How to choose WhatsApp marketing software [12 must-haves checklist]

How to choose WhatsApp marketing software [12 must-haves checklist] blog

By Maxine Hess

Writer | WhatsApp marketer | Creative

Posted: March 28, 2024

Updated: April 23, 2024

More and more WhatsApp marketing software platforms are appearing on the market. What's essential to look for in your provider and the software platform? Here's the ultimate checklist.

 

WhatsApp Business is growing in Europe at a rapid rate. With 2 billion global users, 90% open rates and incredible retention potential, it's no surprise that in 2019, WhatsApp added a business offering to the previously consumer-only app.

 

Brands across the world are now boosting revenue with WhatsApp as a marketing channel. An incredible 50 million business now use WhatsApp Business across the world.

 

Enterprise brands can't use the WhatsApp Business app – this is only for small businesses. They need to use the WhatsApp Business API. To use this, they need to partner with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) like charles. 

 

WhatsApp BSPs make a software for brands to manage a WhatsApp marketing efforts. This will provide a user interface for CRM or marketing teams to automate WhatsApp conversations, manage chats across teams, segment audiences, monitor results and more.  

 

There are many software options to choose from, and a growing number of them appearing on the market.

 

This article aims to help you make an informed choice so you can choose a premium provider – to minimize risk and maximize success.

 

CHECKLIST: 12 must-haves for your WhatsApp marketing software 

Where do you start when you're looking for WhatsApp marketing software?

 

It's actually not as complex as you might think. You need to choose someone you trust and that offers rich features, as well as someone who will listen to your feedback.

 

Here's your checklist of what to look for when choosing your WhatsApp marketing software partner:

 

 

WhatsApp partner checklist - charles

Have this to hand when searching for WhatsApp marketing software to fit your enterprise

 

 

First let's look at the type of software company you should partner with: 

 

6 must-haves in your WhatsApp marketing software provider

The WhatsApp software you choose is undoubtedly extremely important.

 

However many brands forget that there you will be partnering with another company. The relationship you have with your solution provider is going to be key to your success in WhatsApp. Perhaps even more than the technical features of the software.

 

These are our top 6 must-haves you should look for in your WhatsApp provider to ensure long-term success:

 

1. Focus on revenue generation

After 4 years doing WhatsApp marketing for our customers, one thing we've learned is:

ROI should be the number 1 priority

for success with WhatsApp

 

That's why maximizing profitability lies at the heart of our strategy – both in building our WhatsApp marketing tools and our Success team's offering. 

 

Of course WhatsApp brings many softer, unmeasurable KPIs, like beautiful conversations, stronger relationships, brand enhancement and personalization

 

But WhatsApp comes with extra costs per conversation to WhatsApp (whereas email is free to send).

 

This means it has to pay its way. We're proud to be one of the only providers with true business acumen built in. Our core focus is making a return on every conversation you have with a customer.

 

 

Graphic representation of Revenue Per Conversation (RPC) with an upward trend from Conversations to Revenue.RPC is the north star of everything we do at charles. Every conversation should have a value – and it does, with the average RPC across our customers of €2

 

 

So much so that we can say that on average, our customers make a return per conversation (RPC) of €2 on average, and a return on campaign spend (ROCS) of 8-10x on average.

 

See more on WhatsApp metrics and charles WhatsApp benchmarks.

 

2. Help minimizing Meta costs

 

charles blog post header main, money bag with WhatsApp logoSee our article: 7 tips to minimize your WhatsApp costs

 

WhatsApp is more expensive than email. Meta charges around 7-10c per conversation you have with a customer (in Europe). Your provider should help you keep these costs down.

 

Your provider usually gets a small fee for every conversation you send out, but that doesn’t mean they should encourage you to blindly send out WhatsApp campaigns.

 

A good provider will suggest ways to cut conversation costs to keep your ROI high, for example:

  • Finish conversations within the 24-hour window (after that, you’ll be charge for another conversation)
  • Avoid changing the type of conversation in the middle of it – for example going from a “Marketing” conversation to an “Authentication” conversation – you’ll be charged twice
  • Segment finely and only send targeted, relevant campaigns to interested customers – blanket broadcasts are costly and will cause you to lose customers

 

3. GDPR-compliance (EU based is best)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is European legislation that requires EU companies to take certain steps to protect customer information and treat it in the right way.

