The business-customer communication scenario has been going through a lot of changes, which have only picked up speed in the last couple of years.
The ever-growing digitalization of our daily lives has been forcing business owners to adapt their operational areas to be able to keep catering to customers' expectations. But with virtually the whole business world moving online, the digital space has become extremely crowded, and cutting through the competition is difficult.
If there was ever a need for adaptation, now is the time.
For marketing professionals, one of the go-to strategies is to adopt conversational marketing into the customer journey and do so via the most popular messaging platform — WhatsApp.
What is WhatsApp Marketing?
WhatsApp Marketing falls under the conversational marketing category, a marketing strategy that focuses on building a two-way communication street between businesses and (prospective) customers. By turning the experience of being marketed to into a natural extension of day-to-day conversations happening on messaging channels, a conversational option is much more engaging and authentic. This, in turn, translates into more leads, higher conversion rates, and, ultimately, happier customers and businesses.
WhatsApp can be used for marketing via the WhatsApp Business API, and it offers marketing teams the chance to not only engage in conversation with customers, but also to automate certain interactions, send out newsletters to broadcast lists, run contests, share special offers, or product updates, and more — all on an app people are already familiar with and use in their day-to-day lives.
Benefits of WhatsApp Marketing for Your Business
The no-brainer benefit of turning to WhatsApp marketing is that WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, with over 2 billion users. And it's not just the sheer number of active users that's impressive; they also tend to be very active on the app, exchanging 65 billion daily messages. What's more, WhatsApp is currently the leading messaging app in 133 countries around the globe.
For companies of all kinds of business profiles, WhatsApp Business offers an incomparable reach opportunity, as well as a product catalog to choose from that best fits their needs and allows them to connect with their target audience.
All this means:
- Strengthened customer relationships and improved customer experience, by establishing a closer connection and improving brand visibility thanks to 24/7 availability and quick replies with chatbot automation.
- Increased conversions and opt-ins, as a result of closer relationships and a two-way conversation experience on customers' preferred channel.
- Improved sales, due to WhatsApp's product recommendation capabilities and the option of retargeting customers on their mobile devices.
- Lower costs, since automation via the WhatsApp Business API can take on many marketing tasks such as lead generation and newsletter sending.
How to Use WhatsApp in Your Marketing Strategy
As mentioned above, using WhatsApp as a marketing channel can be done in many different ways. Let's have a look at the main use cases.
WhatsApp campaigns are a key part of a WhatsApp marketing strategy. You can use campaigns to connect with your target audience and help promote your product or service on a messaging tool consumers use daily.
Campaigns are the foundation blocks of WhatsApp automation, and as such, can be used as one of your marketing tools, but also across multiple use cases such as customer support or sales.
You can use WhatsApp campaigns to promote your marketing content in many forms.
They can be a broadcast or newsletter sent to your customers or a whole conversation automated via WhatsApp chatbots. While bulk messages can be sent by anyone using a WhatsApp Business account thanks to the Broadcast feature, automated WhatsApp campaigns are available only via the WhatsApp Business API, and they are sent in the form of message templates. You can check out examples of WhatsApp automated message templates across different industries in this blog article.
WhatsApp campaigns are a great addition to your set of marketing tools, since they are a powerful way for businesses to connect with their target audience as well as current customers through personalized communication that makes for happy customers, boosts engagement, and, ultimately, can contribute to increased sales.
About a year ago, WhatsApp Business (re)introduced broadcast messaging as an official app feature. Up until that point, it was possible for businesses to send the same bulk broadcast message to a great number of people (or broadcast list.) However, with the user experience at the forefront of WhatsApp's priorities, the practice was frowned upon since it often turned into businesses spamming people with marketing content.
Today, though, WhatsApp's broadcast messages allow businesses to send out newsletters on WhatsApp that can either stand on their own, or complement an existing email marketing strategy.
Newsletters need to follow certain rules. First, they need to be in the form of non-transactional messaging — a type of message that abides by certain rules and processes that protect the user experience. As such, bulk messaging templates need to be approved by WhatsApp before businesses can send them. What's more, users need to actively opt-in to receive this type of message on WhatsApp.
It might sound like a labor-intensive process, but it's worth it. WhatsApp boasts a 98% open rate, while email open rates lie at around 20%. The numbers speak for themselves.
It's for this reason that newsletters deserve a special mention. Even though they are a type of WhatsApp campaign, these kinds of results make them the next evolution step for email marketing.
Click-to-WhatsApp ads are ads that run on Facebook and Instagram that, when clicked on by a potential customer, initiate a conversation on WhatsApp.
The great advantage of using this type of ad in your marketing efforts is that they allow for an instant connection between brand and audience and spark a high-intent conversation that the user-initiated. As such, they help drive more conversions and boost sales.
Once the conversation is going, you can decide if it's going to be led by a human on your end, or if it will be automated thanks to a chatbot.
Using chatbots in WhatsApp for marketing allows you to take your strategic efforts to the next level, thanks to the power of automation. So, you'll not only be able to meet (potential) clients on their preferred direct messaging app, but you'll also be able to do that outside of business hours, with no extra human effort.
Immediacy is something customers have come to expect, particularly in regard to customer service, but the comfort of interacting with a business on an app like WhatsApp has extended to other areas as well. Marketing is no different.
