How to Create a WhatsApp Sales Funnel

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
create whatsapp sales funnel

WhatsApp is one of the most—if not the most—popular messaging apps in the world today. 

With over 2.2 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp messaging has transcended the way we view and use instant messaging apps. It’s also revolutionized how businesses communicate with their customers and clients, proving to be incredibly powerful at helping brands capture leads, engage audiences, drive sales, and promote themselves. 

WhatsApp is a Great Business Tool in More Ways Than One

As far as connecting with customers at a personal and relatable level is concerned, WhatsApp has emerged as a useful tool for helping businesses achieve that goal. Many companies don’t just use WhatsApp for their customer service functions; they develop bespoke marketing strategies and campaigns based on the tool, in turn, creating sales funnels that help marketers qualify and quantify their leads.

If you, as a business owner and marketer, want to effectively and efficiently qualify your leads, you must develop a robust sales process that can successfully lead interested prospects down the proverbial ‘funnel’ towards converting.

WhatsApp is one of the most cost-efficient and powerful tools on the market to help, but many marketers don’t know how to do this or use WhatsApp. According to a Salesforce survey, 68% of companies have not yet attempted to measure a sales funnel, and it’s estimated that 79% of leads go un-converted.

How Does a Sales Funnel in WhatsApp Work?

A WhatsApp sales funnel works similarly to a traditional sales funnel that a business might use to qualify its customers—and their pain points—at various stages of the buying journey. 

There is no one-size-fits-all sales funnel for businesses, however, typically, they consist of the following stages:

Stage 1: Awareness - When a business creates awareness about its product or service.

Stage 2: Interest - When potential customers are aware of and express an interest in the business, product or service.

Stage 3: Consideration - When prospective customers become more interested and invested in the product, service, or brand as a whole.

Stage 4: Purchase - After considering the product or service, the customer is ready to make a purchase.

When businesses are using WhatsApp as a marketing tool, it can be effectively applied at various stages of this typical sales funnel example. 

Stage 1, businesses may use WhatsApp to promote their business profile(s) to a targeted list of potential customers. This can come in the form of broadcast messages, sharing links to relevant content, running WhatsApp ad campaigns, or offering sales incentives to open a conversation.

Stage 2, a business may send out personalized messages to a carefully-selected shortlist of qualified leads. The business may wish to educate its audience further about its product or service benefits and features or share more resources, case studies, or testimonials to build trust.

Stage 3, customers may express specific needs or pain points, at which point, the business may use WhatsApp to send more detailed information, engage in an open conversation with the customer, answer questions, or offer free trials or demonstrations to push them further down the funnel.

Stage 4, once the customer has consented to purchase the product or service, businesses would facilitate the transaction by sending direct links to checkout pages, providing payment options, applying discounts or offers, or arranging deliveries or pickups. The sale can be closed over WhatsApp or via the business’s website.

It’s also important to note that once a customer makes a purchase, their loyalty and business must be maintained. Businesses can continue conversations that nurture the customer, provide additional support, request feedback and share updates, new products and referral discounts and incentives. All of this builds loyalty and fosters an increased likelihood of repeat sales and growth. In addition, the opportunities for businesses to benefit from the WhatsApp Led Growth (WLG), and its evolving ecosystem, are huge.

Why is it Important to Develop a Strong WhatsApp Sales Funnel?

An optimized WhatsApp sales funnel can offer numerous benefits for businesses, including (but not limited to):

  • A steady stream of higher-quality leads through effective targeting and brand awareness.
  • Improve customer lifetime value (CLV) through ongoing nurturing, support, and useful information.
  • Valuable customer insights through conversations and feedback via WhatsApp.
  • Greater conversion rates resulting from engaging conversations and strong feelings of trust.
  • The ability to optimize their communication strategies and user experience.
  • Increased referrals and recommendations from satisfied customers, who are also likely to share testimonials and reviews.
  • Real-time communication with customers to address issues or concerns quickly and effectively.
  • The ability to help businesses automate specific tasks like follow-up messages, reminders or offers, which can help teams become more productive.

