July 21, 2022 10 min read

How to send a WhatsApp Business bulk message (without getting in trouble)

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It’s no secret that WhatsApp Business has become an indispensable channel for companies to communicate with their customers.

While most companies use it to offer customer service and generate leads, forward-thinking marketers regularly Googled: “Can WhatsApp Business send bulk messages?”. And for years, the answer was no.

Up until recently, it was even illegal to send bulk messages via WhatsApp Business. In 2019, the messaging platform even communicated it would take legal action against unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging on its platform.

But with Trengo, you can now send bulk messages via WhatsApp Business to an audience of up to 800 people per day.

And yes, it’s completely legal.

In this short and sweet article, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about this feature. You can also sign up for a free trial of Trengo right away and try it out for yourself.

What is a WhatsApp Business bulk message?

A bulk message is a message that is sent from a single WhatsApp Business user to multiple phone numbers at the same time. All receivers of the message will see it coming in as a private message. WhatsApp bulk messaging first was a consumer-only feature, but it’s now also available for businesses. For businesses, this means they can now also use WhatsApp for outbound marketing activities.

How to send a bulk message via the WhatsApp Business app

First off, there are some limitations to using the regular WhatsApp Business app:

  1. You can only send bulk messages to people who saved you on their phone as a contact. And when is the last time you saved a company’s number in your contacts? Right.
  2. You can only send a bulk message to a maximum number of 256 contacts at a time.
  3. The app can only be used by up to four different users at a time. Which is fine for a small business, but gets problematic fast when you’re working with larger teams.

That being said, here’s how to send a bulk message via the regular app:

  • Open up the WhatsApp Business application
  • Go to chats
  • Find ‘Broadcast lists’ right above your most recent conversation.

After you have added phone numbers to the list, it’s time to name the list and send out a bulk message. The list will automatically be saved, meaning you can send more broadcast messages to the same list later on.

Everything you can do with bulk messaging via the WhatsApp Business API

As I said, the regular WhatsApp Business app works just fine for small companies. Mid-sized and large companies are better off using the WhatsApp Business API.

Before explaining how to set it up, we’ll get into the possibilities and limitations of the API.

Send a bulk message to 800 recipients a day

WhatsApp Business accounts can send a bulk message to up to 800 recipients per day. This means you can also send two bulk messages to audiences of 400 users, or however you want to divide it.

Reach customers who don’t have you saved as a contact

A huge plus of using the API is that you actually get to reach your customers. With the regular app, customers need to have you saved as a contact in order for you to be able to send them a bulk message. With the API, this isn’t necessary.

However, this does not mean you should just spam a list of random contacts. Make sure recipients have at some point opted-in or are existing customers.

Schedule a bulk message

You can either decide to send a bulk message on the spot or schedule it to be sent out at a later moment.

Monitor your bulk messages

After your broadcast message has been sent out, you can keep a clear overview of how it’s performing in a dashboard (see image below). The dashboard displays the status of the bulk message (sent, scheduled, sending, or failed). On the right, you can see the cost per sent broadcast message. We’ll get into the cost per message later on in this article.

The WhatsApp Business bulk messaging dashboard.
The WhatsApp Business bulk message dashboard in Trengo.

Answer incoming messages with an unlimited number of users

If you’re sending out a message to 800 people at the same time, you’ll most likely get a lot of replies too. With a tool like Trengo, you and your team can manage all incoming answers in a shared inbox.

📚 Read more: How to use WhatsApp Business with multiple users

Automate answering messages with auto-replies and bots

Another way to manage an influx of incoming replies to your bulk message is using automation. With auto-replies or chatbots, customers will always get a quick reply to their questions or remarks.

The limitations of bulk messaging via the API

To avoid WhatsApp turning into the wild, wild west full of cowboy marketers spamming their customers, Meta put up some much-needed boundaries.

Bulk messages can only be sent with message templates

When sending a bulk message via the API, you have to use so-called template messages. These messages first have to be approved by WhatsApp before you can send them out. Therefore, the templates have to abide by WhatsApp’s commerce policy.

But having to use templates doesn’t mean you can’t personalize them. With placeholders, such as [business name], [receiver name], [order number], and [date], you can leave room to tailor bulk messages to the receiver.

Here’s an example of what a template for a back-in-stock alert would look like (including personalization placeholders):

An example of a template message that can be used for bulk messaging on WhatsApp.
An example of a template message with placeholders.

📚 Read more: Everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business message templates

Sending bulk messages isn’t free

Sending a WhatsApp Business template message comes with a cost. The prices vary per country, and an active list of costs can be found here.

This means that to calculate the costs of a bulk message, you can multiply the costs of the template with the number of recipients. In Trengo, you will always get an estimated amount before you send out the bulk message.

Bulk messages will be sent with a slight delay

To avoid system overload, bulk messages will be sent with a slight delay. This means a couple of minutes may pass between the first and the last message being sent out. You can keep a close eye on the status of each message in your dashboard.

Use cases of bulk messages on WhatsApp Business

To give you a better idea of how you can use bulk messaging, here are some examples:

  • WhatsApp newsletters: Share news of your organization or products with all your opted-in customers.
  • Status updates: Let customers know when your website has an outage and at what time you expect it to be live again.
  • Back-in-stock alerts: Inform customers who requested a specific product earlier is now in stock again.

How to send a bulk message via the WhatsApp Business API

The API doesn’t come with an interface, which is why you’ll need to use a solution like Trengo to access it. Trengo is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, meaning we can get you set up within minutes.

Once you’re in the platform and you have successfully requested your WhatsApp Business message templates, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. In the sidebar menu, click on the broadcast icon.
  2. Next, click on ‘New Broadcast’.
  3. Fill out the fields as explained in the sections below.
The fields you need to fill in to send out a WhatsApp bulk message in Trengo.

In the above fields, you need to fill out the following information:

  • The internal name for your message
  • From which number you’ll be sending the message
  • Which template you’ll be using
  • Which recipients will receive the message
  • When the message should be delivered

Easy does it. Make sure to double-check everything before sending out your bulk message. There is no undoing after you have hit the send button.

Start using WhatsApp bulk messages for your business

Ready to start sending bulk messages to your customers via WhatsApp? You can start a free trial for 14 days here.

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