The last session on your event agenda comes to an end, after mingling and networking for a little longer, your attendees begin to leave the event space with their minds full of new knowledge, fresh visions, and inspirational connections. Your event is over. Congratulations, you made it!
However, for all of your efforts put into organizing and running the event to truly pay off, do not sit back and relax just yet. Because now it is the time to deliver on a step which is crucial to reflective and future-oriented event planning: effectively reaching out to your attendees to receive actionable event feedback.
What makes this so essential is that having direct insight into attendees’ retrospective thoughts on their event experience, their fulfilled expectations but also their unaddressed desires will be of tremendous help when deciding on the elements to keep, to drop, and to add for your upcoming events. Because after the event is always before the next event and you want to make sure to keep learning and improving!
To motivate your attendees to provide relevant feedback that you can leverage and act upon, we have gathered 5 tips for you to nail your post-event communications.
Your attendees have taken time out of their day, travelled out of their offices, and put their tasks on hold in order to participate in your event. Thank them for showing up, for their time, and contribution to the event, which would not have led to the same outcome without their attendance.
Make them feel appreciated by sending a genuine ‘thank you’ message.
It’s as simple as that, yet so powerful in reinforcing the relationship with your attendees. Showing them that you not only value them but also the opinions they hold, this “thank you” email presents the ideal moment to seamlessly guide your attendees to your feedback survey.
Plus, to add more value to your message, you can include a link to your post-event page. This page can include content like a recap video, a photo gallery of the event, presentation slides and other relevant content for your attendees to save, use, and share.
Needless to say, no-shows will not be able to provide you with event feedback, but we highly recommend to not neglect them in your post-event communications. Reach out to them despite their absence by sending them a “sorry we missed you” message and direct them to your post-event page as well so that they can still somehow benefit from the unused ticket that they got for your event. In many cases, it is not in one’s power when having to cancel last minute - so be appreciative anyways since this improves the chances that no-shows will actively look out for and make an effort to attend your next event.
Make sure that you give your attendees enough time to reflect on your event before you approach them with your post-event messages. At the same time however, it is recommended to not let too much time pass until you reconnect with your attendees so that they can still easily recall all of the relevant details of their event experience. Thus, as a general guideline, sending out an email including a feedback survey within one week after your event can be considered as an appropriate timing to ensure high response rates.
Time is also money! Keep in mind that everyone’s time is valuable. Therefore, tell your audience how long it will take them to complete your survey - test and time it yourself beforehand and try to keep it down to about 5 or less minutes. Research shows that people tend to start speeding through surveys if they have a high question count, that is, the more questions people are asked to answer, the less time they spend on each question. As a result, the quality of your collected data may suffer. You can avoid this by carefully designing your survey and by selecting the few most relevant questions which are manageable to answer within a few minutes and are expected to provide you with the best data possible for your specific goals and future decision-making.
Let us be honest with each other - how many surveys asking for your feedback have you ignored already just for the simple fact that other priorities on your agenda were keeping you busy and this survey appeared to steal your time and to not provide any added value for you? You don’t remember? That’s probably because this has happened already quite often.
Do not leave your own event feedback survey to the same fate! In order to motivate your attendees to take their time to answer your questions, try to give them something back. More precisely, offer an attractive incentive that they would love to get their hands on.
And take into consideration your audience’s profile when choosing a suitable reward. Here are some ideas: give attendees the chance to win VIP tickets for your next event or team up with your event speakers to offer a money-can’t-buy prize or an unique experience, for example - if applicable - give away signed copies of your speakers’ publications or free tickets to topic-related, exclusive workshops.
The prospect of winning such an attractive prize will drive up your response rate and save your feedback survey email from being moved straightly to trash.
Your survey link was clicked, perfect! Now it is crucial, to keep the respondents motivated and confident throughout the entire feedback process to avoid them abandoning the survey before hitting the “submit feedback” button.
To reach this goal, make sure to get the design of your survey landing page right. This includes a simple and intuitive set-up and the provision of a clear and consistent branding so that respondents stay in the same environment despite navigating from an email to a landing page. As a result, they feel comfortable and are more likely to proceed with your survey.
Moreover, do not overwhelm your respondents by displaying all the questions you have at once. It will keep up respondents’ motivation when answering one or two questions at a time, always having the “next” button visible right above the fold without the need to scroll down.
On a side note: as of 2019, 35% business professionals check their emails on a mobile device, so chances are high that your feedback survey will be filled out on mobile as well. Thus, make an effort to ensure a smooth user experience on both desktop and mobile to maximize your response rate.
Lastly, post-event communications do not solely revolve around getting feedback from your event attendees. Especially in the B2B events industry, you want to establish networks and closer ties with your attendees and potential leads. Post-event communications are essential in building off the buzz of your event and guiding your guests down the funnel.
This implies the following: do not only touch base with your attendees because you want them to do something (completing your survey, for instance) but also follow up with them on other occasions to maintain your relationship. Examples for this could be sharing interesting content that aligns with your event or sending out an invitation for your next event.
All in all, well-timed and well-designed post-event communications will certainly open some doors for you - both to your attendees’ minds and future business opportunities.
And on a last, concluding side note: although we focused on post-event feedback here, it can be just as insightful and useful to give your attendees the possibility to provide their feedback in real-time while your event is up and running, so make sure to give it a thought!