“It’s not personal; it’s business”—the GodFather. Nothing is more accurate about the universal messaging tool that we all use – WhatsApp. With the Introduction of the catalog and payment features, No doubt, WhatsApp is becoming the most favorite tool for small business owners.
Just because we have been using WhatsApp for many many years, we think that we know how to use it correctly for business.
But this is far from the truth.
Especially when it comes to marketing using WhatsApp, people make maximum mistakes. This article attempts to demystify the whole concept and discusses what you should do, what you should avoid and what you should never do.
How can I send Bulk messages on Whatsapp for free? – the most searched term on Google, when it comes to using WhatsApp for marketing purposes.
Most of the people think that WhatsApp can be used for marketing in just one way, that is to send lots of messages to lots of people.
There is one dialogue in the Hindi movie “इतना कैसे ग़लत हो सकते हो, भाई” (how can you be so wrong, brother?). Nothing applies more to the way we think of WhatsApp as a marketing tool.
We have to understand a few basics before we explore how to use WhatsApp for our business, especially for generating more sales.
WhatsApp marketing Myths
Why does Bulk WhatsApp not work?
When we try to send unwanted and non-relevant messages to lots of people, it does not make any sense or use, for the recipients.
Also, one isolated message does not create a proper impact. A series of relevant messages (Campaign) would make a good and lasting impact.
Why is WhatsApp banning numbers?
It’s very logical. If someone tries to dilute the product or harm the revenue of the company, then the company will protect itself.
WhatsApp is a commercial company.
WhatsApp has become so common in our lives that we tend to think that the Government provides it, which is not true.
WhatsApp is a software by a profit-making corporation.
They are here to make a profit and not just to make the world a better place. Once we keep this in mind, other things become clear.
Are we customers of WhatsApp?
Before we go ahead and discuss WhatsApp Marketing, let us ask one question to ourselves? Are we customers of WhatsApp?
Take a moment and think about this.
No, we are just users, we are not customers. Free users are those who make WhatsApp a platform. There are currently (at the end of 2020), more than 2 billion users of WhatsApp. This number makes WhatsApp useful.
There is a saying that when the product is free, you are the product. This is exactly what we are. WhatsApp application is the tool (or machinery) that makes this product.
We are the product for the WhatsApp company. Actual customers are those who pay WhatsApp for API access and other revenue. AND, they pay for access to the product, Which is a platform containing 2 billion users.
So, we are the product. Not the customer.
WhatsApp is so lucrative because of its great software and also because it is still SPAMFree, most of the time. WhatsApp makes revenue out of this PRODUCT.
How does WhatsApp protect its product and revenue?
Why do we all like WhatsApp? because we don’t get lots of spam. Right?
Now, If we start getting lots of spam, we will move away from WhatsApp.
This will dilute the product of WhatsApp, its 2 billion users.
So WhatsApp will protect this at any cost.
Further, WhatsApp receives revenue by selling its API to send automated messages and integrate with other software.
If someone starts creating illegal APIs for sending WhatsApp messages, then that is killing the revenue of WhatsApp.
In order to stay profitable, WhatsApp has to protect its product (its 2 billion users) and its revenue at any cost. This is the reason why WhatsApp bans anyone who tries to attack these two things.
Marketing is more important than WhatsApp
WhatsApp Marketing; WhatsApp or Marketing?
We should give more importance to marketing rather than WhatsApp. Rather people are only focusing on WhatsApp and they tend to ignore the fundamental concepts of marketing.
Marketing is about wooing someone; it’s about convincing someone that you can help them. Right?
The word, marketing resonates with romance, where you focus on the other person and try to make them happy and give them focus and attention.
But, if we try to use force with the other person, by giving them something that they don’t want. Then it’s not romance, but its a rape.
The same thing happens when you send lots of messages to people, without even thinking about whether they want it or not. This is absolutely not marketing. Remember romance v/s rape.
You don’t send marriage proposals to unknown people, right? First, you approach them, understand them, know each other and then convince them that you are good. After all of that only you propose.
But unfortunately, in WhatsApp marketing, most of the people just send marriage proposals to unknown people, and that too lots of repeated unwanted messages to lots of unknown people.
That is the reason why Bulk WhatsApp does not work. Automated Bulk WhatsApp does not work absolutely.
