Conversational commerce is becoming the new cornerstone of customer engagement. It cultivates customer relationships and loyalty. Especially if these conversations occur on platforms where your customers already are. This minimizes additional steps, sign-up, and other hurdles that marketers know will preemptively doom their efforts.
SMS and “over the top” (OTT) messaging apps have steadily transformed interactions between customers and businesses from one-way to two-way. And the most effective OTT platform marketers can leverage is WhatsApp, given its simple yet effective messaging functionality.
But how can you use WhatsApp for Marketing and reach potential customers every time you press send? Today, we’re exploring WhatsApp marketing so you can put conversation back into commerce.
What Is WhatsApp Marketing?
Created in 2009, WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in the world.
According to Business of Apps, only Facebook (sisters company in Meta) and Youtube have attracted larger social media user bases. While several factors can account for the app’s success, WhatsApp’s high engagement rate of 70% is chief among them..
Like other messaging apps, WhatsApp connects to the Internet, allowing people to send texts. But compared to SMS, one of the platform's biggest advantages is the ability to exchange rich media: videos, images and audio. And, unlike some messaging apps, WhatsApp also caters to businesses through WhatsApp Business.
Simply put, WhatsApp Business empowers brands’ conversational commerce strategies by providing a dedicated platform and access to the most users of any messaging app.
The Value of Two-Way Customer Engagement
Most digital marketers are intimately familiar with one-way campaigns. Whether cold emails, paid ads, or SEO, these strategies have been used extensively over the past few decades to engage with customers. But until social media, they all fell short of genuine two-way interaction. Consumers mostly remained campaign viewers, not participants.
But messaging apps and conversational commerce bring a level of personalization and depth of direct connection that few channels can match. Responses on WhatsApp are more than just a digital thumbs up.
This two-way messaging strategy can improve the business-to-customer (B2C) relationship by allowing customers to:
- Purchase products and services
- Ask questions
- Provide feedback
- Resolve order issues promptly
Benefits of WhatsApp Marketing
Regardless of your industry, WhatsApp Business can help your brand market to its full potential. The benefits of WhatsApp for marketing include:
- Market share
- High engagement rates
Let’s take a closer look at each benefit.
#1 Market Share
With 2 billion active users worldwide, WhatsApp dominates the messaging app market. Android and iOS users have downloaded WhatsApp over five billion times. It is extremely popular in Asia, Europe and South America, opening a land of opportunities for international businesses.
#2 Low Cost
One aspect of WhatsApp’s platform that’s driving its market share is the cost. Unlike SMS, users don’t need plans or pay messaging fees. This is because the platform supports communication over WiFi or smartphone data rather than cellular networks.
#3 Engagement Rates
Engagement is the first step toward marketing success. After all, the best campaign is worthless if no one opens the messages or engages with it. Fortunately, conversational commerce—and WhatsApp Business in particular—boast some of the industry’s best engagement numbers:
- Text messages have a 19% higher CTR on average than email and Facebook.
- 91% of consumers would subscribe to receive text messages from brands.
Given the prevalence of text-based messaging in contemporary society, many people feel comfortable using messaging platforms. WhatsApp increases the user experience even more by supporting two-way communication, rich media content, and easy navigation.
By making communication easier between businesses and consumers, WhatsApp enables businesses to focus on consumers’ individual needs.
“For orders of customized cakes,” writes Indian bakery owner Sonal Gupta, “WhatsApp allows a hassle-free process wherein the customer can convey their requirements better.” Personalization isn’t just possible; it’s baked in.
B2C communication often involves transmitting personal information. This information can include:
- Consumer contact information
- Bank account information
- Buying habits
Unfortunately, hackers can often access this data. The good news is that WhatsApp uses encryption technology. This means that the information sent between a business and consumer is transcribed into a code that only people with a decryption key can access.
WhatsApp Business Features
Although conversational commerce is emerging as one of the most important customer engagement channels, how easy is it to manage on a daily basis?
