Creating a WhatsApp marketing strategy for 2024: Benefits and best practices
How to get the most out of using WhatsApp as a marketing channel, including the latest strategies for maximizing value and ROI.
In this blog we explain why you should be including WhatsApp in your marketing efforts and how to build a successful WhatsApp marketing strategy that delivers real results.
unique users of WhatsApp globally.
a month spent on the app by the average WhatsApp user.
13 reasons to use WhatsApp as part of your marketing strategy
WhatsApp is so much more than a messaging app thanks to its rich media sharing options, wide global adoption, and security. Businesses can use the popular chat app to interact with customers and enhance engagement while decreasing advertising and service costs.
- Global reach: WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat app – in-fact it was declared the leading communication channel for smartphone users in 2022. It is used by more than 2.8 billion people in over 180 countries and supports 70 languages.
- Everyone uses it: WhatsApp is used by customers of all ages and allows brands to reach consumers across all demographics on a single channel, significantly simplifying marketing efforts. What’s more, unlike some social platforms its user base is growing consistently. Between 2021 and 2022 there was a 12% increase.
- WhatsApp users are extremely engaged: Globally, the average user spends 17 hours a month on the app and checks it 12 times a day.
- It is trusted by consumers: As WhatsApp has strict rules requiring brands to obtain opt-in from customers, consumers are far more likely to open and engage with messages as they trust that they are legitimate and relevant. WhatsApp also encrypts messages, doesn’t share information with third parties, and there are no ads to distract users from your own marketing messages.
- High open rate, low bounce rate: Due to this trust, WhatsApp messages have a massive 98% open rate, significantly higher than channels like email and SMS.
- Easy integrations by API: WhatsApp offers a programmable API which means that it can be easily integrated into any business’s existing marketing stack to enable WhatsApp messaging at scale.
- It has many marketing-friendly features: Apart from the obvious advantages of being able to send detailed messages that include images, videos, and links, WhatsApp has some interesting features that can be used by creative marketers – product lists, broadcast capability, surveys and polls, ads that click to WhatsApp, and support for QR codes are just a few of these.
- Full-funnel interactions: With WhatsApp you can use a single channel to interact with customers all the way from the discovery phase through to purchase and beyond to keep customers engaged and loyal.
- Build customer journey flows: WhatsApp Flows are a dynamic and customizable feature within the WhatsApp Business Platform that allow brands to create structured, interactive customer journeys using the app.
- Ideal for business users: The WhatsApp Business App and Business Platform provide organizations of all sizes with features and capability designed specifically for business use cases with brand messages being delivered to the same inbox as users’ personal communication.
- Easy automation: With the simplicity of building chatbots for WhatsApp, it is the ideal channel for a first foray into marketing automation, from simple quick replies to sophisticated digital assistants that guide customers through purchases and renewals.
- It enables conversational marketing: Whether using human agents or marketing chatbots, it is the ideal channel for adopting a more conversational marketing strategy.
- Take payments: For customers in Brazil and India you can now take payments within a WhatsApp chat without having to redirect them to a third-party website.
By partnering with the right technology provider, you can get access to all the key benefits of using the WhatsApp Business Platform.
Create your WhatsApp marketing strategy
So, you’re ready to start building your marketing strategy on WhatsApp? Here is a checklist of all the steps that you will need to cover.
1. Decide how you will use WhatsApp
Depending on the size of your business and the marketing use cases that you are looking to cover, you can either use the WhatsApp Business App or the WhatsApp Business Platform.
At a very high level the app is better suited to smaller businesses while larger enterprise businesses will get more benefit from the WhatsApp Business Platform due to its scalability and automation options.
To help you decide, you should read our useful guide on the differences between the WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business Platform.
Accessing the service
- WhatsApp Business App: You just need to download the app and create a business profile before you can start the customer opt-in process.
- WhatsApp Business Platform: To access the service, you will need to partner with a provider like Infobip who can help you integrate WhatsApp Business API with your existing systems.
Compare the options side-by-side with our handy comparison table.
|WhatsApp Business App
|WhatsApp Business Platform
|Small/medium size businesses and entrepreneurs
|Medium/large size businesses or SMBs looking to scale
|App or browser
|Solution provider like Infobip
|Number of users
|Up to 4 agents
Broadcast messages (limited to one message)
Automated messages (limited)
Group chats (can both create and participate in)
Green tick verification is not supported
Automated messages (unlimited, including chatbots)
Group chats (create but not participate in)
Official Business Account (green tick) available
Various types of CTA buttons
2. Define your WhatsApp opt-in strategy
Meta has strict rules on how brands can use WhatsApp to interact with app users. Most importantly, brands must get clear opt-in from people who wish to receive communication from the brand. Start by familiarizing yourself with the rules which can be summarized as follows:
Opt-ins must be collected before you message a customer using WhatsApp. Which means, in every case, the customer has to be the one to initiate a WhatsApp conversation with a brand. The business is responsible for storing opt-ins (aka customer consent to receive messages from your brand).
When collecting opt-ins, you must:
- Clearly state that a person is opting in to receive messages from your business over WhatsApp
- Clearly state the business name that a person is opting in to receive messages from
- Comply with all meta regulations and local regulations
You can then consider how you will maximize opt-ins.
- Displaying an opt-in link on your website and social media pages.
- Consider advertising on Facebook and Instagram with ads that click to WhatsApp. Give people the opportunity to open a conversation with you, and opt in to receiving relevant messages.
- Build opt-in requests into your business workflows, for example at checkout show customers the benefits of opting in to receive delivery notifications, product registration help, or special offers on related products.
- Use QR codes on outdoor media and product packaging that when scanned launch a WhatsApp chat with your brand.
