A WhatsApp marketing strategy is a set of methods that utilizes WhatsApp messenger as a platform for brand promotion and direct communication with your target audience.

WhatsApp is a free mobile application that allows people to chat, share files and images, make voice and video calls. It is trendy in regions with high SMS charges, like South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Malaysia. In February 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion.

WhatsApp is an excellent channel that allows you to directly engage with customers since it provides two-way online communication, just like in real stores. Let’s find out why it’s a good idea to use WhatsApp in your overall digital marketing strategy.

7 Reasons to Include WhatsApp in Your Marketing Strategy

  1. It has worldwide coverage
  2. It offers high user engagement
  3. It is based on permission marketing
  4. It allows you to personalize your communication
  5. Its features can be used for marketing
  6. It provides an app for running a business
  7. It provides a Business API

A common digital marketing best practice is to make your business present where your potential clients already hang out. Social networks and messengers are the places where users spend most of their time online, so using WhatsApp you can communicate with audiences around the globe, provide customer support, confirm purchases, send shipping updates, etc.

Seven reasons that WhatsApp is worthwhile for marketers. Here they are:

  1. It has worldwide coverage. WhatsApp has more than two billion active users from 180 countries. On this platform, you can surely find an interested audience to tailor your products and services to. According to Statista, people from 15 to 45 make up 66% of the US’s WhatsApp audience. This allows you to establish relationships with a young and active audience in terms of shopping.
  2. It offers high user engagement. According to Statista, around 58% of global users check WhatsApp a few times a day. That means that you can regularly engage and build rapport with a considerable portion of the WhatsApp audience.
  3. It is based on permission marketing. You can only send messages to people if they share their phone numbers with your brand or initiate a conversation. Though permission marketing rules are strict, such a policy results in a segmented audience and ensures that your company has highly interested leads.
  4. It allows you to personalize your communication. WhatsApp allows you to collect users’ behavioral data, including data about their interests and shopping preferences. Based on this information, you can better tailor your promotions in the future and offer the most relevant goods at the right time.
  5. Its features can be used for marketing. For instance, with the WhatsApp groups feature, you can make up to a 256-member group of your most valuable clients and send them exclusive offers and early-bird promo codes for events to celebrate their loyalty. The broadcast feature allows you to send video announcements to multiple contacts at once.
  6. It provides an app for running a business. WhatsApp Business App allows you to create your business profile, provide your hours, link to your website, and other necessary details about your brand. WhatsApp Business also offers useful features, like a product catalog, quick replies, and automated welcome and away messages at no cost. With these functions at hand, you can also improve your customer care team.
  7. It provides a Business API. It’s designed for medium and large businesses. With it, you can send automated updates, notifications, and shipping details to your contacts.

For these reasons, WhatsApp may be worth your while, so let’s have a closer look at how to implement this channel into your plan.

How to Develop Your WhatsApp Marketing Strategy

  1. Learn the Opt-in Rules
  2. Download WhatsApp Business App
  3. Create a Business Profile
  4. Promote your WhatsApp Profile and Opt-in Users
  5. Set Up Quick Replies
  6. Use Automated Messages
  7. Organize Contacts and Chat with Labels
  8. Create a Catalog of Your Products

The following eight steps are the basis of every WhatsApp marketing strategy. Let’s review them so you could better understand how to approach this channel.

Step 1: Learn the Opt-in Rules

Although WhatsApp opened the doors for businesses, user experience is still in sharp focus for this company, unlike Facebook. The rules for marketers are quite strict, and, in essence, they require brands to build transparent relationships with opted-in users. Let’s quickly review the five key regulations:

  1. Companies must get active agreement from people. Only users can initiate communication with brands either by sharing their phone number with you or by contacting your brand directly on WhatsApp to communicate their consent.
  2. The opt-in subscription forms must include your WhatsApp name, logo, information about the content that users will receive, and a field for entering their phone number. A checkbox that lets users subscribe to various channels at once doesn’t count as the WhatsApp opt-in.
  3. Brands must clarify the types of information users will receive after they sign up. It may include shipping updates, transaction notifications, new content and product promos, etc. If you decide to send other types of messages later, you need to inform users and ask for their permission again.
  4. If users call your company on WhatsApp for customer support, that doesn’t count as opting-in. In this case, you are not allowed to follow-up with any messages except one within a 24-hour window, and it can only include details about the solution to their problem.
  5. Any presentation of the WhatsApp brand in your marketing campaigns, including opt-in forms, announcements, banners, etc., must comply with the WhatsApp branding requirements.

Step 2: Download WhatsApp Business App

When you decide to promote your brand on WhatsApp, you should start by downloading WhatsApp Business App. It’s designed for small businesses and provides user-friendly features, like automated messages, quick responses, and contact and chat sorting to manage communication with your audience. Aside from the Android and iPhone versions of WhatsApp Business, you can also use a web version to work on a laptop.

Step 3: Create a Business Profile

A WhatsApp Business profile is similar to a Facebook Business page. Name your profile, upload a profile picture, add your contact number, a short description of your brand, select your location on the map, your business category, and hours.