Built-in features (and those easily integrated from third-party platforms) automate and streamline campaign execution to keep things simple:
- Templates and quick replies – Pre-built message templates allow your business to keep mass communication or individualized updates professional and friendly with minimal effort. Once engaged in a conversation, quick replies and automated responses will keep it flowing without suddenly draining your bandwidth.
- Message organization – On WhatsApp, your unique conversations will start adding up quickly, but WhatsApp Business helps you keep them organized. For example, you can mark messages by department or inquiry type, label contacts, and ensure everyone receives a response. And with desktop browser compatibility, you won’t be stuck managing conversations and campaigns on the small screens of smartphones.
- eCommerce catalogs – Your WhatsApp business profile can list up to 500 products or services for customers to pursue. Alternatively, you can link to eCommerce pages like Facebook shops. WhatsApp can even facilitate eCommerce purchases within the app.
- Mass reach – With the broadcasting feature, businesses can send text or media messages to multiple users at once. It is extremely convenient to announce promotions, sales or any news.
- Data-driven decision-making – Open rates, click-throughs, and other data help inform marketers what works and what doesn’t. With WhatsApp Business and an integrated platform like Connectly’s, you can keep a close eye on the performance and make educated decisions based on that.
How to Use WhatsApp for Marketing
If WhatsApp Business is user-friendly, it’s also business-friendly—especially for marketing campaign flexibility. The messaging platform’s accessibility means you can engage in various types of marketing campaigns, including:
- Product launches
- Personalized recommendations
- Welcome sequences and user verification
- Abandoned cart sequences
- Scheduling and booking
- Feedback and surveys
- Informational campaigns, event notices, and holiday greetings
- Platform integrations and data
Let's explore some of these marketing strategies further and help you start thinking of how to leverage WhatsApp for your business's next conversational commerce campaign.
WhatsApp Business can be a particularly effective promotional marketing channel. That’s because this platform can reach large audiences of both local and international consumers, making it suitable for every business.
Additionally, WhatsApp Business can harness one of the most essential aspects of promotional marketing: timeliness.
By allowing you to update your customers at the push of a button, WhatsApp Business can help ensure your customers never miss a new promotion. These promotions can include:
- Discounts and deals
- New products
- New advertising campaigns
To illustrate WhatsApp Business’s promotional potential, let’s look at one of the major global sports retailers, Adidas.
After discovering how many recreational players use WhatsApp chats to coordinate teams and games, Adidas created the “100% Unfair Predator” campaign. They invited teams to request professional athletes to fill in for unreliable teammates on game day. The athlete—or “Pred”—then showed up to play the match for chosen teams while showcasing one of Adidas’ recently released line of cleats.
In addition to helping promote new business ventures, WhatsApp Business can also help you launch new products. In fact, WhatsApp may be one of the best ways to ensure new products reach your chosen market.
Just ask Absolut Vodka.
A global spirit brand from 1979, Absolut Vodka historically struggled with brand recognition. That is until they launched Absolut Unique using WhatsApp.
To promote their new vodka, Absolut encouraged consumers to send messages to a company-ran WhatsApp account owned by “Sven.” In these messages, consumers had to tell Sven why they deserved to go to a party celebrating the launch of Absolut Vodka.
Once consumers had sent their texts, the goliath alcohol brand entered them into a contest to win tickets to the party.
Some companies have found success using WhatsApp to send personalized product recommendations to customers based on their habits. These tailor-made suggestions deepen the customer relationship and often provide content suggestions, healthy recipes, and lifestyle choices that people enjoy engaging with.
By providing personalized recommendations to consumers through WhatsApp, these companies perform two essential marketing functions: informing and trust-building. Not every WhatsApp message needs to push a CTA or drive sales to foster more loyalty. Instead, promote brand trust and, when customers are ready to make a purchase, your company is already front-of-mind.
Take Netflix, for example. To encourage people to check out new content, Netflix sends WhatsApp subscribers personal messages with content suggestions based on their viewing histories. As a result, customers can find more content they’ll enjoy, and Netflix promotes more of its library, which helps retain high subscriber numbers.
