Presently, the leader in social media marketing is WhatsApp Marketing (a pun made on the phrase “What’s Up”), having 1.2 billion (approximately) monthly active users across the world.
This kind of lucrative marketing medium can’t be ignored. But the question is how to use WhatsApp for effective marketing? Like all comparatively unexplored segments, there are equal measures of rewards as well as risks involved for early adopters. Here’s a guide to effective WhatsApp marketing.
Why should WhatsApp be used for business?
The most significant reason for utilizing WhatsApp for business is that it is already being used by a wide network of people. Every day around 50 million messages is sent via WhatsApp.
Surprisingly, even the users of WhatsApp and related services prefer to get engaged with businesses. As per the survey of Nielsen on Facebook Messaging, 67% of mobile messaging app users are expected to be more comfortable in using chat as a medium to communicate with businesses in the coming years. Moreover, around 53% of customers are willing to purchase from a business with which they can communicate directly.
If your prospects and customers are young, they would be more comfortable with messaging apps for their daily communication. According to the Pew Research Centre survey, about 42% of the owners of smartphone aging between 18 to 29 years already use messaging apps in comparison to only 19% of the smartphone users who are 50 years and above.
In addition to this, messaging apps like WhatsApp involve incredible engagement rates: 98% of mobile messages are opened and seen among which 90% are opened within 3 seconds of being received.
Unlike more public networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp is the key to sharing content through dark social, a term used to share content via private channels like WhatsApp or email.
In fact, almost 84% of online shares take place through private channels such as messaging apps. Hence, even if you are not using WhatsApp for marketing your products, your prospects will probably use it to extend the reach of your content.
Since WhatsApp still not have any promotion-specific features or does not sell ad space, you need to use an innovative marketing approach while dealing with it.
As WhatsApp is different in its features and reaches when compared to other messenger apps, it is essential to create your WhatsApp strategy besides the general messaging app marketing strategy.
However, there are some limitations that should be taken into consideration while creating your WhatsApp marketing strategy. To begin with, there is nothing as a business account, hence in case your brand is developing an account it experiences the same restrictions as any other user.
WhatsApp account is linked directly to a single mobile phone number, you can only message to a limit of 256 WhatsApp users at a time. Due to this limitation, it is not that effective marketing medium for large-scale (one-to-numerous) marketing. Thus, considering its limitations and using it as your advantage will only enhance your chances of success.
Note that WhatsApp is directly linked to our mobiles and mobiles are being carried everywhere. This means it is a powerful mode to send more personalized messages like other messaging services. That’s where the real strength of WhatsApp marketing lies. The endpoint is to develop campaigns that are based on a more personal approach. It is the platform where your customers communicate with their friends, hence creativity and trust is the key.
To no surprise, some of the most effective WhatsApp campaigns originate from regions with the greatest penetration that includes South America.
WhatsApp Marketing Tools
Since WhatsApp is not yet featured with any business tool or an API, it is always best to create strategy based campaigns targeting small-scale audience. In order to build engagement with your target audience, you need to have them include your number to their contact list. WhatsApp has an interesting feature that enables you to add an email signature, click-to-chat link to your website, or social media pages to simplify the process of starting a conversation with your brand.
Always remember that the expected goal is to get near-instant replies after messaging, hence you need to have the resources for proper management of the chats, or restrict availability to particular windows of time.
There are various third-party WhatsApp marketing tools and services that offer you to set up numerous WhatsApp accounts and groups for marketers, but using this kind of service can risk you being temporarily blocked or completely banned from the service. Moreover, mass messaging in this kind of environment can harm your brand.
However, the good news is that WhatsApp is constantly working on such attributes to support business engagement with the users.
The Future of WhatsApp Marketing
Although WhatsApp isn’t that feature-rich like Messenger for marketing, it is gradually moving in that direction.
Recently, the company said that it is going to introduce business-friendly features soon: “In the future, we will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you.”
Till then, marketers who create campaigns keeping in mind the unique characteristics of WhatsApp will definitely gain out of it. The scarcity of ads and corporate presence on this remarkable digital marketing platform simply indicates that the early adopters will stand out upon proper utilization and execution.
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