Dos & Don'ts of Marketing over WhatsApp Business: A beginners guide
With 2 billion users located across the globe, Whatsapp has fast become the world’s most popular messaging app. The platform has not only gained popularity for personal use, but also for business communication.
Marketing over WhatsApp Business allows brands to connect directly with users. This allows for media-rich conversation communication to be built, along with trust and brand reputation.
It’s convenient, creates a direct channel between customer and brand, and is also a quick and efficient way for marketers to connect with prospects, which in turn should encourage them to become repeat customers.
Why should you use WhatsApp Business as a marketing channel & how does it work?
A key reason we consider marketing over WhatsApp is due to the fact that it’s effective. WhatsApp messages have a 98% open rate meaning it's the perfect tool to engage with customers.
Traditional marketing through email has an average open rate of only 21.33%. Using WhatsApp Business has resulted in some cases reporting a 3x higher response rate compared to email and 37 x greater response rate than SMS (client-approved measurements from a WhatsApp campaign in July 2020).
It’s one of the biggest conversational channels in the world and 90% of internet users in the Middle East are using WhatsApp. This allows marketers to reach out to clients directly and allows them to achieve greater reach as they know their customer is present and active on these channels. Overall, when used correctly, marketing over Whatsapp Business enhances the user experience and allows for a more seamless conversation between clients and marketers.
As communication experts and as a WhatsApp Business Platform solution provider, we have a deep understanding of WhatsApp requirements and policies, and the best way to ensure that you build better relationships with your customers through high-quality conversations. These are our do's and don'ts for marketing over WhatsApp Business.
- Plan your campaign - It’s essential to understand what the goal of marketing over Whatsapp is. Is the purpose to build awareness for the brand? Is it to share brand news? Make a clear strategy that addresses these goals and do the research to support this.
- Keep it personal - Look into your target market and the messaging you want to share. Understanding your clients and what they want can make or break your campaign. Impersonal communication with customers doesn’t work anymore. These customers want high quality, high value, one-to-one communication. WhatsApp Business also uses a tiering status which will allow you to send messages to certain amounts of people. As you gain status you can then create bigger campaigns without a worry. It’s important to keep an eye out for this limit as you can be downgraded if your messages are flagged by customers. Ensure that your messages are relevant, well-timed, and personalized to ensure you create an experience that customers will value.
- Use Omnichannel strategies - combining marketing over Whatsapp Business with traditional marketing allows you to use several different channels to target a wide range of clients. Promotion of your WhatsApp Business channel, whether this be something physical such as in-store signage or virtual, will help build overall awareness of your WhatsApp Business channel and your brand. This combined strategy will allow you to connect with prospects which you might otherwise not make contact with.
- Use opt-in’s - You must give your customers the opportunity to select what messages they receive on which channels. Not only is this respecting the clients wishes, which is the other key to a personalized approach, but it is a prerequisite to being able to use the WhatsApp Business platform for promotional purposes and in most regions a legislative requirement. By using opt-in’s you’re not only protecting your customers but also protecting your brand from reputational damage, and also legal repercussions.
Make use of Communication and Response Management - Marketing over Whatsapp Business allows you to engage in conversational marketing, which means that you need to have the infrastructure and resources to support this. According to HubSpot, 82% of consumers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a marketing or sales question. This could be something as simple as a chatbot, a live agent, or a combination of both. This allows for a cohesive and effective communication strategy and can turn a prospect into a repeat customer.
- Spam/overload your customers -while this seems simple, remember to keep messages to a minimum - a few times a week, or even once a week, is good enough. Too many messages will cause you to lose clients and will negatively affect your brand reputation and impact your quality rating with WhatsApp Business. Make sure the content is relevant to these clients and is not purely advertorial all the time.
- Contact your customers when they don’t want to be contacted - This largely links back to the opt-in feature, but also be aware of things like time zones and working hours. Clients’ messaging preferences should not be assumed as flexible. You must respect these preferences as you’ll not only lose customers but you will also be held legally liable for this. Some regions in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, prohibit sending of messages between 10pm and 8am. Make sure you’re adhering to these regulations.
- Think of it as a traditional marketing or sales platform - the goal of marketing over Whatsapp Business shouldn’t be to push products in mass, it should be used to engage with your customers. The purpose is to build relationships, build trust, and create awareness. Having a positive brand attitude results in higher chances of these customers using your services/product. 53% of people say they would buy from companies they can reach via chat, and this largely comes down to connecting directly with the brand. Use this to your advantage to build these relationships.
To summarize, marketing over Whatsapp Business is an effective conversational marketing and sales tool to create brand reputation. When used correctly, you’ll notice an increase in metrics such as engagement or brand awareness.
Choosing channels which allow you to reach customers where they are makes it easier for them, but also easier for marketers. Keep in mind that long term results will take time. Stick to your plan, work towards your goals, and focus on the customer experience - the results will surprise you.