When reading data that confirms that more than 50% of the world’s population own mobile phones, then using SMSes to connect and engage with consumers becomes a no-brainer. However, many small businesses are still wary of this technique – or they’re at a loss as to how to apply it successfully. If this is you, then you’ll find the information we’re about share helpful, concise, and ultimately reassuring.  

What is an SMS Survey? 

An SMS or “text message” survey is a research method that’s applied by sending a message to target audiences on their mobile phones. Each message prompts a response or action which will help the sender to gain valuable insight into the thoughts and emotions of said audiences.  

Over the last years, this type of survey has surpassed email questionnaires in popularity. This is probably because text messages have a mammoth opening rate of 98% whereas only 22% of recipients open their emails.  

But what about the response rate?  

According to ReadWrite, an average of 31% of targeted customers will respond to a question via SMS with the average response time being a little over 5 minutes.  

So, while emails may cost you less, an SMS survey tool takes the cake when you’re reaching out to your audiences for a survey response. 

How Do Text Message Surveys Work? 

There are two ways an SMS campaign can be administered. 

  1. The first option is to text questions and answers back and forth, which is beneficial in the sense that anyone with a mobile phone can respond, thus broadening your reach for feedback. However, this method doesn’t come without its limitations. For example, questions cannot exceed 160 characters, which can make it difficult to accurately word your message. If you exceed 160 characters, then there’s the issue where characters are broken into segments before sending. Your receiver’s device may rebuild the message in a way that it becomes unorganised or incoherent. 
  1. The second option is to send recipients an SMS that contains a link. This link can redirect to a web survey that can be completed via a browser on a smartphone. As you have probably guessed, this option will give you more flexibility with wording and you can apply as much detail as you like. The downside is that about 25% of the global population do not own smartphones and those who do have smartphones will not necessarily have the data required to complete the questionnaire. 

To determine the best survey method for your business, we suggest that you first investigate who your preferred target audiences are. You can then explore if the individuals within your audiences are predominantly smartphone owners with access to data or if they are smartphones owners with limited data – or if they mostly only have access to basic mobile phones (you get the gist of it).  

You may want to look into SMS survey software for effective implementation of your strategy.  

An Example of an SMS Survey 

Let’s use a luxury shoe store as an example. 

This shoe store wants to target individuals who have a need for footwear that’s of the highest quality and style. We’ll assume, for the sake of this explanation, that one of their target audiences is corporate workers. 

Corporates, who are generally very busy, are likely to turn to a mobile device and read personal messages during their “downtime”. With emails, on the other hand, well they are more likely to associate this with work and may ignore correspondence that comes across as “spammy”.  

We can also assume that a corporate worker is going to have a smartphone, with access to the internet being a requirement for their role. This means that an SMS with a link may be the most fruitful approach. 

The business can include a customer satisfaction question in its survey to improve customer experience or it can ask questions such as “which shoes would you like us to stock” or “are you happy with the overall quality of our shoes”, and so forth.  

Why are Surveys Important for Business? 

Whether you are a small or large business, a survey can help to gauge where you stand with your customers. The information you collect from responses can help your organisation to increase profitability and growth by measuring your target market’s perceptions of your products and services as well as their level of trust and commitment to your brand. 

The Advantages of Text Message Surveys 

If you need more convincing as to whether running an SMS message campaign is going to be sufficient enough to prompt responses and engagement from people, then allow this powerful SMS survey information to enlighten you: 

  • It’s a cost-effective tool. One SMS only costs a few cents and a convenient survey software tool doesn’t have to burn your budget either.  
  • The feedback is almost instant. Research indicates that SMS open rates are as high as 98% with the average response rate sitting at 90 seconds.  
  • Users are more likely to respond honestly. Face-to-face contact and even telephonic questionnaires have shown to lead to biased results. However, when customers and clients can answer questions more privately and at their leisure, then the responses are generally more honest.  
  • Mobile-friendly surveys are easy to launch. Thanks to intuitive SMS text messaging software,  mass feedback surveys can be launched within a matter of minutes. Simply upload your list of mobile subscribers, and start the process.  

Are SMS Surveys Legal? 

This question poses much importance for businesses who strive to trade ethically. 

The good news is that this type of survey service is legal. SMS communication is, however, regulated to ensure privacy and data protection. Organisations must refrain from sending correspondence to individuals who have not given specific, valid and prior explicit consent to receiving such communications. Message content must also be appropriate to the intended audience and mustn’t be harmful or misleading in nature. As with email distribution, respondents should have the option to immediately opt out of any text marketing campaigns.