What is WhatsApp Marketing?
Whatsapp marketing is a type of 1-to-1 marketing where businesses use WhatsApp Messenger as one of the touchpoints or channels in a marketing campaign or run the whole campaign on WhatsApp using the WhatsApp Business API.
With the high number of consumers currently using Whatsapp on a daily basis for their personal communication, the willingness of consumers to allow brands to communicate on these 1-to-1 messaging platforms, and the capabilities that are being launched by messaging apps such as Whatsapp to facilitate business communication, it has become one of the fastest avenues of marketing in the recent past.
We’ve mentioned WhatsApp Business API and not the WhatsApp Business app, because the WhatsApp Message Template, which is used by most the brands for marketing on WhatsApp is available only with the WhatsApp Business API.
Why use WhatsApp for Marketing?
Messaging apps have grown bigger and more popular than any social media network.¹ With 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app of all time.
Apart from being extremely popular, it helps you have more engaging and one-on-one real-time interactions with your customers. Also, WhatsApp marketing is a relatively untapped niche and can give early starters an edge over the competition.
When compared to Facebook and Google, WhatsApp has adopted a thoughtful approach. Instead of showing ads, WhatsApp allows you to use the Message Templates to promote your marketing campaign and nudge your customers to take an action. This user-first approach allows users to only allow access to brands or companies that they have previously interacted with – ensuring trust in these interactions, and a higher chance of engagement and conversion.
It also gives an option to add different call-to-action to the messages using the WhatsApp Buttons available with the WhatsApp Business API.
10 Great examples of brands using WhatsApp for Marketing
On WhatsApp, before your business can send notifications and messages to a person, you have to get consent from them in the form of opt-ins. While WhatsApp opt-in is a fairly simple process and requires the potential customer to just send a “Hi” or some text to your business.
But asking people to text your business to receive notification will definitely have a low response rate, as there is no reward attached to this ask. A more intuitive way is by encouraging people to participate in a contest and send their entries on WhatsApp. This way you are getting them to participate in your marketing campaign and also getting their opt-ins to receive notification from you, creating a great contact list for your business. Now, let’s look at how different brands are leveraging WhatsApp to run their marketing campaigns.
How to build a winning WhatsApp marketing strategy?
Effective marketing underlines a well-thought-out marketing strategy. It enables you to clearly define the goals, outcomes, and roadmap to achieve them. Here’s a checklist you should follow while creating a WhatsApp marketing strategy for your business.
1. Set your goals
To set your goals for WhatsApp marketing, use the below approach.
1. Analyze the existing marketing funnel.
2. Identify the gaps/ weak spots in your marketing.
3. Address those problems using WhatsApp.
Example – Your ads conversion rates are low, as a lot of product queries coming after seeing the ads remain unaddressed. As a solution, you can run Ads that will directly open a WhatsApp chat where people can ask their questions or proceed to purchase on your WhatsApp store or website.
2. Build your buyer’s persona
A buyer’s persona is a representation of your customer. It’s important because, with a clear picture of who you’re marketing to, it’s much easier to develop effective, targeted content that speaks to your ideal buyer’s goals and challenges.
Pro tip – To build a buyer’s persona you can look into the data of people who have purchased from you. For this, you can use your Ads data, your contact lists, or even the ordered items.
3. Get WhatsApp Business API
The WhatsApp Business app is available for both Apple and Android users. It is available for free but has certain limitations. WhatsApp Business app limits the number of agents to only one which acts as a major roadblock even for small businesses. It provides basic features like away messages, and quick replies and doesn’t support chatbots, or message templates, and doesn’t integrate with other tools which are extremely important to get the most out of WhatsApp.
That’s why it is recommended that businesses of all sizes use WhatsApp Business API over the WhatsApp Business app. Also, a lot of businesses that were using the WhatsApp Business app earlier have moved to WhatsApp Business API as they scale.
One of such businesses is Supr Daily – an Indian subscription-based online delivery company for milk & daily groceries. They shifted from the WhatsApp Business app to WhatsApp Business API due to an increase in queries during COVID as people ventured out less.
To get a detailed comparison between WhatsApp Business API and the Business app, we recommend you read our comprehensive WhatsApp for Business blog.
4. Build a contact list
If you’re going to use WhatsApp as a marketing channel, you need a contact list. A highly relevant contact list is the key to a successful campaign. WhatsApp requires customers to give consent that they want to receive updates on WhatsApp before they receive the message. As a result, you need to get a list of people who are already interested in your products and services. This will lead to a highly relevant contact list you can use for different campaigns.
5. Define messaging and build content
WhatsApp has an incredible open rate of 99%, however, if you provide irrelevant or poor content you’ll end up wasting the opportunity of using WhatsApp as a marketing channel. As much as open rates decide the success of your campaign, actions people take after seeing your message are equally important.
And to make sure they open your messages and take action, make a note of the following things:
- Keep your communications short and to the point
- Reinforce your messages with multimedia files, such as videos, animations, or pictures
- Use emojis wherever appropriate.
- Don’t spam your customers. B2B companies usually send updates on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger about 3 to 7 times weekly.
6. Get customer feedback and improve
A well-thought-out marketing strategy does wonder when it is coupled with a feedback mechanism. Having a feedback mechanism in place helps you:
- Validate your efforts
- Identify unhappy customers and work towards improving their experience
- Helps you measure customer satisfaction
- Tells you areas to improve and the areas which are working well for them
Brands use WhatsApp message templates to get feedback from their customers and use that feedback to take important business decisions. Here’s how Apollo Clinics uses it to receive feedback.
