If you want to use WhatsApp Business API to send notifications to your customers, you must prepare and register your message templates. Message templates must be aligned with guidelines from the WhatsApp Trust & Safety team.
There are certain types of messages that you are allowed to send within and outside of the permitted messaging window. The messaging window for WhatsApp is when an end-user has responded to a message you the business has sent, thus opted-in temporarily to receive all message types.
Message templates are the only message type permitted to send to end-users outside of the messaging window. Templates must be pre-approved by WhatsApp in advance.
When end-users respond, they have automatically opened the 24-hour response window in which you as the business can send all types of free-form messages. Every response from the end-user is a 24-hour extension to the messaging window.
If the 24-hour window lapses, you must re-establish contact through the use of message templates.
Communication channels are used by businesses to establish two-way communication with their clients. For WhatsApp, the opt-in allows you to send clients messages on a continuous basis, by obtaining their mobile phone number.
The first step towards being able to message your new and existing customers over WhatsApp is getting them to opt-in. This means that customers must consent to receive messages over WhatsApp from your business until otherwise specified.
To collect these opt-ins there are several approaches you can use in your strategy to make the experience smooth and simple, while still abiding by the guidelines, for example:
- Third-Party Channels: An easy way to invite your customers to opt-in for receiving notifications over WhatsApp is to reach out to them over the channels you currently use to communicate with them. Users are already familiar with some of these procedures and it often drives a quick response.
- Web: Web opt-in is a simple way to invite your existing and new customers to subscribe to receive important updates and notifications over WhatsApp. Make sure you are adhering to the branding guidelines set out below.
Businesses must also follow individual requirements when acquiring opt-ins and referring to WhatsApp:
Offer a simple one-click opt-in over SMS with a direct link to WhatsApp. Once opened, it is considered as immediate consent for using WhatsApp as a channel for future notifications.
Customers are then redirected to the “Thank You for Your Opt-In” page and you can start sending notifications to your customers over WhatsApp.
If you want to add an extra layer for the customer to be able to understand more about opt-ins before agreeing, you can provide a link to your opt-in webpage instead.
Automate opt-in collections over Voice IVR calls. Using this service, you can ask your customers to give consent by pressing a specific key on the dial pad and then ask them to confirm again before ending the call.
Customers are then presented with a Thank You Message on their WhatsApp for opting in.
When it comes to the banking industry, ATMs are an effective communication channel. They are a great way to inform customers about new offers while they wait for their transactions to be processed. They’re also a channel for opt-in collection.
Give your customers the opportunity to provide simple opt-ins for their balance notifications simply over an ATM by providing their consent then and there.
They can then receive their bank balances over WhatsApp.
Social Media and Email
You can also use your social media accounts to inform your customers that they can now receive notifications over WhatsApp. Use your social media accounts as a funnel to your opt-in page.
If you already have customers opted in to email communications, you can use this option to talk about your WhatsApp opt-in option through newsletters.
Remember to include CTA buttons with a direct link to your opt-in landing page.
Include banners or pop-ups on your Homepage to promote your WhatsApp service to customers. Combine this with taking them to a “Thank You” landing page and confirming their opt-in.
Custom Opt-In Page
Another option for collecting opt-ins is to design a specific landing page for opt-in purposes only. This option allows you to inform your customers more about the opt-in/communication processes, T&Cs etc.
To give consent, customers must enter their phone number on the opt-in page and confirm. After which they will be re-directed to your “Thank You” page.
Make sure that your opt-in pages are responsive so that opt-ins can be collected from any device. Also, remember to use third-party tools on the internet such as social media and emails to let customers know about your WhatsApp opt-in, and funnel them through to your opt-in page.
NOTE: If you are communicating an explicit number where your customers can reach you directly (e.g. a call center) over WhatsApp, note that this is not considered a customer opt-in. You aren’t allowed to contact this person again unless this person initiates a conversation.
You are still able to respond to customer messages on WhatsApp without an opt-in if they initiated the communication first. In this case, you will have 24 hours before you are no longer allowed to continue using WhatsApp without an opt-in unless they initiate the conversation again.
The simplest way to establish continuous Whatsapp communication is to ask a customer to opt-in, which 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 via WhatsApp 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.
Remember to 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.˝
Implement opt-ins as a part of your existing process flows and enable your users to be notified over WhatsApp.
Customers are used to receiving important updates like order confirmations, boarding passes, delivery notifications, etc. Customers are more inclined to opting in to WhatsApp communications while in the process of carrying out one of the related above functions.
Retailers, airlines, and logistics companies often include a checkbox at various touchpoints where the customer enters their phone number. This is the ideal spot to insert an opt-in for WhatsApp communications.
Sign-Up/Contact Form Opt-In
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 your business uses 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 so wish.
All the above methods are effective ways of boosting your opt-in numbers, but also keep in mind that there are many ways to optimize your opt-in strategy:
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