WhatsApp Marketing For Businesses: A Definitive Guide To Get Started (and Improve Engagement)

WhatsApp Marketing For Businesses

Messenger communication is ‘the’ phenomenon and getting more popular than ever. Facebook has 1.65 billion active users, Twitter has 310 million active users, and LinkedIn boasts 100 million active users. You probably have your business marketed on either of them, if not all, for user acquisition.

Another platform with the most number of users would be WhatsApp. With ~2 billion active users spreading over 180 countries, it may be time for you to consider marketing on WhatsApp.

According to 99Firms, the average user checks WhatsApp more than 23 times per day to add to a marketer’s delight, and 58% of users access WhatsApp several times a day.

Being the third most downloaded app on Android globally, it is evident that WhatsApp is a great contender with lots of promises for marketers. Moreover, the application is available in 53 languages to reach a more niche audience.


About WhatsApp?

Created by two ex-Yahoo employees in 2009 to make accessible communication available to all, WhatsApp is a solution that eliminates the expenses of SMS texting fees.

It is a free mobile app that uses your phone’s internet connection for you to be able to chat with other platform users. It also allows you to send files, images, and videos for free and supports voice and video calls.

This brilliant platform was the fastest to reach 450 million active monthly users. And in 2014, it became the largest acquisition in Silicon Valley’s history, with Facebook acquiring them for $ 16 billion.


Why Turn to WhatsApp for Business?

The attention that marketing on WhatsApp receives for user acquisition is remarkable. Some of the obvious reasons include:

  • It is free!
  • Let’s send images, e-books, brochures and catalogues, videos, audios, links, locations, and documents.
  • It can serve as a survey tool for feedback directly from customers.
  • It can be used for group meetings.
  • Let’s send alerts on new events, sales, and offers.
  • Messages won’t get lost as offline message alerts ensure users know when a message is waiting.
  • Let’s communicate with customers directly and in real-time.

In 2016, the app passed the 100 million voice calls per day mark, which was just the beginning of overtaking Skype for voice calls.

The WhatsApp homepage features a description written by co-founder Jan Koum: “Why We Don’t Sell Ads.” What is meant by the message is that there exist no branded profile pages. Therefore, for your audience to be aware of your brand on the platform, you must tell them.

Further, Koum says- “..you, the user, are the product.”

This means that the lines between a private user and a corporation become blurred, making them interchangeable. Advertisers and marketers are increasingly understanding and hence capitalising on opportunities of this particular attribute.

How to Start WhatsApp Marketing: A Step-wise Guide

Social media trends are all about who can establish a presence first. Now that WhatsApp is open up to businesses, it might get too late for you to win in the race.

You have to strike first. If you can carve out a niche before everyone else does, you will have a massive head-start over other marketers.


Follow the steps below and get that head-start before everyone else joins the bandwagon.

Step #1

Rather obvious, but—you need to create a Whatsapp account. But on the surface, creating an account involves installing the app on your device, making a name using 25 characters at max, selecting a profile picture, and coming up with a status that describes who you are within139 characters.


It is that simple. But there sure are things you should consider first before creating an account:

  • Is the name you are going to use permanent? Think about the character you pick. It would help if you were sure you could not change it soon as once you enter your name, you cannot change it.
  • Your WhatsApp account is bound to a singular phone number. It would help ensure that the number you use to install the app stays around your business.
  • What should be your profile picture? This fact cannot be emphasised more—your display picture should be your brand’s image. Ideally, your logo.
  • Do people check out your profile? In that case, what should be the status? Though people rarely go through a status, you should have something brand-related, perhaps a motto, as your status.
  • What about the URL? Where can you fit that? If you must include it, then the status is your best choice. Though the link will be unclickable, you have 139 characters at your disposal.
  • Lastly, remember that your status, after all, isn’t the best place to drive traffic; instead, you want your messages to do that.

Step #2

Marketers almost unanimously agree that WhatsApp is a platform not viable for not having easy ways to build an audience.

But that is what makes it more fun to use.

This also makes it permission-based marketing in its purest form, wherein you need to ask people to join obviously by giving them reasons enough to join your group. It makes total sense as they are sharing their contact number with you.


There exists no way to be able to search for users or acquire them by paying. Therefore, the following mentioned methods seem most pliable:

  • One way could be—to share your number and let them add you. This method seems to work because you are not intrusive by asking visitors for their phone numbers, and at the same time, you appear to be trusting your number to the masses and giving them a choice to add you.
  • The other way would be—to get their number and add them. You cannot just go on and ask for the users’ number directly, making it harder than the first one. While the previous method places a lot of responsibility on the user, it helps you eliminate an acquisition step. Apart from the standard ways of acquiring contact numbers (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.), another unique way is to do so. Target users with a pop-up without having any coding expertise, as multiple tools are available for you to use.

Step #3

Now that you have some numbers, you need to organise contacts into groups. There might be times when you don’t want to message people one-on-one; instead, send messages to as many people as possible.

For times like this, you need to create groups within WhatsApp.


