Concepts

WhatsApp Promotional Messages: What You Need to Know

Petrina Jo
Content Writer, Respond.io
February 24, 2022

You’re sharing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. That’s great — but are you also promoting your business on one of the most popular playgrounds around? We’re talking about WhatsApp, of course. WhatsApp promotional messages are a powerful way to get the word out about your brand or business.

So, what is promotional messaging on WhatsApp? Businesses can use WhatsApp API to conduct upselling or cross-selling activities, promote restocked or seasonal products, share special offers, and even onboard new subscribers by introducing a service’s features.

WhatsApp Promotional Messages: Where Do They Belong In Your Marketing Strategy?

Email used to be the platform of choice for promotional activity but those days are in the rear-view mirror. While social media has taken its place, it faces limitations such as publicly shared negative feedback. If you’re looking ahead, messaging is the way to go.

This is a framework to depict where promotional messages on WhatsApp belong in your marketing strategy. It looks at whether email, Facebook, websites and WhatsApp are better suited for marketing or remarketing activities, and how the outcomes of these are best measured, whether through increased brand awareness or brand engagement.
WhatsApp optimizes engagement with existing customers better than email, social media and websites

To guide your understanding of WhatsApp’s place in your marketing strategy, we’ve designed a framework for channel selection based on activity type (marketing or remarketing activities) and its success metrics (brand awareness or brand engagement).

First, consider if you’ll be using the channel for marketing or remarketing. Marketing aims to attract new eyeballs and build brand awareness but this sometimes results in spam.

To maintain a high-quality user experience, WhatsApp only allows new customers to initiate conversations while businesses can only proactively message Contacts in their customer lists. WhatsApp is therefore a remarketing platform.

This image showcases the metrics used to measure engagement on WhatsApp, including click-through, response and conversation rates. It also shows that 80% of messages on the app are read within the first five minutes, a statistic of definite interest to businesses.
Recipients are more likely to see and act on promotional messages sent through WhatsApp

Rather than brand awareness, the success of promotional activity on WhatsApp rests on brand engagement, measured with performance marketing metrics like open and click-through rates. Messaging’s superior engagement translates to higher revenue potential here.

WhatsApp Promotional Messages: Recent Developments

Initially, WhatsApp only allowed businesses to send transactional messages, such as shipping updates. It trialed non-transactional or promotional messages in several countries throughout 2021 and finally lifted this restriction globally in September 2021.

This is important because WhatsApp is — or should be — part of any omnichannel marketing strategy. It can complement promotional activity on other channels, like website banners or social media posts, or creatively engage with customers in its own right.

Before you send out a flurry of WhatsApp promotional messages, here are some things to note.

This is an image about the three things to know before sending a WhatsApp promotion message. They include obtaining Contact opt-ins, being aware of content restrictions, such as only using Message Templates, and being aware of the fees involved. Don’t let these conditions put you off, though. The potential benefits of these far outweigh the costs.
Three things to know before sending promotional messages on WhatsApp

Firstly, Contacts have to opt-in to receive promotional messages. You also have to abide by the terms in WhatsApp’s Business and Commerce Policies. This includes only using Message Templates, which are subject to pre-approval by WhatsApp.

Finally, the service incurs costs, including the respond.io account fee, Business Solutions Providers (BSPs) fees, and WhatsApp conversation fees. That said, the potential benefits of WhatsApp promotional messages far outweigh the costs.

WhatsApp Promotional Messages: A Marketing Must-Have

With over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is a business must in countries where the app is dominant. Interactions are informal and instant, which spur action now and build brand loyalty in the long term.

 This is an image depicting the benefits of WhatsApp promotional messaging. This includes how it allows businesses to send proactive messages, are cost-effective, prompt action and are versatile enough to adapt to numerous use cases. You can use them to sendf WhatsApp restock alerts, WhatsApp abandoned cart messages, WhatsApp sales alerts and WhatsApp onboarding messages, among others.
WhatsApp has significant competitive advantages over traditional marketing channels

Hands down, its greatest benefit is enabling businesses to initiate communication with known Contacts. It’s also extremely cost-effective to market directly to people who have already shown an interest in your products or services.

Additionally, a strategic WhatsApp promotional message compels action. Over 90% of first-time website visitors aren’t ready to make a purchase. Reminding them of their desire on a frequently-used channel increases user conviction and conversions.

