The beginner's guide to WhatsApp marketing

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Date: 17 August 2020

A businessman is using WhatsApp marketing to communicate with customers

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, those who succeed are often those who tap into emerging channels before anyone else. Google Ads, Twitter, and YouTube are all great sources of potential leads, given that they attract audiences of billions. However, they are also crowded. Users may be less likely to respond to your content due to marketing fatigue.

If you're looking for a channel with a large, relevant audience that has high engagement potential, then it's time to try WhatsApp marketing. With over 1.6 billion monthly active users, the messaging app is one of the most popular in the world.

What's more, its users are a diverse bunch, spread out over virtually every continent. The WhatsApp market is a rapidly-growing and dynamic field, so now is the time to get started. Read on to find out everything you need to know about building your brand and marketing to customers via WhatsApp. 

Getting started with WhatsApp messaging

While some prefer to use the standard WhatsApp messaging app to set up a broadcasting list for their contacts, your best bet is to use the recently-released WhatsApp Business application, designed specifically with small business owners in mind.

The app allows you to set up a dedicated business profile which contains your info, contact details, and a direct messaging function. It is also superior to the standard WhatsApp messenger because there's a verification process that demonstrates to users that you have been vetted and that you are, in fact, a legitimate business.

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has also gone to considerable lengths to link the product with the Facebook app. Users can be directed to your WhatsApp Business profile directly from Facebook ads and page posts. You can also cross-reference traffic analytics between your Facebook pages and WhatsApp profile to see where there is room for improvement. 

If you choose to use WhatsApp Business for marketing, remember that you will be reliant on your smartphone for a huge chunk of your everyday workflow. This means that an important part of getting started is protecting yourself with comprehensive phone insurance. That will ensure that, should you damage or lose your phone, all losses will be covered. Once you have covered your bases, you can begin using WhatsApp Business. 

Building a WhatsApp brand personality

Much like any other online profile, your WhatsApp account should reflect your brand, and should, therefore, have a recognisable brand identity. Let's illustrate this with a quick example. A couple of years back, the mayonnaise brand Hellmann's launched its own WhatsApp marketing campaign, titled #whatscook.

Visitors to the Hellmann's website were given the option to opt-in to the WhatsApp brand campaign. Once they did so, they were contacted via WhatsApp by a real chef, who would give them cooking tips and easy recipes that used Hellmann's mayonnaise.

Over the course of a few months, 4 million people visited the website, with 13,000 of those opting in and using the #whatscook channel. Perhaps most incredibly, those users spent an average of 65 minutes interacting with a chef.

Those are the kinds of engagement numbers that the vast majority of brands could only ever dream of. This is why it is essential that you approach WhatsApp marketing with a unique idea that is tailored towards unique experiences, each of which is emblematic of your brand identity. 

One-to-one engagement

As the above campaign demonstrates, one of the key benefits of WhatsApp marketing is that it facilitates rich, one-to-one engagement with leads in a way that other social media never could. Any user that interacts with you is opening up a one-to-one chat, a direct line of communication to your brand.

With WhatsApp Business, you can even send automated responses that are tailored to each user. This is ideal if you do not have the resources to immediately respond to every user message or query that you might receive.

Rather than wasting your budget on ads that will be seen by millions but that only a fraction of those millions will actually respond to, you can focus your resources on the kind of meaningful engagement offered by self-contained platforms like WhatsApp.

Target high-value leads 

A key benefit of WhatsApp's one-to-one model is that you can dedicate more time to nurturing the kind of high-value leads that are most likely to make a purchase from you. The actual model of WhatsApp Business is already a great filter for high-value leads, given that your users have to find and subscribe to you in the first place.

Equally important is the unparalleled discretion offered by WhatsApp, which is ideal if you have customers that might not want the whole world to know about the purchases they are making. Once you have a strong brand personality in place, you can move forward by targeting those high-value lead with bespoke, receptive messaging that will turn them into lifelong customers. 

With these tips in mind, you are ready to launch a killer WhatsApp marketing strategy. 

Copyright 2020. Article made possible by Ben Fields.

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