Messenger communication is ‘the’ phenomenon and getting popular than ever. Facebook has 1.65 billion active users. Twitter has 310 million active users. LinkedIn boasts 100 million active users. Most probably you have your business marketed in most of them if not all.
Another platform with the most number of users would be WhatsApp. With 1.5 billion active users, spreading over 180 countries, it may be time for you to consider marketing on WhatsApp.
To add on to a marketers delight, according to 99Firms, the average user checks WhatsApp more than 23 times per day and 58% of users access WhatsApp several times a day.
Being the third most downloaded app on Android in the world, it is evident that WhatsApp is a great contender with lots of promises for marketers. Moreover, the application is available in 53 different languages for them to reach out to a more niche audience.
Image Source: Sumo.com
What is WhatsApp, Anyway?
Created by two ex-Yahoo employees in 2009, with the idea of making free communication available to all, WhatsApp is that solution which eliminates the expenses on SMS texting fees.
It is a free mobile app that uses your phone’s internet connection for you to able to chat with other platform users. It additionally provides for you to be able to send files, images, videos for free, also supports voice and video calls.
This brilliant platform was the fastest to reach 450 million active monthly users. And in 2014 it became the largest acquisition in the history of Silicon Valley, with Facebook acquiring them for $ 16 billion.
Image Source: ComScore
Why Turn to WhatsApp for Business?
The attention that marketing on WhatsApp receives as on date might not be as much but there numerous reasons for you to be getting started with it as a marketer. Some of the obvious reasons include:
- It is free!
- Let’s you send images, e-books, your brochures and catalogs, videos, audios, links, location, documents
- It can serve as a survey tool for feedbacks directly from customers
- It can be used for group meetings
- Let’s you send alerts on new events, sales and offers
- Messages won’t get lost as offline message alerts ensure users know when a message is waiting
- Let’s you communicate with customers directly and in real-time
Back in 2016, the app passed the 100 million voice calls per day mark, which was just a beginning of overtaking Skype for voice calls.
The WhatsApp homepage features a description written by co-founder Jan Koum which says—“Why We Don’t Sell Ads”. What is meant by the message is that there exist no branded profile pages. Therefore, for your audience to be aware of your brand on the platform, you are needed to tell them.
Further, Koum says- “..you the user are the product.”
Which essentially means that the lines between a private user and a corporation become blurred which leads on to making them interchangeable. Advertises and marketers are increasingly understanding and hence capitalizing opportunities of this particular attribute.
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How to Start WhatsApp Marketing: A Step-wise Guide
With social media trends, it is actually all about who can establish a presence first. Now that WhatsApp is open up to businesses, it might get too late for you to win in the race.
You have to strike first. If you can carve out a niche before everyone else does, you are sure to have a massive head-start over other marketers.
Simply follow the steps below and get that head-start before everyone else joins the bandwagon.
Rather obvious but—you need to create a Whatsapp account. But on the surface creating an account involves installing the app on your device, creating a name using 25 characters at max, selecting a profile picture, and coming up with a status that describes who you are within139 characters.
Basically, it is that simple. But there sure are things you should consider first, before creating an account:
- Is the name you are going to use permanent? Think about the name you pick. You should be sure as you cannot change it soon as once you enter your name, you cannot change it.
- Your WhatsApp account is bound to a singular phone number. You need to make sure that the number you use to install the app stays around with your business.
- What should be your profile picture? This fact cannot be emphasized more—your display picture should be your brand’s image. Ideally your logo.
- Do people check-out your profile? In that case what should be the status? Though people rarely go through a status but you should have something brand related, perhaps your motto, as your status.
- What about the URL, where can you fit that? If you must include it then the status is your best choice. Though the link will be unclickable but you have 139 characters at your disposal.
- Lastly, remember that your status, after all, isn’t the best place to drive traffic instead you want your messages to do that.
Marketers almost unanimously agree on WhatsApp being a platform not viable for not having easy ways to be able to build an audience.
But that is what makes it more fun to use.
This also makes it permission-based marketing in its purest form wherein you need to ask people to join obviously by giving them reasons enough to join your group. It makes total sense as they are sharing their contact number with you.
There exists no way to be able to search for users or acquire them by paying. Therefore, the following mentioned methods seem most pliable:
- One way could be—share your number and let them add you. This method seems to work because you are not being intrusive by asking visitors for their phone number and at the same time you appear to be trusting your number to the masses and giving them with the choice to add you.
- The other way would be—getting their number and you adding them. Obviously, you cannot just go on and ask for the users’ number directly, making it harder than the first one. While the previous method places a lot of responsibility on the user, this method helps you eliminate an acquisition step. Apart from the standard ways of acquiring contact numbers (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) there also exist another unique way to do so. Target users with a pop-up without having to have any coding expertise, as there are available multiple tools for you to use.
