your post-event survey
We’re all familiar with the crucial post-event survey. But how many of us really use it to its maximum potential?
In order to get super-accurate results that depict exactly what your attendees thought of your event, you’re best off sending your post-event survey out as soon as possible. This way, the event will still be fresh in their minds (and they’re more likely to answer it!). While sending it out by email is typical, you could also experiment with making it available as attendees leave your event – for example in a pop-up as attendees go to exit.
Don’t forget that your attendees won’t be as familiar with your content or speakers as you are. So, include images where you can to jog their memories (and catch their attention!).
Plus, make sure your survey works seamlessly on mobile. There’s nothing worse than your attendees quitting your survey halfway through because the experience was clunky – not only will this result in less feedback, but it will also leave a sour taste in their mouths which is the last thing you want after a successful event!
Finally, give attendees the option to answer your questions anonymously. Depending on their relationship with your brand, it may well be that they won’t feel confident answering completely honestly if they know that you can link their responses to their name.
3. Hone your questions
You need your survey to be comprehensive, but you also want to avoid being overly detailed because everyone is busy and time is at a premium. So, how do you pick the right questions?
Well, this is where you go back to your event objectives and KPIs. Then, choose questions that will help you to assess whether or not you met your goals.
At the same time, however, remember to check whether or not the event matched your attendees’ expectations. If their expectations were different from yours, that’s most likely a marketing problem that you’ll need to address for next time.
Including some Net Promoter Score (NPS) questions will work as a good benchmark for attendee satisfaction. This includes questions like ‘How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend or colleague?’
Remember to avoid leading questions like ‘Which talk most excited you?’ After all, your attendees might not have found any of the talks exciting! Instead, try to ask neutral questions such as ‘How would you rate the talks you attended?’
4. Get feedback from everyone
Don’t forget that your attendees aren’t the only ones who can provide you with actionable feedback. Depending on the nature of your event, there might also be speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and others directly involved who could provide you with valuable insights.
Of course, their experience, expectations and goals are likely to be very different from your attendees’. And, as we’ve discussed, time is at a premium. So, rather than simply sending out the same post-event survey to everyone, we’d recommend creating specific surveys for each group involved. That way, you can ask the questions that are likely to have the most impact and get genuinely useful feedback.
5. Analyse and action
There’s no point in collecting feedback if it just sits there unused. The real key is knowing what to do with it!
Firstly, make sure that you relate it back to your goals. Remember that when it comes to measuring whether or not you achieved them, this often isn’t black and white. It’s normal to have somewhat achieved your goals but to have some room for improvement. Look carefully at the feedback in this case and use it to analyse what worked and what didn’t. Then, put together a plan for how you could you better achieve your goals next time.
At the same time, don’t forget that feedback isn’t the only thing you’ll be measuring. Hopefully, you selected some important KPIs to track alongside collecting feedback. Use the feedback to support your other measurements, and to help fill in any gaps.
For instance, if you’ve been tracking drop-off points at a virtual event, you might find that you had a high number of attendees leave the event five minutes into a particular session. This is useful to know, but there’s not much you can do about it without finding out why. By matching this up with the feedback collected, hopefully, you’ll be able to find out whether there was something wrong with the session itself, or whether you inadvertently scheduled it to clash with the latest episode of Strictly Come Dancing!
Feedback is one of the most useful means of measuring your event's success both during and after an event. But there are some key things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of it. Once you’ve polished your feedback process and learned how to let it inform your future events, the sky’s the limit!
For support on boosting your events and scaling your event programmes, get in touch with the team at Hire Space 360, the ultimate support for event planners.
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