WhatsApp Messenger Marketing: 7 Tools and Tips

Good WhatsApp marketing is like a cappuccino from the barista around the corner. Fast, personal and to go.

WhatsApp is one of the few channels companies can use to guide their leads and customers throughout the entire customer journey. Through short, personalized interactions, brands become more within reach and increase their click-through rate. What are all the possible ways you can use WhatsApp marketing?

  1. How does WhatsApp messenger marketing work?
  2. Privacy: Is WhatsApp messenger marketing legal?
  3. Costs: Fees you need to consider
  4. WhatsApp newsletter
  5. WhatsApp campaigns
  6. Click to WhatsApp ads
  7. WhatsApp chatbot
  8. Advice and service
  9. All-in-one messaging

How does WhatsApp messenger marketing work?

Since WhatsApp Business launched new features, the messaging app has become an official marketing channel with many benefits.

Widespread. With two billion users worldwide, you can reach all age groups via WhatsApp. According to Statista, Americans between the ages of 15 and 35 make up 46% of WhatsApp’s regular users, and 30% are those aged 46 and up. This makes WhatsApp ahead of all other social apps in terms of reach, including Facebook Messenger, TikTok, and Instagram.

Personal. When you earn a spot on your lead’s WhatsApp contact list, you’re there alongside their friends and family. Good WhatsApp messenger marketing has a personal touch and doesn't feel like advertising. It’s important that companies think about conversational marketing and translate their messages into helpful conversation flows.

Accepted. Over 80% of WhatsApp users are interested in engaging with businesses through messaging. Making payments via WhatsApp is the only thing that is still viewed critically by many users, with 68% feeling uncomfortable sharing their credit card info online.

Effective. At least 30% of WhatsApp users click on the call to action button in business messages (e.g. online shop link). WhatsApp easily outperforms other channels such as email (3%) and social media (5%).

You can find more important WhatsApp statistics in our overview.

Although many well-known companies are already using WhatsApp in customer service and sales, some companies hesitate to take this step. The reason why: uncertainties regarding data protection. These are absolutely justified concerns when it comes to using the WhatsApp business app. For example, phone contacts who haven’t given their consent could have their information read by the app.

If, on the other hand, you use the WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp marketing is comparable to email marketing from a legal perspective. You need a clear opt-in from users to be able to send them messages that are in compliance with the GDPR.

If a lead writes to you first, that already counts as a clear opt-in. If you want to send them a message yourself, the best way is to use a double opt-in: After the contact gives you their phone number, e.g. via an opt-in form on your website, ask for their consent in your first message, e.g. using a start word like “Yes” or “Start.”

Image of a WhatsApp conversation with Outdoorsy
Another idea: Outdoorsy offers its opt-in after the service conversation.

Since you’re using the WhatsApp API via an external customer messaging platform, the provider should use servers in Europe and work in accordance with the GDPR.

Costs: Fees you need to consider

WhatsApp's API pricing model now states that fees are no longer billed per message template, but rather per each new conversation.

In the United States, that's almost 14 cents for conversations that a company starts and 8 cents for conversations that a customer starts. The conversation can continue for up to 24 hours before a new billing window begins.

Your WhatsApp marketing costs depend heavily on whether you use a pull strategy (customer writes to company) or a push strategy (company writes to customer).

Good news: You get 1000 free conversations per month. For small and medium-sized companies, this means being able to use the marketing channel for free as long as their monthly message volume does not exceed 1000 conversations. Larger companies, on the other hand, may have to budget more for WhatsApp marketing than in previous years. You can find more price information in our article, "WhatsApp Business pricing: what costs you can expect."

In the cost-benefit calculation, consider that the customer value via WhatsApp is significantly higher than, for example, email. The messaging app is a uniquely personal channel and well-suited for building long-term customer relationships.

WhatsApp newsletter

Brands have been successfully sending WhatsApp newsletters to their target groups since 2014. From 2019 to 2021 there was an interim newsletter freeze, which WhatsApp used to regulate messages and prevent spam. The result was the "Promotional Messages" function, which is only available via the WhatsApp Business API.

