How to design effective SMS surveys?

SMS are known for their effectiveness in marketing promotions. Yet today, many major companies are also using them to survey their audience.
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Why are SMS surveys important?

SMS surveys are a useful method for conducting research due to their ease, convenience, and wide reach. They are more cost-effective and faster than the more traditional face-to-face or voice surveys. They are perfect for reaching users on the go and they greatly help in case of face-to-face or voice surveys follow up. What’s more SMS surveys are especially useful in emerging markets, where smartphone and Internet penetration remains low, but mobile penetration is growing. In case you needed more evidence, here are some stats on why you should use SMS as a customer feedback channel:
  • 50%+ of users prefer contacting brands’ customer service teams through text messaging compared to other channels.
  • 80% of people use texting for business purposes
  • People are more likely to give accurate feedback over text
SMS surveys can be adapted for many different research objectives. However, some basic guidelines should always be followed when designing a different survey.

Tips for designing effective SMS surveys

Here is a list of tips to follow in order to receive reliable, actionable customer feedback.

Keep them short

Before starting to design a survey, brands should keep the above in mind. SMS after all means Short Messaging Service, so a long message would not benefit you.

SMS surveys should take about 10-15 minutes to complete, so a brand can get its point across in as few words as possible.

In addition to making the survey short, each and every question should also be short. This is especially important if you are used to writing questions for online or face-to-face interviews.

Another important factor brands should consider is the survey link. With the help of shortened URLs with branded domains and keywords, they can guarantee that it is short, getting themselves more traffic, leads, deals and ensuring consistency. People, after all, tend to trust branded URLs rather than generic ones.

Work on the intro message

Mobile phone users get dozens of messages every day, ranging from personal to marketing and spam texts. That is why marketers should find ways to catch their attention and remind them of their brand.

By doing so straight from the start, they can add credibility to their messages, improving the likelihood that the user will move forward and will respond.

Make it personal

With so many messages arriving on their phones daily and lots of marketing noise, it is hard to stand out. Yet, by personalizing their message brands can make it work. Just like with any other form of communication, people tend to respond to SMS surveys when they feel like it was exclusively meant for them.

There are several ways a brand can personalize its messages by. The most common ones are:

  • Calling their user by the first name at the beginning of the message
  • Segmenting users based on demographic details
  • Sending messages based on user’s history

The more you make it about them, the more rewarding it will be for brands. So rather than doing traditional text blasts, brands should personalize their messages to maximize their response rate.

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Use clear opt-in

In SMS campaigns like email, there are regulations that stop companies from sending users unwanted messages. As with any survey, brands should follow these guidelines whenever they are sending SMS surveys to users. With that being said, the first message should be an opt-in message to that specific survey, even if users have already opted-in in the past.

It goes without saying that brands should never send messages to users who have opted out of messages.

Have a clear CTA

CTA or Call-to-action buttons must be clear and simple when sending SMS surveys to users. And we can’t stress this enough.

CTA should be intuitive and straightforward and shouldn’t include any confusing instructions. Users have to know exactly the action that they need to perform.

Adding a straightforward CTA removes all the ambiguousness and results in improved response rates, as users can perform the required action without wasting time or energy to understand what they have to do with the SMS survey.

Make it mobile-friendly

It should go without saying that the survey page is mobile-friendly. After all, users are going to open the survey link on a mobile phone, which is only a pocket-sized device.

It is essential therefore to make everything mobile-friendly, for good user experience and getting the most accurate data from users.

From the size of everything on the page, to the copy that should be short and to buttons that should work as expected. Too many times, people start filling out surveys and drop halfway through because of an unpleasant website experience. Therefore, it is essential for the effectiveness of the SMS survey that brands make sure their survey page works on all major platforms.

A/B test messages

As with any channel and any campaign, there are a number of variables that will affect the message open rate. For example, the time an SMS survey is sent out will influence the engagement rate.

In order to assess what time works best, brands should set up tests and send two groups the same message but at different times. By studying their analytics, brands will find the best time to send an SMS survey which will greatly depend on demographics and different time zones.

Additionally, brands can also A/B test other aspects of the message to assess the impact on message open rates, such as using different copies or links. By experimenting with different variables, they’ll be able to better reach audiences and build effective SMS surveys.

Get set to launch your SMS surveys

As SMS remains one of the most vital channels of advertising and customer research, it’s important not to skip out on this marketing opportunity. After all, SMS surveys are a sure success. They can help brands expand their reach, while understanding their audience through valuable and timely feedback. With the right tool, like WayMore’s SMS survey tool you will be able to find out who your users really are, what they want, and how you can better serve them.
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