How Collecting Surveys by Text Message Can Improve Your Response Rates

Two mobile phone users submitting survey responses to a survey by text

When was the last time you filled out a traditional in-person survey? Though in-person and mail surveys are considered one of the most relevant, accurate, and personalized techniques to gather responses, the resources needed for in-person or mail surveys are often expensive and time-intensive. As a result, marketers have switched to survey methods such as email, text, social media, and websites because they can offer a better ROI and a quick turnaround response time. But the question remains about the effectiveness of these alternate survey methods in reaching the target audience and generating better, more frequent responses. 

When we talk about survey response rate, we are talking about the total number of people answering the survey compared to the total number of people receiving the survey. On average, survey response rates are around 33%. For marketers, the challenge is to increase this rate by reaching people more reliably with a method of communication they prefer, and this is where text messages can play a pivotal role. 

How Surveys by Text Message Offer Better Response Rates

To clarify this, let’s look at a few widely used digital channels including email, social media, and websites, and how they can influence the survey response rate.


Only about 20% of emails get read and the rest of them either get stuck in the spam folder or are ignored by the recipients. So, even if a survey is being sent to a larger audience group, the chances of those emails getting opened and read are too low to offer a strong ROI. And, most of us get so much junk email that it has become a reflex to discard the bulk of what we receive.       

Social Media

Social media is an important component of your brand marketing strategy and can serve as both an active and passive channel for polls, surveys, and other data. However, sharing questionnaires on Facebook or Twitter—two of the most popular social media platforms—does not necessarily mean getting a higher response rate as relevant content can go unnoticed in a sea of posts or tweets.       


Many websites install survey widgets requesting visitors to complete a survey form in exchange for a discount or coupon code. Though incentivizing the audience is a good way to motivate them to take a survey, it can reduce the sample size of the survey, as only a certain percentage of the people visiting the website are typically offered the survey.   


Based on SMS marketing statistics, text messages have a 209% higher response rate compared to phone calls, email, or Facebook. Any marketer looking for a higher number of respondents for surveys can’t ignore this fact. With 95% of texts being read within the first 3 minutes of being sent and responded to, on average, within 90 seconds, there is a high chance that a survey by text will receive a better response rate than other digital channels.  

Surveys, when done through third-party tools, only provide aggregated data with a minimum turnaround time of twenty-four hours. And, once you receive this data, you need to analyze it in order to create your retargeting plan. To put it bluntly, this requires a lot of time and effort. On the other hand, surveys done by text messages let marketers gather customer responses in real-time and immediately begin retargeting. With the right SMS delivery platform, the data you gain from your surveys will be immediately more valuable than that gathered from third-party survey tools.

Choosing the Right Platform for Surveys by Text Message

With a more personalized approach, similar to in-person surveys, a survey by text message can more reliably connect with your audience and likely increase their willingness to respond. You can also incentivize survey completion by offering coupons, discounts, or QR codes. The trick is to find the right secured platform that offers the following essential features:

  • Auto-responders: Your audience expects a real-time, personalized response from you as soon as they send a message or complete a survey. With an advanced text marketing platform, the auto-responding feature facilitates one-on-one conversations with the survey respondents, making it quick for them to provide the information and quick for you to collect it. You should be striving to make the process as easy as possible. 
  • Increased character limit: It is considered a best practice to limit the number of questions in a survey to keep your audience focused and likely to complete it. However, most SMS delivery platforms are already limited to only 160 characters. 

    Choosing an innovative SMS delivery platform with an increased character limit lets you include the survey in the text itself rather than putting a third-party link to a survey in the message. Providing the survey right in the text is a guaranteed way to yield higher response rates, as each time you link somewhere else you lose engagement. 
  • Incoming message dashboard: The real-time responses to the survey need to be organized in an intuitive dashboard to allow you to easily work with the valuable data you obtain.  

With these essential features, the right text delivery platform can effectively improve the response rates of your surveys. And, the advantages of these features will win you some loyal subscribers who are happy to not only fill out the questionnaires but also convert into customers. 

NorthText’s user-friendly and affordable text marketing platform can help you collect and improve responses to surveys by text message. To learn more about how our platform can benefit your business, contact us by phone or text at (312) 869-9070.


How to Create a Poll via Text and Boost Audience Engagement

Image of a text polling question for SMS marketing

Asking your audience to participate in the future of your business will set your brand apart and increase customer engagement. Not only will your consumer base feel valued, but you will also obtain valuable information to help inform any potential future changes. This could be anything from adding a new offering to a popular product line to launching an app to engage a new demographic. But before you can engage with your customers, you need to find the right marketing medium. 

