Quick Start Guide: Outbound Campaign

An outbound survey begins with a text sent directly to participants’ cell phones. To conduct an outbound survey, you need either a list of phone numbers to upload into Textizen, or an existing set of participants from a past inbound survey.

In this article:

Looking for info on conducting an inbound campaign (inviting the public to text in)? Check out the Quick Start Guide for Inbound Campaigns.

Design Your Survey

Anatomy of an outbound survey

Effective outbound surveys may be just 1-2 questions for a simple event RSVP, or up to 8 questions for longitudinal outcome tracking. Focus on collecting or conveying the most critical information, while being as brief and accessible as possible. These pointers are true for nearly any campaign:

Start with context. Give people an introduction so they know who's texting them and why. For example, “Hi from Sight Day” or “Reminder from Ventura County:”
Get to the point. Text messages work best when they're simple and brief, so cut right to the chase of why you're reaching out.

Do you need RSVPs?
“Hi from Sight Day. Free eye exams & glasses for kids this Sun at Wills Eye Hospital, 300 Lombard Street. Do you plan to attend? Reply Yes or No”

Are you collecting follow-up or outcome data?
“Hi from SNAP. Did you use the new benefits card yet? Reply Yes or No"
[If No] "Why not? Reply with letter: A Did not receive card / B Card did not work / C Not enough time / D Other"
It's a give and take. SMS is a conversation, and conversations have give-and take. While you’re asking participants for info, take the opportunity to build trust and give people the chance to contact you with questions or concerns. Example: “If you didn’t get the glasses, please call 215-555-1234 so we can help”.
Add some pace. For longer surveys, include some transitions within your content so people have a sense of where they are in the survey. Examples: “3 more Qs. What is your zip code?” or "Thanks! Last question".

Create & Testing Your Poll

From the dashboard, click New Poll. This will bring you to a new Poll Edit page, where you'll enter the content you developed above. See Creating and Testing Polls for more.

Once your questions are complete, it's time to send yourself a test:

  1. In the Publishing area, make sure Outbound mode ("Send the poll to participants" is selected.
  2. Choose Send the Poll > Right Away.
  3. Under "Who should we send it to?", type your mobile number.
  4. Click the "Submit" button to send your test on its way.
  5. Test, tweak, repeat.

You'll also want to take note of your Campaign Info Message. This message is automatically included the first time a participant hears from you. You can customize this under Campaign Settings.

Create Your Group(s)

Outbound surveys are sent to groups. Create a group from the Dashboard, by selecting "Groups" and then "New Group".

You can import a CSV with the name (or id) and phone number of your participants. You can also create groups from past respondents — either all past participants, or a specific subset (e.g. people who responded "No" to Question 3). See Creating and Editing Groups for additional details.

Schedule & Send

With your survey and groups in place, you're ready to send or schedule your poll. Return to the Publishing area on the Poll Edit page. Make sure Outbound mode ("Send the poll to participants") is selected.

To send the poll immediately, choose "Right Away". To send schedule to poll for a specific time, select "Later" and click in the text field to open the date and time picker. See Scheduling for more information.

Finally, click the "Submit" button to send the poll.

  Note, if you schedule a poll for a later date, any edits you make to the poll before that date will be reflected when the poll is sent.

Tip: There are no hard-and-fast rules for the optimal time to send outbound polls. However, a good rule of thumb is that weekday afternoons are best if the poll is likely to be perceived as work-related, and mid-morning to early afternoon on Saturday is better if the poll is non-work-related.

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