When the lights dim and the curtain falls, the cast of characters is anxiously anticipating a rush of claps and hoots from the audience. Hopefully, just hopefully, when they come out to take a bow, it’s to a standing ovation. This moment of immediate feedback is cathartic to stage performers.
Event planners live this same moment when events come to a close.
There is a rush of adrenaline followed by a calm relief. It’s cathartic. But the feedback they get may not be immediate and if it is, it’s often from their colleagues and peers – not the attendees. Those people have left the building.
It’s easy to rely on the attaboys and high-fives from the team involved, but it’s critical to gather feedback throughout the entire event-planning process because… “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” This famous quote has been attributed to many leaders – even Master Yoda. We agree with the intent, but we know Master Yoda would have said, “Measure, you must.”
What are 6 savvy ways to quantify your event’s success?
1. Measure Live and Non-Live Tweets and Posts with Social Media
While social media may feel too informal to get a quantifiable measurement, it’s the perfect way to understand what’s going well (or not so well) before, during, and after your event. By monitoring @mentions and creating and leveraging hashtags, you can gain insight into every aspect and detail of your event – from catering and rooms to chair comfort.
- Was #registration user-friendly? Or were there several tweeted questions?
- Which #speaker, #topic or #session was thought-provoking enough to garner the most #mentions or was #killingit?
- Even measure #event #staff response to posted or tweeted questions and inquiries.
A consumer survey found that 32 percent of respondents were planning to talk about the Super Bowl on social media while watching it. Eventgoers come armed with their smartphones to tweet, post, share and like. It is up to event professionals to measure it.
Pro tip: CLE has great success using Happy Boards to encourage social sharing!
2. Achieve a Higher Response with Push Notifications
On average, phone users swipe, text, tap or click 2,617 times a day due to 66% of people suffering nomophobia (the fear of no mobile phone). This means push notifications allows event planners to get immediate feedback during the event and can be scheduled for critical or specific times. After a session, push out a quick survey to rank the speaker, topic, room. After lunch, push a poll out on the catering.
Push notifications can also be used to request your attendees take a longer survey once the event is over – it’s a great option if they don’t open an email making the same request. According to Gartner, SMS can achieve a 45% response rate compared to email’s 6% response rate.
3. Live Polling for Immediate Feedback
Live polling gives you “in-the-moment” feedback and also creates an interactive environment audiences have come to expect. Speakers can use it during presentations to guide the topic and create discussion points, but you can also use live polls ahead of the event to engage attendees on topics and Q&A. You can even create “sponsored polls” to give your sponsors and partners more visibility.
Read our article on the Polling Apps CLE uses to take live polls and engage audiences.
4. QR Codes + Landing Page
Oftentimes, people may not want to complain about tiny issues. So give them a way to share this type of feedback anonymously. By placing QR Code signs asking for feedback in walkways and near entrances, people can quickly scan the QR Code, which takes them to a survey landing page. Depending on your event and the location, you can customize it for that area or keep it general. Just make sure you provide an open-ended option – it’s the new “virtual comment box.”
5. Longer Surveys for Post-Event Summarizations
Short surveys with just a few questions can be leveraged during the event, but longer ones asking for them to rate the overall event is great to understand once the event is complete. This not only gives them time to consider the value it brought, but teams often return to their companies and discuss takeaways. This is the perfect time to send an email (or push out an SMS).
6. Do a Deep Dive with Conversations
Let’s not forget, some of the best feedback you’ll receive is one-to-one conversations.
“Crunch time” never ends once the event kicks off. Either plan to schedule blocks of time or assign a staff member to take time out of the day and talk with eventgoers and gather their thoughts on specific aspects that include follow-up questions. This often occurs casually, but when the process is formalized, you can capture deeper insights.
Scalable survey tools for every event budget and size
These are great options if you’re just getting started and aren’t ready to make a large investment. These survey tools are all mobile-friendly allowing you to gauge success during the event when your audience is more likely to check email and notifications on their smartphones. Yet, they also can be pushed out via email links and SMS texts post-event.
- Google Forms (Free)
- SurveyMonkey (Free basic plan, starts at $37/month)
- SurveyGizmo (Free basic plan, starts at $35/month)
- Typeform (Free basic plan, starts at $35/month)
Event Apps with Added Functionality (and Cost)
If you are looking to create efficiencies beyond measuring event success or ROI, these tools can bring value with other critical event functions – yet offer functionality for surveys, live polls, and push notifications.
- Bizzabo (Starting price not provided)
- Hublio (Starting price not provided)
- Wufoo (Free option, Starts at $19/month)
Comprehensive Event, Marketing, and Business Solution
If your entire marketing team or business is seeking feedback from customers, employees, as well as for marketing campaigns, these options could help meet your event planning needs and the overall needs of the company.
- GetFeedback (Starts at $50/month)
- Key Survey (Starting price not provided)
- Snap Survey (Starting price not provided)
Optimize Your Event ROI
Once you start quantifying your event’s success, you are in a better position to optimize based on the feedback and data. Learn other ways you can optimize with our recent blog.