Email and WhatsApp: A Guide for Aspiring Multi-Channel Marketers

Email and WhatsApp: A Guide for Aspiring Multi-Channel Marketers

Email and WhatsApp: A Guide for Aspiring Multi-Channel Marketers

This guide digs into how the best marketers integrate WhatsApp with their email marketing efforts to supercharge their funnels and elevate customer engagement.

Marketing professionals: if you want to delight and grow your audience, it’s time to align your email and WhatsApp efforts.

Single-channel marketing strategies are severely limited. They often take the shape of a one-way conversation between a brand and its prospects. But today’s consumers seek personal, conversational channels of communication that don’t feel like marketing.

Modern technology has caused the lines to blur between our personal and professional lives. The customer journey is no longer linear or 100% predictable. Numerous social platforms and digital experiences have created a network of consumer touchpoints that are forcing brands to adapt or fail.

A multi-channel approach to generating consistent awareness and conversion is now a table-stakes initiative. And while marketers have a lot of different tools at their disposal, this guide is about two proven options that can yield fruitful results.   

Integrating email and WhatsApp will not only help you elevate consumer interest, but you’ll generate more trust, awareness, engagement, and best of all—ROI. 

The state of email and WhatsApp marketing

If effective marketing is all about reaching your customers where they are, then there’s no digital real estate more valuable than consumer inboxes and text threads. 

Billions of people are still sending emails

Every year, various thought leaders and publications declare email marketing dead. But based on the data, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

4.25 billion people—more than half of the planet’s population—used email daily in 2022. That figure is expected to top 4.7 billion active daily users by 2026, translating into more than 392 billion daily emails sent. Email is far from dead.

It’s not just about volume. The ROI of email marketing is also predicted to rise steadily for the foreseeable future. In 2020, global email marketing efforts were worth a collective $7.5 billion. In 2027, due to an expected compound annual growth of 13.3%, its valuation is estimated to hit nearly $18 billion.

WhatsApp has become a global communication phenomenon

After crossing the 2 billion global user mark in 2020, WhatsApp has continued to sustain an unpredictable explosion of growth. Its parent company, Meta, has quickly turned it into a premier marketing channel with WhatsApp Business. The app has rapidly shifted from a purely conversational platform to an enterprise-level growth channel, and consumers are embracing it with open arms.

As impressive as the growth of both email and WhatsApp has been, the customer engagement possibilities unlocked by integrating both into your marketing strategy are even more impressive. Before you can kickstart that process, you need to understand the unique strengths and limitations each one brings to the table.

Single-channel strengths and limitations


Email has remained a constant channel in the business world for the better part of three decades. One of the main reasons is due to its versatility. Marketers have the freedom to craft detailed messages, including images, links, and attachments, using an easily adaptable structure.

Other Go-to-Market teams, such as product marketing, customer success, and sales take full advantage of email’s reach and familiarity. Newsletters, promotions, discounts, and product updates are commonplace pieces of content.

Even in the midst of newer trends like ChatGPT and TikTok, email continues to stay ingrained in our daily lives. As third-party cookies evaporate, email remains one of the best ways for businesses to convert and retain, and curated email lists still represent a priceless trove of data. 

  • A 2022 survey of 254 retailers sheds some light. 51% of respondents said social media drives customer acquisition, but 81% say that email marketing drives acquisition. 

However, emails can get lost in crowded inboxes or get flagged as spam, reducing effectiveness. Email does skew more professional than personal, but folks still demand personalized subject lines, images, and messaging. If one of these elements feels too generic or misplaced, your email will likely remain unopened. 


WhatsApp offers a direct, more conversational approach to customer communication. It’s centered around real-time interactions and encourages a sense of personal connection with individual consumers. WhatsApp messages boast an astounding 98% open rate, a benchmark that puts it in a league of its own compared to other communication channels.

These one-on-one conversations often lead to better customer assistance and quicker answers to questions, which is critical. 77% of consumers expect a response within the first 24 hours.

WhatsApp also offers better multimedia sharing capabilities than email for formats like GIFs, video, and voice messages. As a result, marketers can lean into a more creative and authentic-sounding communication style, which enhances the overall customer experience (CX). 

