Direct Communication Marketing – How to Use WhatsApp for Marketing

WhatsApp, WeChat, LINE, Telegram… the list of mobile messaging apps just grow and grow! But amidst this proliferating market, can you guess which one takes the crown?

Well, the obvious answer is WhatsApp, of course!

Since its release, WhatsApp has exploded in terms of popularity – to the point that it has become synonymous with the verb “message” (i.e. Remember to WhatsApp your customer later!)

The newest WhatsApp statistic indicates that 2 billion users use the messaging application on a monthly basis. To put things into perspective, Facebook Messenger, despite being its parent company, has only 1.3 billion users. That’s an entire 0.7 billion less users than WhatsApp!

WhatsApp Marketing in Singapore

In Singapore, Whatsapp is commonly used as the main communication application in many aspects of our lives. Telegram rivals it and competes for market share, but even so, many users use both applications simultaneously in their day-to-day communications.  

Now that you know what staggering statistics WhatsApp holds, maybe it is time to view it as more than ‘just’ a messaging app, and start considering it as a marketing tool with vast untapped potential. When it comes to marketing, platforms that customers actively engage in and utilise are the best options, and WhatsApp fits the bill right to the tee.

Reasons to Use WhatsApp As a Marketing Channel

Still not convinced? Just take a look at these top reasons as to why you should take to WhatsApp for your marketing needs today!

WhatsApp is a Free Resource

No down payment, no monthly subscription, and no barriers to entry.

 After all these years, WhatsApp remains free of charge – meaning that it will cost you literally nothing to utilise it. Since you probably already have an existing WhatsApp account – that’s even better. You won’t have to spend time building up an account either (even if you do, it won’t take up too much time; we’ll get to more on that later).

Besides the data roaming fee, WhatsApp is an already existing resource without additional charges that you have yet to truly tap into. But don’t worry, for by the end of this article, you’ll have learnt all you need to know to get your WhatsApp marketing campaign started.

WhatsApp can do more than just texting. You can use it to send voice messages, make both normal calls as well as video calls, not to mention its photo, video, document and location sharing features. Instead of having to switch between different apps on your phone to get your message across, WhatsApp comes with a wide range of built-in features for your very convenience.

One of the greatest reasons why WhatsApp has become so popular as compared to several other forms of contact, like emails, is largely due to its convenience. Using the app for communicating makes the process a lot faster than some other mediums, and your customers are likely to appreciate that too.

Furthermore, if you want an app that’s even more targeted at your business needs, WhatsApp Business has a whole slew of additional features tailored to making your business life easier. If you want to know more, just read on to find out!

Why is WhatsApp Marketing Important? – Versatility and Convenience

Being the most popular messaging app in the world is not just an empty title. With such whopping high statistics to back up its title, WhatsApp’s wide availability means that you can reach a wide range of customers from various different countries all over the world.  So long as both parties are connected to a wi-fi signal or have sufficient mobile data, you can easily contact people no matter where they are.

This accessibility means that you won’t have to run the risk of leaving your customers dry if you ever have to travel outside the country and be unable to access your phone calls and emails conveniently. On the other side of the coin, this also means that you can reach out to your co-workers even when they are not present in the country.

The sheer accessibility and wide availability of WhatsApp certainly makes communicating with the relevant parties a lot easier, whether it be your customers, clients or co-workers. The user-friendly interface of the popular messaging app also means that you will be able to get in touch with a large majority of your potential customers regardless of their age range.

Still not convinced? Well, we’re getting to the best part now. While the aforementioned reasons seem like generic reasons for any WhatsApp user, it goes to show how widely used WhatsApp is as a platform – and how sadly underutilised it is. 

Is WhatsApp Marketing Effective? Introducing WhatsApp for Business.

Over the recent years, after surpassing the one billion user mark, WhatsApp has started developing tools for businesses to utilise in their operations. But instead of just becoming a platform for paid advertisements, WhatsApp Business was born. With the aim of being a targeted app for everyone’s business uses, WhatsApp Business can do what WhatsApp – and even more.

Not sure how they differ? We’ll brief you on that. For now, let’s concentrate on the first steps you should take when launching your WhatsApp Business Account. While these steps may overlap with creating your usual WhatsApp account, they are still important to take note of if you want to maintain a professional presence online.

Tips To Take Note of When Creating your WhatsApp Business Account

1.      Your Name

The name on your WhatsApp account is a permanent part of your account. Since you can’t change it, make sure you pick something that you are satisfied with. As this account will be tied to your business needs, make sure it is one that professionally represents your company accurately.

