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A Guide To Marketing Your Business With WhatsApp
WhatsApp has become one of the world's largest Instant messaging platforms, along with WeChat in the east. The now Facebook-owned application has become the platform for billions of messages a day. Conversations on WhatsApp have become a media-rich experience with images, videos, links and all sorts of information shared on the app.
What initially started as a personal messaging service has become a unique social media platform where all sorts of commerce take place. This informal marketing and commerce are especially true in immerging markets like my native South Africa, where business can be conducted almost exclusively on the app.
Digital marketers like myself refer to it as "dark social" since its a closed medium WhatsApp offers very little in terms of tracking the distribution of information on WhatsApp. As small businesses begin to embrace WhatsApp.
I thought it would be fitting to share with you my strategies on how to turn WhatsApp Messenger into a powerful marketing and sales tool.
1. Have an official business account
I've put this one as number one because it should seem like a no-brainer, but you'll be surprised at how many small business owners make this mistake. A sim card and cheap Smartphone is the least you can do as an investment in your business. Having an official business number adds legitimacy to your practice and gives you a phone number you can freely market to a wider audience without having your personal phone number out in the open.
Additionally, you do not want to be using the same phone number you share with clients to be the same phone number you do banking with, receive OTP's and have other sensitive account information tied to it. This makes the number vulnerable to phishing and other identity theft scams.
Bonus: A separate account/device allows you to switch off after hours as you please and helps keep your clients and personal contacts separate. Which makes it easier to manage so you don't miss out on any leads because you got distracted by memes or caught up with family gossip.
2. Brand your profile
People are visual creatures and look for queues that provide them with a sense of trust and guess what? Your potential customers are people too, so they need that reassurance, especially with WhatsApp. Have a logo created for your business and make sure your WhatsApp Profile Picture reflects the logo. Your logo is your signature that will tie all your branding together and reassure customers that they are speaking to the official account.
Head over to your WhatsApp click settings click on edit profile and update your logo. Make sure that your logo is visible and that the rounded corners of WhatsApp display do not crop your logo off. A logo will also help draw attention and recall of your brand should users want to make a repeat purchase or refer a friend.
3. Update your "about me"
Another way to lend legitimacy to your account is to customise the "About Me" section. As a business, leaving your profile status as: Hey there! I am using WhatsApp (duh! We can see that), or "Available" is a waste of prime real estate.
Instead, use the status space to get creative with short messages that can draw attention and increase curiosity amongst your audience. You can either have an official announcement about your new offerings or shout about your sales or promotional offers.
An example would be:
- Standard offer: Contact us about the delivery of firewood in the Gauteng area
- Promotional offer: 30% off all haircuts for pensioners on Tuesdays
4. Make use of WhatsApp Stories
WhatsApp, like it's family companies Instagram and Facebook, offers you a status update feature or "stories" as they are known to many of us. You can use your stories either with images or text on a coloured background
These disappearing pictures can be updated daily and can be used to remind customers of your service or promote your specials more aggressively. Let your contacts know when you have something new happening, especially around the pay weeks to get clients interested.
Protip! If you are using images in your stories, be sure to include your logo somewhere on the image for added brand recognition.
5. Broadcast lists
WhatsApp is one of the few social media apps that allows you to do mass messaging via its broadcast list function. You can create lists of numbers already in your phone book and send a message it will go to anyone in the list which has your contact number saved in their phones' address book.
If any of the recipients respond, it will appear as a standard, one-to-one message in your chats screen, which is a great way to get a conversation started.
Note: Broadcast lists are limited to 256 contacts so use this wisely and sparingly and do not spam your clients. A smart move is to segment your contact list based on things like area, products they like etc. and send a more personalised message that would encourage better response rates.
6. Create a business group
If you have a large following already within your contact list, you could offer an added incentive to individual loyal customers or preffered customers by creating a group. Those in the group would have access to new information such as deals and promotions before you broadcast it to your various lists. Your groups can also be used to provide customer support and share valuable information like pricing changes or updates to your terms of service or operational times.
WhatsApp groups are notorious for getting out of control as they get bigger, so make sure you lay down ground rules for those who have access.
Note: WhatsApp groups have a limit of 256 participants, so add new members wisely as you scale your business. Also be sure to brand your WhatsApp Group differently by customising the name, Image and about me section to avoid confusion with your official account.
