Table of Content
WhatsApp Marketing 101: A full guide to WhatsApp campaigns
Owning a contact list is the marketer’s ultimate weapon; using it with the right platform will yield profitable marketing campaigns. 2022 witnessed a gradual shift from email and SMS marketing to WhatsApp marketing. 2023 is your last chance to leverage this new platform’s huge potential for marketing automation and customer service.
This article will cover:
- Why WhatsApp is the best marketing channel
- Whatsapp marketing use cases
- A step-by-step guide for WhatsApp marketing campaigns
Email VS SMS VS WhatsApp marketing
Marketing campaigns are the backbone of e-commerce and retail businesses alike. Exposure to a tech-savvy, social media-addicted audience seems the only way to survive brands' competition and achieve the desired revenue. Still, how to get in front of that audience is a million-dollar question!
Let's review the platforms used for marketing so far and discover what's best for your business in 2023.
1. Email marketing
Emails have long been the marketing solution for all niches. But are they still relevant today?
While B2B emails are still highly appreciated and considered the most formal way of communication, B2C marketing emails are losing momentum. People usually have more than one email account. Statista reported that 35% of survey respondents in the U.S. have two email addresses, while 28% have four. The confusion caused by multiple accounts results in neglecting several emails. According to Hubspot, 40% of consumers say they have at least 50 unread emails in their inbox.
People rarely use emails in the Middle East and North Africa. Emails are only used for professional communications. Far from interacting with an advertising email, most people don't check their personal emails in the first place.
Data published on the Smart Insights website revealed that email has an average open rate of 29.55% across industries and a click-through rate of 1.27%.
Hubspot also reported that 15.8% of all emails go missing or are caught up by spam filters. Advertising emails will not appear in your customers' inboxes and will go unnoticed until permanently deleted.
Have you started losing investments because of email marketing? Let's see if another solution would help.
2. SMS marketing
You must have heard that instant communication is now the key to achieving your marketing goals in a predominantly obsessed digital world. Well, have you tried SMS?
Statistics reveal that the average response rate for SMS is 45%.
However, most users opt-in for SMS services only to receive transactional notifications like an appointment update, shipping status, ticket update, or billing notification. Rarely do phone users interact with marketing messages because they require clicking on external links, which poses a security issue for many users.
Also, SMS messages pose several limitations., such as character and media limits. Hence messages are not quite attractive to people used to social media's glamorous content.
Smartphones are now detecting advertising SMS and sending them to spam boxes thanks to specific apps. On top of this, what's truly frustrating is that most service providers do not support responding to an SMS.
With 62% of consumers saying they prefer to text a business back, you will have to look for another two-way communication channel.
3. WhatsApp marketing
With over 2 billion active monthly users worldwide and counting, it's no exaggeration to say that WhatsApp is taking the market by storm. Whatsapp is a secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging app that has been winning the trust and confidence of users for years. On top of using it to connect with family and friends, 75% of users said they prefer to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses instead of multiple apps or social media messaging solutions. Messages on WhatsApp are read within the first three minutes of reception. In addition, it has an open rate of 98% and a click-through rate of up to 60%, usually 10X times more than emails.
So, here's why you must adopt WhatsApp as the ultimate marketing solution:
- Conversational: WhatsApp is a two-way communication channel. Customers can interact with your business and satisfy their curiosity. Whatsapp offers advanced customer service, especially with the API version.
- Perfect solution for nurturing and retention: statistics say that 79% of leads don't convert due to a lack of nurturing. Whatsapp offers automated solutions to nurture your leads throughout the different buyer journey stages.
- Decrease wait time: Unlike emails, WhatsApp is a quick communication tool. As a result, you will be able to qualify leads quicker than ever when you increase your response time. You will also cut on unnecessary expenditure for lead generation.
- Engaging content: content on WhatsApp is easy to browse and make sense of. Sharing rich multimedia messages is one more push to engage customers. In-app features will also make your user experience one of the best in the industry.
Are you feeling intrigued to try the new platform? Keep reading to know how to make the most of it for your marketing campaigns.
