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SMS Survey Basics: How to Send a Text Survey

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

A text or SMS survey can help you gather feedback from your customers quickly and effectively.

  • A text or SMS survey is a fast and cost-efficient way to get feedback from consumers.
  • You can conduct multiple types of surveys via SMS, including Net Promoter Score, multiple-choice polls, customer experience feedback and text-to-vote.
  • Executing a successful text survey campaign involves choosing the right survey type, participant list, questions and SMS survey software.
  • This article is for small business owners and marketers who want to explore text message surveys as an avenue for market research and customer feedback.

A text survey, also known as a Short Message Service (SMS) survey, is a survey where consumers reply to questions or inquiries through the SMS feature on their mobile devices. Business owners and market researchers can use various question types to collect data as a cost-efficient way to gain consumer feedback. Text surveys are a personalized and convenient survey method that allows consumers to respond on their own time. For that reason and many more, SMS surveys are becoming a popular way of gathering feedback from customers.

What are the benefits of using text surveys?

There are a multitude of benefits of utilizing SMS or text message surveys. The most obvious one is that most consumers now have a mobile phone with SMS capabilities – and they're checking it often.

Additionally, SMS surveys assist with community outreach and consumer engagement by allowing your company to learn more about your customers, explained Nerissa Zhang, CEO of The Bright App.

"Data about your customers can be one of the most valuable tools in driving sales, building customer loyalty, and effectively improving your business to better serve your customers," Zhang said. "You'll know what your customers want, when they want it, and how they like to purchase from you and be informed about your company in the future." Review the best options for SMS service providers if you're looking to reach more of your customers.

These are some additional benefits of SMS surveys:

  • Cost-effectiveness: SMS survey campaigns cost only a few cents per message, so they're a cost-effective tool to gain consumer feedback compared to other marketing campaigns. In turn, you receive high open rates and quick responses.

  • Easy setup: While it could take considerable time and effort to send out individual surveys manually, SMS survey software allows you to send multiple surveys at once. Using built-in survey templates or your own custom surveys, you can also schedule out your text surveys, which makes for easier planning and more efficient use of your time.

  • Diverse outreach: SMS survey campaigns have the advantage that almost everyone, from baby boomers to Generation Z, has a smartphone with text messaging capabilities. Using text messaging to send surveys casts a wide net to reach a diverse population. Additionally, with text messaging being virtual, you can reach people across the globe or focus your campaign on local feedback as needed.

  • Response and delivery tracking: To gain data from text surveys, you need a central hub to track responses and deliveries. Most SMS survey software allows for real-time responses to track the activities, responses, open and response rates, and more within the software.

  • Quick responses: Studies show that over 90% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of the user receiving them, and response rates can be as high as 45%. This is compared to only a 20% open rate and a 6% response rate for emails. Other studies show that SMS messages have a 209% greater chance of response overall than other survey methods, such as social media, phone calls and email. While the data varies, many users respond to appointment reminders, opt-in promotions and event updates, to name a few types of texts.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: Text surveys are effective because they can reach a large number of customers on devices that they check often. They are also inexpensive and easy to set up and yield fast responses.

What types of surveys should you send through SMS?

You can conduct countless types of surveys via SMS. Here are a few common ones.

1. Links to web-based surveys

You can create trackable links through survey forms such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and Typeform. Once you have a link to the survey you've created, it's easy to direct users to your survey through a text message. Linking to other sources can be just as effective when asking consumers for responses such as Google reviews. 

2. Net promoter score

A net promoter score (NPS) gives you a quantifiable measurement of a consumer's response or feedback. NPS surveys usually use a sliding scale of 0-10 for participants to rate things such as their satisfaction with a product or their likelihood of recommending a company. Based on their answers, customers fall into one of three categories: promoters, who score high (9-10 on the scale); passives, who score in the midrange (7-8); and detractors, who score low (usually 6 and below). When you see where most of your customers stand on the sliding scale, you'll know if you need to invest more into your customers or if you're on the right track to meet their needs.

3. Polls

These surveys are a series of open-ended or multiple-choice questions for your consumers. For example, you could ask customers to provide times and dates they'd be available for a special event or to vote on their favorite products.

4. Customer experience feedback

These surveys allow consumers to provide more detail about their experience with a company or an appointment. These can be extensive surveys or a simple question to see if they're satisfied with their experience.

5. Text-to-vote

Text-to-vote surveys work similarly to a multiple-choice poll. You can set up the surveys with the premise that your consumers have a choice in your next business decision, showing that your company values their input.

How do you send a survey through text?

Ready to send SMS surveys to your customers? Here are some steps and services to help get you started.

Steps to send a survey through text

  1. Determine the survey type. Figure out which type of survey works best for your question or the assistance you need from your audience.
  1. Build a participant list. Collect phone numbers or SMS data from those who have opted in to text message alerts from your company. You can gain more contacts by adding a feature in your company's confirmation purchase pages for customers to add their phone number and opt in to receive text messages. You can also receive contacts from SMS survey software carriers. This is where you decide your target audience for your survey – the contacts you already have or those you can obtain elsewhere. Knowing your audience is key to deciding how your survey will flow.
  1. Develop the survey. Write down exactly how want the survey worded and collected in your SMS survey software. You can even create a mockup of the survey and test it on your own mobile device to see how it would display for a typical user.
  1. Choose a survey service. Determine which text survey software or application you will use to send your survey. The right software will be helpful for keyword campaigns and data analysis. 
  1. Promote the survey. Advertise your survey and allow consumers to opt in before you send it out. 
  1. Deploy your text survey. Send your survey using your chosen SMS survey software. 
  1. Track and analyze results. Using the software's built-in analytics, track your messages sent, responses, and open rates to determine the success of your survey. Then, analyze the responses to help you make better-informed business decisions.

Popular services

There are many different services that can assist you in sending out SMS survey messages. These are some of the most popular:

  • Google: Google hosts a platform called Google Forms where you can create a free form for multiple-choice and open-ended questions or polls.

  • SurveyMonkey: This online survey tool offers an optional upgrade to tools that analyze and collect results within a team space. SurveyMonkey utilizes its Text Message Collector tool to send surveys and collect data.

  • Zoho: Zoho Survey has a limited free version as well as paid plans with additional tools, such as ones that expand your contacts list. Zoho lets you choose from more than 25 question types.

  • SurveySparrow: This survey platform offers standard survey questions as well as visual workflows, custom reports, and text analysis.

  • Wufoo: Wufoo is another free survey tool that you can upgrade as your business needs. This tool helps you collect customer payment data as well as the typical survey data.

Did you KnowDid You Know: Planning and deploying a text survey involves choosing the survey type, participant list, questions and SMS survey software. There are multiple tools on the market to help you execute your survey campaign.

 

What is the cost of sending SMS surveys?

The cost of sending SMS surveys depends on the software you use and the types of surveys you send out. The typical service of creating simple-response surveys and sending the survey links to customers starts at around $29 per month with analysis tools and response storage. The cost also depends on the number of messages you plan to send, as some survey software companies charge less the more messages you send out.

Key takeaway: The cost of text surveys varies, but most software options are affordable on a small business budget, starting around $29 a month.

Image Credit: jacoblund / Getty Images
Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon
business.com Member
Nicole Fallon has written hundreds of B2B-focused articles on topics such as marketing, business technology, leadership, and HR/organizational management. In addition to covering small business trends and software reviews, Nicole runs a digital marketing agency, where she and her team create high-quality content for a wide range of B2B and B2C brands.