It would help if you remember, though, that you’ll have to create the groups yourself, you’ll have to add all the numbers manually, and that you have a max group size (being 256 people as of now) though these groups sizes keep going up.

So, what all to consider when making a group? Read on:

  • You know that you are limited to 256 people a group. Therefore you need to decide who will be in that group. Would you segment it by age? Gender? It’s up to you.
  • What will the dynamics of each group be? As you keep adding people to a group, you must also think about each group’s demographics and psychographics.
  • Will you have to move people between different groups? When clubbing users under different dynamics, you might have to move people from group to group or move them to a new group altogether. But consider how your audience might feel if they’re moved from group to group.

Step #4

Now, you are over with the most time-consuming part of marketing on WhatsApp and finally will get to do the entertaining stuff—interacting with the audience.

As an early adopter, you get numerous lucrative possibilities.

WhatsApp is the Gen-X of emails. You can not only communicate one message in bulk but at the same tie also communicate one-on-one for personalised interaction.

The best part about it is that messages on WhatsApp have a 70% chance of being opened. The open email rate isn’t even close and is unlikely to be.

It is increasingly becoming more apparent that each type of communication channel deserves its thought-out content. While finding a content strategy for your messenger communication is more accessible, it is also the key to success.

Businesses, before deciding on a concept, need to ask the following questions:

  • Who am I creating this WhatsApp content for, and what do I want to achieve with it.
  • How can I create value for customers—what content needs to be communicated using messaging apps, making it relevant for the target groups?
  • What kind of content is particularly suited for WhatsApp? What information needs to be received immediately, and what kind of viral and shareable content?

Matthias Mehner, CMO MessengerPeople, says—“Of course, each company should develop their content strategy, taking a good look at their KPIs, and carefully adjusting their messenger communication to their target group.”

WhatsApp Marketing Strategies

The MessengerPeople Study showed us at least two decisive factors in successful content marketing on WhatsApp: shareability and attention.

It is also found that most people share information, links, sales, etc., over WhatsApp, making it more than Facebook, email, or other channels. The platform has genuinely gained the trust of most users, which is why more users allow WhatsApp to send push notifications than any other app.

Real-Time Customer Chat

Customers today want to reach out to businesses and have honest conversations, not just respond to one-way messages directed at them. WhatsApp addresses these issues by being the first app to deliver quality, reliable two-way messaging worldwide. And while WhatsApp serves as an excellent channel for notifications like delivery alerts, purchase confirmations, and customer support, it also allows a more direct way to engage your customers and has the two-way conversations that generally take place in a physical store location or over the phone.

WhatsApp comes packed with multiple features, like chat, voice, or video calls that can be used efficiently to support customers, improving customer service drastically and ensuring that you provide personalised and direct treatment to each user.

The app does not limit itself to efficiency with just customer service. It can also take orders or provide your customers with special discounts.

Utilise Myriads of Features

As discussed above in the article, WhatsApp has numerous features that marketers can utilise equally with individual users. Another example would be the platform’s status feature using which you can upload posts as your statuses, which disappear in the next 24 hours. This can be a great way to announce flash sales and offers to your customers.

Sharing your location can also come in handy when customers inquire about where your store is located. The recipients can then open the location further using Google Maps.

Also, WhatsApp comes with its payment feature, using which you can both send and receive money using your UPI. You can use the feature to receive money or send refunds to customers.

Make Messaging More Attractive

Plain and boring old texts are a thing of the past. Platforms today have several formatting options that can help you make a simple text appealing. You can try emphasising certain things by making important text bold or maybe italicising them.

To make the text bold put the text between asterisks, and to italicise it put it between underscores.

As discussed earlier, you can also send GIFs, images, and videos, making the text more appealing to the readers.

It is also good to use emojis if your text allows you to. This can add a certain expressive flair to your message.

Keep in mind to never spam your customers with repetitive messages. You should also align the message in neat paragraphs and spacing to fall easier on the eyes while also looking attractive.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep it short and sweet to lose any reader’s attention.

Recover Abandoned Carts

Yes! This is another great news for e-commerce brands. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is over 69% – whereby customers add products to their digital carts but leave without purchasing. 

However, with Wigzo’s WhatsApp cart recovery, businesses can recover up to 60% of these lost sales. So, if you are looking for shopping cart abandonment tools, Wigzo’s automated solution is here to uplift your revenue.

This free ebook can learn more about effective shopping cart recovery campaigns over WhatsApp and other channels

Will you jump on the WhatsApp for Businesses Train?

Messaging apps quickly overtook traditional social media, so you must take advantage of the market gap to promote your products and services.

WhatsApp is a messaging app and thus is not quite like Facebook or Instagram and should not be treated the same way. It also tends to be more prevalent in some countries than others, which realistically influences how successful your business will be on the platform.

The platform is undoubtedly growing each day and is a great arrow in the quiver of marketers. Want to learn more about WhatsApp’s Business solution? Get access by clicking this link.

Saad Mohammad

Saad Mohammad

Full-time marketer, part-time guitar player, and a football fanatic. Saad is a Digital Marketer with 6+ years of experience in the industry.

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