This blog was updated on July 15, 2020.
Today, customers expect brands to be available on their favorite communication channels, like WhatsApp – the most preferred messaging channel worldwide. In fact, 68% of customers think that messaging is the most convenient way to contact a business, according to AdWeek.
Now, with WhatsApp Business API available through Infobip, medium and large businesses can message their customers across the entire customer journey, by sending useful notifications and providing real-time support.
The first step towards being able to message your customers over WhatsApp is getting them to opt-in. So, we’re here to guide you through what exactly an opt-in is and five easy ways to collect them.
What is an opt-in?
An opt-in is when your customers agree to receive messages over WhatsApp from your business by providing you with their mobile phone number. Opt-ins must be collected before you message a customer using WhatsApp.
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 applicable law
Until recently, this was done using a third-party channel. However, in July 2020, WhatsApp updated its policy and announced that third-party opt-ins are no longer mandatory. This means that a customer can contact your support team directly through a WhatsApp message thread to ask to receive notifications.
It’s important to note that, even with this change in policy, storing opt-ins and ensuring that each customer you contact through WhatsApp has agreed to receive messages on that channel is still your responsibility.
How is WhatsApp preventing spam?
To ensure a high-quality messaging experience for customers, and to make sure your messages don’t appear as marketing spam, WhatsApp provides pre-approved message templates that can be used by businesses when they reach out to customers.
Marketing messages over WhatsApp are restricted, and the primary focus is on sending notifications and reminders or providing real-time customer support.
Customers also have the option to block or report businesses they don’t want to receive notifications from by submitting a claim with reasoning to WhatsApp’s support team.
Below, we’ve outlined five easy and unobtrusive ways your business can collect customer opt-ins using different channels and various pre-approved message templates.
5 ways to collect customer opt-ins for WhatsApp Business
To navigate your customers towards the opt-in process, there are several approaches you can use in your strategy to make the experience smooth and simple, while still abiding by the guidelines.
Option 1: Ask for opt-in when customers reach out to your first
The simplest way to ask a customer to opt-in is when they’ve already reached out to you for support. After resolving the customer’s problem, your agent can ask them if they’d like to opt-in to receive notifications and updates in the future.
If the customer agrees, the next step would be to send them a message outlining the type of notifications they can expect to receive and asking them to confirm their opt-in.
Pro Tip: Use specific and clear language, such as: ˝I agree to receive (e-receipts, delivery notifications, back in stock notifications) to (+385 XX XXXXXX) from Go2Shop.˝
Option 2: Use your website
No matter the industry that you operate in, your website is a great channel to use when inviting new and existing customers to receive messages over WhatsApp.
Use your homepage
Your homepage is one of your best tools for driving conversions. Promote the opt-in option using a pop-up screen.
Create a custom landing page
Another option is to design a specific landing page for this purpose only. This option lets you share more details about how customers can use WhatsApp to interact with your business.
You can attract visitors to your opt-in page by announcing the addition of WhatsApp Business as a channel and sharing a link on your home page, on your social media channels, or in your email newsletters.
Customers give their consent by providing their phone number on the landing page. Then, to confirm successful opt-in, re-direct them to a ˝Thank You˝ page.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your landing page is responsive so that opt-ins can be collected on any device your customers use.
Whether you use your homepage or a custom landing page, remember to follow the WhatsApp brand guidelines and include the proper logotype in any visual communication.
Option 3: Use third-party channels
Oftentimes, the best way to reach out to customers is over the channels you already use to communicate with them. SMS, Voice, or ATM notifications will quickly grab their attention and help you get an immediate response.
Use SMS as a door opener. Offer a simple, one-click opt-in option over SMS, so your customer gives their immediate consent to use WhatsApp as a channel for future notifications. Or, you can include a direct link to your landing page which will lead them to more information before opting in.
You can also automate your opt-in collection process over Voice IVR. The process is simple – using automated voice messaging, ask your customers to give consent by pressing a specific key on their dial pad. As opt-in confirmation, send a ˝Thank You˝ message over WhatsApp.
Lastly, if you operate in the banking industry, ATMs are an interesting communication channel. You can announce the opportunity to receive balance notifications over WhatsApp while inviting clients to opt-in by providing their phone number directly via the ATM.
Option 4: Use your existing process flow
Since customers can use WhatsApp to receive important notifications like order confirmations, boarding passes, and delivery notifications, they are more inclined to opt-in during the purchase process, therefore increasing your opt-in rate.
This is often the best option for retailers, airlines, and logistics companies since they can easily include a checkbox at various touchpoints where the customer would enter their phone number – for example, when they are entering their billing or delivery information.
Option 5: Include it in your customer contact preferences section
During sign-up, or when filling out contact forms, businesses usually offer new customers a choice of channels they want to be contacted on. If you’re using the same approach, you can include WhatsApp as a part of this list. Having WhatsApp as a part of your contact options can increase your sign-up conversion rate, since it’s the preferred channel for many consumers and may influence their decision to engage with you.
To give existing customers a similar option for opting in, you can update the contact preference section in your customer account settings. Then, you can send an email to inform your existing customers of the change so they know to manually enable this option in their account settings, if they prefer.
Tips to successfully increase your opt-in rate
No matter which option you choose, keep in mind that there are many ways to make your opt-in collection strategy successful. Here are some ways to increase your number of opt-ins:
- Clearly communicate the value of receiving important notifications and updates on WhatsApp
- Avoid messaging customers too frequently
- Make your opt-in model simple to use, minimizing customer effort
- Find the model that suits your existing processes and communication
- Harness the power of social media – your customers are already online, grab their attention (Pro Tip: Ads that Click to WhatsApp can help you reach more customers on Facebook and Instagram).
- Provide instructions for how customers can opt-out and honor these requests
Infobip is an official WhatsApp Business API solutions provider. By introducing WhatsApp Business, Infobip enables enterprises and financial institutions to engage and hold one-on-one conversations with a potential market of over 2 billion people in 180 countries.
Reach More Customers with WhatsApp Business