3. Identify key use cases and message types
Take a look at your current marketing strategy and funnel and determine where you can best use WhatsApp to boost engagement. Perhaps you struggle with lead generation, or your conversion rate is low.
4. Define your target audience and build personas
The people that you send marketing messages to on WhatsApp will be a subset of your total customer database, in that they must be users of the app and must have opted in to receiving messages. Beyond those commonalities they will be as diverse and different in their expectations and requirements. Take time to determine who you are targeting, what their needs are and how you can use WhatsApp to help them meet those needs.
A customer data platform will help you collect data on customers and store it in one place. Then you can create detailed customer profiles that will help you determine what personas you are targeting and how to effectively communicate with them.
5. Set measurable goals
Outline measurable KPIs that will help you track progress once you include WhatsApp in your strategy. This could include conversion rate, cost per conversion, or click rates on campaigns. Setting clear and measurable marketing goals will help you understand the impact that WhatsApp is having on achieving your business goals.
6. Define your brand persona for WhatsApp messages
People use WhatsApp to connect with friends and family and have personal conversations. When using the app to interact with a brand, they expect the same type of experience. Make sure that your brand persona and tone of voice can be properly presented on the chat app.
It is a good opportunity to show your brand’s playful and human side, which makes for more engaging marketing interactions. WhatsApp is not the right channel for boring and robotic conversations.
7. Create workflows
Build workflows that use WhatsApp to deliver the right message at the right time. With an omnichannel customer engagement solution such as Moments, you can orchestrate your messaging to benefit from the unique features and attributes of WhatsApp.
Some examples include:
- Event triggered notifications: Use event or behavior triggered messaging to reach your customers at the right time. If a customer’s favorite item is out of stock, send them offers for similar products over WhatsApp to encourage a sale.
- Cart abandonment: The immediacy and high open rate of WhatsApp messages make it an ideal channel for converting cart abandoners.
- Transfer to agent: WhatsApp is not only ideal for marketing, but for customer service and sales as well. When customers have more in-depth questions about your products or services, make sure that they can easily transfer from chat to a voice call.
- Failover messaging: When using WhatsApp as part of an omnichannel strategy, you can use WhatsApp as a failover channel when a message cannot be delivered on the primary channel.
- Appointment booking: Streamline your processes and reduce the workload of your staff by providing appointment scheduling options via WhatsApp.
- Timed messages: Use WhatsApp to send promotional messages at the best time or date to convert. For example, when a sale starts, or prior to the expiry date of a contract.
- Upsell and cross-sell: Send customers related product recommendations based on purchases or items that they have shown an interest in or placed in their shopping cart.
8. Create a product catalog
This WhatsApp Business app feature enables you to add up to 500 products with photos and detailed descriptions that people can browse from within the WhatsApp chat. This feature is also available to integrate via the API. When a person wants to purchase an item, they can click through to your website’s checkout page to complete the transaction, or if they are based in Brazil or India, they can finalize payment without leaving the chat.
9. Introduce a WhatsApp chatbot
Use an automated chatbot over WhatsApp to connect with customers. Your chatbot should reflect your brand persona through its messaging style and image. It is an ideal way to carry out your marketing campaigns and continue the conversation with customers.
Our CX team will help you design the perfect chatbot for your business and help make adjustments along the way to offer the best conversational experience to your customers.
WhatsApp marketing examples
WhatsApp can be used to great effect in any industry. We have helped businesses across a range of sectors to leverage the unique benefits of the app to reduce costs, increase engagement and delivery rates, and drive more sales.
Here are just a few examples of how WhatsApp marketing can be used in different industries:
Retail and eCommerce
- Send promotional messages for new products: based on customer interests you can send targeted messages for new products, with full descriptions for customers to browse within the chat.
- Back-in-stock messages: instantly send back-in-stock messages for your customers favorite products along with CTA buttons for reserving or purchasing the products in WhatsApp.
Read how Nivea launched a highly creative and successful campaign that used a WhatsApp chatbot to connect with consumers in their target market with a positive message celebrating diversity. The campaign was so successful that it achieved 207% of its reach target and is being used as a global case study for the brand.
- Loyalty promotions: launch loyalty campaigns with special contracts or plans for loyal customers.
- Phone recommendations: When a customer’s contract is almost up or they haven’t purchased a phone in some time, send them a list of phones that fit their needs within WhatsApp. The customer can browse product details and ask to be transferred to an agent for more information.
- SIM registrations: Help customers to register new SIM cards by deploying a WhatsApp chatbot that guides them through the process without them having to visit a physical store.
- Top up data: Enable customers to easily top up their data or upgrade their contracts.
Banking and financial services
- Lead generation chatbot: use a self-service chatbot that can help customers navigate the discovery stage of their journey. The WhatsApp chatbot can answer questions about accounts, plans and send educational videos and materials to help with converting the lead.
- Account registration: Open up cross sell opportunities by enabling customers to register for new accounts via WhatsApp. Read how our customer DinarPAY did this very successfully.
- Time-sensitive promotions: send customers campaigns with time-sensitive promotions for better interest rates or collecting loyalty points. On WhatsApp, your campaigns have the best visibility, so they are sure to be seen and acted on quickly when sent to the right audience.
Find out how Anand Rathi, one of India’s leading financial services firms specializing in wealth management and investment banking used a WhatsApp chatbot to provide an interactive customer experience. The overall impact of the innovative solution was a 40% increase in click-through rate from 20% to 60%.
Kick-start your WhatsApp marketing strategy
WhatsApp Business Platform messaging is a powerful and wide-reaching communication platform that can help you create meaningful connections with your customers. That’s why a WhatsApp marketing strategy is a key part of your marketing arsenal, supporting your customer experience goals and helping to add value at critical moments in the customer journey.
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