WhatsApp Marketing: How This Key Messaging Channel Can Support Your Engagement Goals
With more than 2 billion users in 180 countries, WhatsApp is a powerful messaging channel that brands are increasingly using to connect with customers, foster long-term relationships, and increase user retention and lifetime value. Wondering whether it makes sense to incorporate WhatsApp marketing into your organization’s broader customer engagement strategy and messaging mix? Let’s dig in.
At FORGE 2022, our annual customer engagement conference, we connected with Craig Goodfriend, Head of North America Client Sales for the Business Messaging Group (WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger) at Meta to talk about all things WhatsApp marketing—including the role of WhatsApp in the marketing ecosystem, the advantages of WhatsApp marketing for businesses, and how brands can use Braze to launch effective WhatsApp messaging campaigns.
Understanding the Role of WhatsApp in the Marketing Ecosystem
It’s up to marketers to meet their customers on the channels where they’re engaging, and increasingly, WhatsApp is a key channel of choice for consumers. People want to connect with businesses the same way they do with friends and family—via real-time messaging—and many are using WhatsApp to do that, said Craig. In fact, one billion consumers engage with brands using Meta messaging channels on a weekly basis.
To be successful on WhatsApp, brands not only need to meet their customers where they are, but also need to have genuine conversations with them. These conversations should be meaningful ones that are designed to foster long-term relationships, Craig explained.
The Advantages of WhatsApp Marketing for Businesses
Brands that expand their marketing mix to include WhatsApp have the potential to unlock real value from their use of this emerging messaging channel. In particular, there are three key benefits that marketers can benefit from: Unparalleled reach, the opportunity to forge deeper relationships, and the chance to serve up frictionless experiences that deliver results.
As noted above, WhatsApp has acquired a massive audience totaling 2 billion monthly active users. To put that into perspective, it means that about 25% of the world’s population are currently WhatsApp users. For many brands, that means their customers are already engaging directly with WhatsApp, making this channel a smart, simple way to communicate with them—and eliminating the need to direct those to a different channel where they’re less likely to be active.
In other words, this is an ideal channel for meeting a significant chunk of the world’s consumers right where they already are.
If used effectively, WhatsApp messaging offers brands a powerful platform for creating and strengthening relationships. “Don’t just market at your customers—start a conversation, bring them into your ecosystem, so you can develop a loyal customer long term and continue to build that relationship over time,” Craig recommended.
For brands looking to build out effective campaigns using WhatsApp, Craig suggested:
Giving users the information they want
Sharing product updates that they’re interested in
Making it easy for customers to buy directly from your company through WhatsApp
Tailoring your messaging to each individual
Making sure your audience feels understood and heard
#3: Offer frictionless experiences that deliver results
Thanks to the wide range of marketing use cases that they make possible, WhatsApp messaging campaigns can help brands engage with customers across their lifecycle—creating utility for the customer and improving retention for the brand.
“Pick a use case that's important to you from a marketing perspective, and test it out,” said Craig. “You’ll see the results, and you’ll see how it works and you’ll see why customers are continuing to lean into businesses through a [WhatsApp] messaging perspective as their preferred channel.”
How Brands Can Manage WhatsApp Messaging Using Braze
Braze recently announced that we’ll be launching native support for WhatsApp in 2023, empowering businesses to build, orchestrate, and optimize personalized WhatsApp messaging campaigns through the Braze customer engagement platform. And because Braze is built to be both channel agnostic and natively cross-channel is nature, it’ll be easy for marketers to leverage WhatsApp as part of a broader cross-channel customer engagement strategy in tandem with other popular channels, such as SMS, email, and app and web messaging.
Craig explained that Meta has seen strong demand for WhatsApp to support marketing use cases and that the Braze platform’s cross-channel customer engagement capabilities will supercharge what WhatsApp can do for brands.
Braze is directly connected to the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to offer native support for the channel. The Braze platform’s WhatsApp support enables brands to:
Launch automated WhatsApp campaigns directly from Braze
Use WhatsApp as part of a broader cross-channel strategy, in combination with other channels, such as email, SMS, and in-app and in-browser messaging
Deliver personalized WhatsApp messages, leveraging the Braze platform’s personalization capabilities to ensure relevant outreach for every stage of the customer journey
Have intimate, 1:1 conversations at scale by leveraging the power of the Braze platform’s vertically integrated stack
To get started, get organizational buy-in at your company by explaining the benefits of WhatsApp laid out here. Next, start small, test and experiment, and expand upon early wins. For even more advice on how to ensure effective WhatsApp marketing, check out our guide to OTT media platform messaging strategies for tips for using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other over-the-top (OTT) messaging channels like Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, Android TV, Roku, Apple TV, and more in smart, effective ways.