WhatsApp Marketing Strategies: An Actionable Guide

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Hitendra Rathore

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 27, 2020

Unless you are living in the Stone Age, you would know how social media channels are revolutionizing the marketing space.

The most common ones are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn amongst all. However, there is a rise in another platform — text-based, which has more users than LinkedIn and Instagram combined. We are pretty sure that you must have heard of WhatsApp.

It has more than 1.5 billion monthly users and is essentially fulfilling the regular messaging needs of the masses. With such a vast target base, it’s an excellent place for businesses to engage their ideal customers.

 But how?

To make it easy for you, we have compiled a detailed action guide of WhatsApp Marketing Strategies. It will help you harness the full power of WhatsApp marketing for your business. Let’s begin then!

So What is WhatsApp?

First things first, Whatsapp is a mobile application that allows you to send messages for free to anyone you want.

Besides, you can share images and files, and it supports free voice and video calls too.

It was created in 2009 by two ex-Yahoo employees. They aimed to make free communication available to everyone, and they successfully built WhatsApp.

It was the fastest company ever to reach 450 million active monthly users. Soon enough, Facebook acquired Whatsapp in 2014 for $19 billion.

As compared to what Facebook paid for Instagram, it’s almost twenty times more.  

One important thing to note is that if you want to start a conversation effectively, people should have your contact number saved.

If you message them without their consent, you are doing it all wrong. You might even get blocked for this, and you don’t want to risk that for your business.

Thus, the first step to any WhatsApp marketing strategy is to get creative for collecting the phone numbers.

And at the same time, have them accept you as a way to contact them directly.

But How to Use WhatsApp?

Luckily, WhatsApp has a version for iPhone, Windows, and Android Phone. There is also a web app — a desktop version for Mac and Windows PCs. But to use that, you will first have to install it on your phone.

How to Share Messages, Photos, and Videos Using WhatsApp

There are three ways to do that:

1. One-to-One Chat

This is just like any other apps. You can chat directly with another user who is in your contact list. Not only that, but you can also do voice call or video call them. The most exciting feature is that it allows you to record snippets of audio and send them as a message.

2. Group

WhatsApp has an option to let you create a group where you can add up to 256 people at once.

You can create multiple groups to share messages, photos, and videos at once with the masses. Every participant can respond in the group and can also see everyone else’s reply.

3. Broadcast Lists

The broadcast feature is useful when you want to send messages to multiple users at once without adding them in a single group.

Before sending your message to multiple contacts, you will need to add recipients to the Broadcast List.

They will see the message as a normal one-to-one conversation, similar to the BCC function in the email. Again, it is limited to only 256 contacts.

But the biggest question that remains —

Why Should You Use WhatsApp for Business?

Let us tell you why.

Currently, there are 300 million daily active users on WhatsApp.

More than 65 billion messages are sent through WhatsApp every single day.

So the chances are your customers are already using it, and you shouldn’t miss this ideal platform to engage with your targets.

Moreover, even the most essential email marketing gives you an open rate of around 30 percent. That too if you are doing a fabulous job with it.

Whereas the average text message gets an open rate of approximately 98%. And that is the main reason why WhatsApp makes for the most engaging marketing channel on the planet.

The reason why you never cared to use it as a marketing channel is probably that there has never been any real tool to help you manage your account.

Also, there is no advertising on WhatsApp. Thus, it automatically eliminates the laziest way of just buying some ads.

But thanks to the new WhatsApp app for business, specially designed for small businesses.

The app has an exclusive interface to handle the communication of the company with its consumers.

Essential Features of WhatsApp Business App

Some of the advantage over the standard version of Whatsapp is that the companies can effectively communicate with their customers by automating, sorting, and quickly responding to messages.

Some of the business-friendly features are:

  • Dedicated Business Profiles

dedicated-business-profile

You can create a business profile for your brand. It allows you to add important business information, such as email address, physical address, and a small description about yourself. It adds a touch of professionalism to your WhatsApp account.

  • Quick Replies

Quick replies allow you to save and send messages that are frequently used. Every business has a standard set of queries faced by its customers. Using the business version of WhatsApp, you can quickly answer your most asked questions in no-time.

  • Automated Messages

Just like in Chatbots you see in professional websites, you can also set up messages on WhatsApp that can be sent later.

In today’s time, your customers are expecting a response straight away. You can set an away message when you know you will be unable to answer so that your customers know when to expect a response.

You can also automate a greeting message to introduce your potential leads to your business or service.

  • Labels

lables

It is an essential tool as it lets you organize your contacts or chats with labels so that you can easily find them again.