 

These days, to ensure you're seen as trustworthy by customers, it's best practice to adhere to GDPR as a brand, wherever in the world you're based. GDPR is the global gold standard of data privacy.

 

What should you look for?

Any WhatsApp marketing tool and partner should be able to help you stay GDPR compliant. This includes through advice from the Success team and software features to keep you GDPR compliant.

 

 

Kapten & Son GDPRAn example of a GDPR-compliant double-option on WhatsApp,

from our customer Kapten & Son 

 

 

For example: ensuring you get a double opt-in every time you ask for permission to communicate with someone, a global unsubscribe option on every WhatsApp message and the ability to easily delete a customer's details

 

To be on the safe side, we strongly recommend choosing a WhatsApp partner based in the EU. Because charles was born in Berlin, Germany, GDPR is built into the foundations of our platform and Success team.  

 

 

GDPR+WA-main (1)See more about how to be GDPR compliant in WhatsApp in our GDPR guide 

 

 

4. World-class WhatsApp Success team

The support you get from your software partner's Success team is going to make or break your WhatsApp marketing efforts.

 

In WhatsApp, never underestimate the power of knowledge and expertise. As a relatively new marketing channel, you're going to need all the insights you can get. Your software company should offer:

  • Excellent onboarding and training
  • Ongoing success meetings
  • Regular creative campaign ideas
  • Knowledge-sharing from other brands in their portfolio
  • Insights into how to understand analytics 
  • Ideas for optimizing your campaigns for increased performance

 

 

Choose a Success team that offers great initial training as well as ongoing advice – particularly to boost performance during key sales events like Black Friday

 

 

At charles, we're proud to have one of the best Success teams in the business, with 4 years of experience to draw from now, and playbooks, best practices and creative ideas they regularly share with customers.

 

 

At charles, we regularly share knowledge from and with our customers – for example at DMEXCO 23 we ran a joint masterclass with Wormland  

 

5. Official Meta and WhatsApp Partner

When you're entrusting a software company with customer conversations and data, you need to be certain you can trust them. One way to be sure is to only choose an Official Meta Partner and WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP). 

 

 

meta_business_partnerLook for this badge from your WhatsApp marketing tool (which charles has)

 

 

These companies (like charles) have been vetted by Meta and WhatsApp and approved to use the WhatsApp Business API, build software on top and partner with other businesses. 

 

6. Stability and the highest standards

WhatsApp Business is growing fast in Europe. As a huge opportunity for brands, it's also an opportunity for ambitious software entrepreneurs – not all of them conscientious. 

 

Many WhatsApp marketing tools are brand new on the market and looking to ride the conversational commerce wave and make fast money, not always in ways that are good for every business.

 

 

Addy and Andreas, co-founders of charlescharles co-founders, Andreas Tussing (ex-McKinsey eCommerce Lead)

and Artjem Weissbeck (Kapten & Son founder)

 

 

While these small startups may offer amazing features and promise incredible things, you need to look beyond the sales pitch to real credentials. Things like:

 

 

 

ISO 27001 Certification Mark B&WCheck your software partner has ISO 27001 certification – a signal of a mature, reputable provider

 

 

 

 

6 must-haves in your WhatsApp marketing software platform

Now let's dive into the technical aspects of WhatsApp software.

 

What are the essential features you need in your WhatsApp marketing platform?

 

Of course the software and feature needs will differ across different businesses, but for our core market of marketing and CRM teams at global brands, we'd recommend your WhatsApp marketing platform includes:

 

1. Advanced WhatsApp marketing automation

Automation has become charles' killer WhatsApp feature over the years. Whereas many providers focus on holding customer service conversations on WhatsApp, we've moved towards an automation model. Specifically, the core of our WhatsApp tool is Journeys: an open canvas on which it's easy to "draw" automated WhatsApp conversations. 

 

Why?

 

Because marketing teams don't have time to answer customer conversations. Automation saves time and effort, ensures brand consistency and provides rich analytics. We call it the "always-on revenue machine."

