How to run a successful WhatsApp marketing campaign
November 6, 2022
Table of contents
So, you’re thinking about running a WhatsApp marketing campaign? Smart choice. Over two billion users on WhatsApp and more than 50 million brands see the value in promoting their brand via the messaging app.
A cleverly designed WhatsApp marketing campaign has the potential to reach millions of customers, regardless of their age or geography. But what is the secret behind the success of WhatsApp as a marketing tool?
Funny enough, WhatsApp’s resistance to allowing ads on its platform is what makes it an effective tool for promoting brands, products, and services. That sounds like an oxymoron, right? Keep reading.
Benefits of WhatsApp marketing
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app. If you want to connect with a person or a brand, chances are you can do so via WhatsApp. People live on this messaging app, and so should your brand. WhatsApp is ideal for promoting your brand, products, and services, converting leads into customers, providing smooth and reliable customer service, making killer sales, and more.
Improved customer relationships
More than half of people worldwide feel that messaging apps help them feel more connected to a brand. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app and the most suitable channel to establish such a relationship. This connection allows brands to increase customer retention five to 25 times cheaper than acquiring new customers.
WhatsApp allows you to run personalized communication with all your customers, which translates into more engagement, brand loyalty, and increased sales.
Increased conversion rates
On average, users respond to 40% of the messages they receive from brands on WhatsApp. This means that not only can WhatsApp help you establish a connection with your customers, but it can also elevate your relationship with them by driving conversations.
Businesses that interact with their customers over messaging apps like WhatsApp see an increase in conversion rates by 112.6%.
WhatsApp may have started its journey as a messaging app, but today it has grown into a deal-closing medium that millions of businesses use to push their sales margins. The business-exclusive tools and features available with WhatsApp Business enable you to develop and run highly effective marketing campaigns.
There is a trend in customer behavior, showing an increase in using messaging apps for buying products and services. This trend isn’t going away soon. Over 59% of people who message businesses expect to use messaging more to make purchases in the future.
Reduced costs of marketing
The WhatsApp Business app is free, so excluding your team’s paid working hours, there are no other expenditures for running a marketing campaign. The ROI of WhatsApp is incomparable to any other marketing channel, even if you use WhatsApp Business Platform/API. Further below, I will explain the details and benefits of subscribing to WhatsApp Business Platform/API to skyrocket your marketing success.
WhatsApp marketing tools
WhatsApp Business is a set of WhatsApp products that help businesses communicate with customers on WhatsApp. It was introduced in 2018 to help companies create an official business presence on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business app
The WhatsApp Business app is specifically created for businesses. The app is free and ideal for micro-businesses that want to build meaningful relationships with their customers. It looks and feels just like the regular app with a few additional features:
You can create a Business profile by adding information about your company, including your business name, address, category, description, email, and website. People can easily see this information when they look at your profile.
You can easily showcase and share your products and services with customers by integrating a Product catalog into your business profile. Every product or service in the catalog has a unique title and optional fields such as price, description, website link, and product code.
Customers can browse your products directly in the app, message you about a particular product and ask questions, or choose a product to share with their friends. You can also send your entire catalog to your customers, or share the catalog link on social media, thus increasing your brand visibility.
This feature can be handy. Following the launch of your campaign, as customers start to message you about your promotion, it’s good to be able to showcase your products directly on the chat screen.
With WhatsApp Business, you can set up basic automation like “away” and “welcome” messages. The welcome message is excellent for starting a conversation and driving engagement. If your customers reach out to you outside business hours or while you are away from your phone, the away message will inform them that you are unable to answer at the moment but that their query has been received and will be answered as soon as possible.
Using away messages will help you protect your personal time and assure your customers that you’re not neglecting them. Also, you can include information about your business hours or the date and time when the customer can expect a response from you.
The WhatsApp Business app allows you to set up “quick replies” as well. You can create shortcuts with up to 50 pre-written answers for the most common questions you receive. Those messages can include text or media, such as images and videos.
Once you start your marketing campaign, you can expect the number of messages you receive will increase. If that’s the case, it’s better to have more than one agent answering customer queries. With the WhatsApp business app, you can connect four additional devices, but only one at a time can be a mobile phone. The rest of the agents can use WhatsApp for web or desktop, connected to the same account, but cannot be active and reply at the same time.
it’s safe to say that WhatsApp Broadcast is the most important tool you’d be using to run a marketing campaign. With this feature, you can send bulk messages to multiple customers simultaneously with a single click.
