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9 Pre-Event Survey Questions That Will Engage Your Attendees

Building a successful event requires understanding your target audience. Surveys are a tried and true method for gaining valuable insights. However, the key lies in asking the right questions. In this article, we'll provide you...

Building a successful event requires understanding your target audience. Surveys are a tried and true method for gaining valuable insights. However, the key lies in asking the right questions. In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive list of pre-event survey questions that will help you gather actionable feedback from your attendees before the big day.

Why Send Out a Pre-Event Survey?

There are several compelling reasons to start gathering event feedback well in advance. By reaching out to potential attendees during the event planning stages, you can gain invaluable insights. It's crucial to truly understand your audience and what they want. The best way to achieve this is by simply asking them. Don't rely on assumptions—asking questions and receiving direct answers is far more reliable. This applies to every aspect of your event, from the number of attendees to their preferences for particular speakers or sessions.

Asking questions early on can also help you plan future events. While it may seem premature to think about the event after this one, the decisions you make now will impact future events. By uncovering audience interest in certain speakers or educational sessions, you can anticipate what will be popular at the next event.

Lastly, engagement is vital. An engaged audience goes beyond simply showing up; they actively participate in the event. By asking questions, you demonstrate that you value their opinions and input. This helps foster a sense of engagement and connection with your brand and event.

Key Types of Event Survey Questions

Event survey questions typically fall into three main categories, each serving a specific purpose. When crafting your pre-event survey, it's important to understand the information you're seeking in order to ask the right questions. Here are the three categories:

  1. Binary: These questions have simple yes/no or checkbox answers. While they don't generate detailed information, binary questions are useful for gathering basic demographics and other straightforward data.

  2. Quantitative: These questions require numerical responses, such as multiple-choice or rating questions. They provide quantifiable information that helps you understand attendee preferences and opinions.

  3. Qualitative: These open-ended questions invite participants to provide more detailed information. While qualitative questions may have a lower response rate due to their time-consuming nature, they often yield valuable insights. It's recommended to balance qualitative questions with a majority of binary and quantitative questions in your survey.

illustration of man taking survey at computer Image: Illustration of a man taking a survey at a computer.

How to Circulate Survey Questions

Apart from the questions themselves, the method of disseminating the survey is equally important. Different types of questions are best suited for specific distribution methods. In some cases, you might need to create multiple mini-surveys instead of one large survey. Here are some ways to distribute conference survey questions:

  • Website or social media polls: Ideal for binary or multiple-choice questions. However, keep in mind that not everyone will see these questions, and the incentive to respond may be low.
  • Registration process: Best for questions that every attendee should answer, such as inquiries about special accommodations.
  • Post-registration confirmation or survey platform: Suitable for all types of questions, except those already included during registration.

If you choose to send out surveys after registration, make sure the response process is simple and user-friendly. Create a clean and concise template with just a few questions. To increase response rates, limit the number of qualitative questions and consider offering small perks, such as exclusive event swag or drink vouchers, as incentives.

What Questions Should You Ask Before Your Event?

It's essential to ask the right questions to gather the information you need to make your event a success. Here are nine pre-event survey questions that will provide valuable insights:

1. How did you hear about this event? (Quantitative)

Understanding the effectiveness of your marketing channels is crucial. Include a multiple-choice question with options such as word-of-mouth and major marketing channels. This question can help you evaluate and improve your event marketing efforts.

2. Why did you choose this event? (Qualitative)

Include a multiple-choice question and optional comment field. This question is particularly relevant for large events with a significant time gap between registration and attendance. Options could include speakers, classes, sponsors, location, and recommendations. Allowing attendees to provide their own reasons ensures you capture all motivations.

3. Have you attended this event before? (Binary)

This yes/no question helps identify your regular attendees—the ones who consistently show up. Their loyalty showcases the event's appeal to your target demographic and can influence sponsor and stakeholder perspectives.

4. What's your preferred social media platform? (Quantitative)

Using a multiple-choice question, find out which social media platforms your attendees prefer. This information will guide your event marketing team in optimizing their strategies. Don't forget to create event-specific hashtags to enhance online visibility.

5. Which speakers/classes/events are you most interested in? (Quantitative)

Present respondents with a list of options and allow them to choose up to 30% of the available choices. It's best to separate questions for different categories of events (e.g., speakers, classes). By gathering this information early on, you can tailor your event to match attendee interests.

6. Do you have any special needs or requirements of which we should be aware? (Qualitative)

This mandatory yes/no question, supplemented by a comment box, is essential for any event. Gathering information about special accommodations well in advance ensures that every attendee has a positive experience. Be inclusive and cover mobility, hearing/sight aid, and other relevant options in your multiple-choice selection.

7. Do you have any dietary restrictions of which we should be aware? (Qualitative)

Include this mandatory multiple-choice question with a comment box if your event involves serving food. Many attendees have allergies, dietary restrictions, or cultural food preferences. By considering these factors, you can plan for a more inclusive and enjoyable dining experience for all attendees.

8. Do you plan to stay at a preferred hotel? (Binary)

This simple yes/no question allows you to gauge whether attendees require hotel accommodations. It also serves as a reminder to registrants that they have the option to choose a partner hotel. Include any perks associated with choosing a preferred hotel to encourage registration.

9. Is any event information confusing or hard to find? (Qualitative)

Include this optional yes/no question with a comment box to ensure your event information is clear and easily accessible. Identifying areas that may need improvement will enhance the attendee experience.

people sit in a circle in chairs Image: People sitting in a circle of chairs during an event.

Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Information

To ensure the success of your event, it's crucial to gather as much information as possible about your attendees. Pre-event surveys, when strategically deployed, provide valuable insights that will benefit your current and future events. Craft your survey questions thoughtfully, and encourage participation from your attendees. By engaging with your audience and understanding their needs and preferences, you can create a truly memorable event experience.