 

Once set up, your automated WhatsApp flows will run in the background earning you money. For example:

  • Automated, interactive product finders
  • Order tracking opt-ins from the website 
  • Fully automated marketing campaigns like competitions, quizzes and discounts

 

 

charles Journeys feature for WhatsApp automationcharles Journeys WhatsApp automation feature is the heart of our WhatsApp marketing platform and much-loved by our customers

 

 

Features within WhatsApp automation to look for include:

  • Time delays to send messages over a period of seconds, hours and even months
  • Conditional nodes, so you can further split audiences within a flow
  • Integration with other CRM tools like Klaviyo and shop tools like Shopify
  • Checks before publishing to ensure it's GDPR compliant

 

 

WWF game in our journeys featureThe possibilities of Journeys are limited only by your imagination. This is one of the most complex we ever made: a groundbreaking WhatsApp roleplay game for WWF Germany.

 

 

2. Fine WhatsApp segmentation

In WhatsApp, relevance is key. Customers might put up with generic content in email, but not in WhatsApp. The key to relevance? Personalization and segmentation.

 

How to do segmentation?

 

You need a WhatsApp platform with a tool like "Audience Builder" from charles. This helps you create lists of audiences for each campaign you send out. Within that, you can further personalize, for example with first name, favorite color (if you've already found this out) and pet name.

 

Integrations with your shop system and email CRM is also important, so you can import customer information you already have, like last product bought, email opened and VIP status.

 

The higher the relevance, the more likely it is that customers will feel heard, the more likely it is they'll respond to your campaigns and the higher the performance of your campaign.

 

audience_builder_image_v1A peek at charles' Audience Builder tool that customers use to segment their WhatsApp audiences

 

 

3. Rich WhatsApp-specific analytics

"You can't manage what you can't measure." A common marketing saying, and never more true than in WhatsApp.

 

Your WhatsApp marketing tool should give you clear visibility of the results of each marketing campaign, including RPC, ROCS, open rate, click-through rate and total revenue.

 

It should also enable A/B testing so you can find out what works for your audience before rolling out your entire campaign.

 

 

Dashboard view of holiday campaign analytics showing conversion rate, revenue, discount code tracking, and engagement metrics - Whatsapp MarketingYour WhatsApp marketing software should show you key results from every marketing campaign so you can attribute revenue, report to management and continue improving performance

 

 

4. Multiple ways to build your WhatsApp subscribers

Your WhatsApp marketing channel is never going to gain momentum without tools to increase your subscriber base. 

 

 

Pferdegold WhatsApp campaign message

Customers like Pferdegold use widgets like website popups – gaining higher traction if they theme them around certain events like Christmas

 

 

Your WhatsApp marketing tool should include:

  • Customizable website popups that bring people into WhatsApp
  • Website bubbles constantly visible that bring people to WhatsApp
  • Widgets on certain pages, for example offering order tracking on your thank you page or back-in-stock notifications on out-of-stock product description pages (PDPs)
  • The ability to turn them on or off on desktop or mobile – many of our customers drive subscribers to email on desktop and WhatsApp on mobile, for a more intuitive journey
  • Email CRM integration to help you bring people from email into WhatsApp.

 

In the charles platform, we call them "Chat-ins."

 

 

Screenshot of a Charles 'Chat-in Bubbles' interface for customizing holiday message bubbles with preview on a mobile phone - Whatsapp MarketingThe ability to easily add and customize website widgets to build WhatsApp subscribers is an essential part of any WhatsApp marketing tool, like this website popup in our Chat-ins feature

 

 

In addition, your Success team can advise on how to use other social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to bring followers into WhatsApp.

 

 

1 Noms+ WhatsApp Insta

Our customers love getting creative to bring people from Instagram to WhatsApp,

like this recent Insta competition from vegan pet food maker, noms+

 

 

Your WhatsApp service provider should also help you set up "click-to-chat" ads.

 

See our top tips to grow your WhatsApp audience here.

 

5. CRM and commerce integrations with WhatsApp

You've already worked hard to build your shop system and CRM tools, as well as build your customer information database. Make sure you can keep using all this.

 

Choose a WhatsApp marketing tool that offers integration with leading eCommerce and CRM software, for example Emarsys, Shopify and Klaviyo.