Creating a Business profile

Step 4: Promote your WhatsApp Profile and Opt-in Users

Add subscription forms to your landing pages and blog. Remember, according to WhatsApp regulations, you can’t use one form for several channels at once. It should also include your WhatsApp name and logo, inform users about content they will receive, and have a field for entering a phone number.

Opt-in subscription from to WhatsApp

Another effective option is to gather more contacts is click-to-WhatsApp ads on Facebook and Instagram. Post such advertisements to your Story and NewsFeed on both social networks. To create them, connect your Facebook and WhatsApp profiles, and use Facebook Ads Manager.

Here are three types of click-to-WhatsApp ads. The first one displays in the Instagram Feed, the second in Stories, and the last in Facebook Newsfeed. They all include the advertiser’s branding, the “sponsored” disclaimer, a short descriptive text, a large image, and a CTA redirecting to a WhatsApp profile.

Different ad types to promote your WhatsApp profile on Insta and Facebook

Step 5: Set Up Quick Replies

Once your promotion brings some users to chat with your brand, analyze their FAQs and set up quick replies to speed up communication and optimize routine actions. To create a quick reply, follow these steps:

  1. Tap “More options,” then “Business tools,” and “Quick replies.”
  2. Set a text message or a media file as a quick reply.
  3. Choose a shortcut for a quick reply.
  4. Create a keyword to find it quickly.

Check an example of quick replies usage in WhatsApp. To reply in this case, you need to type in “/w”, and the answer will be “What kind of cake would you like?”

Setting up quick replies in WhatsApp

There are some limitations you should keep in mind when managing your WhatsApp quick replies:

  • The maximum number of stored quick replies is 50;
  • The maximum length of a quick reply shortcut is 25 characters;
  • Leading and trailing spaces from a shortcut are removed;
  • All shortcuts must begin with a forward slash - '/';
  • The maximum number of keywords allowed per quick reply is 3;
  • The keywords may not contain spaces or any of the following characters: '!', '#', '$', '%', '&', '(', ')', '*', '+', '-', '.', '/', '\', ':', ';', '<', '=', '>', '?', '@', '[', ']', '^', '_', '`', '{', '|', '}', '~', '×', '÷', '"';
  • The maximum length of a keyword is 15 characters.

Step 6: Use Automated Messages

Set an away message when you can’t answer so your customers know when to expect a response. You can also create a greeting message to introduce your customers to your business.

Setting up an automated away message in WhatsApp

Follow these steps to create such messages:

  • Tap “More options,” then “Business tools,” and “Away message” or “Greeting message.”
  • Set a text message.
  • Schedule when it should be sent.
  • Choose what type of recipients will see this message.

Step 7: Organize Contacts and Chat with Labels

Label your contacts, chats and messages with different colors to organize them based on your business goals. For instance, you can divide chatting with new customers from chats with pending payments, or new orders from completed orders. You can set up different quick replies to better communicate with people at different stages of their buyer’s journey.

Managing your WhatsApp communication with Labels

It’s easy to use Labels in your WhatsApp marketing. Tap and hold a message or a chat, tap on the label symbol, and choose one of the pre-designed labels or create a new one. You can create up to 20 labels.

Step 8: Create a Catalog of Your Products

Add a price, product description, and number to every product in your catalog. You can upload up to 500 products. With this feature, you don’t have to redirect your customers to a website and repeatedly send product information and photos to every interested contact. You can share your catalog to promote your products and services on other social networks.

Using WhatsApp catalog feature

Medium and large businesses can utilize the WhatsApp Business API. It offers more profound features and solutions for handling communication with the audience on WhatsApp.

Let’s finish this guide by getting some actionable tips to properly strategize your business activity on WhatsApp.

4 Best Practices to Create a Killer WhatsApp Marketing Strategy

  1. Run your business communication more informally
  2. Regularly update your status
  3. Use WhatsApp to deliver customer care
  4. Send short promotions with a website link

We’ve collected four tips that will help you plan your WhatsApp marketing efforts more effectively. Here they are:

  1. Run your business communication more informally. Many people use WhatsApp for informal interactions with their friends. It’s essential to make your business messaging trustworthy, genuine, and creative. Make your marketing campaigns in line with the personal style of this channel, staying professional at the same time.
  2. Regularly update your status. Your WhatsApp status allows you to post business-related quotes, announce events, create promos, and share links that redirect to videos on other social media sites. Make sure the status text is short, informative, and eye-catching to attract more views.
  3. Use WhatsApp to deliver customer care. It’s a great idea to use WhatsApp messages, voice and video calls, and media files to solve customers’ issues in real-time. This direct and personalized approach helps you better engage with your audience and show that you’re a trustworthy business that doesn’t hide from users when they are dissatisfied or have problems.
  4. Send short promotions with a website link. Short WhatsApp messages with links to a website help you bring your contacts to certain pages. Such messages tend to have a high click-through rate and are significant in motivating more leads to shop with your brand.

Congratulations, now you know why WhatsApp is an excellent channel for personalized marketing. Create a strategy to meet your business goals and the platform’s unique style.

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