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4 Ways Marketing Leaders Should Be Using WhatsApp to Help Achieve Business Goals

August 15, 2023

A captive audience was once considered an ideal scenario for marketers. But in today’s landscape? That perspective is better left in the past.

Customers are no longer content acting as merely passive viewers of your company’s messaging — instead, they’re increasingly on the lookout for personalized experiences, quick responses, and the convenience of engaging brands on the platforms they know best.

Business messaging channels — and WhatsApp in particular — are now emerging as a “sweet spot”, combining the usability of mobile messaging protocols with the security and reliability of business-grade communications.

Below, we’ll explore some recent findings — including a Meta study exploring marketers’ attitudes toward business messaging platforms like WhatsApp — to identify the four major ways marketing leaders should be employing these platforms to help achieve their broader business goals.

Person riding up escalator wearing a blue sweater, jeans, and pink headphones. They are carrying a black purse and reading a business message on WhatsApp on phone.

Boosting Brand Awareness and Reach

Increasing the number of customers who come across your brand in the first place can be a big help when it comes to maximizing your campaigns’ effectiveness. Thankfully, some of the most helpful megaphones around come in the form of business messaging channels.

Messaging apps are gaining a significant edge over other channels, even surpassing the user base of social media itself by about 20%.1 Around 2.9 billion people worldwide use Messenger and WhatsApp, offering nearly half the world as a potential audience for targeted and personalized marketing communications. Indeed, another study found that texting is the most used communication channel among Americans under the age of 50.2

Impressive as WhatsApp’s potential reach may be, it’s only underscored by the platform’s staggering open rates. With a 98% open rate (compared to a mere 20% for emails), customers are more likely to see, engage, and click your messages when you approach them on their preferred channel.3

Person sitting on a bench with a tree in the background. They are wearing a white t-shirt with a blue denim long sleeve shirt while opening a WhatsApp message on phone.

Generating More Leads and Conversions

While nearly all first interactions on WhatsApp will be initiated by the customer, one unique aspect of business messaging platforms is the requirement for customers to "opt-in" or give permission to receive further marketing messages in the future.

Though this may initially present as a daunting hurdle, it's actually a powerful way to build an audience that has a confirmed, explicit interest in receiving your brand's messages — in stark contrast to more passive channels, such as television or social media, where the audience's interest in your brand or product is hardly guaranteed. And with the soon approaching disappearance of third-party data, it’s crucial for businesses to begin to think creatively about gleaning insights into their customer’s preferences.4

But even now, the opt-in approach appears to be providing brands with tangible benefits. For example: A recent Meta study found that marketers employing business messaging solutions reported a 58% increase in leads. This upward trajectory of business messaging is particularly noteworthy in comparison to other traditional outlets, like TV (37%) and out-of-home advertising (45%).5

And remember: Meeting customers "where they're comfortable" — i.e. where they spend most of their daily screen time chatting with friends, family, and colleagues — can help lead to higher read and clickthrough rates. By using platforms that customers already engage with daily, businesses can communicate more effectively and foster stronger relationships with their customers.

Person walking across the street, carrying a backpack and wearing a white striped shirt. They are holding a phone and smiling while looking back.

Improving Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Business messaging platforms like WhatsApp are bringing about a revolution in customer satisfaction and retention.

Consider this: In 2022, 55% of businesses texted their customers, a 27% year-over-year growth from 2021. The same study found that 70% of consumers subscribed to at least one company’s business messages during that time, which itself represents a 12% increase from the previous year.6

Marketers, for their part, seem pleased as well: 81% of them report that these channels help them build stronger relationships throughout the customer journey, at points both pre- and post-purchase.7 As these numbers suggest, the growing embrace of platforms like WhatsApp aren’t just a passing trend, but a sizable (and growing) force in the marketing landscape.

It’s worth noting that this rise in popularity is closely tied to a messaging channel’s ability to facilitate more personalized and direct communication with customers — features that are no longer a mere preference in today’s marketplace, but a necessity. In fact, 76% of consumers in 2021 reported feeling frustrated when businesses fail to provide personalized experiences in their marketing.8

Another unique benefit? Asynchronous messaging — a concept with which we’re all familiar, even if we haven’t heard or used the term itself. It refers to a kind of conversation in which the exchange of messages may occur whether or not both parties are available to chat.

This allows both users to chat at their leisure, along with a great deal of flexibility and convenience — no more waiting on hold, or having to drop everything in order to devote your full attention to a customer service inquiry. Customers can even message you when your business is closed, and feel confident knowing they’ll receive an answer when your agents come into the office the next morning — or, if employing automated chatbots, 24 hours a day (more on that below).

Person sitting on office stairs, wearing a denim shirt and khakis. They are smiling and submitting a customer inquiry through WhatsApp.

Building Trust and Credibility

In an uncertain and sometimes confusing digital world, building trust and credibility with your customers is one of the most important considerations for any marketing team. Thankfully, one of the key ways to make that happen is by providing relevant, prompt responses to customer inquiries — something business messaging platforms like WhatsApp can do in spades.

Customers seem to have taken notice: One study found that 73% of shoppers feel more comfortable communicating with customer service via live chat than email (61%) or traditional phone support (44%).9 Another revealed that 61% of customers surveyed identified being placed on hold as their "top grievance" when using phone customer service.10

Beyond avoiding long response times and hold music, the added power of automated tools within your chat experience can go a long way in addressing typical customer frustrations. While perhaps counterintuitive, chatbots can actually drive trust and credibility with users — when implemented correctly.

Consider the common questions your customers ask every day — inquiries about stock availability, product options, operating hours, etc. It’s almost certain that most, if not all, of these frequently asked questions can be resolved before a customer even needs to speak to a customer service agent. Rather than feeling blown off, this automated FAQ demonstrates to customers that their concerns and questions are taken seriously and can be addressed promptly by the brand — even if no one is manning the controls at the time.

Seize The Day With WhatsApp Business Platform

Customers no longer want to be passive recipients of marketing messaging — instead, they’re seeking two-way conversations, engagement, and personalization with the brands they trust. And if you don’t provide it? They may well take their business to a competing brand who does.

Curious how marketing leaders are using WhatsApp to drive engagement throughout the customer journey? Check out our Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform for Marketers for some deeper insights into this powerful toolkit.

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