 

 

charles_klaviyo logos and heart showing whatsapp integrationThis year we integrated WhatsApp with Klaviyo so our brands using both tools could create better smoother, more profitable journeys for their customers

 

 

In charles, thanks to your Shopify integration, you can send "Chatouts" during a conversation. These are links to prefilled carts so customers can buy products in as little as one click (if they're already logged in). 

 

 

Shopify discount code shown with WhatsApp integration through charlesShop system integration with WhatsApp – for example with Shopify – is essential to collect and use customer data in the right way, and boost sales with more personalized experiences 

 

 

The easier you can make the shopping experience, and the fewer the obstacles between the customer and a sale, the better.

 

See charles integrations here.

 

6. Adaptable to your needs

Enterprises have bespoke and sometimes complex needs. Make sure your partner offers some leeway with your solution and strategy.

 

For example custom integrations will be important for a smooth onboarding and seamless customer journey. You should be able to brand your popups and other visible elements of your WhatsApp solution. If you decide to expand your WhatsApp efforts across use cases and countries, your software should be able to scale easily.

 

A good sign of a software partner is if they regularly ask for feedback – and then take action to address it.

 

 

To sum up: choose a WhatsApp marketing software you trust for the greatest success

The work you do to research a WhatsApp marketing tool is going to ensure your future, long-term success in this exciting marketing channel.

 

Look for a WhatsApp BSP and Meta partner that's stable, reputable, EU-based, ROI-focused and that will continually share expertise.

 

Look for a WhatsApp marketing platform that offers rich features like automation, segmentation, Shopify and Klaviyo integration and detailed analytics.

 

As a leading EU-based WhatsApp marketing platform with a focus on ROI, WhatsApp, and a passionate customer Success team, charles is the partner of choice for many enterprise brands in Europe, in particular the DACH region – including MediaMarkt, WWF and l'Occitane.

 

 

Wondering which is the best WhatsApp marketing softwre for your business? Just give us a shout. If you like, we'll give you a free demo on a quick call with the sales team.

 

FAQs about WhatsApp marketing software

What's WhatsApp marketing software?

WhatsApp marketing software is a computer platform that enables businesses to send promotional messages to customers on WhatsApp at scale.

 

As opposed to the free WhatsApp Business app for small business owners, WhatsApp marketing software is built on the WhatsApp Business API and is designed for mid- to large-sized companies needing scalability, tracking, segmentation and multi-agent use of WhatsApp.

 

For this, businesses need to pay a subscription for WhatsApp marketing software, plus a cost per conversation to WhatsApp and an additional fee to the WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP – software company).

Do I need WhatsApp marketing software?

If you're a growing business or enterprise looking to send promotional WhatsApp messages and WhatsApp newsletters to over 256 customers at a time, then yes, you need WhatsApp marketing software.

 

The free WhatsApp Business app offers limited functionality for mid- to large-sized businesses. It's limited to 1-2 phones and doesn't offer rich tracking or marketing features.

 

However, as yet, WhatsApp Business is more of a retention than an acquisition tool, so we recommend that you have a good number of website visitors and email addresses you can convert to WhatsApp before investing in specialized software.

 

See if your business is right for a WhatsApp Business platform with our checklist.

What's the best WhatsApp marketing software?

The best WhatsApp marketing tools for your business will depend on your business goals. If you're a mid-sized to enterprise brand looking to reach customers where their friends are, with a platform that scales, while making as much profit as possible, charles is a good choice. Especially if you're based in Europe (our HQ is in Berlin).

 

You could also look at 360Dialog. SinchEngage is a good option in the DACH region. 

For more, see our article on 5 best WhatsApp marketing tools.

What features should I look for in WhatsApp marketing software?

Look for an easy-to-use interface, a great success team, unlimited numbers of agents and stability in company and the WhatsApp marketing software itself. Specific features you should look for are:

- Advanced WhatsApp conversation automation

- Granular segmentation and audience building

- Rich analytics (to include revenue per conversation, open rate and click-through-rate)

- Strong integrations with leading CRM, messenger, shop and email tools like Klaviyo, Shopify and Facebook

- Features to build WhatsApp subscribers that are easy to set up and can be automated and customized to your brand (like website popups and thank you page widgets)



 


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