WhatsApp marketing: how does it work?

Aug 31, 2022
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Reaching your target audience is a constant challenge. It requires lots of research to determine where your customer is hiding. And where most marketers find them via Google and social media channels, they often forget messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

With over 5 billion downloads on both Android and iOS and around 2.2. billion active users, WhatsApp can prove a very useful marketing channel.

“WhatsApp is a communication powerhouse for SMBs, given its excellent penetration rates and ease of use.” - The Economic Times.

Where users on Google and Youtube are already numb to most marketing efforts. WhatsApp still proves a fresh marketing channel. The platform offers less competition and not the high costs per click that other platforms sport.

So let’s look at what WhatsApp Business has to offer. And how WhatsApp marketing can serve your business as a useful marketing tool.

In this blog, you’ll find answers to the questions:

  • Why should I use WhatsApp Business for my marketing?
  • Which features will help me reach my target audience?
  • How do I get started?

Marketing gold: finding your target audience

No matter your target audience, you can safely assume a large chunk of them are on WhatsApp.

How do we know?

WhatsApp hosts more users than Instagram and LinkedIn combined. The messaging platform contains a big slice of the messaging market and is the most popular messaging platform worldwide. Hosting users aged from 16 up to 64.

With the number of users on all messaging platforms combined growing up to 3.5 billion by 2025, WhatsApp already owns a big slice of the cake. It is far from plateauing yet.

And your customers are not just on there in a dormant state! The incredibly high open rate of 98 percent shows that your customers are very active users on this platform. Especially compared to the average email open rate of 22 percent. So it's highly likely your customers will see your message.

Outbound WhatsApp marketing

Before the introduction of WhatsApp Business, SMS was the only way to reach your customers on their phones via direct messaging.

But back in the day SMS marketing was not necessarily the best way to reach out. As it used to be very difficult to make an SMS look good and to give it a clear and appealing structure. With WhatsApp Business, however, it’s not just about sending plain text messages anymore. It’s about sharing media-rich messages with your target audience.

“WhatsApp functionality extends to customer conversations that are interactive, media-rich, and informative in the same chat, resulting in higher engagement rates.” - The Economic Times

These WhatsApp features can help you reach your target audience

With the development of each WhatsApp Business feature, the platform is growing into a better and better outbound marketing tool.

WhatsApp Broadcast

Want to share news about a product launch, an order update or both in a newsletter? It’s possible to send messages via WhatsApp. And to a big batch of customers in one go.

The messaging platform used to be mostly focused on inbound communication and businesses receiving messages. The Broadcast feature, however, has made sure that WhatsApp is now also an outbound marketing tool.

Because now you can:

  • Create a group of customers
  • Add a call to action to your messages
  • Broadcast to big groups of customers in one go

Great news right? Your customers are very used to being on WhatsApp. And your competitors aren’t.

Also great is that the channel is more personal than any email. People will receive your messages in between chats from friends and family. Which will result in higher open rates and more click-throughs.

Read more about the Broadcast feature.

App versus API

Do keep in mind: that there are big differences between the WhatsApp Business app and the API.

With the app you can send a broadcast message to a list of contacts consisting of 256 contacts. Does your newsletter list consists of more contacts? Then you’ll have to send multiple broadcasts.

In addition, it is only possible for one of your customer service members to use the app and communicate with your customers. As the app won’t allow you to connect more than one phone number to it.

The WhatsApp for Business API allows bigger businesses, with more than 1 or 2 customer service employees, to broadcast. Depending on your status as a WhatsApp Business user you can send broadcast messages to 800 contacts and up, per 24 hours.

Each contact will receive your message as if it was only sent to them. Customers don’t have to be grouped. And you don’t have to forward the newsletter to each contact individually. When your customers reply to the newsletter, by clicking on your CTAs, you will be the only one receiving their reply.

WhatsApp marketing automation

WhatsApp has made it possible to automate communication. And to send automated updates via their channel.

Whenever there is a marketing opportunity, there should be an opportunity for automation. Because customer communication, and subsequently service, should be as effective as possible.

Customer service software

In order to make the most of these automation features you first need to connect the WhatsApp Business API to your webshop. A software like Trengo can do this for you.

Via Trengo you can then:

1. Send WhatsApp templates

Sending templates, such as newsletters, starts with the typical opt-in. Like all marketing communication. But once your customers have opted in you can start templating a message.

WhatsApp will take 48 hours to review your template, or less, to maintain qualitative content on the platform. Luckily, many templates besides newsletters are currently being approved by WhatsApp. Think about customer account updates, alerts, notifications as well as informative messages about shipping, support tickets, and transportation.

Once approved, you can up your level of service dramatically. You can quickly send customers updates about your product and business. And with faster response times because of the templates as well as smoother flows of communication, you can service your customers on a level your competition hasn’t figured out yet.

Templates will also allow you to use dynamic content. So you can make your message as personal as possible.

Use dynamic content to make your WhatsApp marketing efforts as personal as possible.
Dynamic WhatsApp Message

Templated messages will jump-start conversations with your buyer persona. Conversations that will result in the best possible customer experience, support and service.

Have a look at these templates that will make your life easier.

2. Use quick-replies

After you’ve sent out your broadcasted, templated message or newsletter you’ll receive lots of replies. Luckily, there is an option for automated quick replies.

Automated replies can vary from small greetings and notifications to more elaborate away messages. And as long as you’re replying to a message within 24 hours you don’t have to let anything be approved by Whatsapp. Easy!

Check out these examples of WhatsApp Business quick replies.

3. Set up chatbots

Running chatbots via WhatsApp is a great form of automation. With either a chatbot or flowbot you can simulate conversations with customers.

The chatbot will allow you to ask open-ended questions. As it recognizes keywords and replies with pre-filled answers.

The Flowbot can direct customers to the page, helpdesk article, or team (customer service, finance, sales) they are looking for.

With both the chatbot and flowbot tool you will engage customers via the WhatsApp platform. Offering them fantastic customer service in the process.

Check out more details about the WhatsApp chatbot.

For the early adapters

With the broadcast, template, and automation feature WhatsApp Business is on its way to becoming a great outbound marketing channel.

Forecasts show a big growth in businesses joining the platform. However, the predicted 6.72 million organizations using WhatsApp Business by the end of 2024 is still not a large number of companies worldwide. Especially not when compared to the number of people using the channel.

Businesses are still in the discovery phase. All the while users of the channel are very active on the platform. And a long way from experiencing ‘channel fatigue’, as seen with Youtube.

A marketing win-win. Your customers are on the platform and ready to receive your messages. But your competitors are not actively marketing their (and your) customers in this space.

Start with WhatsApp marketing

Looking at the combination of features and the previously mentioned data WhatsApp is leaning into its function as an outbound marketing tool.

You can tailor and template your communication, automate the flow and broadcast it to your entire target audience. Gathering great results! Because of the big number of active users and the high open rate WhatsApp Business is more than ready to start driving engagement and subsequent sales.

Trengo is a smart customer engagement platform. And our software will connect the WhatsApp Business API to your business to show all your communication channels in one overview. Including WhatsApp.

So make sure to check out what Trengo and WhatsApp can do for your marketing outreach.

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