By Christopher Schubert
Sales Director, charles
Updated on March 24, 2023
You may have heard of WhatsApp marketing. (You may also not have and that's ok too.) Here, we start with the basics: what are WhatsApp newsletters and why does any forward-thinking brand need to start using them?
With around 306 billion emails being sent and received daily, it’s become harder than ever for marketers to cut through the inbox noise and get in front of customers.
But to connect with a consumer, you have to think like a consumer. And this means meeting them on platforms where they’re most likely to give you their undivided attention, and in ways they’re most likely to engage. Which for most consumers is WhatsApp.
This is where the WhatsApp newsletter comes in, as a part of conversational commerce (cCom).
What's a WhatsApp newsletter?
A WhatsApp newsletter is a message that can be sent from a brand’s WhatsApp Business account to a specific audience of customers. Actually, a WhatsApp newsletter is like any other digital send-out, but more personal. Like a traditional email newsletter, a WhatsApp newsletter can contain anything from:
- A special offer
- An exclusive discount
- A new product announcement
- A picture or video message
But the key difference here is that a WhatsApp newsletter will only contain one message at a time.
The app allows you to stay in touch with your customers: more than half of the users check the app at least once a day. On top of that, messages have a 98% open rate. And people love this type of communication. Consumers have more trust in brands that use chat apps. More than half of the users say they would buy from companies they can reach through a chat. All very good reasons to start a WhatsApp broadcast today and have a friendly chat with your customers.
“WhatsApp is what email was like in 2005.”
In a world in which consumers are constantly subjected to marketing and advertising through various channels, WhatsApp is the channel that is liked and trusted by users. Firstly because it's helpful and fun to use. Secondly, your customers have actively asked for the information. A WhatsApp broadcast, unlike most email newsletters, which, let's face it, are discarded unopened 90% of the time, is a channel that is primarily designed to meet friends.
Conversational commerce in short
cCom is ecommerce that focuses on two-way conversations with customers using chat tools. With stats like open rates of up to 90% open rates and 10x more revenue, it's easy to see why many businesses are moving into chat, most of them with WhatsApp.
Why WhatsApp? It's the most popular global messenger app in the world. With more than 2 billion users interacting on this platform, more and more brands today are using WhatsApp marketing to start conversations with their customers and deliver relevant information to them faster, as well as close sales.
WhatsApp newsletter benefits: short, sweet, successful
For a WhatsApp newsletter, the conversion rate is the opposite. Almost 100% of the recipients actually open and read the newsletter. It is worldwide the most popular messaging tool, and it is very likely that your customers have the app installed. There is no spam folder as such, meaning the newsletter cannot get lost. Although there is an option to block numbers and accounts. So, you should be very sensitive while using WhatsApp broadcasts.
One of the biggest bonuses for using the app for conversational commerce is the fact that responses can absolutely be accurately measured. No other marketing or e-commerce tool gives you that option yet. Not even on social media or search engines. One last, but important factor is the appearance of the newsletter. The templates are attractive and spur excitement. Especially if it comes with an incentive or an offer. WhatsApp marketing promises high engagement rates with minimal effort, which is great news even for smaller businesses.
Why WhatsApp newsletters are business gold
As mentioned, there are plenty of reasons why WhatsApp newsletters are a fantastic channel to broadcasting newsletters. Depending on the business or service offered, the uses for a newsletter can vary. Some of the most common uses are new product launches, sales promotion campaigns, engagement, or research. Here are some of the most rewarding reasons and uses for a WhatsApp newsletter:
- Keep your customers updated about the status of their order.
- Personalize special occasions and offers for holidays, birthdays, or promotions, like Black Friday.
- No spam folder and improved customer service & retention.
- Messaging and receiving in real time. Most customers check the app far more regularly than their email.
- 100% delivery rates, more than 90% open rates and other unbelievable metrics.
Newsletters can be very helpful to give your clients a sense of feeling special with offers only available through promo codes via the app. By keeping them in the loop, you can build and maintain the trust with your business which will increase your customer retention rates and therefore your sales! Other metrics, such as your conversion rate and marketing costs will also improve drastically compared to your regular eCommerce store.
Remind your customers about filled carts and offer them an incentive to check out. No more abandoned carts! With WhatsApp Conversational Commerce, you will have the best target oriented marketing possible and your customers have the best support they can think of. Build and maintain trust with your clients through a platform that is used by friends.