For example, you can tag a particular conversation as “new prospects” or “repeat customers” to help you distinguish easily. It makes the whole task easier for you.

  • Analytics

Any marketing effort is a waste until we have a backing of numerical data analysis.

WhatsApp Business tool integrates a few essential metrics to get real insights. It tells you how many messages were sent, delivered, and read by your customers.

Now that you have all the required tools and applications needed to run a marketing campaign, it’s time to start taking actions.

Build a massive following and start engaging your real customers before all brands begin to board the same platform and make it more competitive than it already is.

WhatsApp Marketing Strategies

1. How to Reach Your Target Audience on WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a private network between individuals messaging each other to discuss personal things. The first task for you is to think about how you and your business can fit into these conversations.

To not make your users feel that their privacy has been invaded, you need to create a personal connection.

How do you do that?

You start by creating an appealing brand persona for your customers to engage with.

As you are going to use WhatsApp as a tool to reach out to your customers, they should be ready to accept your brand immediately.

For instance, you want to handle customer service using WhatsApp. The best way is to get a unique number just for this function.

Once you do that, add a real personal touch to it. You can create a virtual person — let’s say, “Aman from Customer Support.”

This will not only make the conversation a lot more personal, but it will also give your customer the feeling that they are talking to a real person.

Of course, you can have different person handling it behind, but creating a brand person lowers the barrier for conversation.

2. Offer Great Value to Create a Phone Database

When it comes to WhatsApp, the success of your campaign depends on how readily your customers give you their number.

You can’t send messages to clients with whom you don’t have a mutual association.

To make sure that you aren’t invading their privacy, you need to get a request from them to become their contact. That’s why it’s essential to offer something of value in exchange for their phone number.

It could be anything — a promotion, a freebie, or some valuable information. You will need to come up with appealing promotional ideas to make it easier for people to share their number with you.

When you add them on WhatsApp, you can send them the offer right away. But don’t just add an automated message with the proposal.

Try to engage with them as this is your chance to start building relationships with them.

3. Providing High Standard Customer Support

WhatsApp is well-appreciated for its easy layout and instant messaging. You can take advantage of it to provide high-end customer support to your clients.

It will help you create a quick and good relationship with your customers. Thus, it will result in a positive image for your brand’s reputation.

It’s a boon for small businesses. With not much resource to spare, it’s challenging to set up an entire customer support desk for your customers. However, by using WhatsApp Business, you can easily afford to do it.

Another good thing about WhatsApp is that it supports all sorts of media. It means that apart from text, you can also send audio snippets, video, gifs, and documents.

You need to be well resourced to respond to all their queries. People are used to real-time conversations on Whatsapp.

Always send a quick reply when they try to reach you to give them the best customer experience.

4. Using the WhatsApp Story Feature

In 2017, almost every company out there was trying to copy the “stories” feature of Snapchat. Facebook, Instagram, and even WhatsApp brought the story element to their apps.

You can always use this feature to your advantage for your business in various ways.

  • Give Them Special Offers

WhatsApp Story is only live for 24 hours. So when you combine a special offer with this unique trait, it creates a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for your prospects and potential sales lead.

That’s the reason they will pay more attention to the story so that they don’t miss out on any offers.

Post a coupon to your WhatsApp story and mention that the offer will only last till the story time. If they are interested, you can direct them to the personal chat which will take them to a mobile-friendly landing page. The page will tell them all about how to redeem the offer.

  • Give Them A Sneak-Peek Into Your Creative Process

You can make it unique for your customers by getting all creative. Give them a sneak peek of a new, unannounced product or service for a client.

For instance, you can give them a quick show of the office. Or, upload a video of you visiting your factory for a behind-the-scenes of your new product.

Such efforts will help build a new level of trust with your contacts. When you share your work with your customers, it shows them what your company is capable of doing.

5. Using Third-Party WhatsApp Marketing Tools

With more than a billion users, WhatsApp has got the massive potential for your market. However, it limits you to reach a mass audience at the same time. This could be a drawback for companies with a large consumer base.

But the introduction of WhatsApp Business app and integrating third-party apps have solved this issue too.

With the help of WhatsApp marketing software, the companies can now easily send bulk messages and increase their reach.

There are many WhatsApp marketing software available on the market — both paid and free version.

To name a few popular software — WA Panel, Bulk WhatsApp Sender, and more. Each comes with their own unique set of features such as sending customized messages and unlimited message broadcast.

Real Life Case Studies for WhatsApp Marketing

Now that all things are said and done let us look at some of the successful WhatsApp campaigns that made a huge buzz in the market.