If you’re using WhatsApp for personal use, you probably already know about the Groups feature. The difference here is that your customers will receive the message as a regular message. When they reply, it’ll appear as a message on your Chats screen. Their reply will not be sent to other recipients in the broadcast list, keeping the conversation private.
You’d first need to create a broadcast list to send bulk messages. Once you make it, you can repeatedly send broadcasts to your customers without having to select them one by one each time.
Follow these five easy steps to create a broadcast list on the WhatsApp Business app:
- Open WhatsApp.
- Tap Broadcast Lists at the top of the Chats screen.
- Tap New List at the bottom of the Broadcast Lists screen.
- Search for or select the contacts you want to add.
- Tap Create.
Recently I wrote an article about WhatsApp Broadcast Message for business, where you can find a complete guide to using this feature.
The WhatsApp Business app is excellent for promoting your brand through broadcasts. However, once the number of your connections increases, a broadcast list with only 256 customers will no longer be adequate to fulfill its purpose. Yes, you can make more than one list. A thousand customers can fit into four separate lists, but what if you have tens of thousands? What if you have multiple agents who must work together, using the WhatsApp account at the same time?
WhatsApp Business Platform/API
At that point, it’s wise to consider migrating your business to WhatsApp Business Platform/API. In 2021, WhatsApp launched the API to help companies to scale their communications. When you subscribe to using the WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you can connect it to a CRM or a customer communication platform like Rasayel. From there, you can create unlimited broadcast lists, use advanced automation and chatbots, have unlimited agents on separate devices that can handle customer queries, assign conversations between each other in a shared team inbox, and more.
If you’re not familiar with WhatsApp Business Platform/API, consider reading What Is the WhatsApp Business API? If you want to know more about the different features available in WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business Platform/API, read our article The difference between WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business Platform/API.
When you connect your WhatsApp Business Platform/API account to Rasayel, you can dial deep into the analytics of your marketing campaign to track the performance, make adjustments and plan your future communications on WhatsApp. This crucial feature is not available with the WhatsApp Business app.
Businesses that use WhatsApp Business Platform to initiate a conversation with their customers and send them promotional messages must use Message Templates. A WhatsApp message template is a customizable message with variables and placeholders that you’d fill in later to personalize your message for each customer.
Message templates can have interactive elements, such as quick replies and call-to-action buttons that you can use to increase engagement and improve customer experience.
Our article All about Promotional WhatsApp Message Templates can help you learn everything about using templates to promote your business and products. Read All About Interactive WhatsApp Message Templates to learn more about message templates with interactive elements**.**
You can use Rasayel to create your templates and submit them for review by WhatsApp, as they need to be approved before sending them to your customers. It takes up to 24 hours for a template to be approved, so consider starting this process at least a few days before the campaign launch because there’s no guarantee that your templates will be approved on the first try. If you want to make sure WhatsApp accepts your templates, read our article How to Make Sure WhatsApp Approves Your Message Templates.
Using WhatsApp Business API is not free. WhatsApp has conversation-based pricing and two different types of conversations, charged differently: User-initiated and Business-initiated conversations. The charges for both types of conversations vary depending on the country code of the customers’ phone numbers.
The second charge comes from official WhatsApp partners known as Business Solution Providers (BSP). To use WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you’d have to subscribe to one of the official BSPs approved by Meta. The available features and pricing models vary between different BSPs.
For more information on the differences between WhatsApp Business Solution Providers, please read our article Comparison of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers.
And lastly, the WhatsApp Business Platform/API doesn’t have a user interface by default. To use it, you need to connect your account to a customer communication platform like Rasayel. Our pricing plans start from $100 per month.
To learn the costs of running a WhatsApp marketing campaign, read our article The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business API Pricing.
WhatsApp Marketing vs. Email Marketing
Email has been the main communication channel between businesses and customers for decades. With the rise of WhatsApp Business, companies and customers shifted to using the messaging app as a preferred communication channel.
There’s sound logic behind this change. Modern consumers prefer real-time and conversational messaging with their favorite brands. Email is outdated, and is being replaced by chat apps like WhatsApp as a go-to channel for users who seek customer support, information on products and services, and updates.
Businesses also have an excellent reason to utilize WhatsApp for promotions and build deep customer relationships. WhatsApp messages have an open rate higher than 90% in most countries, and customers are more likely to respond to WhatsApp messages than to emails or any other form of communication. Plus, WhatsApp messages are received in real-time as chat messages, and don’t end up in a junk folder like emails.
