How to Field Webinar Feedback

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

Like echolocation to a bat finding his way around without a handy pair of spectacles, feedback is an equally important tool for the webinar producer. Not only does it serve as a means of determining what you’re doing right — and what you’re doing wrong — but it also lets you know what your viewing audience clamors to see.

And when you understand their needs as a whole, you can cater to them. You naturally increase engagement because they feel like part of the process.

Collecting feedback is an important step in the evolution of your webinar, so take advantage of the opportunity to do it before, during, and after the webinar.

You can start looking for feedback before you even hold the webinar. Of course, the results will be premature, but such feedback still has its place. Although it’s not often used, a pre-engagement feedback blitz makes it possible to stimulate an audience before you actually hold the event. It differs from a survey, which is taken at the end of the webinar.

Lots of producers rely on pre-event surveys that they put on registration and landing pages to solicit content or to find out what people’s expectations are before the event. These include potential questions as well as their expectations for the session. Think of it as the buildup before the big game.

But more effectively, the feedback process takes place during and certainly after the webinar. From there, you can compile enough information and data to gauge its success.

Here is a break down of feedback technique at each stage:

  • Before the webinar: You can have a pre-event survey that uses questions such as, “What would you like to learn from this event?” Or “What three categories are most interesting to you?”

    Basically, when you survey your registered audience to see what they are interested in — or maybe just ask for information from them beyond your gated form — it’s an opportunity to collect information from them in addition to what you can learn from the registration process.

  • During the presentation: As the webinar takes place, you’re collecting information in a number of different ways. First, you’ve got poll results, which provide information on the fly. Next, there’s a Q&A session with all the questions that are submitted. Collecting information on both is essential.

    Then you have the ability to look at all the other interactive tools and how they are performing. For example, you could look at what people are saying in chat rooms and on social media forums.

  • Afterward: The post-event survey provides direct feedback on the presentation as a whole, including the host’s performance. That survey, is automatically generated to the audience at the end of the presentation. Some push it to the audience in real time, whereas others provide buttons that participants can click to fill out the survey (but you need to encourage people to do that).

    The information is delivered directly through the webinar tool to the audience. You can also collect additional information from the Twitter hashtag you assigned to the event. Social media provides a whole new way of getting post-event feedback by seeing what people are saying online. Platform providers now offer benchmark indices and engagement scores that make webinar analytics “actionable,” with performance comparisons with other webinars.

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