Growing WhatsApp as a Marketing Channel

Growing WhatsApp as a Marketing Channel

Growing WhatsApp as a Marketing Channel

Unleash the untapped potential of WhatsApp as a marketing channel. This short guide shares the best strategies for sending high-quality, personalized messages via WhatsApp.

Traditional marketing channels, like email and search, are seeing diminishing returns. Why? Because customers feel bogged down by digital noise and want direct dialogues over mass broadcasts. People crave a more immediate, intimate form of communication. 

Enter WhatsApp. With its meteoric rise, boasting over two billion users globally, WhatsApp is prime real estate for any brand looking to authentically connect with its customers.

For context on the importance and reach of WhatsApp, users send approximately 100 billion messages a day. Compared to the current average email open rate of 34%, WhatsApp has a massive 98%.

However, WhatsApp marketing isn’t just about accessing its enormous user base. It's about understanding its unique dynamics: visibility, reach, stringent privacy and security protocols, and personalization.

A future filled with WhatsApp marketing is promising if you know how to use it effectively. This short guide will take you from A to Z on how to launch and scale WhatsApp as a marketing channel.

4 strategies to scale your WhatsApp marketing

So, you've dipped your toes into the vast ocean of WhatsApp marketing, and the waters feel just right. But where should you go from here?

Let's chart a course for exponential growth with these four scaling strategies.

1. Use chatbots to sell and upsell 

Customers want to feel heard and seen. Contrary to popular belief, chatbots can actually help, not hurt, your efforts to hear out your customers. Think of them as your digital sales advisors, always on-the-clock and eager to help. You can design and deploy complex chatbots that use the library of customer data at your fingertips. 

Top-of-the-line chatbots powerd by OpenAI and other LLMs can track and analyze user behavior, past interactions, and purchase histories to tailor their conversations with each customer. They can proactively offer product advice, nudge users towards newer offerings, or give customized recommendations. The robotic, frustrating chatbot experiences of even five years ago have come and gone (if you use the right tool).

2. Automate, automate, automate

Automation in WhatsApp marketing isn't just about efficiency; it's about precision and timing. Think of automated workflows as your backstage crew, ensuring the spotlight shines brightly at just the right moment for each customer. Here's how that looks:

  1. Purpose-Driven Design: Begin by identifying the specific goals for each customer segment. Whether it's nurturing new leads, re-engaging dormant users, or promoting a flash sale, create an automated flow that fits that stage of the customer journey.

  2. Sequencing the Steps: Craft messages that align with each stage of the buyer's journey. Tempt new WhatsApp subscribers with an introductory discount, but offer long-time VIPs loyalty rewards or exclusive early access to sales.

  3. Drip Campaigns: Instead of bombarding users with information, drip campaigns release content bit by bit, responding to user interactions. Did someone leave items in their cart? Cue a friendly WhatsApp reminder with an enticing offer.

The beauty of it all is that once your desired automations are set up, automated workflows keep the ball rolling right in WhatsApp. The result? Enhanced engagement and higher conversion rates, with less manual input on your end. 

It’s not just “set it and forget it.” It's “set it and let it thrive.”

3. Decipher your data insights

Every interaction, click, and response on WhatsApp is a breadcrumb that empowers you to understand your audience better. However, raw data can be overwhelming. The key is to translate your data into actionable insights. 

Regularly reviewing your campaign analytics paves the path for future growth strategies. It helps you identify what works and what needs rethinking. If you wish to delve deeper here, check out this article on decoding your WhatsApp insights to boost your marketing analytics game.

4. Integrate with your eCommerce store for hyper-personalized messaging

It's past due time to bring everything under one digital roof. Bird revolutionizes how businesses operate on WhatsApp because it brings eCommerce communications right into the platform itself. It’s finally possible to tailor your WhatsApp messaging strategy to the real-time purchase behaviors and preferences of each of your customers. 

Imagine a highly personalized shopping journey, with timely, relevant product suggestions, reminders, and offers. Connect your store to WhatsApp and supercharge the platform into a digital concierge that always knows exactly what your customers want. Meanwhile, on your end, you can see all of your marketing efforts and data in one place via Campaigns

6 best practices for WhatsApp quality assurance

In WhatsApp marketing, quality is the key to scaling your messaging strategy. Every business account starts out with a limited number of messages it can send, and they have to earn the right to send more. How? By getting customers to consistently open and engage with their messages.

What this means for your business is that quality is not just a priority, but a necessity. You can’t scale WhatsApp marketing without sending great messages. On the flip side, you’re doomed to fail on the platform if you just blast out thoughtless spam. 

Here's how you can monitor your WhatsApp marketing campaigns for quality:

1. Earn and maintain customer trust 

Winning a customer's trust isn't a one-and-done deal; it's a continuous commitment. On WhatsApp, you solidify your customers’ trust in your brand through timely, personalized communication. Each message you send is an extension of your brand's promise, and inconsistency or irrelevance can jeopardize the rapport you've painstakingly built. 

A recent Salesforce survey found that 65% of customers say they are more loyal to companies that offer a personalized experience. By forgoing generic outreach for personalized interactions that resonate with the recipient's preferences, needs, or past behaviors, you don't just make a sale—you create a brand advocate. 

The bottom line? Make personalization a cornerstone of your communication, and you'll rightfully earn enduring customer loyalty.

