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How much is too much when it comes to SMS messages?

46714026_SOne of the most troubling questions to any SMS marketer is this: How many text messages can I send before my customers or prospects feel overwhelmed?

The answer—and we’re guessing you already knew this—is that it depends. But whether you are working in retail, at a school district or behind a bank counter, there are a few principles you can use to evaluate whether the volume of messages you send is appropriate.

Here are a few of them:

Principle #1: Consider how you use text messages. One of the best ways to think about your customers is to reflect on how you prefer to receive text messages. Do you enjoy hearing from a brand once per day? Once a week? Or perhaps occasionally as it announces new product releases or services? This will vary from person to person, but you can start with a simple gut check to know whether your own company’s text-message strategy is just right or over the top.

Principle #2: Explore the data. Ask yourself whether your audience is clicking on links (aka calls to action) included inside your messages. At what rate? Questions such as these can help you gauge whether messages are hugely popular—suggesting a few more messages in a given month would be well received—or missing the mark. If you have a large percentage of unopened links or your unsubscribe rate is growing by the month, it’s probably time to dig into the data to see how you can recalibrate to be more relevant to your audience.

Principle #3: Ask directly. One of the best ways to gauge the mindset of your existing subscriber base is to send an SMS survey. Include only a handful of questions that attempt to understand whether your audience is happy with the type of messages they’re receiving and the quantity in which they’re being sent. Questions might include: “How valuable are the text messages you currently receive from [brand name], on a scale of 1 (not at all valuable) to 5 (very valuable)?” and “Enter the number of text messages you would be comfortable receiving from [brand] on any given week.”

By giving your subscribers permission to comment on the success of your SMS marketing strategy, assessing data and thinking about your own behavior, you can gain valuable information in a hurry. Use it to make changes that will improve your customer service and business relationships.