If your business does not engage in WhatsApp marketing, you are missing out on a significant opportunity.

To give you an idea of how vital WhatsApp marketing is, consider the following statistics:

April 2021 WhatsApp downloads stat

  • In April 2021 alone, there were 13 million WhatsApp downloads.
  • As of 2020, a billion people worldwide used WhatsApp. By 2021, the app’s users numbered two billion
  • As of January 2021, WhatsApp was the third-most-popular social network.
  • WhatsApp is the world’s most popular mobile messaging app.
  • People send 100 billion daily messages on WhatsApp.
  • 53% of WhatsApp users use the app in the US at least daily.
  • Over 5 million businesses use WhatsApp.
  • At least 5 million people actively use the status feature of WhatsApp.

With these figures in mind, take a look at everything you need to know about marketing on WhatsApp, including how to incorporate it into your advertising strategy. 

What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp marketing refers to using the mobile messaging application WhatsApp for marketing purposes. Specifically, marketing via WhatsApp involves using it to communicate with customers or for conversational commerce. Most commonly, it is a supplement to SMS marketing. You can also use WhatsApp for voice calls or video calls, making it an alternative to traditional phone calls for customer communication. 

More importantly, WhatsApp does not have in-app advertising. This means that your advertising in the application is limited to your communications with customers or potential customers. You can, however, drive traffic to your WhatsApp business account via click-to-WhatsApp ads.

It is also important to note that WhatsApp marketing is free to use and works with either data or Wi-Fi. This helps you easily reach a larger audience, as not all of your clients will have a good cell phone plan that includes texting, sending images, and more. 

Major trends influencing WhatsApp marketing

To get a better feel for WhatsApp advertising, take a closer look at some of the trends influencing it. 

How can I use WhatsApp to promote my business?

Although the answer to “can you advertise on WhatsApp in the traditional sense” is no, there are plenty of other ways to promote your business on the app.

The following are just some of the ways to use the app:

  • Offer it as an option for customer service
  • Offer it as a general communication method
  • Send targeted promotions and offers
  • Share new product launches
  • Remind customers about reservations or appointments
  • Let customers make reservations or appointments
  • Let customers order food
  • Communicate with your team
  • Communicate with other professionals, including your other local businesses or your service providers (like your accountant)
  • Use a group chat for a focus group
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Any other action you would typically complete with SMS marketing
  • Communicate with WhatsApp VoIP as an alternative to phone calls
  • Create a WhatsApp Business catalog

How do I set up Click-to-WhatsApp ads?

Click-to-WhatsApp ads are just one of the WhatsApp marketing tools you should take advantage of. When users click on the ad, it will take them to WhatsApp, with an open message thread to your business account.

Regardless of the goal of your ad, go to the Ads Manager in WhatsApp Business and then click on Ad Creation. Then, choose your objective from the following:

  • Traffic
  • Messages
  • Website conversions
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Video views
  • Brand awareness

In any case, your next step is to choose your campaign budget. Then, select the schedule, budget, placements, and audience.

If you plan to use marketing on WhatsApp to boost site traffic, communicate with customers, then drive website conversions, then:

  1. Select Click to Message under Ad Type.
  2. Choose WhatsApp under Messaging Apps.
  3. Select the ad format and finish setting it up.

If you want to use WhatsApp to improve reach, engagement, video views, and brand awareness, then:

  1. Click on Add Website URL under Links.
  2. Enter the desired URL.
  3. Choose Send WhatsApp Message under Call to Action.
  4. Select the page and WhatsApp number in question. 

person texting on whatsapp

The individual pieces of Whatsapp marketing

When you take a closer look at WhatsApp marketing, you will notice that there is a regular WhatsApp application as well as one called WhatsApp Business. You want to use the latter. It is worth noting that WhatsApp Business is free, but there is also a paid WhatsApp Business API. 

Why use the WhatsApp Business app instead of the standard WhatsApp app?

