Technology and communications are constantly evolving, as is today’s customer. And the way they want to hear from businesses is also changing – email and phone have their place, but many people would like the option to communicate through direct messaging apps. That’s where WhatsApp marketing can help.

With a WhatsApp Business account, you can promote your business and its offerings via WhatsApp, an instant messaging app used by billions. It’s easy to create a holistic strategy through both promotional and transactional messages to keep your brand front of mind. Read on to learn why WhatsApp could be a game changer for your mobile marketing campaigns and get many tips on unleashing this messaging app’s full potential.

Is a WhatsApp Business account worth the effort and investment?

If you haven’t already expanded your marketing activities to WhatsApp, here are some compelling reasons to consider doing so:

  • WhatsApp messages have an average (very high) open rate of 98% – so virtually all get opened.

  • 80% of all sent WhatsApp messages are viewed in less than five minutes – meaning most of your messages will be delivered and read by customers in almost real-time.

  • WhatsApp is a critical player in a digitally powered economy – it’s the most popular messaging app in over 100 countries, with nearly 2.7 billion active users worldwide. Its huge audience base gives you masses of untapped marketing potential.

  • Because WhatsApp is so widely used, the app feels familiar and friendly to customers. This lets you connect with customers casually, adding a human element to your brand image.

  • WhatsApp is actively developing its business offering. It’s now available in more countries than ever before and incorporates innovative features like in-app payment to help businesses and customers achieve smoother transactions.

  • You can use WhatsApp messaging for many types of business and marketing communications – we’ll explore these in detail next...

Six ways to leverage the power of WhatsApp Business for marketing

WhatsApp is incredibly versatile – not only is it ideal for marketing messages, but it’s also great for critical business comms and for supporting customers with their enquiries and any other information they need to know. Here are six types of campaigns you can send for starters:

1. Marketing material

Need to send out special offers, discount codes or the details of your latest flash sale? It’s simple with WhatsApp, as you can send promotional messages with eye-catching media (graphics, images, videos, etc.). You can even announce your latest company news and include links to an online newsletter, request customer feedback, and contact specific groups with exclusive content and perks they can’t find anywhere else (perfect for VIP loyalty programmes).

With the free WhatsApp Business app, you can create groups of up to 256 people, and there are no limits on the number of groups you can have. If you invest in the WhatsApp Business API, there’s even more you can do with groups. And, if you want to send one-way promotional messages to the masses, the WhatsApp Broadcast feature lets you broadcast messages to many people while appearing as an individual message in the recipient's Chats tab (rather than in a group chat where others can see and reply).

2. Emergency alerts

Because WhatsApp messages have high open rates and are delivered and read quickly, they’re helpful for urgent alerts such as weather warnings, evacuation announcements and instructions, and disaster or crisis management tips. Government agencies and public health organisations would find WhatsApp messaging particularly helpful for these types of campaigns. But private sector businesses could also make use of them – e.g. a retail chain could inform its customer base of an unexpected and temporary branch closure.

3. Announcements and notifications

Then there are regular announcements that customers could benefit from, e.g. new product or feature launches, upcoming events and social gatherings (in-store or online). You can easily invite WhatsApp subscribers to an online workshop or seminar with a beautifully-designed invitation attached to your message.

WhatsApp is great for driving traffic to landing pages – so you can get eyes on your new web design, fundraising page or latest social media video quickly.

4. Customer support

Customer support was one of the first use cases adopted by businesses on WhatsApp. Its messaging feature is probably not your best option for answering extensive enquiries, but it can save time dealing with FAQs. It can work like a text chatbot by sending automated responses instantly to customer questions.

5. Order management

WhatsApp can streamline order management, allowing you to take e-commerce orders via a WhatsApp message. You can then follow up with order confirmation texts. The same goes for registration and booking confirmation texts if you offer a service people can sign up for or book onto. For example, imagine a beauty salon customer booking a treatment – the confirmation can be delivered via WhatsApp.

Going one step further, WhatsApp messages can be used to update customers on their order status – order received, payment made, order in progress, etc. Why not use them to issue appointment reminders? These can reduce no-shows and increase customer satisfaction.

6. Shipping confirmations

Customers like to know when their order has been shipped and is out for delivery. You can communicate all the relevant details in your WhatsApp messages – the expected delivery date and time, whether the order is in transit or delayed, and a final confirmation once it’s been delivered to the customer’s door. Some businesses like to include payment method information, e.g., whether the order has been prepaid or cash is due upon delivery.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

The free WhatsApp Business app works well for small businesses looking to get started with WhatsApp marketing. But the API (known as the WhatsApp Business Platform) is a paid-for, scaled-up version of the service. It’s much more sophisticated and is ideal for larger enterprises – or any size business with a substantial customer or audience base.

writing a whatsapp message

Seven tips for maximising the WhatsApp Business app and API

Now you know some of the common WhatsApp campaign types, you might wonder, “But how do I do WhatsApp marketing?” or “Where exactly do I start?” Follow these top tips below to get WhatsApp marketing campaigns up and running and working hard for your business:

1. Optimise your content for the WhatsApp platform

Research what content formats are popular with WhatsApp audiences and, most importantly: your target audience. For instance, WhatsApp messages allow much longer message lengths than SMS, but that doesn’t mean your campaigns should be as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace! Try and figure out how long your campaigns can be without losing your recipients’ attention. You can do this through A/B testing and monitoring open and opt-out rates over time.

