By Zulay Regalado
Updated on September 29, 2023
WhatsApp marketing, conversational commerce (cCom), chatting to customers with WhatsApp messages, whatever you like to call it, it's big and getting bigger. Here are our top tips to start chatting in WhatsApp while keeping your brand essence (and your customers).
WhatsApp is a land of happiness, quick-fire chat and personal conversations. One message pings louder than hundreds of mail messages. So it's no surprise that more and more businesses are moving there.
But where do you start with creating a WhatsApp marketing strategy?
At charles, we've learned the key to building a WhatsApp marketing strategy is having a dedicated team delivering quality guidance, helping your business remain innovative, tactical and competitive.
We also believe that sharing is caring. So we put together a list of our top 7 lessons: 6 do’s and 1 don’t that every marketer should keep in mind when building a WhatsApp marketing strategy.
The ‘do’s’ of successful WhatsApp marketing
Without further ado (sorry), here are our top 6 best practices when it comes to WhatsApp marketing and the power of conversational commerce?
1. Be personal
Some marketers may have you believe that winning a customer comes down to who can offer the biggest discount. Yes, discounts are a plus and often the nature of the game during holidays like Black Friday, but it’s only a small part of a long-term connection between brand and consumer.
Consumers value community — in fact, 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them, while 76% of them would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor. When framing out your WhatsApp campaign, think of ways to foster connection through conversation, such as:
- Asking for product feedback
- Checking in on a customer post-purchase
- Offering an exclusive perk (like special access to brand content or an early bird view of a new product drop also creates a sense of ‘FOMO’ with the customer)
2. Think offline too
The customer journey zigzags through multiple touchpoints both on-and-offline, which means there’s opportunity to drive more value with your WhatsApp campaign long after a customer has interacted with your brand via the messaging app.
For example, a well-known fashion retailer and fellow charles client launched a newsletter campaign on WhatsApp to communicate a secret sale happening on Black Friday weekend. Their initial campaign message included a CTA button that would ‘unlock’ the surprise:
When the customer clicked on the button, they were led to a second message where the brand offered them a 30% discount if they presented the WhatsApp message at the store during checkout:
While the brand offered the traditional Black Friday discount, they did so in a clever way by linking their WhatsApp campaign to the in-store experience, getting customers to visit a physical location. The brand’s strategy to kick off the campaign with a CTA button to ‘unlock’ the discount also creates a sense of urgency with the customer rather than simply presenting the discount in their initial message. And this actually resonated with customers; as a result, >50% of the newsletter recipients clicked the CTA button to ‘open’ the surprise discount, while 5% of them went on to visit the store.
3. Respect GDPR: use 'thank you' pages
In the age of GDPR, it is critical that you have explicit opt-in from customers in order to communicate with them via any channel, and WhatsApp is no exception.
One strategy we’ve found particularly valuable is using your ‘Thank You’ pages as a means of collecting opt-ins. With charles, this can be done by simply inserting a widget on the page that enables the customers to connect with you via WhatsApp easily:
Keep in mind: a good conversational commerce tool will also help you build an automated flow to easily collect opt-ins/double opt-ins from customers once they sign up for WhatsApp messages. Like charles :)
4. Think low frequency, high relevance
WhatsApp is a sacred space. Businesses who are too pushy or demand too much attention will fail to build relationships in the long term. If there's a golden rule, it's: minimum invasion, maximum persuasion.
Earn your customers' trust only reaching out to them 1 to 2 times per month with highly relevant and segmented content. That's the beauty of WhatsApp: you can be very specific about your target audience. This means you can send them campaigns you know they'll be interested in, not one-size-fits-all emails, and they'll thank you for it.
5. Get ideas from your success team
If you’re using a tool like charles to jumpstart your WhatsApp newsletter campaign, you’ll have a dedicated customer success team member who will act as your ‘coach’ along the way.
This person’s primary job is to ensure you have the tools you need to maximize your campaign results.
This means everything from brainstorming the right format for your campaign, identifying which days will lead to higher open/click-through rate, and how often you should send out your WhatsApp newsletters to develop an effective cadence.
Not only are they an excellent source of support, but they’re a valuable source of knowledge to help you and your team learn more about the benefits and strategies behind a winning WhatsApp campaign.
Which leads us to our next 'do'…
6. Test and troubleshoot
Sending out a WhatsApp newsletter campaign is more than just a ‘set it and forget it’ process. Your team should be ready to troubleshoot any issues pre-launch and monitor progress post-launch to maximize performance.
When building your campaign test center, don’t forget to A/B test your newsletter strategy to yield the best possible results. This is especially useful during peak season holidays (such as Black Friday) when site traffic is at its highest.
Use that momentum to identify which experiences (such as messaging, design and timing) your customers are most likely to engage with and optimize your strategy as you see results.
Check out our case study with fashion brand SNOCKS where the company A/B tested exit intent popups to prove the value of WhatsApp vs traditional email (and achieved a 2.5x higher open rate in the process).
The 1 definitely don't of WhatsApp marketing
We’ve talked about the ‘do’s’ - now it’s time for one big ‘don’t’ when it comes to setting up your WhatsApp newsletter. It’s one that can cost you customers and budget.
1. Don't copy and paste emails into WhatsApp
WhatsApp newsletters and traditional email newsletters each serve their own purpose. WhatsApp is meant for lower frequency, highly relevant communication. Email is more for high frequency communication. While it’s possible for the 2 to live in harmony, it does their formats are not interchangeable.
Simply put: avoid using an email newsletter format for your WhatsApp newsletters.
By nature, a WhatsApp newsletter is shorter in content and meant to capture a customer’s attention much faster than a traditional email newsletter would. Trying to fit email newsletter content into a WhatsApp newsletter can lead to lower conversion rates and an overall lower quality rating.
Use charles already? Ask us anything.
We're here to make sure you drive success via WhatsApp in 2022. If you’re a customer and want to brainstorm new ideas for your next WhatsApp newsletter, talk to your customer success manager today.
Want to get started with charles?
When it comes to creating a revenue-generating WhatsApp newsletter strategy, our customer success and in-house creative teams sit at the heart of your success. They work tirelessly to ensure you have the tools you need to win your customers' trust on one of the top (and most competitive) marketing channels today.
Get in touch and we’ll help you create a WhatsApp newsletter strategy that helps you reach your customers where they like to hang out.