Alternatively, Hellman’s Mayonnaise launched a WhatsApp campaign—”WhatsCook”—aimed at helping consumers learn new recipes based on the ingredients they already had. The conversations over WhatsApp led to an average of 65 minutes of high-quality and continuous engagement.
Through promotions and product launches, WhatsApp Business can help your company boost revenue. In fact, sales-based WhatsApp marketing may be one of the best ways to increase your brand’s overall profit margin.
Take the consumer goods company Unilever, for example. To help generate sales of a new fabric softener, Unilever installed billboards around major Brazilian cities. These billboards featured a message and a WhatsApp number.
When interested customers contacted the number, Unilever messaged customers the following:
- Tips on caring for clothes
- New product details
- Discounts and free shipping
As a result of this marketing campaign, 12,000 unique customers sent Unilever over 290,000 messages, and sales increased 14x.
While welcome sequences have been traditionally delivered via email they are far more effective inlike WhatsApp. That’s because:
- Various sources report that messages sent via WhatsApp Business have a 98% open rate; in contrast, email open rates span from 15% to 30%, depending on the industry.
- Roughly 175 million people per day interact with businesses on WhatsApp alone.
Meeting your audience on the platforms they use, at their convenience, will always produce better marketing results.
“Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.” – Chris Messina, inventor of the hashtag
Abandoned Cart Sequences
One of the most difficult stats businesses today grapple with is abandoned cart rates. Per the Baymard Institute, which researched online user experiences, online shopping carts are abandoned roughly 70% of the time.
But receiving abandoned cart reminders can reserve much of that loss. As shown in a study from Experian, customers are 2.4 times more likely to make a purchase after receiving multiple abandoned cart messages.
Similar to welcome sequences, WhatsApp Business abandoned cart sequences are less likely to be lost in the deluge of potential spam emails consumers receive daily.
Feedback and Surveys
Using WhatsApp Business to send customer surveys can boost your overall marketing strategy. In addition to receiving helpful feedback, you can use the survey to promote new products.
Here are a few ways to effectively use WhatsApp Business to gather feedback:
- Ask customers to use an emoji to express their satisfaction with a new product
- Include a link to a questionnaire
- Offer discounts to customers who review their products
Platform Integrations and Data
Marketers depend on integrated platforms that centralize management tasks and data. There are too many moving parts to today’s marketing strategies to stay on top of everything without them.
Fortunately, WhatsApp Business also integrates with platforms to enable campaign building, management, and data collection with the same sophistication that marketers expect from emails and other channels. WhatsApp Business’ advantages and opportunities don’t force you into siloed strategies and workflows, It seamlessly integrates with your existing efforts and back-end management capabilities.
How to Get Started With WhatsApp Business
Integrating WhatsApp Business into your marketing strategy is easy. Here’s how:
- Create a business profile – Include your name, business address, company description, and photo.
- Construct templates – WhatsApp Business allows you to construct templates to increase marketing efficiency. These templates make sending welcome, abandoned cart, and out-of-stock messages even easier.
- Create labels – Labels allow you to categorize different aspects of your business. For instance, you can create labels for “paid orders,” “unpaid orders,” and “fulfilled orders.”
- Create quick answers – Answering customer questions can be time-consuming. Fortunately, WhatsApp Business allows you to create quick answer templates. That way, you can respond quickly to frequently asked questions.
- Make WhatsApp Business compatible with your website – When you add WhatsApp Business to your website, customers can access your profile from your homepage. As a result, WhatsApp Business can take the place of “live chat.”
These efforts become even easier with a dedicated platform for building and managing your WhatsApp Business campaigns, like Connectly.
Hop on the WhatsApp Bandwagon With Connectly
When it comes to brand marketing, WhatsApp dominates the field. After all, how can you beat a conversational commerce platform with billions of engaged users protected by encryption technology?
And here at Connectly, our two-way conversational platform utilizes WhatsApp to help you implement more effective marketing strategies. Furthermore, our no-code tool allows you to create interactive marketing campaigns without wrestling with complicated codes.