Marketing campaigns use cases
1. Marketing campaigns
- Seasons: religious occasions, holiday seasons, and special events present perfect opportunities to send marketing campaigns to your customers. Segmenting your contact list and sending customized messages will lead to higher conversion rates. You can offer unique items most needed for that specific occasion. In addition, you can target people at the awareness stage and introduce them to your brand and products. Timely and well-planned campaigns will yield high traffic to your store and drive sales, especially if you couple them with special offers like a time-bound discount.
- Brand events and launches: special events hosted by your business must be marketed and announced at scale. They can either increase brand awareness or drive traffic to your website or your physical location on the day of the event. You can also send customized campaigns to announce a product launch and ignite curiosity. These campaigns will spread the word just in time to guarantee interested customers know the item being launched, its characteristics, etc.
2. Automated marketing messages
Whatsapp offers marketing automation solutions to facilitate customer outreach and optimize the process. Automation is needed throughout the customer journey and is triggered by actions from the users. These include the following:
- Cart abandonment: a 2022 study revealed that the cart abandonment rate is just below 70%. It's an alarming rate for e-commerce and online store owners. Reasons include long checkout processes, lack of confidence in online payment options, and budget excesses. Cart abandonment messages on WhatsApp are more likely to be noticed. Plan a constructive strategy: send a reminder within the first hour of abandonment, send a message to highlight product characteristics to grab attention, and finally entice them to act using the FOMO psychic technique. 60% of consumers buy because of fear of missing out on the item. Offering discounts can re-engage people.
- Back-in-stock messages: You can send customized messages to alert consumers of new product arrivals based on consumers' previous behaviors. It's beneficial during seasons when certain items are sold out quickly. Automated notifications to your customers are all it takes to witness another busy day at your store, as people will likely be waiting for the opportunity.
- Cross-sell and up-sell: cross and upselling allows you to send individual or segmented group messages to offer customers more products they might need based on their purchase history. The process can be automated and will likely drive more sales and revenue.
- Product recommendations: if you have your customers buying history and contact information to visualize their profiles, you can send product recommendations based on their preferences.
What an extensive list WhatsApp makes possible! It's the answer to all of your marketing pain points. By offering you a direct path to your target customers, the channel will likely increase trust and loyalty, impacting your business status and brand awareness significantly. Let's go through some real-life scenarios so that you know what we are talking about!
3. Whatsapp marketing success stories
In recent years, we’ve witnessed several success stories from around the globe. So let’s remember some of them!
- Hellman: the Brazilian brand was one of the first companies to tap into the potential of WhatsApp back in 2014, launching their WhatsCook campaign. They defined it as "an alternative recipe storytelling through a service that connects real people to real chefs." The campaign was a huge success, with a 95% satisfaction rate and a 50% sign-up rate on the website. The company offered a high-quality service for ordinary people on their favorite channel and exploited the rich media sharing feature. The average interaction time was 65 minutes, and the results were outstanding.
- Marko: Santa is on WhatsApp! What better way to fulfill your Christmas wishes? Makro, a department store in South Africa, built a WhatsApp campaign in 2021 around Christmas time to engage potential leads. The drip campaign required people to message Santa/ Makro to win gifts. It was a brilliant way to build a significant contact list and achieve more brand exposure.
- Adidas: it launched a 'Rent-a-Pred' campaign in London to solve the problem of unreliable teammates. If you have a match and a teammate decided to ghost you, you can log in to WhatsApp' Rent a Pred,' answer a few questions, and you will be offered a substitute fully equipped with Adidas Predator 20 Mutator equipment.
The bottom line is that if you think out of the box and exploit WhatsApp's enormous potential, you will be geared toward success.
What you need to know to start WhatsApp Marketing
The first thing you need to know before rushing to send your first marketing campaign on WhatsApp is that there are two options for the platform. Each has its specific features and resulting costs. Check the differences and choose which platform suits you best.
1. Whatsapp Business app or WhatsApp API
Whatsapp conveniently offers two products for different types of businesses. Check the following characteristics to decide:
- Whatsapp business app: it is the app you can download from Google or Apple store and use for free. It is designed for small businesses looking to exploit instant messaging potential in their marketing efforts. The business app allows you to send bulk messages to 256 customers simultaneously. Note that the app doesn't allow integration, so there will be no marketing automation.
