How-to: Test your SMS Mail-Outs

Mar 28, 2017 From: How-to

A test is an important element of an SMS mail-out. Last time we told how to begin testing, what a focus group is, and how to analyze the results received  correctly. This time, we will shed a light on what you need to test.

You must make an thorough testing plan and follow it. Don't forget to test every element of the mail-out separately. If you test several variables at once, you won't be able to tell what exactly has affected the result.  

What do you need to test?

You need to start your testing from the beginning. The first thing that the subscriber sees is the sender name. In no case leave a phone number in this field. Subscribers won’t recognize you and will skip your SMS. You need to find out which variable (company name, personal name or surname etc) is the most attractive and recognizable for your clients.

Your message text has to be attractive. It has to be clear for the target audience. Messages can be divided into 3 categories; notifications, advertising and news. Pick the category you need and make two versions of the text for testing. For example, your versions of the informing text (notification) can be like this:

  1.    "Hi there! There are a lot of spring discounts on all our services from 1 March. Call us for more details!"
  2.    "Mr. Smith, we have prepared you a special offer for the coming holidays. For detailed information, visit our website!"

Testing will let you identify the best version of the text; also, you can decide the length and style of the message. It’s generally better to write short messages. You need to find your own style to get positive results from your SMS campaigns.  

The time and sending frequency are extremely important. As already mentioned, a well chosen sending time increases the chances your messages being read. You must remember the "golden rule" - don’t send messages on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, this is not enough to maximize response rates from all clients. Testing will help you to understand exactly what time is the most suitable to send out your offers.

Also, you have to bear time zones in mind if you are planning to send messages to different cities and countries. You need to find the correct sending time for the subscriber’s time zone.  In the Intis Telecom system, there is an opportunity to add the time zone during creation of a mail-out. This will adjust the sending time automatically. We have addressed this issue further by collecting time zone data through telephone number prefixes. This considerably facilitates the task.

Additionally, we recommend paying attention not only to the time of a day, but also to the day of the week. This will help to create the most effective sending schedule. Also, testing will help to decide the sending frequency. Yes, it isn't necessary to bother clients by sending dozens of SMS per day. You don’t have to go underground, reminding them of yourself once a month either.

Look at the message from different angles. Although we live in the 21st century, when many people have smartphones, there are still  people who prefer to use ordinary mobile phones with small screens and restrictions on the characters that can be used in messages. You have to check whether all mobile devices can display your text correctly. There’s no way a "broken-off" SMS will bring you interested clients. What’s more, if you add a link to your website in the message, subscribers with ordinary mobile phones may not be able to follow it.

Know your clients better - conduct segmentation testing. Divide them into groups such as by gender, age, etc, and begin the test. Such testing won't demand anything from you, except time and patience. You don't even need to form a focus group for it, as you already have one; it is your current clients. You can achieve the most effective results with such testing.

Don't delay a test and don't look for excuses (such as lack of finances or time) to not to carry it out. You may have very powerful intuition, but mustn’t rely only on it for a business promotion. Your SMS campaign will be much more effective if you rely on the results of testing you have conducted. Create several versions of a message, change the sending time and target segment of the client base; all of this will help you to find the most successful option.