Key elements of WhatsApp newsletters explained
WhatsApp is the world's most popular messaging platform. Its monthly active user base has exceeded 2 billion. It is no longer a chat software to meet with your friends. Just like social media is primarily meant to connect people and is these days a great way for marketing and image building. WhatsApp also has the potential to become the next big channel to have an End-to-end relationship.
To maximize engagement newsletters on WhatsApp should not exceed 150 characters. They can also be programmed to display quick ‘reply’ buttons for the recipient or CTA buttons that easily lead them back to your website.
While the WhatsApp newsletter is a faster way to increase customer reach and engagement, it should not be treated as a 1:1 replacement of your email marketing efforts. In fact, the two can live in perfect harmony as long as you use them as they’re intended to be used (i.e. email newsletters for high-frequency communication, WhatsApp newsletters for lower frequency, highly relevant communication).
Signing up to receive newsletters via WhatsApp
In order for a customer to start receiving WhatsApp newsletters, they’ll first need to sign up via a CTA button or QR code (which can be done through our website or an email or social media campaign, for example). The best way to catch their attention (and capture their contact information) is by offering some sort of incentive - for example, a product discount or early access to an upcoming sale.
If a customer is interested and signs up to receive WhatsApp Business messages, their sign-up will trigger a WhatsApp message to your brand which signals they’re interested in what you have to offer. At this point, the customer will be prompted to opt-in to receive WhatsApp newsletters from you (and redeem the incentive, if you’ve offered them any).
Because we live in the age of consumer data privacy, any brand will automatically ask themselves one more important question...
Are WhatsApp newsletters GDPR compliant? 🔒
The short answer: yes, especially with a double opt-in.
A good conversational commerce tool will help you build an automated flow that helps you easily collect opt-ins/double opt-ins from customers once they sign up for WhatsApp messages. From there, you can easily segment to target specific customers depending on the campaigns you want to run.
Customers will receive an explicit request from your business via WhatsApp to join your WhatsApp newsletter mailing list. Not only is this a clear means of managing expectations with the customer, but the ability to bake in the automated flow for opt-in collection makes it a seamless process for the marketer, and 100% a compliant practice for the business. And of course, subscribers may also opt-out at any time.
3 ways to win more customers using WhatsApp newsletters
Whether you’re looking to treat your most loyal shoppers, reach a larger audience, or simply use a more visual way to get in front of your target audience, WhatsApp newsletters offer a wide range of benefits to marketers.
Here are the three ways brands today are using WhatsApp newsletters to drive stronger performance from first site visit to post-purchase:
1. Increase customer lifetime value through community building
Customers are more likely to become loyal, longtime advocates if they feel like they’re truly valued by your brand. Community building—often in the form of open communication, occasional perks and offers and the play on exclusivity—is an easy and personal way to show a customer that they’re more than a transaction. In fact, 84% of consumers say that the ability to communicate directly with a brand they’re purchasing from would motivate them to join their online customer community.
WhatsApp newsletters are the perfect way to create a foundation for this community. For example, energy drink brand HOLY Energy used WhatsApp newsletters to drive higher customer engagement ahead of the launch of their new drink flavor. The brand announced their upcoming launch via various social media channels and enticed their customers to sign up to receive an ‘early access’ code via WhatsApp to shop the product exclusively. Once customers received the special code via WhatsApp, they were directed to a dedicated landing page where they could enter the code to access the new product. Not only did this drive a record 10x higher revenue on launch day, but the brand’s subscriber list increased 2x.
Read the full case study:
"How Holy Energy saw a 10x increase in revenue after promoting
upcoming launch via Whatsapp Newsletters"
2. Speed up the sales cycle while building close customer relationships
Building a strong community shouldn’t begin after a customer has made a purchase. In fact, it should begin the moment they show any interest in your brand. By addressing a customer’s questions and concerns on channels they’re most likely to interact in, you can shorten the sales cycle and turn them into loyal customers faster.
For example, a bed at premium furniture company woodboom typically costs around 1,500€, and their customers make about 7 inquiries before they commit to making a purchase - resulting in a 2-4 week sales cycle. The brand wanted to combine their customer-centric style of communication and the conversion power of WhatsApp to deliver a personal experience that also shortens this sales cycle.
Woodboom implemented “Chat-ins:” buttons, bubbles and articles that lead customers into the chat.
While customers engaged with woodboom via WhatsApp, they also had easy access to checkout buttons to keep their purchase top of mind and remove any barriers to purchase.