Now that you have some numbers you need to organize contacts into groups. There might be times when you don’t want to message people one-on-one instead send messages to as many people as possible.
For times as this, you need to create groups within WhatsApp.
You need to remember though that you’ll have to create the groups yourself, you’ll have to add all the numbers manually and that you have a max group size (being 256 people as of now) though this group sizes keep going up.
So, what all to consider when making a group? Read on:
- You know that you are limited to 256 people a group. Therefore you need to decide who will be in that group. Would you segment it by age? Gender? It’s up to you.
- What will the dynamics of each group be? As you keep adding people to a group you must also think about the demographics and psychographics of each group.
- Will you have to move people between different groups? When clubbing users under different dynamics you might have to move people from group-to-group or move them to a new group altogether. But consider how your audience might feel if they’re moved from group to group.
Now, you are over with the most time-consuming part of marketing on WhatsApp and finally will get to do the really fun stuff—interacting with the audience.
As an early adopter, you get numerous possibilities that can be mouth-wateringly tantalizing.
WhatsApp is literally a gen X of emails. You can not only communicate one message in bulk but at the same tie also communicate one-on-one for personalized interaction.
The best part about it is that messages on WhatsApp have a 70% chance to be opened. Email open rate isn’t even close and is unlikely to be.
One thing is increasingly becoming clearer and clearer is that each type of communication channel deserves its own thought-out content. While it is easier to find a content strategy for your messenger communication, it is also the key to your success.
Businesses, before deciding on a concept, need to ask the following questions:
- Who am I creating this WhatsApp content for and what do I want to achieve with it.
- How can I create value for customers—what content needs to be communicated using messaging apps, making it relevant for the target groups?
- What kind of content is particularly suited for WhatsApp? What information needs to be received immediately, what kind of content is vial and shareable?
Matthias Mehner, CMO MessengerPeople says—“Of course, each company should develop their own content strategy, taking a good look at their KPIs, and carefully adjusting their own messenger communication to their target group”.
WhatsApp Marketing Strategies
The MessengerPeople Study 2018 showed us that there are at least two decisive factors in successful content marketing on WhatsApp, namely—shareability and attention.
It is also found out that most people share information, links, sales, etc. over WhatsApp, making it more than Facebook, email or other channels. The platform has truly gained the trust of majority users which is the reason why more users allow WhatsApp to send push notifications than any other app.
Real-Time Customer Chat
Customers today want to reach out to businesses and have real conversations, not just respond to one-way messages directed at them. WhatsApp addresses these issues by being the first app to deliver quality, reliable two-way messaging around the globe. And while WhatsApp serves as a great channel for notifications like delivery alerts, purchase confirmations, and customer support, it also allows a more direct way to engage your customers and have the two-way conversations that normally take place in a physical store location or over the phone.
Multiple features that WhatsApp comes packed with like chat, voice or video calls, can be used efficiently to support customers making customer service improve drastically and also ensuring that you provide personalized and direct treatment to each one of the users.
The app does not limit itself to efficient with just customer service. It can also be used to take orders, or provide your customers with special discounts.
Utilize Myriads of Features
As discussed above in the article, WhatsApp comes with numerous features that can be utilized equally by marketers as by individual users. Another example would be the platform’s own status feature using which you can upload posts as your statuses which disappear in the next 24 hours. This can be a great way to announce flash sales and offers to your customers.
Being able to share your location can also come in handy when customers inquire about your where your store is located. The recipients can then open the location further using Google Maps.
Also, WhatsApp comes with its own payment feature using which you can both send and receive money with the use of your UPI. You can use the feature to receive money or send refunds to customers.
Make Messaging More Attractive
Plain and boring old texts are a thing of past. Platforms today have several of their own formatting options that can help you with making a simple text appealing. You can try emphasizing certain things by making important text bold, or maybe italicize them.
In order to make the text bold put the text between asterisks and to italicize it put it between underscores.
As discussed earlier, you can also send GIFs, images, and videos with the text making the text more appealing to the readers.
It is also a good idea to use emojis if your text allows you to. This can add a certain expressive flair to your message.
Keep in mind to never ever spam your customers with repetitive messages. You should also align the message in neat paragraphs and spacing so that it falls easier on the eyes while also looking attractive.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep it short and sweet so that doesn’t lose any attention from the reader.
Will you jump on the WhatsApp for Businesses Train?
Messaging apps are quickly over-taking normal social media, so you must take advantage of the gap in the market to promote your products and services.
WhatsApp is a messaging app and thus is not quite like Facebook or Instagram and therefore, should not be treated the same way. It also tends to be more popular in some countries than others, which realistically influences just how successful your business will be on the platform.
The platform is certainly growing each day and so it is definitely a platform to consider marketers. Want to learn more about WhatsApp’s Business solution? Get early access by clicking below.