An Event Planning Blog by Gather Digital

Step Up the Feedback: 14 Keys to Better Surveys, Better Events

Written by: Angie Sloan

Angie Sloan

man taking rating survey.jpg

You’ve gathered a large group of some of your most important people. People with a shared passion, common interests or specialty areas of expertise. It’s a great time to seek valuable feedback. Not with a huge survey handed to them on their way out the door to the airport or a paper survey left on the seats at each session. You need to connect with your meeting participants where they are—on their mobile devices. You want to engage; get their true thoughts on important industry and organization questions

You need an easy way for people to submit responses and then a painless way for you to assess that data and quickly transfer it into charts or graphs for action. With paper surveys, you are faced with hours of manual data entry before you can glean any usable insights.

Putting surveys into your event app will save you money and time. Forget about printing costs and the worry over collecting responses. The app automatically uploads the results and a report is available for viewing at any time.

The Shine of In-App Surveys

OK, so it’s a good idea to put the surveys into the event app, but how do you make your surveys more compelling to increase your survey results, improve your event experience and learn more? We’ve worked with hundreds of smart clients who have created successful surveys in their apps and we want to share some of their great ideas.

Make your current event even better

1. Reach out pre-event. A pre-conference survey can give you amazing information to put into the attendees’ profiles in the app to get people chatting. We’ve seen this done to great success. One company asked participants about their hobbies, a favorite quote, one word that their friends use to describe them, what they hoped to gain from the meeting and even other attendees they hoped to meet with during the conference. Then, they simply imported that info into the attendee area of the app to encourage interesting conversations! This approach is especially good for internal meetings when you want to encourage colleagues to get to know each other better.

2. Create an “unconference” session. This great idea brings everyone into your meeting like little else. Who doesn’t want to be an integral part of deciding what session should be presented? Here’s how it works: In the first day or so, or even before the meeting begins, ask your attendees via an in-app multiple-choice survey question what topic they would most like covered for their final session at the end of the week. Your attendees will love helping to plan the conference agenda.
3. Give your attendees the royal treatment. Help them with airport transfers. Use the survey module for getting participants’ airline arrivals and hotel information. Do they need airport pick up or delivery? This is an extra-special touch for attendees of high-value meetings.

4. Vote on the best presenting company, exhibitor product or video presentation. Find out which company, exhibitor product or video your attendees like best. This is valuable feedback for your sponsors and adds interest to the presentations for your attendees.

Make your future events even better

5. Improve upon your next meeting. Create an overall conference survey to learn which parts of the meeting struck a chord with your participants and in what area improvements could be made. Who were the stand-out speakers? Invite them back. Which sessions were most popular? Keep those topics in mind for next year and perhaps add Master Level courses.

Provide real benefit to your sales and marketing teams

6. Learn more about your constituents, customers, employees and members. What are their hot buttons right now? What interests do they have? Could you provide information on that matter during the event or after it’s over?

7. Present your findings to marketing and sales teams. Knowing what’s on the minds of your target audience can help your marketing team decide on messaging or future content topics. It can also arm sales executives with needed information for reaching out to potential customers with a valuable content offer or opportunity.

8. Share the results. This is a great way to follow up with your attendees after the event. You are providing them with helpful industry insights from their colleagues, while at the same time, reminding them about the excellent event they just attended. Also, get extra mileage by publishing the survey results for thought leadership pieces to help the broader industry community.

Quick Tips for Better In-App Surveys

1. Always consider event goals. Ask only survey questions that will help you achieve those goals. Don’t waste your attendees’ time (or yours) with questions of lesser importance.

2. Keep it short and sweet. If a questionnaire takes more than five minutes to fill out, many participants won’t go through the exercise. Respect their time and keep it short; they’ll be much more likely to respond.

3. Offer an incentive. Have a random drawing for a prize or offer a small gift or discount to each person who fills out your survey. You could also use an in-app badge-earning game to help entice your attendees to participate.

4. Tell participants how you’ll use results. They’ll be more likely to comply if they know why you are asking. If you are choosing next year’s speakers based on the surveys, let your audience know. If you are hoping to improve upon any aspect of your event, tell them so. They will appreciate knowing how you plan to use the results.

5. Remind them. Send a push message through the app to gently nudge people to complete their survey.

6. Hide a survey. If the circumstances warrant a bit of an unveiling or you want the survey to be completed within certain time constraints, reveal the survey when you are ready. One click of a button on the online content dashboard and the pre-created survey becomes displayed for all to see.

This is a great time for event feedback. Mobile technology is a huge catalyst for getting more and better feedback from your meeting participants. A little time in the up-front set up can bring huge rewards in the valuable information you receive, can act upon and share.

Related Content: 5 Steps to Optimize Surveys & Polls in Mobile Event Apps [eBook]

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