2.      Your Phone Number

Your WhatsApp account is tied to a single phone number – which is why some businesses actually have a specific phone number just for their WhatsApp business account. As your WhatsApp account is linked to a singular phone, make sure to take these factors into consideration:

What if you install the app on one of your co-worker’s phone, but said co-worker leaves the company eventually? What happens to the account then? Or, what happens if the co-worker is assigned to another job title? These are situations you are bound to run into eventually, so make sure you implement the necessary ‘backup plans’ should anything change.

Remember, it will be a very tedious and troublesome process if you have to change the phone number tied to your business account on WhatsApp. You wouldn’t want to go through the despair of losing all your customer’s contacts or chat histories.

3.      Your Picture

If your WhatsApp account is tied to your business, you may face some deliberation over whether to use a picture of yourself or of your company. The recommended solution is to choose a photo that best presents your brand – it may be a picture of your company name, or it may even be a picture of you, if you are the face of the brand.

Regardless of what it is, choose a clear, high-quality photo that best reflects you and your company’s professional spirit.

4.      Your Status

Yes, WhatsApp status is a thing. While it may often be overlooked, you can still utilise it to its fullest potential by including information related to your company in your WhatsApp status. For instance, you can include things such as your company slogan, its core values or even the URL or link to your company’s website.

Sadly, however, the link will not be a direct clickable link, so your client will need to copy and paste it into an internet browser in order to access your website. But this should not be a major roadblock for your company – it is already a given that your WhatsApp account status is not the best way to drive your traffic. Instead, your messages are the most effective way to boost your company’s website traffic.

5.      Your Contacts

A WhatsApp following is not quite the same as a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter following. For one, your WhatsApp following is not something that can be easily gained overnight. In addition, unlike social media platforms or other messaging apps that allow you to ‘add’ others so long as you have their username, WhatsApp operates a little differently. You can only add customers if you have their contact number, which is why the first step you need to take is to ensure that your customers trust you enough to give you their phone number.

A phone number tends to feel more personal and private than, let’s say, your email. Moreover, with so many spam calls nowadays, most customers and clients would be hesitant to hand over their number unless they are absolutely certain that the company they are dealing with is trustworthy and professional.

This is a process that inevitably takes time – while you do not have to search up users, or pay a fee to reach them, you need to spend time cultivating a WhatsApp following. This is also often the reason why many marketers have considered WhatsApp a tool without much practical value. 

However, marketing on WhatsApp is essentially a permission-based strategy – which is what makes utilising it worth it.

How can I use WhatsApp for Business Promotion?

To start with promoting your business latest news and updates, you first have to add contacts to your account.

You can add people on WhatsApp in two ways.

1.      Giving them your number

This process is easier because it is faster and more convenient. You offer your number to the public and explain why they should add you. Many companies do this by including their WhatsApp contact on their company website, their social media platform or their business name card. This has the added benefit of allowing you to reach out to more potential customers in the form of passing visitors. As these visitors are not the same as the names on your email list, you acquire the chance to reach out to more people.

Of course, as this requires you to divulge your contact information, this is the reason why many businessmen elect to have a separate phone number for their business ventures.

The customer, if interested, will contact the company on WhatsApp, and the company can then save their number and add them to their WhatsApp following in a more permanent sense. Some companies even go as far as to provide a certain format for the customers to follow should they text them for any inquiries – this is entirely up to the company, of course, and is a common strategy for companies completing orders.

2.      Asking them for their number

The opposite of the first method, this second method reverses the process. Instead of your customers reaching out to you, you reach out to them instead. Instead of having your customers save your contact to add your company on WhatsApp, then texting you, this time, you are the one who saves their number to reach out to them first.

While this method is more tedious for you, it is the recommended method (provided that you have the relevant time and resources) because you reduce the work your customer has to do on their part. Customers tend to be turned away by inertia.

The more steps it takes to reach out to you, the less likely they are going to. By taking on the tediousness and the work and making it very convenient to make contact with your company, you increase your chances of converting your customers into your WhatsApp following

How is WhatsApp Business going to help? How can WhatsApp be used for marketing?

Now that we have covered the basics of setting up a WhatsApp account for your business, let’s get to the details. How can you use your WhatsApp business account to benefit said business?

1.      Create a page – With Catalogues

WhatsApp is easily accessible to a wide audience group, and just like Facebook, if you want a more professional presence, you can now create a page for your business. Your page essentially acts as your WhatsApp business profile, providing additional details such as your location, contact information and description.

The WhatsApp Business App even has a Catalogue Manager that allows you to upload and organise your products in bulk. This way, you won’t have to display your products or services and another page, then require your customers to WhatsApp you manually on what they want to purchase. This decreases the amount of work that your customers have to do to buy from you, thereby raising your chances of making a successful purchase.

