Editors note: while we are quite fond of the ever-reliable text message here at ClickSend Towers we’re also aware of the value new and emerging communications channels bring. WhatsApp for Business is a messaging platform that has a lot to offer for the small business community. We like it a lot and will have more to say on it in the future, so keep your eyes peeled. 😉

Anyhoo, until then we thought we’d get some specialist info and insights on getting started with WhatsApp for your business. If you’re interested in that then this is the guide for you. Brought to you by our mate Domingo from We Can Track.

WhatsApp remains the gold standard in peer-to-peer messaging across the world. With more than 2 billion monthly active users, the platform is the most used messenger app globally. It is far ahead of other players like WeChat and iMessage.

This article will look at how brands can capitalize on the hundreds of millions of people that send and receive messages on the platform every day. Let’s jump right into this WhatsApp marketing guide.

Why Should You Use WhatsApp for Marketing?

Before Facebook bought the company in 2014, WhatsApp was known as a secure mobile messaging app. After the acquisition, Facebook began to push new features like audio and video call functionalities and file sharing.

The biggest game-changer from a marketing perspective, however, is WhatsApp for Business (WFB). WFB was a move that opened the messaging platform up for brands and businesses. Just look at the features WFB has to offer:

  • Organize your chats and messages with labels, great for customer segmentation.
  • List relevant brand information such as your website, company address, and email address on your brand profile.
  • Messaging tools that help you respond faster to customers.

With WFB, brands could reach out to customers, run marketing campaigns, and even respond to queries. WhatsApp provides marketers with more opportunities to engage with their audience, which is why it’s trending with super affiliates.

WhatsApp allows for personalized and immediate communication with customers. The potential advantages include higher conversion rates and improved sales. Then there’s the lower cost of marketing, too.

How to Get Started with WhatsApp Marketing

The bulk of WhatsApp’s benefits from a marketing standpoint lie in its WhatsApp for Business feature. You’ll need to create an account using your business’s official mobile number.

WhatsApp Business welcome screen

WFB exists as a standalone app. You have to download the right app from the app store.

Settings for Whatsapp Business

So that’s how to get started. Pretty straightforward.

Now, let’s discuss how to use WhatsApp for marketing. I’ll share a step-by-step guide with some tips.

1. Define Your Goals

For your marketing to be effective, you need to have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve. Your goals have to be related to how you can nurture your relationships with leads and customers. WFB, after all, was never meant as an initial customer touchpoint for brands and businesses.

The people on your WhatsApp contact list should have already interacted with your brand one way or another. Here are some goals you might have for your WhatsApp marketing campaign:

  • Boost customer satisfaction.
  • Improve customer perception about your product
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Increase conversions

Once you have your overarching goals, determine the specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you will use to measure your campaign’s success. For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, then your KPIs could be the number of sales generated through WhatsApp or free trial sign-ups through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp conversation

For instance, Hellmann’s wanted a campaign that would increase customer engagement. In 2014, it launched the “WhatsCook” campaign. The campaign saw customers interacting with a real chef who taught them how to cook recipes based on the ingredients they had in their fridge.

One of the campaign’s KPIs, then, was the customer’s length of engagement with the brand. Based on the set KPI, the campaign was a success. Customers spend an average of 65 minutes engaging with the brand

2. Know your target audience

Knowing your target audience is key to crushing your business goals. Having a solid idea of your buyer persona is key to figuring out the message and content that’ll resonate best with them.

To create a buyer persona, all you need to do is look at your customer demographics and psychographics and your online metrics and analytics. You need to understand how your customers behave when interacting with your brand. You can use tools like Google Analytics, your CRM, and other data points to gain these insights.

You can conduct surveys and ask your customers their pain points and motivations.

Customer profile

With a firm idea of the people you’ll be selling, you’ll be much more likely to develop an engaging marketing campaign.

3. Create a brand persona

The next thing you might consider is your brand persona. A brand persona determines how you engage with your customers. Your brand persona will determine the types of marketing messages you use.

Coca-Cola’s buyer persona, for example, is bubbly and friendly. So all its marketing messages and communications reflect just that.

Brand personality

Most experts list five types of brand personas: competent, excited, rugged, sophisticated, and caregiver personas. Look at factors like your product/service, niche, and messaging to figure out where you fit.

When determining your brand persona, refer to your buyer persona, too. Remember, the traits of your brand persona should be complementary to the traits of your buyer persona. The idea, after all, is to portray a specific image so you can be effective in reaching out to your target audience.

4. Build a contact list

WhatsApp marketing is much like email marketing. You can’t send people marketing messages if they don’t give you their details, in this case, their phone number.

How do you get them to give up something as personal as a phone number?

The easiest way is to ask for it and offer something of value in return. You could do that through your website.

Salesforce, for example, asks for a new registrant’s mobile phone number on the free trial subscription form. Salesforce can send marketing messages to new subscribers.

Salesforce sign up page

Another way to build your WhatsApp contact list is to leave a widget on your site and wait for people to contact you via the platform. That’s precisely what KLM, the airline, does:

KLM website

As you collect the details of customers, you should segment your list into groups. For example, KLM might segment their list into Economy, Business, and First Class passengers. That would make sense, as they could send relevant marketing messages to each group.

Note from the editor: those are two fantastic examples of growing your contact list – for more ideas, we’ve compiled 22 ways to grow your contact list.

5. Craft your messaging

Now that you have your list, it’s time to craft your messaging. That messaging, again, should depend on your brand persona, buyer persona, and campaign goals.

With WhatsApp, you’ll be relying primarily on textual content. Keep your messaging short. It’s what people expect on WhatsApp. You can share links to relevant resources through WhatsApp, as well.

WhatsApp converstations

WhatsApp allows you to use multimedia files, such as videos, animations, or pictures. Depending on your business, you can even use emojis in your conversations.

6. Give prompt replies

If you use WhatsApp for marketing, make sure to respond promptly to responses. You want to make sure you give them the best customer experience.

Let’s say you sent your offer, and a customer replies, seemingly interested in the offer. If you respond three hours after, do you think the customer will still want to purchase the offer? Probably not.

Many resources will tell you to respond within 24 hours. That’s acceptable, but you should try to respond as quickly as possible (especially during work hours). The faster you respond to a query, the faster you can push the lead down your marketing funnel – and the less likely you are to lose them to a competitor!

In Conclusion

WhatsApp isn’t only a great tool for sending funny cat videos, memes, and heartfelt wishes. It has become a great marketing channel for businesses. Why wouldn’t it be? With WhatsApp, brands can expect higher conversion rates and improved sales. It’s low-cost marketing at its best.

In this article, we looked at ways you can get started with your WhatsApp marketing. Define your goals, know your target audience, and create your brand persona. Build your contact list so you can get those messages out in the first place. Then craft your messaging and give those prompt replies.

Follow all these tips, and you’ll unleash the maximum potential of WhatsApp as a marketing tool. You’ll generate those results you were hoping for.

About the Author

Domingo Karsten has over 10 years of experience in online marketing. He is involved with We Can Track. His writing has been featured in FastCompany and others. Follow him on Twitter at @domingokarsten.