Think about what kind of content will resonate with your audience. You have many choices with WhatsApp, from images and videos to GIFS, audio and stickers. You can even attach documents – handy for order confirmations and receipts. Consider making the content easily viewable and convenient for recipients, e.g., share links with previews and videos with WhatsApp’s Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature, where recipients can view videos within the chat message instead of opening a third-party app.

2. Sign up with an official WhatsApp Business provider

The best way to take full advantage of WhatsApp and get access to all its marketing features is to sign up with an official WhatsApp Business partner. Many popular WhatsApp marketing platforms cater to all sizes and types of business; MessageBird and WhatsAPI are just a couple.

As a starting point, consider your business communication needs and your budget. Then shop around to find a platform that aligns with those needs and fits with the amount you have to spend.

3. Prepare WhatsApp message templates for quicker replies

When you start using WhatsApp Business, you’ll see that you can set up templates, which allow you to initiate contact and streamline customer communication with those who’ve opted into your messages. WhatsApp templates are pre-prepared responses to common queries or for specific use cases. Some examples are:

  • A customised welcome message for new subscribers.

    Hi [Name], it’s great to have you on board! You’ll be among the first to hear about our special offers. In the meantime, have you seen our summer sale? [URL]

  • Order confirmations and delivery updates.

    Thanks for ordering [Product]! Your payment has been received and we are now preparing your order. We’ll let you know when it’s out for delivery.

  • Away messages.

    Hi [Name], thanks for getting in touch! Our service agents are busy right now, but we’ll respond to your query as soon as possible. In the meantime, you might find the help you need on our website: [URL]

  • Reminder notifications.

    [Name], we’re looking forward to seeing you on [Date] at [Time] for your [Treatment]! Need to rearrange? Call us today on [Number].

  • A non-changing answer to a set question.

    Our store opening times are 8am to 5pm Mon-Fri and 8am to 1pm Sat. Want to shop online instead? Browse all products: [URL]

WhatsApp message templates are a bit like automated texts. They’re designed to save time, especially if you build a WhatsApp chatbot for further automation (you’ll need to check with your provider if they offer this service). And because you can customise WhatsApp message templates, even mass messages can feel personalized, helping the customer feel noticed and special.

4. Use the catalogue feature

If you sell physical manufactured or made-to-order products, use WhatsApp’s catalogue feature. You can add up to ten beautiful product photos along with detailed descriptions, prices and external links where viewers can see more details outside WhatsApp. It’s easy to organise your products into different sections or collections too.

Note that the catalogue option isn’t limited to retail – you could technically advertise anything physical this way, such as properties (e.g. short-term rentals and holiday lets).

5. Use other channels to redirect traffic to WhatsApp

You probably know that tech-savvy consumers don’t just hang out on one channel nowadays. They like to use many channels and different touchpoints throughout their customer journey. So adopting an omnichannel approach is crucial for any marketing strategy to maximise visibility and online presence.

One way you can do this is by combining social media adverts with WhatsApp messaging. Let’s say you have an advert on Facebook or Instagram (or your company website). You can place a clickable link within the ad that takes the visitor to a direct WhatsApp conversation where they can find out more. You can even save the visitor time by generating a pre-typed message for them, where all they have to do is hit ‘enter’.

Likewise, use the weblink options available to you in the WhatsApp catalogue feature – these can drive traffic to your other channels, such as website landing pages, social media posts, etc.

6. Get verified

A crucial step is to get a verified business account with WhatsApp. This gives you a green badge of legitimacy next to your business profile and helps immensely with gaining your audience’s trust.

To do this, you need to register as a business with WhatsApp and ensure you have the API account version. Then you’ll go into ‘WhatsApp Manager’, and in the ‘Overview’ section, you can request an official business account for your phone number. If you’re using an approved WhatsApp partner, they can do this on your behalf.

Bonus tip: if you want customers to be able to make payments through WhatsApp, check out which payment integration options are available to your audience base. It’s worth knowing that WhatsApp Pay is now available to Singaporean users, making it the third country after India and Brazil to get this feature.


Last but not least, be selective about the content you send and how frequently you send campaigns. Don’t go overboard and spam users with promotional messages about every little thing. This practice could see your business getting blocked by individuals or worse, reported to WhatsApp and banned. Spamming violates WhatsApp’s terms of service, and bans are permanent. This means you’d completely lose access to your contacts and prior conversations.

different social media and messaging apps on screen

Is WhatsApp marketing worth it?

In this digital era, businesses must reach out to customers on the channels they like to use. And the WhatsApp messaging platform is one of them. It makes sense to build WhatsApp marketing strategies, even if you just use the free marketing tools on offer with a standard WhatsApp Business account.

That said, if you want to level up your marketing campaigns and have a large audience of subscribers, the WhatsApp API could be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for. You can send personalized marketing messages with attention-grabbing media, transactional messages and back-and-forth conversations, all to enhance the customer experience.

Got audiences on other messaging channels like SMS and Viber? Discover how to leverage these channels with Messente. Talk to us today.