WhatsApp marketing: How to build the perfect strategy

How to get the most out of using WhatsApp as a marketing channel, including the latest strategies for maximizing value and ROI.

Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist

With the rise of conversational marketing, WhatsApp Business Platform has become increasingly popular for businesses to send promotional messages and nurture leads to purchase.


more marketing messages were sent on our platform in 2023 over WhatsApp than the year before 


of all WhatsApp interactions over the Infobip platform were marketing conversations in 2023

In this blog we explain why you should join the bandwagon and include WhatsApp in your marketing efforts and how to stand out with a WhatsApp marketing strategy that delivers real results.

What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp Marketing conversations are business-initiated conversations that customers have opted into and may include promotions and offers.  

This type of message is often used to drive incremental sales and achieve better ROI. They are one of the four categories of the WhatsApp Business Platform, along with utility, authentication, and service conversations. 

With WhatsApp’s rich message types including media, buttons, carousels, and CTAs, proactive marketing messages can be used for highly personalized communication about new products or services, cart abandonment notifications, specialized offers, and many more use cases. 

Brands should keep in mind that WhatsApp is a conversational platform used by customers to chat with friends and family, so having a strong (and non-spammy) strategy is key. Otherwise, you run the risk of building a poor reputation and losing opt-ins.

WhatsApp marketing message limits

Until recently, WhatsApp’s high regulations regarding messages that can be sent to customers didn’t limit the number of messages a customer could receive. 

However, as of February 2024, Meta implemented a new set of advanced measurement mechanisms, limiting the number of marketing conversations a customer receives from any business in a specific time frame, and all other marketing messages beyond that limit will be blocked. 

The new limit on the number of marketing messages businesses can send to customers in a specific time frame was rolled out in India in February 2024 and will soon be implemented globally.

So, what do businesses need to do to ensure they respect these new limits and still run successful marketing campaigns on WhatsApp? 

  • Develop a strategic and customer-centric approach to messaging
  • Value quality of messages over quantity
  • Personalize messages to fit the need of each customer
  • Partner with a conversational experience platform for the best tools and solutions for WhatsApp messaging

So, let’s walk through how your brand can achieve this along with high ROIs on marketing campaigns, and boost engagement with customers over WhatsApp – even with messaging limits.  

Why use WhatsApp for marketing: 8 benefits

  1. Global reach: WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat app – in fact it was declared the leading communication channel for smartphone users in 2023. It is used by more than 2 billion people in over 180 countries and supports 70 languages.
  2. High engagement: Globally, the average user spent 17 hours a month on the app and checks it 12 times a day in 2022 – meaning your marketing messages get the best visibility.
  3. Security and trust: As WhatsApp has strict rules requiring brands to obtain opt-ins 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 and there are no ads to distract users from your own marketing messages.
  4. High open rate, low bounce rate: Due to this trust, WhatsApp messages have a massive 98% open rate, significantly higher than some other channels.
  5. Easy integrations by API: WhatsApp offers a programmable API which means that it can be easily integrated into any existing marketing stack to enable WhatsApp messaging at scale.
  6. 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.
  7. Ideal for business users: The WhatsApp Business Platform provides 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.
  8. It enables conversational marketing: Thanks to the rich messaging features on WhatsApp and end-to-end journey interactions, WhatsApp is one of the best channels to keep your marketing interactions conversational and personal.

Check out what our partners at Hagens, a leading martech company in Brazil, has to say about WhatsApp for conversational marketing and how to make an impact with customers: 

Best practices for using WhatsApp as a marketing channel

So, what features and capabilities should businesses use for marketing over WhatsApp? Let’s break down the most important ones and how to use them to your advantage. 

// Launch Click to WhatsApp ads 

Your first step to chatting with customers is collecting opt-ins. Without them you can’t start a conversation or send any promotional messages. There are multiple ways to collect opt-ins but Click to chat ads are among the more popular and effective methods. 

As part of your strategy, launch targeted and relevant ads on Instagram or Facebook, with a “send message on WhatsApp” button that gives customers easy access to start the conversation.  

Once the ad is launched on Facebook Ad Manager and connected to WhatsApp, your business can access specific data on how many conversations were initiated and behavioral data such as conversion tracking on websites or mobile apps, post-purchase experiences, abandoned cart recovery, and the end-to-end marketing funnel from the number of impressions in the Facebook feed to the number of conversions and ROAS for each campaign. 