Whether it is your new product lineup or your best sellers, having a catalogue ready for your customers to browse is an effective way to win over their attention.

2.      Create Automated Responses to Save On Response Time

Unlike the usual WhatsApp application, WhatsApp Business has the added feature of allowing you to create automated messages via a chatbot. This allows you to answer your customers quickly and cut down on your response time. You also have the option to save down a few ‘Quick Replies’ to frequently asked questions so that you won’t have to go through the tedious process of copying and pasting answers to common queries.

Alternatively, if you want to save your automated responses for other use, you can always craft an FAQ segment directly on your WhatsApp Business page so that your customers can give it a quick read when they are checking out your page. It helps both parties save time – creating a double win situation.

By reducing your response time, you can better engage your customers and avoid running the risk of losing their interest. You can automate a welcome message to ask them what they are interested in and even add a follow-up response introducing them to your catalogue. You can combine the WhatsApp Business features altogether and allow them to work with each other to better the experience of your customers.

3.      Reach Out To Your Customers Directly

This tip is not so much of a WhatsApp Business feature as it is a WhatsApp feature in general – but it is a useful tip, especially for small businesses with a more manageable customer base. Being a messaging app, WhatsApp encourages interaction. This interaction can be what secures you a close and loyal customer base that feels appreciated and are willing to control their patronage.

Through WhatsApp, you can send gentle reminders to your customers regarding their bill payments or any upcoming products and services that you think may interest them. You can also create personalised messages for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, to let your customers know how much you care and appreciate for them. In these messages, you can easily offer them discounts or vouchers and even further recommendations based on their past purchases.

If you are delivering orders, you can even provide updates about your customer’s order status to give them some peace of mind. Ultimately, WhatsApp is a platform that allows for interactions and building connections. No matter what the nature of your business is, it pays to be genuine and sincere when interacting with your customers.

Disadvantages of Using WhatsApp for Business

Now that we have covered all the good things about using WhatsApp for your business needs, let’s be fair and talk about the other side of the coin. While WhatsApp does provide a slew of benefits for your business operations and ventures, undeniably, there will be some disadvantages from it too.

1.      Data Privacy

Although WhatsApp offers encryption for your data, it still has to access and store its users’ contacts, which often contains confidential data, such as your customer’s details and even corporate information. Just like many other messaging applications, it cannot ensure that the contents of your message are kept completely confidential.

The business model that WhatsApp operates with inherently comes into conflict with the data protection of its users, and in being owned by Facebook, data will be passed between both platforms. This undeniably leads to some cracks in your data privacy protection, and given how sensitive this is as a topic, it is best to keep this in mind even if you trust the app enough to use it for your business operations.

2.      Private VS Business

Given its nature as a messaging application meant to connect people, WhatsApp runs the risk of causing your private and business communication methods to clash. Most employees prefer a clear separation between their private lives versus their work needs – which is why WhatsApp can seem less than ideal.

This is especially so as many people only have one WhatsApp account that they use for both business and personal communication. While it is possible to have separate phones with different numbers and WhatsApp accounts to create a clearer line of separation, that can be tedious to some people, who would much rather prefer to use WhatsApp only as a messaging tool for friends and families.

3.      It Is Not Foolproof

WhatsApp is not a perfect, entirely comprehensive, and foolproof plan for your marketing (and other) needs. Sending a message to the group chat consisting of your team or your co-workers does not automatically mean that you are communicating clearly. Worst yet, sending in an idea or plan does not guarantee that it will be implemented – or, in worst cases, if it will even be read.

WhatsApp can act as a platform for reaching out to your customers or colleagues and even a catalogue for your products. But at its core, it is a messaging app, and while it is convenient and widely accessible, you will still need to exercise further task management if you want things done.

Of course, this disadvantage differs from company to company – it is just a reminder that WhatsApp is not foolproof and does not guarantee productivity or instant success. It is up to you, and your company, to work together and capitalize on it to its fullest potential.

Conclusion

We hope that reading this article has left you with a clearer idea of how you can potentially utilise WhatsApp for your business needs.

WhatsApp may not be for everyone – and that’s okay. Ultimately, every business differs, and it can either be a useful tool to aid your progress or a phone app that is best kept as a messaging platform.

At the end of the day, try out a few methods, find what works for you – and go for it.

Apart from WhatsApp, other digital marketing channels are available, such as SEO and Lead Generation. These are effective channels of marketing that can be run simultaneously with WhatsApp to help businesses grow their leads and marketing channels.