Now that we have established the fundamental rule for WhatsApp marketing, We are ready to go ahead and explore how to use WhatsApp for business and marketing purposes.
In WhatsApp Marketing, marketing is more important than WhatsApp. The fundamental principles of Marketing always apply.
Why do we need a tool for marketing purposes?
Before talking about how and what to use for marketing, let us establish why. Why do we want to use WhatsApp for marketing purposes?
- To increase our business.
- By creating more leads,
- Improve Customer Engagement.
- Educate our customers about the benefits of the product.
- How can our offering improve customers’ lives and solve their problems?
Don’t focus on the pricing and features of the product; focus on the needs of the customers and How they benefit from your product and services.
Ask yourself, Will your customer make the buying decision, just by seeing the WhatsApp message? If no, then don’t try to sell on WhatsApp. Just try to create engagement.
So, the fundamental reason why we need WhatsApp is to create awareness and create engagement.
The Final purpose of any WhatsApp campaign is to create an engagement. We want people to ask us to tell them more about our offering. That’s it.
We will take it ahead from there by a phone call or personal meeting. Orders are not going to close, just by sending lots of messages to lots of people.
Is WhatsApp Marketing legal in India?
Absolutely no, WhatsApp marketing is perfectly legal in India. But then we have to follow the usage policy as laid down by WhatsApp. [i.e. The FaceBook].
What is the secret of WhatsApp marketing success?
There are only two components which are very important in order to make it successful.
- Whom do you send messages?
- What messages do you send?
- Series of relevant messages.
We need to send relevant messages to relevant people. Another important thing is that one single statement does not make effective communication; there has to be a series of relevant messages. A Drip Campaign.
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Two Biggest WhatsApp challenge
For most of the people what to send is a bigger problem. Crafting useful messages is much more important than sending messages. This is the reason why we need to pay more attention to Marketing and not WhatsApp.
Secondly, categorising and organising contacts is also a big challenge, Since the connections are managed in a different App.
The major challenge in WhatsApp Marketing is to send relevant messages to relevant people. Sending everything to everybody does not work. Bombarding does not work.
It’s nor personal; It’s business.
Although WA started as a personal chat application, its usage and influence on business is dramatic. Also with the release of WhatsApp Business App (Free), it’s a boon for SME owners.
WhatsApp Messenger or WhatsApp Business?
It is strongly recommended that you switch over to WhatsApp business account, immediately. WhatsApp Business is free, and it has many features which are useful for small business owners.
Here is a small video which explains the benefits of Whatsapp business and how to use them.
Also, just installing WhatsApp business applications does not serve the features. You will have to configure all the components properly and also create the content accordingly.
WhatsApp Business useful features
- Business profile.
- Name of Business.
- Contact details. (Phone number and email address)
- Write a detailed description of your business.
- Working hours.
- Physical Address.
- Web address (website)
- About-your-business. (Status line).
- Product Catalogs.
- Create up to 500 business catalogues.
- Up to 10 images in every catalogue
- Product title and description.
- Product URL
- Product pricing.
Once again, please remember that just installing the Business App does not serve the purpose, You have to spend time and configure it properly.
Is WhatsApp Business free to use?
Yes, WhatsApp Business App is free. It is available for Android as well as iOS.
Images or WhatsApp catalogue?
One of the greatest features of WhatsApp has been its ability to send images. But when we plan to use images for business purposes, we need to take certain care.
- The images have to be Mobile ready. Your audience is not going to pinch-out and pinch in to read.
- Instead of sending images, create proper WhatsApp Catalogs, and send its link. Its much more powerful than sending individual images.
The best tool for creating beautiful images for WhatsApp catalog is Canva. Its a web application, even the free version is very useful.
WhatsApp is slowly moving towards being a unique eCommerce platform for Small Business Owners.
UPI payments are allowed in India and some other countries. WhatsApp recently rolled out (again) Payments in India. This allows us to make and receive payments from mobile to mobile.
Switch to WhatsApp Business today, it’s free. Moreover, it has many features which are very friendly for small business owners.
Be more productive with WhatsApp
Use WhatsApp efficiently (Some useful tips)
We all get lots of WhatsApp messages individually as well as in groups. If we don’t have an efficient way of decluttering this then our important messages will get lost in the maze.