Many traditional outreach initiatives utilize email for conducting polls or surveys. However, there are some major drawbacks to this form of communication including low response and visibility rates when compared to text response rates. That’s why many tech-savvy businesses are choosing another route: text message polling. Creating a poll via text message is proven to result in more responsive polling and surveying. While it may require some initial strategy recalibration on the part of your marketing team, choosing text polling will drive high levels of polling engagement and give you the concise answers you want. 

Text Polling Unlocks a Potentially Greater Audience

Making the decision to engage your customer platform to gain information about a new product or service you would like to offer must take into consideration the best medium for the task. Unlocking the potential reach of SMS messaging can help breathe life into your polling. You may also discover along the way the communication and interaction preferences of your customers, giving you valuable insights into how to better exceed their expectations.

Leaning on text messaging for your polls and surveys can reach a greater audience than is typically seen with email marketing. Consider this: 90% of mobile device users open a text message within three minutes of receiving it, versus only roughly 18% of emails ever being opened. This makes a strong case for switching to text polling. And, the influx of innovative tools to support SMS marketing, in general, has served to simplify the entire process.

Text Polling: An Exercise in Brevity

Texting is all about brevity, and your SMS poll should not be an exception. A texting “poll” is a one-question survey, which can be intimidating. Trying to prioritize all of the informational elements you desire into one question may leave you going around in circles.

Start by thinking of one, vital piece of information that you really want to obtain from a poll. Condense your ultimate goal for this poll into one statement: “After this poll ends, I want to know X.” If it is not possible to construct a polling question around this point, circling back around to add precision into your marketing plan will help you to accomplish a better poll question, as well as to give you a fine-turned marketing plan.

Once you’ve whittled things down to one question, creating both the initial text and the auto-response message is much easier. The responses you seek can be as simple as “yes” or “no,” a short set of numbers, or a multiple-choice question. In all cases, the effort required of the person being polled must be minimal, and the directions for filling out the poll short and clear.

Have Multiple Questions to Ask? No Problem!

Even though SMS polls are just one question, sometimes there are situations in which a multiple-question survey is required. Thankfully, text surveying campaigns do not need to start and stop with just one question. Many marketing teams have discovered that sending out a single new question on a scheduled basis, or open-ended polling, is a good way to garner the necessary information without coming across as spammy or asking for too much investment from the recipient.

Timing is key here. You need to know when your audience is most likely to check their phone, engage with texts, and what kinds of questions get the best response time. This is where knowing your audience comes into play because every demographic is a bit different. Using an SMS tool that can provide you with all the necessary data from a clean dashboard will help you in making an accurate determination about when and how often survey messages can be sent out.

Finally, make sure you prioritize your questions in order of importance! Even when taking the audience, timing, and poll phrasing into account, you will run the risk of your target audience experiencing polling fatigue. This makes it imperative that you prioritize the questions you want to be answered most so that even if some of your recipients opt-out or simply stop responding, the most critical answers you were looking for will be safely in your SMS messaging dashboard.

There Are Important Legal Aspects to Consider

There are several important legal considerations to be aware of before starting a text polling campaign. Maintaining regulatory best practices, especially those established by the FCC, is crucial. The Telephone and Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is the primary regulatory consideration that you must vigilantly stay in compliance with, as it outlines strict guidelines around the use of text messages for marketing purposes. 

The rules offered by the TCPA will require you as a business to provide recipients with clear information around intent and visibility into opt-in processes. For example, a key callout is that any potential texting recipient must provide consent to receive any form of marketing text from you. Additionally, you must cease sending text polling or any other marketing texts should the recipient decide to opt-out of future SMS messages. 

Additional industry guidelines, for instance, those offered by the CTIA, will help to keep your text polling campaigns running smoothly. Any text polling you wish to do should be cross-checked to the rules offered by these entities. This level of due diligence will reduce the risks of violating any applicable regulations, limiting your liability to fines, penalties, or potential sanctions.

Learning How to Create a Poll via Text Starts with Choosing a Survey Partner

Learning about how you can simplify and execute your text polling campaigns is only one piece of the puzzle. Incorporating a new engagement platform into your marketing plan will take time and resources. This is where an experienced text marketing campaign partner can help. They will provide you with a set of tools and applications that will work to create highly engaging and focused text polling which can provide you with the information you seek to gain from your polls to take your business to the next level.

