Most businesses today have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but few consider messaging platforms like WhatsApp as part of their marketing strategy. This is a major oversight, as messenger platforms allow you to personalize your marketing and improve customer service in ways that can’t be matched by other platforms. This guide will show you exactly how to use WhatsApp marketing for your business.
WhatsApp is a social media messaging app owned by Facebook. The app also allows you to make audio and video calls, including group calls, to anywhere in the world. Unlike other social media networks, WhatsApp protects messages and calls with secure encryption. This makes it an appealing choice for groups that discuss deeply personal topics or anyone with significant privacy concerns.
WhatsApp only has 23 million users in the US, but they are a global powerhouse with 1.5 billion users across 180 countries. Some of their largest user bases are in India, Brazil, Germany, and Turkey.
Unlike Instagram, WhatsApp also offers both web and desktop applications, but you must download the mobile app first. This is because every WhatsApp account is directly tied to a mobile number instead of an email address.
A couple of years ago, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Business, an app designed to help business owners connect with WhatsApp’s user base. The app rolled out to iOS in January 2019. We’ll look at both regular WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business in this article.
WhatsApp also has incredible reach within several emerging digital markets, including India, where they have 200 million active users. This makes it a great place for digital entrepreneurs to connect with audiences that aren’t already over-saturated by advertisements for similar products and services.
Last but certainly not least, WhatsApp is an ideal place to strengthen relationships with customers you already have. Group chats even make it possible for your customers to connect with each other directly and build a community around your brand.
WhatsApp marketing strategies
There are four main ways to market your business using the regular features of WhatsApp:
1. Create a WhatsApp group
WhatsApp group chats are text-based chatrooms where large groups can gather. These groups can be created to plan an event, chat about a specific topic, or even just as a place for fans of a brand to interact with each other on a social level. The technical limit for these groups is 256 people, but there are some ways to create a larger group.
You can either run a WhatsApp group chat for a limited time as part of a specific promotion campaign or create a permanent WhatsApp group for fans of your brand. Either way, there are some essential steps to making your WhatsApp group a safe, enjoyable space for users:
Create rules for interaction: Spell out how people are meant to interact with each other on the channel. Do all posts need to be related to a specific topic? Is profanity of any kind allowed? What about discussions of adult topics? What is your anti-discrimination policy? How will these rules be enforced?
Re-post the rules regularly: WhatsApp currently doesn’t have an option for pinned posts, so make sure you post the rules regularly for newcomers.
Host scheduled discussions: This tells people when they should pay attention to your group chat and encourages discussion around specific topics.
Minimize posts outside of scheduled time: You never want to cross the line into spam, but this is particularly important on WhatsApp, where people tend to congregate specifically to avoid the clutter of other social media platforms.
This might seem like a lot to start with, but it’s important to establish these rules and practices early on so customers know what to expect when they enter your group chat.
2. Create a broadcast list
Broadcast lists are a WhatsApp marketing feature that makes it possible for users to follow you for one-way communications related to a specific topic. If customers have questions about the announcements made to your broadcast list they can then message you using one of WhatsApp’s other features.
Some of the best things to use broadcast lists for are announcements of new products or services, updates to older products or services, and locations where you or your company are doing public appearances. However, it’s important to remember that these broadcast lists are an extra feature of WhatsApp, not the purpose. You want to minimize the number of messages you send out to avoid being seen as spammy by your audience.
3. Use WhatsApp statuses
WhatsApp allows you to post statuses that appear publicly to your connections for 24 hours. These statuses are a great way to promote flash sales and provide discount codes to customers who connect with you on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp statuses are also a great way to invite people to scheduled group chats or encourage people to reach out to you directly with their questions, comments, and concerns about your brand’s products or services. However, like the broadcast list, you’ll want to use this feature sparingly so you’re not seen as a spammer.
4. Use WhatsApp messaging and/or calls for customer service
Make it easy for your customers to interact with you in real time by allowing them to message, call, or video chat with you via WhatsApp. This is a great way to provide reliable, personalized customer service to international customers without spending any money.
Here are some ways you can use WhatsApp for customer service:
Provide custom estimates: Offer custom estimates for your products or services through one-on-one audio or video calls.
Show customers how to use your products or services: Create a pre-recorded tutorial video to share or offer one-on-one sessions where you show customers how your products or services can work for their unique situation.
Allow customers to reach out to you with questions, comments, and problems via WhatsApp: WhatsApp is also great for the more traditional side of customer service, where you respond directly to a specific question, comment, or issue your customer has.
How to use WhatsApp Business
WhatsApp Business is a secondary app with a variety of features designed specifically for businesses:
1. Business profiles
The WhatsApp Business app offers a brand profile where you can add a short description of your business, a customer service email address, and a physical location. This makes it easier for potential customers to find your business on the platform, and for audience members to find key information on how they can interact with your business.
With this version of the app, you can label individual chats with markers like “new customers” or “order received”. You can also create custom labels. Organizing your chats this way makes it easier to create targeted marketing campaigns for different groups in your audience.
3. Quick replies
Do you find yourself sending the same messages over and over again? You can now save those messages for future use. For example, you could create a message called “/feedback” and use it to instantly send previous customers a message saying “Did you enjoy our product/service? We would love to hear about it!” This can help you save time and ensure a consistent customer experience.
Some other quick replies you might want to create are thank you messages and answers to frequently asked questions about your products and/or services.
4. Greeting messages
Similar to quick replies, you can use this feature to create template greeting messages for new customers. Use these messages to introduce them to your brand, tell them about the products and/or services you offer, and establish the hours that you are available for real-time communication.
5. Away messages
Don’t have the resources to make your company available on WhatsApp 24/7? WhatsApp for Business allows you to create an automated away message that tells people when people can expect a response. This is doubly useful for solopreneurs, as you can use it to indicate when you’re on vacation. This ensures that customers never think you’re ignoring them.
WhatsApp for Business allows you to access some analytics related to your account. These aren’t as detailed as what you’ll find on Facebook or Instagram, but they will allow you to track how many messages you’ve sent, how many people have opened your messages, and how many people have actually read them. You can then use this information to create data driven marketing campaigns.