SMS-marketing is still used as a tool of business advancement in the market. It is cheap and easy, but this doesn’t mean that you need to send SMS to clients immediately after you write them. To start with, try to test your SMS mail-outs to achieve the best efficiency.

Let’s figure out how to do this.

First of all, start with self-testing. You need to send a message to yourself on different devices; on a smartphone, on an ordinary mobile phone and, perhaps, on a tablet – to be convinced that it is displayed correctly everywhere and all links, if you have added them, are clickable. You don’t have begrudge the time you spend on this step. At first sight, it can seem like a waste of time, because you will later test your messages on other people, but actually, thanks to self-testing you can exclude the most glaring mistakes and defects.

Also, you can bring together a focus group. Ideally, it should consist of 10+ people who are interested in your offers or services. Such a focus group will let you find out more realistically which SMS gets the best response. If your budget doesn’t allow you to hire people “from the street”, you can always bring together a focus group of acquaintances and colleagues. The results of your research will be not so conclusive, but you will save money.

Why is a focus group necessary? It will allow to test your SMS on real people and to see the results, without calling into question your clients’ faith in you. There are, of course, some things which can be tested directly on clients (such as messages with special offers created on the basis of segmentation), but ideally you should provide the clients with a ready-made product. The focus group can also help with this.

You can use various options to track the results. Let’s look at two of them. The first one is clickability. Place a link to your website in the SMS. You can trace how many hits the site receives from it. Unfortunately, this method is not suitable for all subscribers, as some people continue to use usual mobile phones without Internet access. The second way is a questionnaire. This can be produced in printed form. You need to distribute it to all participants of the focus group personally and ask them to fill it in. Also, it is possible to create a questionnaire in electronic form, and send it by email. What can you ask about in this questionnaire? Here is an approximate list of questions which you can include:

  • Is the text of the message displayed in full?
  • What version of the message is the most attractive?
  • Do you want to buy the goods or subscribe to the service?
  • Does the link work?
  • Is the opt-out mechanism clear?

You can use various questions, everything depends on the purpose of testing and what results you want to achieve.

Like the test itself, your analysis has to be systematic. Before beginning testing, you have to try to make predictions of the results. Make a list of what you expect to see; what version of the message will interest subscribers more, what time will be the best for sending, what keywords will be the most suitable, etc. This will help you to understand the results and to disabuse yourself of unnecessary expectations.

During analysis, begin by asking yourself two questions:  

  • Why does one message have higher response levels than another?  
  • Which message has generated the greatest number of calls, inquiries or sales?

You need to sort through some of the subsidiary questions for detailed consideration:  

  • Friendliness. Do both messages engage prospective clients equally? Does a SMS receive a bigger response with the words “Hello!” or with more personal treatment “Mr. Smith”?
  • Appeal to action. Do you motivate your clients in both messages? Is it more effective to ask subscribers to call or to visit the website?
  • Keywords. What keyword from two messages was the most effective? For example, ‘share’ or ‘special offer’.
  • Time. Does sending time influence results? When is the most effective time for mail outs?

When you answer these questions, you will understand why one of the messages was more effective than another.

Testing is a multistage process. If you want to achieve positive results, it is recommended not to skip it while preparing SMS mail outs. You will need to involve an IT-department in the testing and the future automation of the process. If you haven’t got your own, the Intis Telecom team will help you.