I am a great proponent of using a survey or feedback form at the end of your public webinars. It not only gives you valuable feedback you can use in your analysis and refinement process, but it continues a dialog with your participants, demonstrating that the end of the session is not the end of your interest in communicating with them.
From a technical delivery standpoint, you can expect the response rates to go from best to worst with each of the following methods for asking people to respond. Note that some methods may not be available with a particular web conferencing technology:
- Use co-browsing to open up the survey form on each participant’s screen while still in the session. Ask them to complete it then and there.
- Use an automatically displayed form that comes up for each participant as they leave the session.
- Display a live link within your session and ask participants to click through to it and complete the form.
- Send people a link to the form in a separate follow-up email after your event and ask them to click through.
- Display or tell people a URL during your session and ask them to go to that address on their own after the session.
In general, the less of an option they have, and the less proactive they have to be, the better your response rates.
The design of the form also affects your response rate. The most important factor is the number of questions you ask. It is easy to err on both the low and high side when composing survey questions. The quick rule of thumb is that every additional question you include lessens the chance of a person completing ANY of the survey. Yes, even if you ask for one key response at the top and then tell them everything else is optional, people will look at a page full of questions and instantly decide “I don’t have time to deal with all this.” You have lost them and no amount of explanatory text in the survey will help.
But you can also frustrate respondents by asking questions that are too general and should be split up. The most common is to ask a question about “Quality of speakers” in a multi-presenter event. If one speaker is very good and another is bad, what does the participant answer? Do they average it out? How does their response help you? Both you and the respondent know that the question and answer have no practical value. They are just angry at your attempts to make them spend time on a nonsensical query. Take the time to duplicate the question and ask it about each speaker. And if you don’t plan on using that guest speaker again anyway, don’t bother asking at all. What’s the point?
So think carefully about your post-event survey. Is every question necessary and valuable to you? Do you absolutely need the information? Sales and marketing teams are notorious for wanting every piece of qualification and demographic information they can think of jammed into a questionnaire. Then most of the information is never used. “But we might need it some day.” Yes, you might possibly. But here and now, you need more responses to the critical questions that will help you make your web seminars better. Try to enforce a ruthless concentration on that goal.
One final thought. Always include at least one open-response text box asking for general thoughts, impressions, and comments. Many people won’t take the time to write anything, but the ones who do will provide you with insights and feedback you would never get through multiple choice answers to your preset questions.