Feedback is the lifeblood of market research. Customer surveys are key to defining your ideal client’s needs, wants and pain points. An online survey is an effective, time efficient way to get this information. But what do you ask, when do you ask it and how do you use the answers? Read on for helpful insights to your survey woes and maybe even pick some strategies that hadn’t crossed your mind.
For the purpose of brevity, we will be reviewing event, conference and expo surveys. These are some of the tactics we take when send out surveys to our B2B Expo attendees.
Anatomy of a Survey
There are many reasons to survey your audience. Whether conference attendee or long time retail customer, the insights gleaned from a survey can help your business in so many ways. You can gain insight into customer demographics, test out product offerings or pricing options, investigate new market segments or simply measure customer satisfaction. The reasons are endless; surveys can help you answer all those burning questions you want answered to better build your business and marketing strategy for success.
Before you begin, be sure to clearly define your goals and learning objectives. If you don’t know what you want to know, you won’t be able to ask the right questions and get productive answers. Determine the ROI of your survey. How will the results of this survey help boost ROI for your company?
Once your foundation is set, think about the design of your survey. Depending on the depth of answer you seek, surveys can range from a simple click-to-rank structure to long-form essay boxes. Consider how quick you will need to utilize the information gather. If you need to present information to your board of directors next week, the simple click-to-rank survey option may be your best bet for quickly defined and understood data.
There are also several different styles of surveys with a number of different purposes.
- Needs Assessment: pre-event survey sent to understand attendee or client expectations
- Real Time: in-the-moment survey to capture how your event is currently going
- Post-Event: survey to evaluate the effectiveness of individual speakers, show impact, define the value of exhibitors and sponsors (NOTE: This is the most important survey to send.)
For meeting planning professionals, it is important to send post-event surveys to exhibitors and sponsors as well as the attendees. By surveying the exhibitors and sponsors, you’re able to garner how well the event performed for them and their business and reevaluate what to keep and what to change for better business impact at the next show.
The questions. Probably the most important part of a survey other than the answers to those questions and actually sending the survey to your audience. What should you ask? When should you ask it? How should you ask it? We’ve broken it down for you.
Questions to ask participants:
- Overall, how would you rate the event?
- What did you like about the event? What did you dislike about the event?
- How friendly was the staff? How helpful?
- What were your primary objectives for the event (knowledge, skills, networking) and did you meet your objectives? If not, what could event organizers have done differently?
- Was the location of the event suitable for them (in terms of travel time, convenience, etc.)
- Would they participate again and/or recommend a colleague attend?
Speaker evaluation questions:
- Was the promoted topic delivered as promised?
- Was the speaker engaging in their delivery?
- What were your objectives in attending the session (inspirational, education, how-to) and were those objectives met?
- Did the speaker include the right level of detail for the participant’s knowledge level?
- What topics would you like to have seen covered?
- Can the information be translated into your business?
Questions to ask exhibitors:
- Were the attendees the right level of decision-makers for your product or service?
- Did the event structure give you ample time to interact with attendees?
- What were your primary objectives for the event (general awareness, lead generation, networking) and did they meet their objectives?
- Was the location of your booth suitable for generating traffic?
Questions to ask sponsors:
- Did the event venue provide appropriate recognition for their sponsorship?
- Did the sponsor find value in the networking opportunities?
- Were the attendees the right level of decision-makers for their product or service?
- Did the event structure five them ample time to interact with attendees?
- What were their primary objectives for the event (general awareness, lead generation, networking) and did they meet their objectives?
Tips for Better Surveys
- Keep them short. The longer the survey the less likely your audience will stick around. In fact, when you first send the survey, let them know how many questions you’re asking or the estimated time to take it. (Please take five minutes to fill out this brief survey about your experience at our event.) And keep questions to 12 or less.
- Use conditional logic. Not all attendees will take advantage every offered aspect of your event. If your event included sessions that touched varying levels of expertise, then using conditional logic will help to tailor your survey to the attendee’s personal experience.
- Make your questions easy to answer. Attendees time is valuable, so don’t crowd their post-event survey with labor-intensive questions. Give them fast, easy ways to answer your questions by using dropdown lists, matrix fields and radio buttons.
- Use plain speak. Don’t make your surveys so inundated with professional jargon that the attendee must read the question more than once to understand what you’re asking.
If there is only one take away from this post, know the importance of surveys to your business plan, lead follow up and event marketing. So much valuable information results from surveys that will only increase your ROI, which at the end of the day is the goal for every business. If you’re looking for a survey software platform, Capterra put together an extensive list of all available survey software including reviews.
Are you going to incorporate surveys into your market research and lead follow up? Were these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below!