On average, a user opens WhatsApp around 23 to 25 times daily, and recipients read 80% of messages within five minutes. You can see how WhatsApp has the potential to speed up your communications, improve brand visibility, increase customer engagement, convert leads into customers, boost your sales, and more.
If you’d like to learn more about how WhatsApp fares against email, read What converts better, email marketing or WhatsApp marketing.
It’s important to note that email is not entirely redundant. Users in some countries, especially older generations, still prefer email as a primary form of communication. There’s no reason why these two channels shouldn’t work in tandem.
Develop your WhatsApp marketing campaign
Let’s begin with a simple exercise. If Doritos were a person, how would they speak? Would it be different from how Samsonite or Luis Vitton would sound like? Of course. A brand persona is an essential tool for establishing brand awareness and recognition. Before starting a WhatsApp marketing campaign, you must determine what separates you from your competitors. This will help you tailor a marketing strategy that works best for your business.
Define your goals and KPIs
A clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your WhatsApp marketing campaign will help you direct your attention and resources to the most efficient and meaningful marketing activities. If your goal is to increase the number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), you can look at the number of potential customers in your broadcast list who become sales opportunities due to your campaign. By knowing how many leads your team is converting to sales, you can determine your WhatsApp campaign’s success and the strengths and weaknesses of your lead generation and sales pipeline.
You can get a better pulse on your WhatsApp marketing strategy by tracking the proper KPIs. When you identify the KPIs that align with your sales and marketing tactics, you can easily see the ROI created by these two teams.
Find your target audience
Defining the characteristics of your target audience can help you design your communications and marketing campaigns. Your audience is more likely to respond to a promotional WhatsApp message closely aligned with their needs and preferences.
You can pin down your target audience by clearly understanding why they use your product and what value they want from it.
Grow your audience
At the beginning of this article, I wrote about the oxymoron of WhatsApp’s effectiveness in boosting your marketing results while preventing ads on its platform. Digital marketing channels like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter rely on targeting audiences to display advertisements, whether during browsing or searching the platforms. They’re not obligated to ask their users for permission to be included in promotions by advertisers. That’s not the case with WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has high standards regarding user privacy, so businesses must collect opt-ins before sending any type of message to customers. That way, WhatsApp provides a high-quality user experience and prevents spam. At the same time, it ensures that your entire audience is your target audience - people who are genuinely interested in your brand and products. In addition to that, the fact that WhatsApp doesn’t have a spam folder as email does, and it has high open and engagement rates, it’s safe to conclude that WhatsApp is one of the most effective marketing tools today.
If you want to learn more about growing your audience in compliance with WhatsApp policies, read Opt-ins, consent, and WhatsApp best practices & policies.
Make your business visible on WhatsApp
The most important information you’d need to provide to your customers is your phone number. WhatsApp users can’t simply use the search feature on the app to find you. However, we offer a few free tools to help your audience reach out to you on WhatsApp:
Generate a WhatsApp chat link that your customers can click and quickly connect with you. You can display this link on your website or a landing page dedicated to your WhatsApp campaign. If running a digital campaign to grow your audience, you can include this link in your ads that click to WhatsApp.
When generating your WhatsApp chat link, Rasayel automatically generates a QR code you can display in your brick-and-mortar store or any printed marketing material. Customers will automatically connect to your WhatsApp Business channel when they scan the QR code.
Generate a WhatsApp Widget and integrate it into your website. Widgets are customizable, so you can design them to expose your brand image and personality.
As I mentioned earlier, if you use the WhatsApp Business app, only customers who have your number saved in their phone’s address book will receive your message. You can try to grow your audience by asking your customers to save your phone number when they opt-in to receive your messages. This is not necessary if you’re using the WhatsApp Business Platform/API.
With WhatsApp Business Platform, you can make use of customer data from your CRM, or your e-commerce store (such as Shopify), and you can import your contacts for use in bulk. You can turn these into customer segments, which you can then target using different bulk messaging campaigns.
Your marketing success depends on understanding your customers’ needs, keeping them well-informed about your brand, products, and services, and meeting their needs adequately.
Marketing channels keep evolving with the emergence of new technologies. Any forward-thinking brand shouldn’t underestimate the value and potential of using WhatsApp to run successful marketing campaigns.
If you’d like to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at +13024070488
We also offer a free consultation session where we go through your use case, answer any questions you have about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us here. We’d love to speak to you:
For Europe, the Middle East, and Africa