- Whatsapp Business Platform/ API: this is the ultimate business messaging platform. It is a paid service designed for medium and large companies that need automation and integration solutions to handle significant customer databases. The platform allows you to schedule or immediately send at-scale marketing campaigns and track their performance through reports. It also offers automation solutions for retargeting and retention campaigns.
Be it the WhatsApp Business App or Whatsapp API, you must abide by specific regulations.
- Customer-first: WhatsApp prioritizes the convenience of its users. You must respect customer privacy and preferences to leverage this messaging app's power. Spamming customers is not tolerated.
- Opt-in: both WhatsApp products require that your contact list is legit and people have opted in to receive updates from your business. This will highly affect your account status and rating.
- Content restrictions and message quality: WhatsApp lists several items that are forbidden to be sold on the platform. Apart from that, your messages must add value to customers and be customized. The content of your message will affect the rating.
- Message template: For WhatsApp API, you must submit a message template to be manually approved by the Meta team.
- Messaging tiers: to send marketing campaigns at scale on WhatsApp API, you also need to scale your messaging tiers. Whatsapp divides the process into four tiers that can be reached within seven days each. Once you launch a WhatsApp account, you can start with 250 messages daily. Once you verify your Facebook manager, you will soon scale to an unlimited number of messages per day in no time; the ultimate fantasy, right?
If you have considered all of these conditions, you are ready to be introduced to the costs of both services.
Please refer to our WhatsApp API ultimate guide 2023 for a complete step-by-step guide on how to get started on the WhatsApp Business Platform.
Whatsapp Business App, as we mentioned earlier, is a free app.
If you are using Whatsapp API, there are three things to consider when pondering the cost:
- Hosting fees: WhatsApp API was only feasible through a Business Solution Provider. Now, Meta is providing hosting services for free. We recommend the second option.
- Messaging Solution Vendor fees: WhatsApp API needs conversation management software. Prices for such software differ according to the vendor.
- Messages fees: you need to pay for business-initiated WhatsApp messages per message and country of destination.
You now have all the details you need to make an informed decision! It's time to make a dream come true! So let's dive right in and see what steps are necessary to start marketing at scale on WhatsApp.
5 steps to send WhatsApp marketing campaigns
Whether you are marketing on the WhatsApp business app or WhatsApp API, you must follow a few steps to ensure success for your campaigns. A successful campaign is a well-thought effort down to the smallest detail. So keep reading as we offer simple steps to guide you:
1. Build a database
The first step in any marketing campaign is lead generation. Doing so on WhatsApp is swift and rewarding. You can use social media accounts, websites, and offline gatherings to build your database.
- Deploy touch points on social media: social media attracts significant traffic quickly. Unfortunately, conversion from social media is dwindling. You can leverage your influence and traffic from potential clients to build a qualified database. For example, you can add a WhatsApp link in your profile bio and exploit your social media ads by adding a CTA that will lead people to WhatsApp. Sending people to WhatsApp will create a significant contact list in no time. Using the WhatsApp app, you will have to handle the list manually; otherwise, the integrated CRM can handle all contacts seamlessly on your WhatsApp API account.
- Add a WhatsApp widget to your website: a WhatsApp widget on your website will ensure that colossal traffic doesn't go unexploited. Add a widget and send clients to your WhatsApp account. You can manually or automatically register their contact information and keep them intrigued via real-time conversations.
- Create a QR code: generate a QR code online or offline. Add it to your packages, physical stores, and any materials belonging to your business. Scanning the code will send your clients to WhatsApp and gather their contact information.
- Offline registration forms: to win the loyalty of our offline customers, you can create an offline registration form to ask clients for their permission to receive advertising messages.
If you deploy these touch points across your social media assets, a qualified contacts list will be in your hands quickly.
