As marketers, we’re familiar with the classic marketing channels. Email, PPC, SEO, social media, even SMS.
But, what about WhatsApp…?
WhatsApp isn’t just a personal messaging app, it also boasts marketing automation functionality which is perfect for businesses to communicate and engage with their audience.
In this blog post, we will help you understand what WhatsApp marketing automation is, the benefits of this channel, tips and tricks, some common challenges, and offer a little inspiration.
What is WhatsApp marketing automation?
When discussing WhatsApp marketing automation, we are referring to the use of technology to streamline marketing efforts via the WhatsApp platform without the need of manually triggered every message.
With the use of WhatsApp API, WhatsApp Business app, and chatbots, businesses can automate entire conversations and message flows.
Below are just some of the automation features available:
Automated message flows
Via the WhatsApp API, businesses can create custom message flows of any length, including an entire conversation. Businesses can for example, utilise this functionality for auto-replies to FAQ, provide opening hours, or pointing customers to useful information.
Streamlined sales process
Businesses can automate their sales flow through the WhatsApp chatbot. This functionality can enquire about a customer’s intent, provide assistance when choosing a product, and enable instant purchasing.
Proactive message templates can be created through the WhatsApp API to target customers that have opted in to receive updates related to a specific order, appointment, service, or payment.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) call deflection
This feature can be utilised to send phone calls to WhatsApp. Businesses can assign a number in their IVR system which asks the users if they would like to continue the conversation via WhatsApp.
Once they accept, they are automatically directed to WhatsApp to continue, either with a real-life agent or WhatsApp chatbot.
What are the benefits of WhatsApp marketing automation?
Using WhatsApp marketing automation offers several benefits for businesses looking to enhance their marketing efforts and engage with their target audience effectively.
WhatsApp boasts over 2 billion users worldwide. For businesses, this means the opportunity to reach audiences, globally, in a simple and straightforward way.
This is particularly useful for businesses who have a global audience that they want to engage.
WhatsApp has a significantly higher conversion rate than many traditional marketing channels, even email!
Better customer satisfaction
Even better, WhatsApp offers the ability to communicate with audiences in a direct and personalised way, which has been proven to increase engagement and overall customer satisfaction.
WhatsApp marketing automation tips and tricks
WhatsApp marketing automation can be a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audience effectively. Here are some valuable tips for using WhatsApp marketing automation to maximise your results:
Building a subscriber list
To start building a robust subscriber list we recommend promoting your WhatsApp across a variety of marketing channels.
Use cross-promotion techniques to encourage users on other platforms, such as social media or email, to join your WhatsApp subscriber list. You can even offer exclusive incentives such as discounts, content, or early access to new products.
Increasing targeting with segmentation
Just as with any marketing channel, segmentation is ideal for increasing the relevance of your communications alongside your engagement rates.
Segmentation through WhatsApp marketing automation is comparable to many other channels, and can be achieved through a range of criteria, such as behavioural, demographic, or product specific.
Creating compelling messages
To ensure your messages are engaging, start with a personalised greeting to create a more emotional connection.
Follow this with visuals such as images or GIFs to enhance the visual appeal of your messages. And keep your messages concise and clear, focusing on the key information you want to convey.
And why not experiment with different types of messages? Consider product recommendations, order updates, or interactive surveys.
Integrating WhatsApp with other systems
You can also utilise WhatsApp APIs or third-party tools to integrate WhatsApp with your CRM or marketing automation systems. This allows you to synchronise customer data, automate processes, and trigger personalised messages based on user interactions.
Monitoring and iterating
To optimise your WhatsApp marketing automation efforts, it’s crucial to monitor and analyse the performance of your campaigns. Track metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer behaviour, and use the insights gained to refine your messaging, segmenting strategies, and automation workflows.
Common challenges with WhatsApp marketing automation
We’re big fans of WhatsApp marketing automation. But as with any marketing channel, there can be drawbacks, such as the below:
WhatsApp boasts fairly strict terms of service which ensure that businesses cannot spam their recipients, or send unsolicited messages.
Whilst this can make communications more complicated, overall the effects are positive. Businesses simply need to ensure they follow best practice guidelines, just as they would with any other marketing channel. Therefore avoiding any account suspensions or penalties.
Whilst WhatsApp leads the way in personal messaging, it is fairly new to marketing automation. Which means it lacks some of the functionality that more traditional channels boast.
This can cause drawbacks with design, visual content, or more complex automation requirements.
Limited broadcast lists
Broadcast lists for WhatsApp are limited to only 256 people. Whilst you can still contact more than 256 people, you will have to create multiple lists to do so.
This can take some manual effort. So to make the most of it, we’d recommend using these lists to create different segments to increase the relevance of your messages.
WhatsApp marketing automation success stories
Understanding how WhatsApp marketing automation works is all well and good, but we know you want to see it in action.
Here are a couple of our favourite WhatsApp campaigns to inspire you.
Adidas utilised WhatsApp to create a hotline to help amateur football teams across London to replace missing players, by providing some of London’s best Predator players to those in need.
The campaign ran for 6 days and generated some fantastic results, notable press attention in football media, retail websites, blogs, and social media.
Hellmann’s wanted to inspire consumers to embrace mayonnaise for more than just sandwiches. So they created WhatsCook, a live recipe service via WhatsApp.
Users received messages from real-life chefs requesting photos of the ingredients users had in their fridge. In return, the chef would suggest recipes with the use of Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
Not only did the campaign generate media attention, but it also boasted a 99% user satisfaction rate.
We hope you’ve been inspired to consider WhatsApp Marketing Channel as a new and exciting technology to add to your marketing stack.
If you’d like any support or advice on implementing WhatsApp, or simply want to improve your overall marketing effectiveness, then we can help.
Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more.