Here are few tried and tested tips
- Pin Chat:
- 3 chats can be pinned to the top.
- TIP: There are some groups or individuals, where you don’t want to miss any messages anyhow.
- Pin them.
- Don’t delete; archive them.
- Archive messages are accessible on Android, at the bottom of the messages and on iOS available on the top, after sliding down regular messages.
- TIP: Check the chat list, and archive all the messages where you don’t have any actionable points.
- PRO-TIP: Mark your chats with a label or star before archiving, if you want to categorise them.
- Categories your chats & messages with Labels.
- TIP: Create labels as per actions to be taken. For example: Sales Enquiries, Payment Follow Up, Reading Material, Interesting Videos, Jokes, etc.
- While Label allows you to categorise messages, Star will enable you to mark them as important or prioritise.
- PRO-TIP: Use combination of Labels and Stars to categorise and prioritise chats.
- Away Replies
- Send auto-reply when you are not using WhatsApp.
- TIP: Never use the standard message. Instead, be creative. Be humble. Send something useful and important to the other person.
- Send auto-reply when someone sends a message for the first time or after 14 days.
- TIP: Don’t use standard welcome messages, give something useful for your contacts.
- Away Replies
- Quick Replies
- Quick replies are message templates that you can send to your customers.
- TIP: Create Quick replies for everything that you send at least more than once: your Billing detail, your company profile, your product details.
- PRO-TIP: You can use Images in Quick Replies. You can also create catalogues in WhatsApp and then use the links to those catalogs in your Quick Reply templates.
Groups and Broadcasts, uses and limitations
Groups are best suited for creating and nurturing communities. Some people make a group and then add lots of people into it and then they think that they will send a message to them daily.
Over and above this, they make these groups admin-only. So no one can post anything, only admins can post.
What happens next? Many of the people who have been added to the group, leave immediately. Complete waste of time and reputation.
Just think for a moment, Is it going to give results? No. In fact, this ruins the reputation of the one who created a group.
How can we use WhatsApp Groups for growing Business?
Groups can give excellent results if done correctly. Building a community of our customers can get us a lot of customer confidence, and of course lots of references.
Best tips for managing business groups.
- Create a group with a very clear purpose.
- Write an accurate description so that everybody knows what the group is about.
- Before adding people to that group, have a word with them, explain the purpose of the group and then add them.
- Make sure the group members have explained the rules and they follow the group rules.
- Share the message that is useful for the audience, not just your promotion material.
Why do we create WhatsApp Groups for our Partners and Customers?
- Putting customers in one group can look risky, but it is highly effective if done correctly.
- This gives lots of confidence to our existing customers.
- Also, when we tell this to our prospective customers, their confidence in our product and team increases significantly.
- Plus, we get lots of inputs and ideas from our customer groups.
Broadcast is typically useful when your recipients follow up and they want to hear from you. It feels that the Broadcast feature is designed more for the leaders and artists.
Before we understand the features of WhatsApp Broadcast, let us understand the limitations of the same.
- Only those people who have saved your contact in their phone will receive your broadcast message.
- You can only put 256 people in a broadcast list. However, you can make as many broadcast lists as you want.
Use cases and tips for the Broadcast list:
- Do not add people who don’t know you, to your broadcast list.
- Before adding people to the broadcast list, make sure that they get a chance to know you and also save your contact file.
- One of the uses can be sending Product Updates to your customers or dealers/partners.
- Sending regular price-list for your trader community, Only if they would like it.
- Social Broadcast list: A friend sends melodious songs every night, with lots of interesting trivia, and people love it.
- PRO-TIP: Create multiple broadcast lists by selecting contacts in alphabetical order. This way it becomes much easier to create and manage lists.
Broadcast Lists for announcements and not marketing
Leaders make announcements, not the marketers unless you are a market leader.
Suppose you create a broadcast list of 50 people and then send them the first broadcast message on 1st October.
Now, on 15th October, you are sending the Second message to all those people.
However, during these 15 days, you also added another 12 people. The problem is that these 12 people will not receive the first message. They will receive the second message only.
The broadcast list is ok for announcements and news, but not Ok for campaign-based marketing.