7. Create a WhatsApp group link
If you would like to have a more open group or set of groups you can create invite links that you can send to users which will give them immediate access to the group. Invites can come in the form of a link or QR code. All you need to do is open your group settings and scroll down to participants.
Click the "invite to group via link" option and choose the "copy link" or "QR code" option.
You can then share this link via social media, email or use it as a referral for other members to use to bring in new prospects.
8. Make use of tracked short links
As I've mentioned previously measuring the reach and effectiveness of WhatsApp isn't easy, but it's not impossible. If you do have a website and would like to track the reach of your WhatsApp marketing efforts, I would suggest you start to use short links. When creating a link to your site, add UTM tracking with WhatsApp set as a medium and then use a link shortener like bit.ly to hide your unsightly tracking links.
Then drop your links either in a broadcast message or within your groups. You can now use Google Analytics to track all visits from that specific link.
9. Create a content plan
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram receive far more attention from marketing proffesionals due to its more open nature and the metrics it provides, which is why social media marketers are willing to put in the effort to create content and plan for weeks in advance.
Just because WhatsApp doesn't provide engagement metrics doesn't mean you should not have a content plan for it. Creating content for your stories, for your various broadcast lists, for your groups and testing them via tracked links can turn WhatsApps' so-called "dark social" into more than a hit and hope exercise.
10. Take advantage of paid ads
If you plan on scaling your WhatsApp efforts, then organic methods may not be enough, and you may have to leverage paid ads.
- You can use Twitter ads to drive mobile users to save your number, which can be visible in the image and messaging.
- You can use Google Ads Click to Call ads to promote your phone number. While many users might call you directly, others may save your contact number to see if they can call via WhatsApp or Direct message you via the promoted number. In your Click To call Ad text you can mention that you accommodate WhatsApp enquires and orders.
- Finally, you can use Facebook ads. Since Facebook owns WhatsApp, it has a particular advertising format called click to WhatsApp ads which drives users directly to WhatsApp with your number to contact you.
You can use one or a combination of these techniques and spread your budget accordingly to drive the best quality prospects into your WhatsApp marketing funnel.
11. Chat commerce
WhatsApp may not have support automated chat functionality like Facebook Messenger does, but it doesn't mean it cannot perform Chat commerce. Allowing 1-1 lines of communication with customers can help any eCommerce site drive more leads and sales.
You could chat to interested customers, find out what they are looking for and send them direct links to the products to add to their basket for check out.
Alternatively, if your system allows you could prepare the basket for the user and send them a payment link, they can use and reduce the steps to purchase and get sales done faster. Promote WhatsApp on other channels
Now that you've made WhatsApp your new base of operations it's essential to market it in various channels.
- Add the WhatsApp logo and phone number to the end of your email signature
- Add your group link to your email signature
- Add your phone number or group link to your social other pages like Facebook or Twitter
- Add the WhatsApp logo and group link QR code to your business card
These strategies will help bring a steady stream of new prospects to your contact list and groups so you can reach more people over time with your WhatsApp marketing efforts.
12. Upgrade to WhatsApp for Business
If you want to step up your WhatsApp marketing you can download a separate app Called WhatsApp for Business. WhatsApp Business is a free app available on Android and iOS.
The App was built because WhatsApp noticed the number of businesses using the tool. WhatsApp Business makes interacting with customers easy by providing tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.
It's also intended to feel and work just like WhatsApp Messenger. You can use it to do everything that you're used to doing, from messaging to sending photos.
Some of the features we currently offer in the app include:
- Business profile to list important information, such as a company's address, email and website.
- Statistics to see how many messages were successfully sent, delivered, and read.
- Messaging tools to quickly respond to customers.
Note: WhatsApp for business may not be available in your region currently.
Instant messaging marketing
WhatsApp is without a doubt a growing area for SME's to tap into the potential of 1 - 1 communication and with more customers finding it easier to use WhatsApp to reach out to businesses it will only make the platform more attractive to use. Making sure you're fully harnessing the power of WhatsApp could make all the difference as businesses look to reach consumers faster and cheaper.
Have you been using WhatsApp for your business? How has it worked for you? Please share with me your experiences in the comments section below.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African Business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on instant messaging.
- WhatsApp To Launch Ad Serving In 2019
- Adwords Planning Click-to-message Ads
- SnapChat Launches Instant Create For Quick Ad Setup
Tags: Chat Commerce