How to Create a Good SMS Testing Plan

SMS testing plans are important for staying on track when testing the functionality of your SMS campaigns. Without a clear test plan it’s easy to get disorganized, which can lead to inefficient testing, missing or unusable results, and other mistakes slipping through the cracks.

In this guide, we’ll go over why it’s important to run SMS tests and some strategies for crafting a solid SMS testing plan.

What is SMS testing?

SMS testing, or text message testing, is used to check if text messages sent out to your audience are functioning the way they’re supposed to. It’s especially important to test your SMS messages if they are sent out to a lot of people, are triggered automatically, or are used in key systems for your organization.

Testing for SMS can include checking how your messages show up on various devices, operating systems, apps, and how they interact with user settings. Checking the security of your SMS campaigns, and proofreading messages. The exact needs for your tests will depend on your goals.

Why do I need to run SMS tests?

More and more people rely on mobile devices to stay connected to each other, the internet, and to your organization. According to a study by StatCounter in 2019, mobile devices counted for over half of all web traffic. Using text message campaigns is increasingly important as people trend towards choosing mobile devices over desktops and laptops.

With the rise of SMS campaigns comes a wave of new problems to test for. If you’re running text message campaigns or automated systems, chances are you're familiar with email campaigns and automation. However, they aren’t equivalent – they’re two separate systems, and while there are some similarities, it’s critical to understand the difference and how to adjust your testing strategies accordingly.

In the next few sections, we’ll go over some of the top reasons to have a solid SMS testing plan in place:

  • Prioritize security
  • Maintain a professional reputation
  • Verify automated messages work
  • Provide a good experience for customers
  • Prioritize security

One of the most popular uses of automated text messages is for two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is used to combat account security problems like weak passwords and data breaches, which are increasingly common nowadays. It usually involves sending an automated message to a user’s mobile device when they attempt to log in to an account with this system enabled. Requiring a second physical device to grant account access drastically increases account security and is becoming the standard for many accounts accessed online.

If your organization relies on having 2 factor authentication for your users, it’s critical to make sure the system sending the automated confirmation codes is working properly. Sending the codes to the wrong location could present a security vulnerability, which can cost your organization a lot of time and money to fix.

In addition to traditional two-factor authentication via text messages, Time-based One-Time Passwords (TOTP) generated by authenticator apps have gained popularity as a more secure alternative. TOTP provides an additional layer of security by generating a unique temporary code that expires after a short period, further enhancing the protection against unauthorized access. It is essential for organizations to ensure the proper functioning of both SMS-based and TOTP-based authentication systems to maintain the highest level of account security.

Maintain professional reputation

In a more general sense, any mistakes in communications with customers will damage your reputation with them, making them less likely to trust you. No matter what your organization does, if people don’t trust your communications it can have a devastating effect on your goals. People don’t want to share information with organizations they don’t trust to handle it properly, especially if it’s payment information or personal details.

Automated messages

Many companies are opting to offer their customers order updates via text message, which are often automated and sent out when the customer takes specific actions on a website or app. Another common use of automated messages is for marketing campaigns sent out to a wide group of people.

Order updates and other messages set up to be sent at specific times should be tested before customers trigger them, since there are a lot of places where things can go wrong and a lot of people who might experience any errors.

Good customer experience

Having SMS communications available makes it easy for people to keep up with you while on the go, since it’s a lot easier to check a text during a lunch break or while commuting on a train than lugging an entire computer around. Offering another way for your audience to communicate with you makes it easier for them to keep up to date with your news and messages, get help from you when they need it, and other similar things.

Having SMS communications that are well-designed and thoroughly tested ensures that when people take a moment of their day to interact with your message, they have a good experience. This grows customer trust, increases the likelihood of repeat customers, and helps to spread your message through word-of-mouth.

Why have an SMS testing plan?

Having a clear testing plan is helpful to keep your team organized and on track. Testing SMS messages can have a lot of details that can get overlooked. A good test plan will capture those details in one place so everyone involved in testing can find that information when they need it. It helps to save your organization time and resources.

SMS testing plans can also be used to track results from previous tests, which is useful for two major reasons: first, to make your SMS testing better over time, and second, to make it easier to run your future tests. Having the details of your past tests readily available makes it possible for you to see what areas of testing are working and what things you might think about improving.

In addition, many text message tests can be tweaked and repeated for similar messages. Having a test plan with all the details of past tests is a great starting point for drafting a test plan for future messages. It prevents you from having to repeat a lot of the work of identifying what needs to be tested and how you’re going to test it.

How to set up an SMS test plan

A good test plan for text message testing will include a lot of detailed information including what things you’re testing, a step-by-step guide for how to set up and run the tests, the results of the tests, and any other details that your testing team needs. Some tips for setting up a great test plan include the following:

  • Write down the right information
  • Figure out what needs testing
  • Create use cases
  • Learn from previous tests
  • Use the right tools
  • Write it down

In order for you to benefit from having a test plan, it has to have the right information written down in a place where everyone who needs access to it can find it. A shared drive can be helpful for having one copy of the test plan that multiple people can access and update without having many versions scattered across devices.

List the items that need testing

Your test plan should include exactly what needs to be tested so that people know what steps to take next. The specific items you should test will depend on what your organization is using SMS for, but here’s a list of some common things to get you started:

  • Order notifications
  • Shipping notifications
  • Password resets
  • 2 factor authentication systems
  • Promotions/updates

If you’re not sure, identify the individual goal for each text message and write out what systems and processes need to work in order to meet that goal.

Create use cases for each item

One excellent way to set up an SMS test is to write a use case. A use case is an example of how a user would trigger a text message sent to them, and includes what interactions they have with that message. An example could be a user requesting to reset a password via SMS. The request should trigger a text to the correct user with the right link to reset their password, so all the steps of that process would be spelled out in the use case.

Use cases are helpful for walking through user interactions with technology, which is great for identifying each step of a process where something can go wrong. Listing out all the steps and planning your testing around them will give you a pretty solid testing framework to start with.

Learn from previous tests

Another tip for making your SMS test plans efficient is to regularly review your previous tests and talk to your team to get feedback on how to make the process better. An efficient testing plan will be fitted to the team running it, the testing goals, and be flexible enough to be adjusted as needs change.

Use the right tools

Your SMS testing plan should include a list of the software tools you plan to use to keep everyone on the team on the same page. Recording what software is used for testing makes it easier to set up new tests, and helps new team members get up to speed faster.

The right text message testing tools will vary depending on your needs. Some people will benefit from basic software to check a few small things, while others will have more complex needs requiring multiple integrated software packages and custom solutions.

By including Mailosaur in your SMS testing plan, you enhance the overall effectiveness of your testing strategy, ensuring that your team has a reliable and feature-rich tool for testing SMS communication. This not only keeps your team on the same page but also empowers them to conduct thorough and efficient SMS testing throughout the development lifecycle.

Learn more about SMS testing

Mailosaur offers software that can improve your testing process for SMS no matter how complicated your testing needs are, including creating end-to-end automated testing for text messages and running tests using phone numbers reserved just for testing to keep your testing separate from customer communications. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about SMS testing, testing automation, and more!