WhatsApp Groups are for community building and discussions. WhatsApp Broadcast lists are great for sharing news or announcements. Both of these are not ideal for marketing purposes.
WhatsApp Campaign is better than Bulk WhatsApp.
What we need for an effective marketing campaign is not bulk whatsapp, but a proper mechanism to categorise our contacts and then be able to send Multiple related messages as a campaign.
Also, we need to take maximum advantage of our own address book. Because those are the people who already know us.
Furthermore, it is great if the tool allows us to create campaigns using not only WhatsApp, but also SMS, Emails and Scheduled Calls.
WhatsApp Campaign usage scenarios
- Generating More Leads
- Your address book can be the biggest source of leads for your business. Use multiple campaigns to send for multiple products.
- Create a prospecting campaign and then add relevant contacts from your mobile address book to that campaign.
- Customer Onboarding
- Send Product usage instructions, tips and tricks in a non-intrusive way to your customers. Increase adoption easily and effectively.
- When the sale (or installation) is complete, then immediately add them to a campaign to send a series of messages, which help them use the product or service.
- Sales Lead Management
- When you get a lead, just save the contact and add it to the relevant campaign. Lead nurturing at its best.
- When you receive a call or an enquiry, add them to the campaign with a single swipe action.
- Renewals / Subscriptions
- Keep in touch with your customers for AMC, Renewals, Subscriptions or any recurring business. Increase Customer Stickiness.
- Create a campaign spread over the duration of the contract, to keep in touch, ask for the feedback and also educate the customer.
- Support and Feedback.
- When someone sends you a complaint, assign a tag to them and add it to the campaign. Send a feedback link once resolved.
- Create small campaigns which explain the solution to common problems and FAQ. When you receive any complaint for support, just add them to these small campaigns.
- Cross-Selling Upselling
- Sell more to your existing customers, by informing them about your other offerings via email, SMS, and WhatsApp.
- Enjay also provides a free cross selling tool. Use that tool to identify the cross selling and upselling prospects and then add them to the campaign created specifically for upselling.
- Dealers Relationships
- Improve your Distribution Business with continuous and effective communication with your Dealer Network.
- When a new dealer joins, add them to the onboarding and welcome campaign. Create monthly campaigns for the regular dealers.
- Scheduled Messages
- Send custom scheduled messages for a future date, to single or multiple contacts. A great way to remind someone.
- When you receive a call or SMS, just swipe the entry to create a scheduled call or message back.
- Events and Exhibitions
- When someone comes to your stall, just scan the card, add to the address book, Add a Tag and select Campaign. Never miss the lead.
- Create campaign(s) to be sent to the visitors before the event starts.
- When a visitor visits a stall and shows the interest in your offering, just add them to the relevant campaign.
- Great way to connect with them, immediately after they leave your stall.
- Employee Onboarding
- Make your new employees aware of your organisation in a slow but steady way, with scheduled messages and useful resources.
- Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Greet your professional contacts with warm greetings using email, SMS, WhatsApp or even calls. Never miss any date.
- Families, Friends and Relatives
- Often we miss to keep in touch with our friends, because we don’t meet them on a regular basis. Use the Sampark Setu Campaign to stay in touch.
- Create a campaign with simple wishes, something good to share, some jokes, some useful material, requests to meet etc.
What is Sampark Setu
Sampark Setu, is an android mobile app. A big marketing app for small business owners. List of Major features of Sampark Setu App.
- Contact organiser (with labels and tags)
- Messaging templates for WhatsApp, email, and SMS.
- Create Multi channel campaigns
- Send scheduled SMS, Email and WhatsApp.
- It does not send WhatsApp messages on its own, it just creates and manages the campaign and facilitates and schedules the messages for you to send.
One last thing
Practical tips on creating & Sending WhatsApp Messages
- What to send
- Don’t send pricing, unless your customers are asking for it.
- Send information that will be useful for them.
- Occasionally, take feedback from them, whether they like your messages or not.
- Sharing use cases and success stories about your solution can be useful.
- When creating a prospecting or relationship building campaign create a healthy mixture of useful things and promotion.
- Don’t overdose the promotional messages.
- Write messages which people would like to respond to.
- When to send
- Do not send messages too frequently.
- Keep at least 10-15 days gap between two messages.