With chatbot automation, as WhatsApp marketing expert Antony Chacko explains, “the beauty of [marketing with WhatsApp] is, it's 24/7, and you have a phone number to follow up the next day or next week or next month.” And what exactly does that entail? Not only the possibility of following up on an ongoing conversation, but also sending out regular messages or campaigns at any given time.
What's more, chatbots for WhatsApp allow for another important aspect of customer-business communication — personalization. In this day and age, simply promoting your product or service won't cut it among ever-demanding customers who expect personalized and memorable interactions in addition to timely attention to their queries.
How do chatbots achieve this?
First, you have no-code, rule-based chatbots that give you full control over the conversation, since they follow a pre-designed script they can't steer away from. In terms of making it memorable, you can write the script to showcase your brand's personality, add touches of humor, and use visual components like GIFs or videos. When it comes to personalization, Landbot, for example, allows you to use Variables that collect and store data in real-time, which can then serve to send personalized marketing messages. All this can contribute to boosting engagement and increasing customer satisfaction.
More recently, you can also easily build AI WhatsApp chatbots thanks to GPT technology. If you're using Landbot as your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP), you'll have access to a range of features that allow you to build and deploy an AI chatbot without the need for coding.
You can, for example, use our Text-to-Bot feature to write a prompt describing what you want your chatbot to do, and Landbot AI will generate the chatbot template for you. You should be as clear as possible in the prompt, and even include the tone of voice you’d like the chatbot to use, so that the result meets your expectations and needs as much as possible.
If you want to learn step-by-step how to build an AI WhatsApp chatbot, you follow a tutorial in this blog article, or watch our "Building WhatsApp Chatbots Powered by AI" webinar in the Landbot Academy.
Which chatbot type works better for you depends on the use case and your particular marketing funnel.
Contests are a great way to acquire new leads and boost brand awareness through a fun and engaging activity. And, you guessed it, you can run them on WhatsApp.
In addition to the broad benefits of using WhatsApp for marketing, WhatsApp contests are very helpful in growing contact lists, doing audience research, and boosting engagement.
It's simple — the possibility of earning a prize.
With the option of a special offer on the table, active users are much more likely to opt-in to receive promotional messages from a business, which adds them to your contact list. They're also more willing to share information beyond just their email address into more personal aspects like their hobbies and interests. This, in turn, can be leveraged to create more personalized experiences. And when it comes to engagement, contests are simply more interactive messages than most other marketing tactics.
WhatsApp contests come in many different shapes and sizes, like “caption-this” games or fill-in-the-blank.
WhatsApp Marketing Software
So, how do you get started with WhatsApp Marketing?
The first, and very important, step is to select the software that better suits your marketing needs.
When talking about WhatsApp marketing software, we're referring to an all-encompassing tool that offers an interface where you can create, send, and manage your WhatsApp content. The WhatsApp Business API itself doesn't have an interface, it only enables you to connect your WhatsApp Business account to the CRM you're already using. Hence the need for third-party software.
The two main things to look into when selecting your WhatsApp marketing software are:
- WhatsApp Business API integration: applying for the WhatsApp Business API is complex. When picking your WhatsApp marketing tool, your best bet is to select one that also doubles as an official WhatsApp BSP — like Landbot. This way, you'll have an intermediary that oversees the whole process, from application all the way to setup.
- A user-friendly, no-code interface: to make the best use of WhatsApp for marketing, you'll want to be able to easily build and implement chatbots, send out newsletters, and schedule campaigns. Make sure to choose software that offers an easy-to-use interface with a no-code chatbot builder, a testing channel, and a campaign manager. This way, you'll be sure to make the best of WhatsApp for your marketing operations.
Other features you can look into are, for example, pre-built templates for specific marketing use cases, that make your life even easier.
WhatsApp Marketing Best Practices
When it comes to giving tips on how to do something, there's no one better than going to the experts on that something for advice.
Antony Chacko is the founder of Alpha Marketer, an agency specializing in WhatsApp marketing. One of his main tips is to create a great conversational experience that will add value for the customer. At Alpha Marketer, he achieves this by first analyzing previous interactions between customers and various departments, building a word cloud to upload information to, and get a clear understanding of the words and phrasing their customer base commonly uses.
After that, he follows a three-step conversation design framework that consists of:
- Asking a question to engage with the customer and get the conversation going;
- Creating the reply buttons for each question that is not open-faced;
- Pointing to the solution, depending on what customers click on throughout the conversation.
If you're just starting out with WhatsApp marketing and conversation automation, another important tip is to keep things simple, at least at first. Having a basic chatbot with a simple flow that gets the job done is better than trying to start off with a complex build that ends up crashing and hindering communication.
Then, because it is a conversation taking place on an app people use to talk to friends and family, make sure to include elements from those types of conversations in your WhatsApp marketing strategy. Emojis and other rich elements could and should be used to make interactions more engaging and natural-sounding. Similarly, messages should be short and stick to spoken or conversational language. Even though it's a written medium, the way people communicate on WhatsApp is not the same as they would, for example, on an email to your business. So, be sure to be as conversational as possible, allow for turn-taking, and don't forget your initial greeting message and then goodbye message.
As you can see, there's a lot to be said about WhatsApp marketing, and it might seem like a daunting task to take on. However, with WhatsApp Business partners like Landbot available, adopting it into your marketing campaign strategy is made simpler.
WhatsApp is already the most popular messaging app around the globe, and it's on its way to becoming one of the strongest communication channels on the market.
So, don't fall behind other business owners and get started with WhatsApp marketing today!