Developing an engaging text poll requires more than just a clear marketing vision. You need the right set of tools and expertise to get the results and data you desire from any survey you send out. The expert guidance and suite of tools that NorthText can provide will accomplish just that. For quick and easy answers to any questions you have, contact us by phone or text at (312) 869-9070.


Critical Text Survey Advantages and Disadvantages to Consider

Image of sample survey that illustrates common text survey advantages and disadvantages

Using MMS and SMS messages to market to your customers is both highly effective and engaging. With the number of mobile devices in use now exceeding the number of people in the world, text marketing has evolved to become a successful model for reaching those you may have otherwise struggled to reach and at an affordable cost. SMS marketing provides you with a powerful and exciting new marketing tool that can be utilized to augment your current marketing efforts.

The use of text surveys acts as a useful method of engagement to provide you with valuable information about how your branding messages are being received. Surveys can provide you with valuable insights into the effectiveness of your text marketing campaigns. However, not all text surveys are created equal, and there are a number of text survey advantages and disadvantages that you must consider before getting started. 

Examining Text Survey Advantages and Disadvantages

Text messages are the fastest way to gain the attention of the receiver, with the vast majority of text messages being viewed within minutes. Even texts that are clearly unsolicited will draw the attention of the recipient for at least a few seconds. This fact makes text surveys a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.


The biggest advantage of text surveying is the simplicity of design while knowing that you will be obtaining the exact data you desire. The low cost and effort that goes into building and deploying a text survey are just a sampling of the factors driving the surge in popularity of text surveys. There are a few other pieces of the text survey puzzle that will provide benefits to any text survey initiative:

  • High response rates. The almost guaranteed interaction of a recipient to any text message leads to higher rates of response to text surveys, especially when you consider that each recipient has at some point opted into receiving your texts. This gives a text survey an instant audience that is highly likely to interact with the survey over other channels of feedback.
  • Participation is easy and often welcomed. The most enticing aspect of interacting with a text message is that the reader has full control over when, where, and how the text is reacted to. A recipient can respond to a survey at their leisure, which plays a key role in ensuring the accuracy of survey responses.
  • Survey responses are faster. This may seem counterintuitive to the last point, but let’s think about it for a moment. Responding to a text is something that most mobile phone users are conditioned to do in a short amount of time. It takes very little time and energy to respond to your survey, and without the pressure to do so, it is more fun than work, which places your survey towards the front of the user’s “respond to” list.

It is important to remember to keep your surveys brief and to craft them with a clear purpose in mind. Those who will be receiving your surveys have opted to receive messages from you, and by following SMS marketing best practices you will continue to build a text survey strategy that yields the data you need.


There are some drawbacks in the text survey process that may hamper your ability to obtain the responses you want. Keeping these in mind as you develop and deploy your text surveys will help you to get the responses you want with a high degree of accuracy.

  • Rising costs. The expense of sending and tracking a text survey can be prohibitive, especially when recipient responses are not guaranteed. But, does it have to be? Text survey tools and SMS services have emerged that allow you to drastically cut costs despite adding important functionalities that help you get better responses from your text survey campaigns. These tools will help you to design surveys that yield the timely and precise feedback you are seeking.
  • Linked surveys yield limited engagement. Currently, the market is saturated with survey tools that link to some third-party platform. This may seem like a nonissue, but linking out from the original source of your message is a guaranteed way to curtail engagement. The right survey tools understand this and keep all surveying native to the SMS source. 

Turning potential cost and operational difficulties into positive, revenue-generating results is why adding a comprehensive set of SMS texting tools to your arsenal is the best move you can make. 

What Can the Best Text Survey Products Offer?

A common theme to keep in mind when looking through the potential areas of complication with text surveys is that these are all contingent upon the type of SMS tools and features you use. Using a powerful SMS solution starts with understanding what it is those tools can achieve for you, as well as their overall ease of use.

The best survey tools allow you to create, send, track, and analyze responses purely from SMS. Linking to outside websites to manage surveys is the single biggest limiting factor to reduced survey engagement and response rates. . They will give you the freedom to choose the type of questions, from multiple choice to free-response questions, and will provide you with a portal for easy viewing and sorting of survey results. And, these same innovative survey tools will allow you to create new surveys based directly on the results of prior surveys.

Adding user-friendly and affordable survey tools to drive your text surveys towards improved results starts with NorthText’s expert touch. We help you to decipher these text survey advantages and disadvantages to build a campaign that succeeds in broadening the reach of your brand. For quick and easy answers to any questions you have, contact us by phone or text at (312) 869-9070.