2. Decide on the buyer's journey
Next in your action plan to advertise on WhatsApp is to decide which stage in the customer journey you want to focus on. A marketing campaign can have different goals based on the target audience and their actions on your website or store. There are generally four stages in the journey that you can customize your campaign to match:
- Awareness: the awareness stage usually involves sharing QR codes and simple messages to attract people to your WhatsApp account and your business in the first place. Once people opt-in, you can send campaigns to familiarize them with your brand. But, again, keep it simple, include rich, attractive media, and add a pathway for human agents to take over the conversation if leads want to know more.
- Consideration: once people show interest in your products or services, send them relevant promotional messages to introduce your products with details. You can add your catalog to your marketing campaign on WhatsApp API. Repeat your efforts with more personalized messages on products they might have shown interest in, the latest launches, etc. Be sure to refrain from spamming users.
- Decision: the decision stage is the most delicate of the customer journey. They are highly interested in the product you are offering. However, they are still pondering the final decision, which can be affected by multiple factors such as budget, need, brand reputation, and reviews. You can opt for a drip campaign to encourage people to take the final step. For example, addressing their pain points, offering discounts and promo codes, and encouraging a two-conversation might give people the push they need to act.
- Retention: retaining customers beyond the purchase phase usually provides higher ROIs than acquiring new leads. Continue to build relationships with your clients by sending relevant tips on using the product, for example, asking for their feedback on the service and quality of items, etc. You can also recommend other products based on customers' profiles and purchase history.
Carefully drafting the message to the right stage, intent, and customer segment is crucial to the campaign's success.
3. Create the message template and creative
Using the WhatsApp business app, you will only have to create your message and select the relevant media. However, if you are using WhatsApp API, you need to create a message template and submit it to WhatsApp for approval.
- The creative: First, study your competitors' campaigns, audit your previous campaigns, and make a list of what would work, what went wrong, and how to improve. Then, think out of the box, brainstorm with your team, and consult the nerds and nuts on board; you will be surprised by how creative they can be! Create a compelling message and choose the suitable media to make it perfect.
- Draft the template: once you have the idea ready and materials to use, draft your template and ensure you fill in all the necessary information to avoid rejection. Then, finally, submit it to WhatsApp and wait.
If you follow the instructions and policies right, your template will get approved, and you can move on to exploit it.
4. Segment and Import your contact list
The next step to market on WhatsApp is to determine the exact group you wish to target. Use the contact list you accumulated, thanks to the different touch points on social media and your website, and segment it as necessary.
Again, if you are using the WhatsApp business app, you will have to import your contacts manually, and you will also be limited to 256 people per broadcast.
If you are migrating to WhatsApp API, your CRM will handle your contacts; you can import them in simple steps. You will also be able to send messages at scale, depending on your tier.
Make sure you segment your database carefully. The better segmented your list is, the more conversions you will get.
Import the contact list and save it. You will find all your contacts on the platform for immediate or later use.
5. Send the campaign and track performance
Now, you can either schedule your campaign or hit send immediately.
Once you send your campaign, you're done, and all workload is finished! Well, not really; in fact, you are just getting started!
You must track the performance of your campaign through the reports available on WhatsApp API. Reports offer the following:
- The number of sent messages: it's the number of sent messages, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they have been delivered successfully yet.
- The number of delivered messages: these are the messages that were successfully delivered to your leads' inboxes.
- The number of read messages: these are the messages that were read by your leads. Statistics say 95% of messages are read within the first three minutes.
- The number of bounced messages: messages bounce because of several reasons such as insufficient funds, messages limit, subscription, opt-out, and templates rating.
- The number of failed messages: messages fail due to factors on your side. You might still have an open conversation with that client, contacts unsubscribed from the last campaign, etc.
- Replies: These statistics will show how many replies you received from the contacts on your campaign.
- The number of unsubscribed: marketing campaign message templates must include an unsubscription button. If a contact is no longer interested in your offers or feels spammed, they opt out.
Now, it's time to sit back and continue to monitor your campaign. Perfecting a marketing campaign will be the result of continuous practice and improvement. To get there, Kartly can help you provide the requirements for Whatsapp API. We offer support along the way, so you will feel natural with the platform in no time.
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