With their unique ideas and strategy, the companies were able to garner a lot of appreciation from their customers.

The first on our list is:

  • Absolut Vodka — Created A Brand Persona to Chat With Users

When Absolut Vodka launched their new product — Limited Edition Absolut Unique bottle collection in Argentina, WhatsApp was creating a buzz in the market.

At the time, 84% of the country’s mobile phone users were on the app. So they decided to use this opportunity to spread all awareness about the product.

For the launch, they were throwing a private party, and only two invitation were available to the public.

To win those tickets, one had to use WhatsApp to contact an imaginary bouncer named Sven and convince him to let them go.

The campaign was a total success. With the help of ‘Sven,’ they were able to create a brand persona which gave audiences the feel of a real person.

The campaign generated over 1,000 unique videos, images, and audio messages to convince Sven.

  • Agent Provocateur – Provided High-End Service

The popular high-end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has been using WhatsApp to update their customers about the latest arrivals, in-store events, and offers for a while.

It was quite popular with their customers. Taking advantage of it, they launched another similar promotional campaign around Christmas season on WhatsApp.

The customer could invite a personal shopper into a group conversation with their partner to talk about what they wanted for Christmas. Agent Provocateur would provide advice and services over messages.

The privacy of the messenger service resulted in 112 conversations: 61% website conversions and 31% led to store visits.

  • Hellman — Inspiring Users to Try New Product

Hellman’s in Brazil — a leading brand of mayonnaise — wanted to inspire people to think of mayonnaise as a cooking ingredient and not just a condiment. To do so, they started a campaign — WhatsCook.

People needed to visit their website to submit their phone number and a picture of the contents of their refrigerator.

Thereby, they were connected to a real chef through WhatsApp. The chef would come up with a new recipe using mayonnaise and other ingredients from their fridge.

It was a huge hit. The chefs even showed them how to cook through photos and videos.

This resulted in 13,000 participants who spent an average of 65 minutes interacting with the brand.

No wonder the same campaign was rolled out in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay as well.

  • Heineken — Engaging Customers Over A Football Match

Heineken launched a WhatsApp campaign under the name — Road to the Final.

It required fans watching the match and enjoying a Heineken to click a selfie and send the word “Champions” to the Heineken WhatsApp number.

After confirming they were 18+, they were asked five random football trivia questions.

Those five correct answers added them to a draw where they stood a chance to win the trip of a lifetime.

This led them to customers offering their WhatsApp number and engaging with them.

  • The Liquor Ticker — Creating A Buzz in the Market

The Liquor Ticker was run by a favorite Delhi restaurant. It featured a running ticker in place of a WhatsApp status and a GIF in place of a profile image.

Now, this ticker displayed new offers to the users who had saved the cafe’s number.

The customers just had to take a screenshot of the offer and send it to the restaurant’s WhatsApp number to avail it. The ‘blinking status’ was enough to catch the user’s attention.

During the campaign period, the restaurant’s inquiries went up by a whopping 117% and the sales by 28%.

  • Persil — Building A Loyal Fan Community

Persil ran a WhatsApp campaign in 2015 — Persil Kufua Expert Campaign in Kenya. They asked their users to send in 15 seconds videos of their best washing tips via WhatsApp.

And in return, the best tips were rewarded with gift vouchers and Persil hampers.

The whole campaign was designed to encourage consumer familiarity with the brand and increase interaction.

Besides, the message was so simple and clear that the audiences were quickly able to take part in it. Thus, it resulted in the formation of a big brand following community.

What to Take Away

In recent years, consumers are more willing than ever to interact with brands. This is the reason why there has been a rise in the use of messaging platforms such as chatbox, WhatsApp, and more.

WhatsApp is growing fast, and it is the right time to take advantage of the gap in the market to promote your products and services.

It’s an ideal platform to reach your audience, build a rapport, promote your product or services, and stay in touch with your customers in real time. And to top it all, it’s even cost-effective.

In the process, don’t forget that WhatsApp is all about having quality interaction with your customers.

Don’t spam them with objectionable content if you don’t want to get blocked.

You should offer your users great content on relevant topics to make sure that your clients are engaged with your business.

So that’s it for now. Tell us if you are already using WhatsApp in your business. If yes, how effective it has proven to be so far?

If not, it’s never too late. Without giving it a second thought, start engaging with your leads using WhatsApp.

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Hitendra is the Digital Marketing Executive and Content Analyst at SoftwareSuggest and loves helping people plan, optimize and launch marketing & content strategies. While digital marketing is his primary job function by day, hitendra also enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think it’s great that he gives such important information. It really helped me understand the topic!

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