2. Prioritize data security

Customers know that their data is valuable. If they entrust you with their personal information, you have to handle it with care. That’s especially true on WhatsApp, a platform with end-to-end encryption that emphasizes data protection for businesses and consumers alike.

As a brand, that means your customer’s trust comes with heavy responsibility. You need to diligently collect and manage customer opt-ins, making sure you only contact customers who explicitly agree to receive communications from you. 

It’s more than just a common courtesy; it’s a strict WhatsApp compliance policy. If customers don’t opt-in, Meta can fine your brand and deduct points from your quality score, which can limit the range of your messaging.

The good news is, Bird helps handle customer opt-ins for you so your brand is shielded from compliance issues. By gaining this approval on behalf of your customers, we protect your brand score from getting flagged by WhatsApp. 

3. Understand quality ratings

WhatsApp values its users' opinions big time; they rely on user feedback to rate your messaging quality since they can't view encrypted chats. If you get too many blocks or spam reports, your quality score will take a hit, especially if these reports are fresh.

There are three quality ratings: 

  • High (green)

  • Medium (yellow)

  • Low (red) 

If your brand account reaches a low rating, your phone number status will change to Flagged, and WhatsApp will limit the number of users you can message each day. 

Your goal is to minimize the number of flags your brand account receives so that you never reach a Low rating. Wondering how you're doing? Check Bird, or your Meta Business Suite account for your current quality rating.

It’s not just nice to keep your WhatsApp audience happy; it’s essential for your brand’s existence on the platform. 

4. Investigate quality flags to avoid rate limiting

Understanding quality flags is one thing, but investigating them is another. When your business account receives quality flags, it sends a sign to WhatsApp that your account isn’t sending high-quality messages in line with its guidelines. And you want to avoid being flagged at all costs. 

Flags lead to your quality score plummeting which leads to rate limiting. This means WhatsApp caps how many messages you can send each day. 

“Every brand is given a starter account through which they can send a base, limited amount of messages from a marketing perspective,” says Anish Chadda, VP of Product at Bird. “What WhatsApp will do is it’ll actually monitor the quality of that brand’s messages. If they see you get a high number of people marking it as spam or blocking the brand, WhatsApp may deactivate your account or keep you at 100 messages a day.”

You’ll miss out on timely responses or opportunities to reach out to potential customers. If you receive a quality flag, don’t hesitate to investigate: Your WhatsApp reputation (and marketing bottom line) might depend on it.

5. Keep user sentiment high 

Think of user sentiment as the temperature of your audience's feelings. Too cold? They're not engaged. Too hot? They might be overwhelmed. Just right? You've got their attention in the best way. Let's break down the thermostat settings:

  1. Frequency of Messages: Send too many messages, and you're that annoying brand in a customer’s inbox they want to block. Too few, and you're forgotten. Find the sweet spot that keeps users engaged, but not overwhelmed.

  2. Relevance: Ever gotten a message and thought, "Why did they send me this?" That's a misfire in relevance. Tailor your messages to align with user interests and needs, so that customers never think, “This message isn’t for me.”

  3. Business Reputation: This is the weight your brand carries in the market. A strong reputation can make users more forgiving of a misstep, while a shaky one means you'll be on thin ice. Continuously build and maintain a solid reputation to keep user sentiment tipped in your favor.

6. Steal this quality checklist

You don’t have to sit around and wait for quality flags to come in. You can (and should) proactively do what you can to maintain a High rating. Here’s a step-by-step checklist to doing that: 

  • Review 30-Day Quality History: Check your quality history for the past 30 days, regularly. This is like your business's credit score for quality of customer interactions. Keep it healthy!

  • Check Template Performance: Regularly audit your message templates to make sure they’re performing well. Are some templates seeing higher engagement rates? You’re doing something right. Low rates? Time for a strategy pivot. 

  • Monitor User Reports and Blocks: Keep an eagle eye on any increases in user blocks or reports. These are red flags that your messages might be missing the mark.

  • Keep Opt-In Records: Ensure you have explicit documentation of customer opt-ins. It's strict WhatsApp policy to only message customers who have opted in, and you want to be able to prove you have their consent. Plus, it’s the right way to treat you customers.

  • Make Opt-Outs Accessible: Make opting out as easy as opting in. If someone wants to leave, hold the door open for them with no hard feelings.

  • Create a Feedback Loop: Encourage and monitor customer feedback if possible. WhatsApp can be a powerful two-way communication channel and a way to tap into user sentiment straight from the source. Your customers should serve as your marketing GPS. Without them, you're just driving in the dark.

Maximize your impact on WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the digital equivalent of your friendly neighborhood grocery store. It’s directly accessible to customers, with high engagement rates and a personal touch that can turn casual browsers into loyal patrons. It’s a channel that’s well worth optimizing.

Begin with the basics: Establish clear goals, know your audience, and keep your communications secure and compliant. Then, build on that foundation by leveraging automation, analyzing insights to refine your approach, and integrating your eCommerce communications for a seamless customer journey.

Embrace WhatsApp not just as a tool, but as a hub for your personalized marketing endeavors. In doing so, you’ll find that growing your presence on WhatsApp is not just a strategic move, but a transformative one. Get started with WhatsApp for Business today.

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.