Advantages of Using WhatsApp for Business

While it’s clear to see what a potential WhatsApp sales funnel might look like, it’s important to consider its standalone benefits as a business’s marketing and communication channel. 

  • WhatsApp has a huge global user base that allows businesses to reach unprecedented numbers of potential customers across the world, including emerging and newer markets.

  • WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to protect messages, calls and links. All user data is private and secure so any sensitive information shared will not be exploited. And, as WhatsApp’s servers are constantly patched and updated, it is like having a 24/7 managed detection and response service.

  • WhatsApp messages have a greater open rate (98%) compared to other marketing channels like SMS and email. This makes it easier to help companies engage audiences and start meaningful conversations.

  • WhatsApp is free to use for businesses for the first 1000 conversations each month. Businesses can make significant cost savings compared to using telemarketing, video ads, SMS, or email marketing, welcome news for startups and small businesses.

  • WhatsApp is primarily a mobile-first app, which is where the market is heading. Customers want the convenience and instantaneousness of mobile-first marketing, and WhatsApp allows businesses to leverage this.

How to Build a High-Converting WhatsApp Sales Funnel

Now that you know what a typical WhatsApp funnel might look like, and the benefits you can give your business with the tool, it’s time to consider the likeliest steps in building such a funnel.

  1. Define your target audience: Define the types of customers that you want to target via WhatsApp. Determine their pain points, expectations, preferences and buying behaviors to influence the rest of your strategy. Remember, this funnel has to work for them.
  1. Create a WhatsApp Business account: Customize your business’s WhatsApp account with your branded logo, profile picture, contact information and other elements so recipients will know that it’s legitimate. You want customers to recognize your business easily.

  2. Build your target contact list: From your audience, define the most relevant segments that will engage with your WhatsApp messages and content. You can promote your WhatsApp details in ads or campaigns on other marketing channels, and encourage people to opt into receiving messages.

  3. Establish your communication strategy: Determine what types of messages you will send to your target customers at each stage of the sales funnel. Those in Stage 1 will need to be communicated in different ways than those in Stages 2-4, so consider your language and frequency of messages. Remember to be conversational as that’s more appropriate for the platform.

  4. Decide on the resources and content you will share: While you are crafting your messaging strategy, consider what content you will be sharing with your recipients at each stage of the marketing funnel. What will you be promoting, and what can you share with them should they ask pertinent questions or address any concerns? Ensure you have plenty of relevant, useful and engaging content to distribute. Be mindful that too much content can overwhelm the customer.

  5. Create offers or discounts, if relevant: Create exclusive deals, promotions or offers for your WhatsApp subscribers to encourage them to stay engaged with your business on the platform. Ensure that any links or codes work correctly with your other channels like your website.

  6. Don’t ignore messages: Over time, you will likely engage with customers at numerous stages, all of whom are going to have unique queries, concerns and questions. Be transparent in your responses and be sure to check that there is no unanswered question. Being thorough will ensure customers feel listened to and their needs addressed, which will cultivate increased feelings of loyalty and trust.

  7. Nurture the relationships you build: Whether a customer has made a purchase once before, or not, be sure that you openly communicate with them on a semi-regular basis to ensure that you still value their custom. While you should be careful not to spam existing customers with unnecessary messages, you should always make them aware that they feel valued and nurtured.

  8. Track and analyze your results: Track the performance of your sales funnel, either by using the WhatsApp Business API or any other third-party analytics tools. Consider the right metrics to track, whether it's conversations, leads, or sales. You can identify strategies and patterns that are working as well as those that need improvement.  Test and optimize your calls to action, content, offers and messaging based on your interactions. The analytics data will help you make strategic, informed decisions about how your funnel can be further optimized.

With commitment and perseverance, WhatsApp can become a valuable lead generation and sales tool, which can prove valuable in helping your business grow. Focus on providing tangible value to your customers and building meaningful relationships with them via WhatsApp and don’t be afraid to experiment and learn.