This is an image about the versatility of WhatsApp Message Templates, which can be adapted for different use cases. The image shows how businesses can nurture customer relationships and build brand loyalty and engagement over messaging.
Tap into the flexibility of Message Templates to address various use cases or needs

Then, there’s the versatility of WhatsApp Message Templates, which can be adapted for different use cases. The same campaigns and techniques applied for email marketing are more relevant and widely received with messaging. We explore some of them below.

Promotional Messages on WhatsApp: The respond.io Way

Let’s talk about how to send promotional messages on WhatsApp. To get started, you need a WhatsApp Business API account and respond.io account. You also need a Contact list, which you can build with the following methods:

Once you’re ready, here are three ways to use WhatsApp promotional messaging.

Broadcast Promotions to a Wide Audience

Perhaps you run a supermarket franchise and want to promote monthly offers to your online shoppers. You’ve been using email newsletters, but chances are customers are ignoring them. Instead, send WhatsApp Broadcasts for this type of remarketing exercise.

This is an image about using WhatsApp Message Templates to send WhatsApp Broadcasts. This is a great way to deliver announcements as part of a promotional messaging strategy. Broadcasts are the best solution for announcements. They are targeted, focused and delivered to an inbox where Contacts spend a lot of time.
Send a WhatsApp Broadcast with WhatsApp Message Templates

Broadcasts are the best solution for announcements. They are targeted, focused and delivered to an inbox where Contacts spend a lot of time. Although messages like restock alerts are sent en masse, they can be personalized to address recipients by name with Dynamic Variables.

Contacts expect to hear from you — they opted to receive your messages, after all. That said, use broadcasts carefully to avoid them being mistaken for spam as this can get your phone number blocked and affect your quality rating.

If this sounds like the right strategy for you, use WhatsApp Broadcast in the Broadcast Module to reach thousands of targeted Contacts at once.

Automate Promotional Messages with Triggers

Say you’re the owner of a premium gadget store. You’ve noticed that online shoppers spend a significant amount of time browsing and selecting items, but there’s a consistently high percentage of abandoned carts.

Return-to-cart emails recover some 10% of that potential revenue but WhatsApp messages reach users while intent or desire is still fresh. Nearly 80% of WhatsApp messages are read within 5 minutes, far superior to email’s lower and slower open rates.

This image shows how WhatsApp abandoned cart messages can be used. WhatsApp cart recovery messages could potentially recover up to 60% of abandoned carts.
Set up automated WhatsApp cart recovery messages with abandoned carts as triggers

What’s more, up to 60% of abandoned carts stand to be recovered via WhatsApp cart recovery messages. Interactive Message Template features like call-to-action buttons combine a sense of urgency with ease of action.

Each step in a customer’s journey involves decision-making. Clearly telling them what to do reduces decision fatigue and prompts action. This is especially effective for customers who need a nudge to indulge in non-essentials like gaming accessories.

Setting up WhatsApp promotional messages in response to specified trigger events involves a similar process as WhatsApp push notifications. You’ll soon be able to do this via Messages API through a Zapier integration.

Create a WhatsApp Drip Campaign

Say a streaming app wants to convert trial users to subscribers. A tried-and-tested method would be a drip marketing campaign. In this, a sequence of automated messages would be sent to Contacts in response to their actions or changes in their customer journey.

Rather than settle for email’s lackluster engagement, create a WhatsApp drip campaign. Entice action by evoking excitement or urgency across multiple messages to keep a business in customers’ consciousness and encourage repeat service use.

This image is an example of how WhatsApp drip marketing looks. A WhatsApp drip campaign can be an effective conversion tool as it engages customers over a sequence of targeted and automated messages while sounding friendlier than email.
Create a WhatsApp drip campaign by building a sequence of automated messages

WhatsApp drip campaigns have an added advantage: The informality of messaging apps makes these suggestions sound friendlier than they would on email. Business messaging strengthens customer relationships and can lead to almost 600% more click rates than email.

Putting together a WhatsApp drip campaign is effortless on respond.io. Just use the Workflows Module to set up a sequence of messages over a defined period of time.

If you haven’t considered exploring WhatsApp for promotional activities, you are definitely missing out as messaging has enormous potential in the marketing sphere. Get started now to get ahead of the competition.

Further Reading

To learn more about using WhatsApp for promotional activities, check out these articles:

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