It can be used for any stage of the journey, from initial discovery of your brand, to targeted re-engagement, making conversational marketing a breeze. 

But this is just scratching the surface of the many benefits from using Click to WhatsApp ads, learn more here: 

// Set up WhatsApp Flows

A major benefit of using a conversational channel like WhatsApp is keeping the user experience seamless, easy, and of course, within the channel. WhatsApp Flows is designed to help improve customer experience over WhatsApp by simplifying use cases that would otherwise require switching to a third-party website or app. It enables businesses to build and offer an end-to-end journey all within WhatsApp.  

Check out how you can generate leads and collect subscriptions within WhatsApp with Flows:

WhatsApp Flows is ideal for lead generation forms, appointment booking, satisfaction surveys, and more. Learn more about Flows here: 

// Deploy a WhatsApp chatbot

A chatbot is great for conversational support, but did you know it is just as useful for marketing messages?  

It’s an ideal way to carry out your marketing campaigns and continue the conversation with customers. Your chatbot should reflect your brand persona through its messaging style and image. Connecting your chatbot to a customer data platform will allow you to collect valuable first party data which you can use to better target existing customers in the future.

Building a chatbot on WhatsApp using Infobip’s chatbot-building platform Answers has helped us introduce self-service options to customers. As a result, we’ve seen a reduction in the volume of queries coming to our customer care center and a 40% increase in click-through rates – rising from 20% to 60%. The onboarding assistance and servicing we received from Infobip have made sure that the integrations were easily made.

Navratan Bohra

Deputy Vice President of Operations & IT – Anand Rathi Share and Stock Brokers Ltd.

Luckily, building a WhatsApp chatbot isn’t as hard as you might think. There are free templates available that can help you quickly launch a reliable chatbot in a matter of minutes.

// Set up WhatsApp product catalogs

This feature enables you to add up to 30 products with photos and detailed descriptions that customers can browse from within the WhatsApp chat. This feature is also available to integrate via API. When a person wants to purchase an item, they can either make a payment within WhatsApp, or click through to your website’s checkout page complete the transaction. This allows customers to transition from each stage of the journey seamlessly by remaining within the WhatsApp conversation. 

WhatsApp product catalog example

// Use eye-catching carousels

Get the most out of one message with carousels. Carousels allow you to include up to 10 cards to promote products, discounted offers, items left in carts, highlighting travel destinations, and anything else your brand wants to advertise.  

Carousels are easy to use with their scrolling feature and make shopping and exploring your offers more engaging to your customers. You can add any call-to-action to your carousel, from click to call buttons, URLs, or quick replies.

// Add urgency with Limited Time Offer templates

Time sensitive offers are sometimes difficult to promote as customers skim messages, and don’t always realize the offer expires soon. With Limited Time Offer messages on WhatsApp, you can display expiration dates and count downs making it obvious and easy to understand that the offer has a time limit, helping you improve conversion rates. When the timer expires, so does the coupon, the code becomes inactive, and customers can no longer use it.

// Take payments via WhatsApp

If your conversational marketing flows have been successful, and your customer has reached the end of the funnel, don’t redirect them to a new channel – keep everything within WhatsApp by enabling payments on WhatsApp. For the time being, this feature is only available in India and Brazil, but WhatsApp will expand this offer to other regions in the future. Get prepared and learn more about how to use payments in this blog

How to create a winning WhatsApp marketing strategy

So, you’re starting to understand why WhatsApp is perfect for marketing, and how to get the most out of the channel – but how do you put it all together to build a successful strategy? 

Here’s a quick checklist of all the steps you will need to build a winning WhatsApp marketing strategy:

1. Decide how you will use WhatsApp

Depending on the size of your business and the marketing use cases you want to cover, you can 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.  