How do I promote my business on WhatsApp?
1. Message templates
Starting June 7, 2021, WhatsApp has allowed businesses in the following countries to send non-transactional messages.
Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Indonesia, Mexico, and the USA.
That means if you are in the above countries you can
- Send product recommendations to your customers related to their previous purchases
- Send helpful informational alerts
- Send relevant offers to your customers
- Send reminders to book appointments for your customers
But businesses have to keep in mind that these messages can be sent only to those users who have opted-in to receive WhatsApp notifications from your business.
2. Click-to-WhatsApp ads
Typically when businesses run ads, customers usually get directed to a website. But businesses that don’t have a website can take advantage of “click to WhatsApp” ads that directly take the customer to their WhatsApp Business profile.
Click-to-WhatsApp ads are created in Facebook Business Manager and can run on Facebook and Instagram. While creating WhatsApp ads, businesses can also choose their target audience similar to when they run Facebook ads.
6 Ways to use WhatsApp for marketing
Here are the top 6 ways you can use WhatsApp to ramp up your marketing game.
1. Use opt-ins to generate high-quality leads:
WhatsApp opt-in is the option using which customers provide their consent to receive messages from the business. Opt-in must be collected by the business before they start sending messages to their customers using WhatsApp API. Businesses using WhatsApp APIs should collect opt-in using a link or a banner shared through their website, mobile app, email, SMS, or social media channels. Once clicked, the user will be asked to provide their phone number after which they can continue to chat with the business on WhatsApp.
And because only those people who are genuinely interested will opt in, businesses will get a pool of high-quality leads who are more receptive to business communications.
Kaafmeem, a Saudi Arabian fashion e-tailer has successfully leveraged WhatsApp to drive more conversations and achieve business goals. Kaafmeem’s customer service team had traditionally used email and direct calls to handle sales queries, delivery information requests, or questions about refunds and replacements. However, to have a direct dialogue with their customers on a user-friendly channel, they started using WhatsApp as the main communication channel and promoted it on their newsletter, website, and Instagram profile. As a result:
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score bumped up to 4.5
- FRT (First Response Time) reduced from 1hr 12min to < 1min.
- WhatsApp became the preferred channel of communication constituting 30% of query volume and helped the company build relationships that matter.
2. Build your eCommerce store on WhatsApp with in-app catalogs
The in-app product catalog is a great feature available in WhatsApp Business app to help businesses organize, display, and sell their goods and services without needing to create a website. The in-app product catalog showcases your product with the help of an image and description, just like an e-commerce website. This helps users make quick purchase decisions. Payment links can be provided in the chat window to complete the purchase.
Additionally, as users don’t have to exit the chat to select and evaluate the product, businesses close more deals and reduce drop-offs, providing a unified user experience.
3. Generate brand awareness using the Status feature
Since its introduction in 2017, one of the most popular features on WhatsApp is the Status feature. Available on the WhatsApp Business app, this feature can be used by businesses to spread awareness about a new product or service with the help of images, videos, audio, and links.
While using the status feature make sure to keep the following in check:
- Avoid having more than 7 stories at a time to avoid drop-offs. The optimal posting length for stories on Instagram is 1-7 stories and as WhatsApp status also works like Instagram stories, the same metrics can be used as a yardstick.
- Use status for announcements (like offers or contests) and product updates.
4. Create contests and campaigns
Due to its instant messaging feature, WhatsApp is a great platform for brand-related contests and campaigns. The key to a successful campaign is to encourage your audience to engage with you directly on WhatsApp.
5. Upsell & Cross-sell using WhatsApp bot flows
Did you know that 35% of purchases on Amazon come from product recommendations? Businesses can use WhatsApp bots to recommend related products when customers make their purchases and increase order values. One should note that the bots integration is available only with WhatsApp API.
6. Collect customer testimonials for social proof
In order to understand customers and increase retention, it’s very important to get customer feedback. While bad reviews help you pinpoint the gaps, great reviews provide social proofing that can get you more business. Although feedback can be obtained by using survey forms and email, these channels see only 20-30% open rates with even lower response rates. Compared to email, using WhatsApp to collect customer feedback can deliver much better results as the open rates are an extraordinary 99% with a 40% response rate. 
SENS Group, an Argentina-based insurance company has been proactively asking for customers’ feedback through WhatsApp. Due to the increase in positive ratings, leads have started pouring in and sales have also been on rising.
Why use Freshdesk Messaging?
Freshdesk Messaging is an official Business Service Provider (BSP). Freshdesk Messaging provides 360° customer engagement during different stages of the customer journey. With the help of WhatsApp chatbots & AI, message templates, custom reporting, a unified inbox, and different automation tools like Intelliassign, it offers a suite of messaging solutions to help your business be successful on WhatsApp.
Some of the key features:
Early and easy access to WhatsApp Business account
Fast approvals from WhatsApp on messaging templates
Rich APIs that connect data between your tools and bots’ conversations
Unified and smart agent inbox
Run banner ads on Facebook and Instagram or Google CPC that click on WhatsApp
Handle volumes with WhatsApp chatbots and AI, automate sales catalogs and payment queries.
Divert traffic from IVR support on phone to WhatsApp
Connect with your favorite CRM, payment gateways, Helpdesk systems, and more!