The simple reason to use WhatsApp Business instead of the regular WhatsApp is that the former has many more features that you can take advantage of.

Some of these features include:

  • Basic business information – You can easily input your business address, hours, category, website, and catalog with WhatsApp Business. These categories are not available with regular WhatsApp.
  • Quick replies – This feature lets you save templates and shortcuts to questions that you frequently get. It helps customers get a faster response, boosting customer satisfaction.
  • List building – Create lists segmenting your customers to get a more specific target audience. 
  • Greeting messages – These are automated messages that reduce response times by responding to your customers instantly.
  • Away messages – Like greeting messages, these let you instantly respond to customers, even if you are away.
  • Labels – This feature lets you categorize and organize your messages and users. You can either create customized labels or just use the pre-programmed ones.
  • Catalog – The WhatsApp Business catalog essentially serves as a mobile storefront. You can upload up to 500 services or products. For each service or product, you can include an image, title, price, product code, description, and link to your website page for the product. You can also share the catalog’s links in messages.
  • Statistics – You will see statistics such as the number of messages sent, delivered, read, and received, as well as an overview of your chats.

Using WhatsApp Business will also add legitimacy to your company, as anyone you communicate with can see that you have a business account. 

Connect your WhatsApp business account to your Facebook business page

To get the most of your WhatsApp marketing strategy, be sure to connect your WhatsApp business account with your Facebook page. The process is straightforward and only takes a few steps:

  1. Open your WhatsApp Business app.
  2. Go to Settings (on iPhone) or More Options (on Android).
  3. Go to Business tools.
  4. Click on Facebook & Instagram.
  5. Select Facebook, then CONTINUE.
  6. Enter your Facebook login information.
  7. Choose the Facebook Page to connect to the WhatsApp Business Account.
  8. Select Add and Done.
  9. Confirm you successfully linked the two by going to your Facebook page. You should see a button that says Send WhatsApp Message.

After connecting your WhatsApp Business and Facebook accounts, you can also sync them, so updating the information on your Facebook page will automatically update your WhatsApp Business profile as well. The syncing does not work in the other direction, so you can’t make changes on your WhatsApp account and expect them to appear on Facebook. 

If you want to have this syncing option, do the following:

  1. Open your WhatsApp Business app.
  2. Go to Settings or More Options.
  3. Go to Business tools and then Facebook & Instagram.
  4. Tap the Facebook account to sync.
  5. Select Sync profile with Page then Enable. 

whatsapp app on a phone with thumb over it

Why does WhatsApp business matter?

Simply put, WhatsApp marketing matters because it gives you another opportunity to interact with your customers. You can take advantage of it to:

  • Offer two-way communication with customers
  • Improve customer care
  • Expand your reach
  • Take advantage of automated responses
  • Have improved security
  • Access it via the app or web
  • Get statistics on delivery

WhatsApp marketing vs. SMS marketing and other mobile marketing

You shouldn’t think of WhatsApp marketing as an alternative to other mobile marketing strategies, such as SMS marketing. Instead, think of it as a supplement. The best strategies will give customers multiple methods of contacting you, which lets them do so via their preferred channel. That is a key takeaway in our SMS marketing guide

WhatsApp vs. Facebook Messenger

That being said, there are some things to know about WhatsApp marketing and how it compares to Facebook Messenger. First of all, both are owned by Facebook. Messenger has more automation and chatbot tool, while WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption.

You should get consent before sending messages on WhatsApp (although it is still a good practice to do this with Facebook Messenger). You will also have to consider what platform your target audience is most likely to be using. 

Conclusion: Why you should care about WhatsApp marketing

WhatsApp marketing gives you yet another way to reach customers. You can use it to talk to customers over the phone, send text messages and images, or even use video chats with customers. This gives you the freedom to use WhatsApp for similar purposes for mobile marketing. WhatsApp advertising also helps ensure that you reach your entire customer base. 

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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