Here’s a quick comparison to help you determine which would work best for your business: 

WhatsApp Business AppWhatsApp Business Platform
AudienceSmall/medium size businesses and entrepreneursMedium/large size businesses or SMBs looking to scale
PlatformApp or browserSolution provider like Infobip
Number of usersUp to 4 agentsUnlimited
FeaturesBusiness profile

Product catalog

Broadcast messages (limited to one message)

Automated messages (limited)

Group chats (can both create and participate in)

Voice/video calls

Green tick verification is not supported

No buttons
Business profile

Product catalogue

Broadcast messages

Automated messages (unlimited, including chatbots)

Session messages

Group chats (create but not participate in)

Official Business Account (green tick) available

Various types of CTA buttons
IntegrationsNot supportedSupports integrations

2. Define your WhatsApp opt-in strategy

We’ve touched on opt-ins via Click to chat ads above, but there are multiple ways you can collect opt-ins. 

Opt-ins must be collected before you message a customer using WhatsApp. If a customer completes a consent form, or if they initiate the conversation, you have collected their opt-in for receiving messages over WhatsApp. Your 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:

  • Consider advertising on Facebook and Instagram with ads that click to WhatsApp
  • Displaying an opt-in link on your website and social media pages
  • 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

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. 

Part of this process should be to identify the types of messages that you will use, for example: 

  • List messages for booking appointments or displaying past orders
  • CTA buttons for easy replies
  • Flows for product recommendations
  • Maps for location services
  • Other rich media like images and videos to add value to your interactions

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 – meaning 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 segment your audiences before communicating 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 to 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 conveyed through 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

Building out your workflows is key to delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Using an omnichannel customer engagement solution can help you design and launch interactions with engaging message types over WhatsApp. 

work flows via whatsapp

Checkout a list of use cases and what rich message types from WhatsApp that would make your messages stand out: 

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.

Ideal message type: Carousels  

Cart abandonment

The immediacy and high open rate of WhatsApp messages make it an ideal channel for converting cart abandoners. Send coupons and reminders to encourage a conversion.

Ideal message type: Coupon codes 

Transfer to an agent

WhatsApp is also ideal for customer service. Transfer customers to speak with an agent when they have a more complex query over chat or voice call.

Ideal message type: Quick reply buttons 

Appointment booking

Streamline your processes and reduce the workload of your staff by providing self-service appointment scheduling options for customers via WhatsApp.

Ideal message type: WhatsApp Flows

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.

Ideal message type: Limited time offers message types

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.

Ideal message type: Product catalogs

WhatsApp marketing examples

// Nivea

Nivea launched a highly creative and successful campaign around their Cocoa Shades lines that used a WhatsApp chatbot to connect with consumers in their target market with a positive message celebrating diversity. Their goal was to improve engagement by connecting with customers one-on-one. 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.

// Kibon

Kibon, a beloved ice cream brand and part of Unilever, needed to find a way to streamline B2B communication with their partners as they moved to digital forms of communication. A WhatsApp chatbot allowed Kibon to cover the entire partner journey over the chat app. The WhatsApp campaign generated 30,000% ROI in three days with 74% of partners viewing the campaign on WhatsApp.


of partners targeted viewed the campaign

// CarDekho

A leading auto tech company in India thrives on helping customers find the perfect car. They were looking for a way to advertise deals to their customers with the best visibility and to improve conversion rates. CarDekho decided to use WhatsApp to send alerts to perspective buyers that fit their criteria. The campaign saw 15,000 conversions per day, and a total of 2 million sessions throughout the campaign – a major win for the car gurus.  

// Unilever

One of the world’s largest consumer goods corporations was looking for a new and unique way to promote new products for their fabric softener brand, Comfort. They decided to launch a WhatsApp campaign that encouraged customers to reach out on their WhatsApp channel, where they could interact with the chatbot MadameBot who gave advice on how to take care of their clothing and receive a 50% off coupon. Unilever saw a 14x increase in sales and 145,000 messages exchanged during the campaign- far exceeding the expected number of interactions of only 600.  

WhatsApp marketing use cases

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.
  • Abandoned cart messages: remind customers to complete their purchases so they don’t lose the opportunity to buy what they left in their carts.

Banking and finance

  • 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 cross-selling 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.


  • Loyalty promotions: launch loyalty campaigns with special contracts or plans for loyal customers.
  • Product 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.
  • Top up data: Send promotional messages that enable customers to easily top up their data or upgrade their contracts,

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. 

Add WhatsApp to your marketing strategy

Contact us
Jul 3rd, 2024
14 min read
Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist