Who doesn’t know it, one of the most widely used apps worldwide, which is now used by more than two billion people? WhatsApp has been conquering the business world for a long time. Since January 2018, the popular messenger has also been available as a business tool that promises to make it easier for companies to communicate with their target group via the messenger. It can only be successful if a company understands WhatsApp as a marketing tool and uses it correctly.
What can the WhatsApp marketing tool be used for?
As of December 7, 2019, newsletter marketing is no longer allowed on WhatsApp. This means that any bulk messages or messages with non-personal use that are sent by companies via the messenger are punished. Neither users nor WhatsApp itself liked the sending of newsletters via the tool, and to prevent commercial oversaturation of the Messenger channel, WhatsApp newsletters were banned. But that doesn’t mean the end of WhatsApp marketing, the new focus of this marketing channel is now on customer care and pull marketing. Thus, the individual needs of the users come to the fore, and they receive 100 per cent personalized content.
For over 20 years there have only been two ways in which customers can contact companies directly: by hotline or by email. Telephone hotlines, however, are often very annoying for customers, the long queues with “inspiring” background music and advertising messages, only to be passed on from one employee to the next, can take your nerve away. Even after hours of phone calls, you often don’t get an immediate solution to your problem. Also, this means of communication is usually costly for companies. But even by email, many customers often find the answers they receive unsatisfactorily and therefore do not feel that the company is taking good care of them. Hence the use of messenger services such as WhatsApp the perfect solution for direct and qualitative customer communication.
WhatsApp has turned the way we communicate with one another on its head. Users also want to share with companies as they do with their friends and acquaintances – and this is precisely what WhatsApp has laid the foundation for.
Messenger marketing, a “new” type of marketing, is also suitable for companies that want to get in closer and, above all, more personal contact with their customers, mainly because of the high number of users in Germany.
Companies can offer customer service via the WhatsApp tool to react faster and more specifically, to customer inquiries. Also, tools like WhatsBroadcast offer automated chatbots. Even with this type of customer communication, much of the questions can of virtual assistant automatically be answered.
How can companies use WhatsApp for themselves:
- to pass on general information
- for assistance or problem solving or to receive complaints or complaints
- to simplify appointments
- Booking or reservation system
The range of services corresponds to the information provided by WhatsApp users about what they want to use WhatsApp for in communication with companies.
In the long term, functions such as purchases or bookings, online payment, shipment tracking or real-time notification for events or tasks will also be offered; WhatsApp is working on an enterprise service package for companies.
What always applies in any case: Almost all customers have a quick and suitable solution to their problem, and this can be regulated very well via WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Business App
The WhatsApp Business App shows how the whole thing can work for free. It is essential to mention here that only one phone number can be used per WhatsApp account. This means that the company account cannot use a private number, but needs its own SIM card and, ideally, its mobile phone. By setting automated replies, quick messages and welcome messages in the WhatsApp Business App, a company can react directly to inquiries.
Also, the app offers the ability to specify business information and your custom profile almost like a Google My Business Profile.
Furthermore, you get an insight into the statistics of how often a message was read, sent and received. Various labels can also be set up to sort the chats.
Another feature of WhatsApp Business app is the product catalogue function. This allows a product catalogue to be added to the WhatsApp company profile, in which products, images, descriptions and prices are displayed. The individual articles are available with a link to the website, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Catalogues or items can also be quickly sent to friends or relatives via WhatsApp. More than 40 million users use company catalogues on WhatsApp every month.
The product catalogue function shows where the journey is going because customer communication is increasingly moving in the direction of conversational marketing and the possibility of offering shopping directly in the messenger.
So that it doesn’t say “OH OH DSGVO“… What you should note: Since August 2018 there has been the Business API for companies that made GDPR-compliant communication possible in the first place with verified company accounts. The API makes communication with their customers as uncomplicated as possible: Among other things, companies can use the landline number on which their service hotline can also be reached. The messenger can also be implemented in the existing internal CRM or ERP systems.
As is well known, personal data must be protected. It must therefore be ensured that when setting up WhatsApp for a company, WhatsApp does not automatically synchronize all contact data from the phone book. Additionally, it should be noted that the users agree that it may be sent by the company messages must. This is usually done with a signal word such as “Start” after the user has added the company number to their contacts.
Speaking of adding, so that your target group can also contact you via WhatsApp, you should draw attention to it on your website. For example, many companies design their landing page or a click-to-WhatsApp button ( possible as a widget via the API ) on the homepage on which users can register for the WhatsApp service. Similar to newsletter marketing, a double opt-in should be offered here, with which the subscriber has to confirm his consent in two steps. So you are on the safe side when it comes to the GDPR!
Cost of customer communication via WhatsApp
The WhatsApp Business App is free of charge for companies. Messages that a customer sends to a company are also always free of charge for both parties. In the first 24 hours after a customer inquiry, a company can reply and send messages to the customer free of charge. After the 24-hour time window has expired, however, each letter in Germany costs € 0.0733 for the company.
With this regulation, WhatsApp wants to preserve the image of customer communication in real-time. Therefore, enough employees should always be available for chat support and react quickly to customer inquiries. Of course, this results in high personnel costs for the company.
Advantages & disadvantages of WhatsApp marketing
The course has WhatsApp marketing its advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s summarize the advantages:
One of the most significant advantages of WhatsApp marketing is that we are all already using WhatsApp. Our cell phone rarely leaves our hand and is much closer to us than the computer, for example. You don’t share your cell phone with anyone, you always have it with you, and you like to access information. This is as good as every target group reached via this channel, and there is a technical reach of over one billion users worldwide.
This WhatsApp has low wastage, as customers actively absorb the company’s contact in the phone and precisely target. As a user, for example, on my way home from work, I can quickly ask a company a question.
As a company, you can react quickly and very directly to customer inquiries and offer customers a solution; this strengthens customer loyalty and promotes service. This means that almost direct contact with customers in real-time possible, which is not the case with many other marketing channels.
Thanks to the “rich media” functions of WhatsApp, companies can now send content such as geo-locations, videos or QR codes directly in the message. For example, it is now possible to send digital flight tickets with this new feature.
Also, automated answers to standard questions are possible through chatbot, making the employees more time for individual queries have.
WhatsApp has an unbeatable quality of interaction of users with an interaction rate of 50 per cent with a 90 per cent open rate of messages.
Also, it is available free of charge (but, as I said, it is no longer completely free to use if the 24-hour time window for communication is exceeded) and, after a one-off setup, is very easy to use.
And what are the downsides?
When communicating via messenger services, customers expect an answer almost immediately. If this is delayed, you run the risk of annoying customers. This weakens rather than strengthens customer loyalty.
To devote all inquiries and concerns high, therefore, very much for companies time consuming to be and need additional resources. That is why you should ensure that there are enough staff for chat support or only use the messenger as a marketing campaign to a limited extent or at certain times.
Also, costs now will later be sent then 24 hours after the customer inquiry by the company each message, money. Therefore, sufficient staff should be available for chat support or the messenger should only be used as a marketing campaign to a limited extent or at certain times.
Blessing or curse that is the question.
WhatsApp Business can elevate a company’s service concept, but it can also do precisely the opposite. The fact is that the app is more suitable for small to medium-sized companies with a well-staffed marketing department. For large companies, other tool providers offer more suitable products. But if you WhatsApp sent using customer communication, you increase certainly the customer loyalty.
Is WhatsApp marketing hype or already every day?
In August 2019 more than 14 million people over WhatsApp with a company interacted. According to a study, every fifth WhatsApp user has come into contact with a company at least once via the platform. But there is still a lot of room for improvement because according to this study, every second German wants more contact with companies via WhatsApp.
Thus, Messenger communications, not hype anymore, but long since arrived in everyday life and for companies more relevant than ever.
Does WhatsApp Marketing Have a Future?
Even if WhatsApp no longer allows newsletters, it does not mean the end of messenger marketing. Sending newsletters was just one of many ways to attract users’ attention via messenger tools such as WhatsApp. The abolition of WhatsApp newsletter service to only focus on WhatsApp marketing shifts from push to pull communication. Customers can still contact companies via WhatsApp. It is about customer support, consulting and another news channel, which is used for customer communication.
Straightforward communication is possible via messenger services, which most customers want today. But it is essential, as with all other marketing measures also: Think up a clear concept for your WhatsApp marketing. How should the messenger service be included and used in the company’s marketing mix? What content should be played out to the customers? How do you communicate with the target group? How can you deliver exciting content and added value to customers? And many more questions …
A bright future is in sight for WhatsApp marketing, because conversational marketing is still at the beginning of its development. There is still a lot of upside potential, and there will always be new opportunities to expand and improve customer communication via WhatsApp. WhatsApp has the potential to become the most widely used multimedia channel of the smartphone age and has already created the basis for this through its very high intensity of use. Companies should see and use this initial situation.