Despite its overwhelming popularity, WhatsApp holds a very high standard over the heads of Business Accounts. The platform’s administrators go through great lengths to keep in-platform conversations personal and high-quality. As a result, businesses that rely solely on WhatsApp may face challenges breaking through to their audience, especially as they learn the platform’s requirements. 

Manage email and WhatsApp under one roof

To extract the most value out of each channel, you’ll need to create an integrated ecosystem that unifies all your tasks, data, and automations in one place. Each marketing channel provides your team with an opportunity to collect valuable data about your prospects and customers. Their preferences, behaviors, and decisions all serve as indicators that help you design personalized experiences.

When the data for each of these channels is managed separately, it becomes difficult to gain a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not.

An omni-channel marketing platform like Bird gives you seamless integration with all of your most important data warehouses such as your CRM, e-commerce platform, and existing customer service tools. There’s no need for technical expertise or manual coding. Instead, everything happens seamlessly in one interface. This way, you spend less time troubleshooting and more time generating high-impact content.

Bird offers robust features for email marketing: 

  • Sign-up forms to capture opt-ins and grow  your list

  • Create customized email templates

  • Set up automated journeys for your subscribers

  • Send hyper-targeted emails to segmented lists based on past behavior

  • Develop multi-step campaigns designed to move buyers through the funnel

With our WhatsApp integration you can: 

  • All of the above but also on WhatsApp

  • Combining WhatsApp and Email in one campaign

  • Engage in real-time interactions with customers

  • Create automated responses based on buyer activity

  • Use chatbots to provide personalized assistance and support

Content strategies for integrated email and WhatsApp marketing

By reaching consumers where they are, across different devices, marketing managers and strategists can expand their reach and diversify their content. Let’s cover a few essentials you should keep in mind when designing a marketing strategy that gets the most out of both email and WhatsApp.

1. Deliver top-tier personalization across each channel

Conversational marketing means creating 1:1 engagement with each customer. The challenge is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. With a multi-channel marketing platform, you have more tactics at your disposal to craft meaningful content across the entire customer journey.  

  • Audience segmentation: You can increase personalization by targeting a specific group of customers based on their preferences, behaviors, and purchase history. These pieces of data help you design content with precision. For example, you can create an email campaign that engages first-time buyers only, customers with filled carts, or checkouts with +X% value than the average value of checkouts. 

  • Rich, diverse content variations: Customers expect more than simple text ads and emails. Regular WhatsApp users particularly look for interactive content experiences filled with videos, images, buttons, and audio. Boring, uninspired emails won’t get read either. High-performing emails have compelling layouts, personalized salutations, and mobile compatibility.

  • Unique offers: Even if your content has the right message, it still needs a personalized offer to keep the conversation alive. Depending on your audience’s preferences, you can send bundle deals, one-time discounts, or product recommendations based on previous purchases. 

2. Send perfectly-timed messages

Often, when you deliver messages to your clients or prospects, timing matters just as much (if not more) than the content you’re transmitting. 

Timing plays a crucial role in integrated marketing strategies that leverage multiple channels such as email and WhatsApp. Keep in mind the time of day, days of the week, and holidays to optimize performance. For example, emails sent between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. tend to receive the highest engagement from recipients.

Using email and WhatsApp together presents a variety of timing options, especially for integrated campaigns. After sending an email blast about a discount sale, you can bake in a targeted WhatsApp notification targeting users with items currently in their cart. 

Research suggests that consumers typically respond to WhatsApp messages in less than a minute, far quicker than your typical email engagement timeframe. As a result, sending WhatsApp notifications a few hours after a campaign email is highly effective.

Over time, you can start developing insights with user data gained from email and WhatsApp. Listen to your target audience and their communication preferences, conduct A/B testing, and don’t be afraid of marketing’s oldest friend, trial and error. 

3. Keep your content and messaging consistent

Brand consistency is a hallmark of high-performing integrated marketing campaigns. The world’s best-known brands, from Apple to Nike to Amazon, are masters at showing up across channels in an undeniably on-brand way. With better consistency comes stronger consumer trust and familiarity, which improves your chances of capturing more audience engagement and conversions.