Example conversations via WhatsApp with Thalia
Thalia uses images, emoji and links in its WhatsApp newsletter.

Advertising messages are now created as message templates and sent to WhatsApp for approval. This usually takes a few hours to a day at most.

Not every newsletter needs to be approved again. You can integrate dynamic content (e.g. for product names, images or prices) that can be adapted to different target groups. For rules, tips, and examples, read our article on WhatsApp Business message templates.

WhatsApp campaigns

Since regularly sending newsletters to large email lists can quickly eat up your marketing budget, special occasion campaigns (e.g. Black Friday, birthdays) are a good alternative.

For example, if you ask customers to send you a message to take part in the campaign, you pay 8 cents per participant - as a conversation started by the customer - for the full 24-hour interaction period.

Just like newsletters, campaigns can be implemented using approved message templates. You can find inspiration and creative examples in our article “Messenger marketing: 7 strategies and examples.”

WhatsApp Business: Privacy, examples and first steps

In this guide, you'll find all the important info you need for using WhatsApp in business.

Download for free

WhatsApp chatbot

Whether introducing customers to a new product or running an awareness campaign for your brand, countless examples show that chatbots have become an integral part of WhatsApp messenger marketing. These digital assistants greet your customers, use buttons to guide them through conversation flows, answer FAQs and recommend suitable products after asking about their individual needs. With a friendly chatbot, you can entertain your leads, help them find what they’re looking for and increase your conversion rate all at the same time.

However, WhatsApp requires that your chatbot forward customers to a human agent in case there are any misunderstandings. Our chatbot study also showed that this is one of the most important factors in automated customer service. The majority of participants (77%) said that being able to forward the conversation creates a positive chatbot experience for them. If you connect your chatbot to a customer messaging platform then your team can help monitor your WhatsApp channel with your bot. We explain how to create a WhatsApp chatbot in this beginner's guide.

Click to WhatsApp ads

Click-to-WhatsApp ads are an ideal way to promote your current offers. They enable a smooth transition from a Facebook or Instagram ad to WhatsApp. Not to mention WhatsApp doesn’t charge for the first 24-hour conversation initiated via an ad.

Of course, you could also direct your leads to Facebook Messenger or Instagram DMs via your paid advertising. As shown above, the two apps are used significantly less for day-to-day communication. In addition, these alternative messengers have notably higher "background noise" since feeds and ads quickly draw their attention away.

Tip: If you don't work with paid advertising but want to share a WhatsApp link through your website and social media, you can generate a free click-to-chat link. In our post, “WhatsApp Click-to-Chat: create a link in three steps” we show how this works.

Advice and service along the entire customer journey

WhatsApp messages always reach your target group no matter where they are - at their desk or on the train - to let them know about your products and services.

As part of your WhatsApp contact list, you can talk to your customers at any time, recommend relevant products, receive orders and ask for their honest feedback. All of this strengthens the relationship with your customers and allows both sides to access the conversation history for future use.

infographic of of the messenger marketing customer journey

All-in-one messenger for your website

WhatsApp is ideal for accompanying your customers along their buyer journey outside of your website and for deepening customer relationships. However, if leads are most often lurking on your website, a website messenger is a more effective tool.

A small chat button appears on the page while users are on your site and allows them to start a chat at any time without having to switch channels. Therefore, so you don’t lose warm leads at this crucial point in their buyer journey, we recommend connecting your WhatsApp channel to Userlike.

Userlike gives you an intuitive, all-in-one messenger built for digital support and sales, so your team — whether human or chatbot — can easily connect with your customers.

Screenshot of Userlike on Toyota's website
Userlike's all-in-one messenger allows customers to choose between website chat and WhatsApp chat. Source: Toyota

Over 10,000 companies of all sizes have already transformed their customer communication with Userlike. These include brands such as Bayer, Decathlon and Toyota.

Do you have more questions? Book a non-binding telephone call or start a WhatsApp chat using the chat button on our homepage. We look forward to creating a WhatsApp setup together for your business!