WhatsApp Marketing: Tips and Strategies to Manage It Smartly

September 07, 2022 Mihaela Lica Butler

As of April 2022, WhatsApp had 2.44 billion unique active smartphone users, becoming the most used messaging app in the world, competing with other popular messaging apps, like WeChat, Kakaotalk, and Meta's own (Facebook) Messenger. To put things into perspective, users send more than 100 billion messages each day on WhatsApp.

Most popular global mobile messenger apps

Credit Statista

Given WhatsApp's popularity and reach, businesses investing in WhatsApp marketing have a lot to gain.

What Is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is a free-to-download messenger phone app with excellent communication tools, enabling users to make voice and video calls, as well as send text, image, audio, and video messages. Moreover, users can also send other types of files (*.doc, *.pdf, etc.) via WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is part of the Meta (formerly Facebook) family of tools and services. Its main Meta competitor is Facebook Messenger, an Internet-based tool with similar functionality. You can use Messenger on smartphones (Android and iPhones) and the desktop. In contrast, to use WhatsApp on the desktop, you must download its Windows version and synchronize it with your phone through a QR code.

For marketing purposes, you will need the WhatsApp Business app, which will allow you to connect with consumers, highlight your products and services, create a product catalogue, and take advantage of other tools to automate and respond to customer messages.

According to Meta, people and businesses worldwide exchange over 20 billion messages each month on Facebook Messenger alone. The number is higher on WhatsApp. Research also shows that users favour messaging as a form of communication with businesses across all the stages of their purchasing journey.

Although it is an excellent marketing avenue, WhatsApp has some limitations, the most significant being that no one can use it without a valid phone number. However, despite its limitations, WhatsApp is essential for:

  • real-time customer support through chat, text, voice, or video calls;
  • location-based marketing through interactivity with Google Maps;
  • 24-hour, 7-day, or 90-day disappearing messages (automatically erased on the deadline), excellent for short-term sales and promotions;
  • view-once mode for messages, curbing spam issues, and very practical for one-time QR codes, vouchers, exclusive deals, etc.;
  • WhatsApp Payments to send and receive money - however, this feature is only available in India, Brazil, and the United States (as Novi digital wallet);
  • markdown-formatting to make text messages more attractive (italics, bold, cross-out) and enhance with images (gifs, emojis) and videos;
  • create a compelling and professional business profile on the WhatsApp Business Platform;
  • pay-as-you-grow: the first 1,000 conversations each month are free, then you pay based on conversation type (user-initiated and business-initiated). The cost per conversation also varies based on the users' geolocation;
  • create a catalogue to showcase your products and services; give it a catchy title and description, and do not forget to include pricing, product codes, and shop link.

Tips For a Successful WhatsApp Marketing Strategy

To use WhatsApp successfully, you must plan your marketing strategy by defining goals, audiences, messages, and content.

  • What are your goals? Set realistic expectations and marketing objectives.
  • Define your KPIs (key performance indicators): how do you plan to measure your WhatsApp marketing success?
  • Know your customers: create a client persona and deliver messages that solve your audience's pain points.
  • Create a brand persona highlighting your corporate vision and values.
  • Build an opt-in contact list (you will need your clients' phone numbers): do not use WhatsApp to relentlessly spam consumers who are not interested in what you have to offer.
  • Tailor your communication based on your brand persona and customer interest.
  • Limit your outgoing bulk messages to a maximum of five per week. More will appear spammy and alienate your audience.
  • You can use WhatsApp for sales, but its value for customer service is critical.
  • Use interactive messages (list messages or reply buttons) to structure responses or provide a clear call-to-action.
  • Promote your WhatsApp number on your website, emails, social media, and printed materials.

WhatsApp Business Platform

If you have a medium or large business, you can use the WhatsApp Business Platform to manage high volumes of conversations on WhatsApp. The platform uses the WhatsApp Business API to integrate with other technologies and reach customers almost everywhere (on WhatsApp). In addition, it offers conversational flows with interactive CTAs, dynamic product lists, rich media, etc.

One of the main advantages of using the WhatsApp Business Platform is that you can run ads from your Facebook business page or Instagram account and include a Send Message button that connects users with your WhatsApp number. However, the WhatsApp Business Platform requires development skills. You can choose a Creative Partner from Meta's directory to help you with API integration and other services.

The WhatsApp Business Platform offers businesses excellent tools for marketing, customer service, and communication:

  • Share important business messages (order confirmations, shipment updates, appointment availability, reminders, etc.) with customers.
  • Personalize promotions, reengage after cart abandonment, and maximize marketing ROI spend.
  • Allow customers to find products and make purchases straight from within WhatsApp.
  • Use WhatsApp's interactive CTAs, dynamic product lists, and rich media to create unique customer experiences that drive engagement and entertain.

WhatsApp Business App

Small businesses will find the WhatsApp Business app more convenient for communicating with customers. In addition, the business app is free to download and use while still enabling entrepreneurs to reach hundreds of customers:

  • Create a business profile complete with all the details your customers need: business name, description, contact data (email and website), and store address.
  • Use messaging tools to automate FAQ responses or set up responses when you cannot reply.
  • Use labels to organize your messages.
  • Create a greeting message to introduce your business to your clients.

To conclude, WhatsApp has tremendous marketing potential, and it is worth investing time and effort to reach consumers on the go.