  • Maintain consistent brand guidelines: Logos, images, colors, and messaging make up the core of your brand. When multiple teams start creating content across various channels, things can get out of hand. Instead of drafting a list of guidelines for creators, use a platform like MessageBird to build guidelines directly into the process. Our email and WhatsApp templates offer beautiful customization parameters that keep all your teams consistent.

  • Centralize marketing elements: Without a designated home for your team’s marketing assets, it’s difficult to maintain consistency. Out-of-date versions of logos, color palettes, and fonts can easily leak into your content and confuse your customers. MessageBird provides easy-to-use asset management across all your channels. That means better efficiency, collaboration, and content quality.

  • Repurpose content: Once you find a theme or conversation that your audience loves, you can double down by repurposing specific content formats and variations. Break webinars up into mini clips and blast them via WhatsApp or turn popular eBooks into a weekly email campaign. With an omni-channel platform like MessageBird, you can create, distribute, and repurpose content across channels all in one place.        

The best KPIs for tracking email and WhatsApp campaigns

With more marketing channels comes a greater intake of data. It can become challenging to understand which KPIs to measure, especially with a combined channel approach. If you’re new to multi-channel marketing, start with these essential metrics for each channel.  

Email: Open rates, CTRs, and conversion rates

The goal for tracking email KPIs is to uncover the preferences and messaging themes that resonate with your brand. When it comes to measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns, there are three key metrics:

  • Open rates indicate the percentage of recipients who open a message. A high open rate suggests the subject line’s initial hook resonated with the audience enough for them to stop scrolling and read. 

  • Click-through rates (CTRs) take it a step further, measuring the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link, button, or other CTA. They were intrigued by the offer and wanted to know more.

  • Conversion rates measure the percentage of recipients who ultimately completed the campaign’s desired action. Depending on the funnel stage of the customer or prospect, this can mean they filled out a form, signed up for a newsletter, or made a purchase on your website.

WhatsApp: Track messages and conversations

On its own, The WhatsApp Business Account Platform gives you an inside look at basic measurements and data points. The primary metrics you can follow in the WhatsApp platform include:

  • Messages received: The number of WhatsApp messages your company successfully receives from users.

  • Messages sent: The number of WhatsApp messages your organization has sent to users. This includes messages en route, not effectively delivered.

  • Messages delivered: The number of WhatsApp messages your organization sends that have been definitively delivered. 

  • Total conversations: Conversations are messages sent during a specific window after an initial message was already sent. Conversation windows are usually 24 or 72 hours.

Cross-channel measurement in MessageBird

While email and WhatsApp metrics are insightful on their own, understanding big-picture performance gives you the ability to make better decisions across the entire customer experience. MessageBird’s platform lets you track and measure KPIs with two primary reporting views: Channel Performance and Campaign Performance. 

  • Channel Performance: This report aggregates data across channels such as WhatsApp, email, and SMS. This report is perfect for comparing and analyzing the individual channel metrics listed above. You can easily navigate between each channel and measure performance over time by breaking down reports on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.

  • Campaign Performance: Measuring KPIs at the campaign level offers a holistic view of how your key messaging is performing across all your channels. Track reach, recipients, delivery rate, open rate, clicks and more to uncover your top-performing campaigns. With all your data in one dashboard, you can compare the performance of each channel within one campaign. 

Managing email and WhatsApp in one platform gives you the ability to conduct A/B testing. This helps you determine which messages, content, and offers are best suited to any given channel. Select your channels, determine which metrics you want to measure, segment your audience, and then launch your campaign. Everything should stay the same except the channel so you can uncover the differences in results. 

Email and WhatsApp belong together

With the majority of adults owning and spending significant time on their mobile devices, it's crucial to meet consumers where they are and how they want to be meant. 

By leveraging the strengths of both channels, you can create a comprehensive marketing communications strategy that caters to different customer preferences simultaneously. You’ll likely save time and money in the process, too.

To successfully integrate email and WhatsApp, it’s imperative to synchronize your customer data, obtain proper consent for data processing and usage, and prepare content for both channels.

Thankfully, there’s Bird. We’d love to take those challenges off of your plate so you can personalize every touchpoint with your customers across email and WhatsApp. Get in touch with us today if you’re interested in learning more. 

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.