By engaging their customers via WhatsApp newsletters, they were able to reduce their sales cycle to 2-4 days, generate 70% of sales via the messaging app. and stay true to their customer-centric roots.
Read the full case study:
"How Whatsapp became woodboom’s #1 revenue channel"
3. Re-engage customers with exit intent pop-ups
Whether it’s due to indecision or just plain distraction, sometimes your customer needs a little extra nudge to take action. One of the more popular ways to engage customers before they leave a website is through an “exit-intent”-popup: a popup triggered if a customer is about to leave the website or is taking too long to make a purchase decision. These pop-ups often contain special discounts, prompting the customer to leave their email address to receive the discount in their inbox and also stay connected to your brand. Because exit intent pop-ups are known to ‘save’ between 10-15% of lost customers, they’re an effective addition to your WhatsApp engagement efforts.
Underwear brand SNOCKS is a perfect example of a brand that turns abandonment into opportunity. To test whether indecisive customers were more receptive to receiving offers via WhatsApp newsletters vs email newsletters, the brand ran an A/B-Test using two exit-intent popups:
- the first one offering a 10% discount if customers sign up for the WhatsApp newsletter
- the second one with a similar deal to sign up for email updates.
The test showed that WhatsApp newsletters generated a 2.5x higher open rate than email and increased newsletter sign-ups by almost 150%.
Read the full case study:
"How Snocks Drives 2.5x Higher Open Rate on WhatsApp Newsletters vs Email"
The future of commerce is through conversations
The golden rule of media and marketing is that no new medium will ever replace an old one entirely. Think of newspapers, radio, TV, the internet and now apps. They all coexist. Although with every introduction of a new channel, the pie gets redistributed. We already highlighted the biggest upsides of a WhatsApp newsletter, but so far most businesses are not using it to its full potential.
We're here to change that! In Asia and Latin America, conversational commerce is already a big part for consumer brands. The threshold to step into this private space seems to be too high. These restraints are understandable, no one wants to lose a customer or potential client by spamming them. Hence, it is a sensible choice to entrust your marketing campaign to an experienced agency.
Want to explore your own business' potential? Talk to us!
But the fact that clients have to sign up for the newsletter with a private phone number also means that consumers actually want the information. As long as they feel like they are receiving some sort of benefit or incentive, they will be happy to be on your mailing list.
“We at charles believe "traffic" will exponentially move from the streets and the browser into chat apps. In a world where cCom is the 3rd big pillar of commerce.”
Check your performance and improve campaigns
After the campaign goes out, you can see how it’s doing in terms of delivery rate, opens and conversions. This data can help you to adjust future newsletters and campaigns for even better results. It’s important to keep your message personal, creative and informative. WhatsApp handles a maximum amount of 1029 characters, including a photo or video, which results in about 120 to 140 words.
So, no matter if you are a news channel, a sportswear brand or a local restaurant, your message needs to fit into that template. Europe has quite strict rules when it comes to WhatsApp newsletters. The regulations are made to keep spam mails out, but they should not scare you or keep you from using it to boost your sales and earn trust from consumers. As long as your clients have actively signed up, your message will be welcome.
Conversational commerce and WhatsApp newsletters
A WhatsApp newsletter gives businesses new opportunities to communicate with their clients that have never been there before. The chance to interact and converse with their customers on their most favourite app in real time is absolutely new and groundbreaking.
Billions of people use the App on a daily basis to communicate and are used to the format. The app also allows you to shape your company's image and have CTA buttons for a direct one-on-one conversation. Rich media like videos, images, or documents like pamphlets can be a powerful tool to get your message to a target oriented audience.
“An authentic conversation has the power to start a relationship that results in trust, loyalty, and happy customers.”
How to get your WhatsApp newsletter started with charles
All in all, reaching your customers where their friends are has never been easier.
WhatsApp newsletters are the new way to reach new and current customers, build a strong community of brand advocates and convert shoppers faster than traditional email marketing.
And the best part: getting started is as simple as staying connected. The team at charles makes it easy for brands to get started with WhatsApp newsletters: from creating seamless automated opt-in flows, to clear performance analytics that allow you to track your WhatsApp newsletter growth, to assistance with WhatsApp newsletter visuals to align strategy with brand aesthetic.
What is a WhatsApp Newsletter?
A WhatsApp newsletter is a campaign message that a brand can send through a WhatsApp Business API to their audience. Similar to the email newsletter, visitors have to opt-in fully GDPR compliant but WhatsApp marketing is a more personalized way to reach interested people.