WhatsApp Business is an app that’s purpose built for small businesses. But as it’s relatively new and has not been promoted much, the chances are you’ve never heard of it. I would suggest you take a look as it has some great features that can help grow your business which are being added to all the time. For example, a feature that showcases your products and services has just been launched; you can read more about this below.
Advantages of WhatsApp Business
So you can give your business a profile, communicate more effectively and have a shop window for your products and services. With WhatsApp Business you’re getting a comprehensive marketing platform designed for the device most of us have with us every hour of the day, the mobile phone. Fans of the desktop are not left out as you can use WhatsApp Web to compose and manage messages.
So a modern all-in-one marketing solution built for small businesses giving you access to 1.5 billion customers that has a number of advantages over similar marketing tools. Interested? Oh, and I forgot to mention that it’s free.
As you can tell, I’m a bit of a fan and have been using it to send my daily social media news update, The #SocialMediaDaily, since June 2018.
WhatsApp Business in detail
So let’s have a look at WhatsApp Business in more detail. It’s important to note that its based on the regular WhatsApp so not only do you get the small business features which I detail below, but you also get all the benefits of the standard app; make voice and video calls, send audio messages, share images, documents, audio, video and your locations plus delivery and read receipts.
WhatsApp Business was launched in January 2018 on Android and on ioS in April 2019. Once downloaded you’ll need a different telephone number to the one you have registered for WhatsApp but this can be your office landline or business mobile number.
Your customers can then message you on this number if they have your contact details on their phone or you can also give them a short link with a WhatsApp prefix plus your business number. For example my short link is https://wa.me/442920789139.
WhatsApp provides the image below in their brand resources that encourage customers to message you via your website, blog or other digital asset:
You can also pre-fill a message that will automatically appear in the text field of the chat thereby saving your customer some time. Click the image above to see how this works.
This is useful but the main benefits of WhatsApp Business can be categorised into four areas:
- Business presence
- Messaging tools
- Products/Services showcase
Please note that all instructions below are for Android although the same functionality is available on iOS and the processes are similar.
You can give your business a presence with a Profile and providing a Status. To set up your profile go to the 3 dots on top right then Settings > Business settings > Profile. You to add information about your company, including your business name, address, category, description, opening hours, email address plus 2 website addresses. So you can add your website and Facebook Page. Customers can easily find and view this profile information.
Status is WhatsApp’s version of Stories, ie they are a collection of video clips, images, emojis, GIFs and text that are displayed for 24 hours. To create a Status got to STATUS and either click the pencil icon to add text, emojis and GIFs or the camera button to add photos or videos. Customers can view your status update, by tapping the STATUS tab in their WhatsApp, then your status update. You can also share your Status to other locations such as Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories.
WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app for good reason. It’s easy to use, has tons of features already mentioned plus you can tell when your messages have been delivered and read, recipients can view preview pop-ups and if you’re using WiFi there’s no cost. We’ve already seen how WhatsApp provides a great way for customers to contact your business but can your business message customers? Yes! This is probably the biggest strength of WhatsApp Business as it works in a similar way to an email newsletter but is a lot more effective. I’m not showing off, well perhaps a little, but my read rate for The #SocialMediaDaily is over 90%, considerably higher than any email newsletter I’ve ever sent.
Just like an email newsletter, you build a list of subscribers (Broadcast List) and then send Broadcast messages on a one-to-many basis. It’s important to note that this is different from a WhatsApp Group which works on many-to-many basis. With a WhatsApp Business Broadcast, if a recipient replies to your message only you will receive the reply. So it works in the same way as an email platform such as MailChimp. Of course if you want to have a Group conversation you can do this in the same way as you would with the standard WhatsApp. Simply select the three dots on the top right of the screen then New broadcast or New group as appropriate.
Just as you can with an email newsletter you can create multiple lists (Broadcast Lists) and you can also segment your audience to which allows you to send targeted messages to different audience groups. You can simply add a Label to an existing chat. WhatsApp provide existing colour coded labels such as New customer and Pending payment plus you can create your own. So as well as using Labels to broadcast (fo to 3 dots/Labels/Message customers) you can also use Labels for customer relationship management (CRM).
Broadcast messages can include active web links although not smart links plus basic formatting eg bold, italic and underline are available. Emojis are fully supported and you can add photos, videos, files and GIFs as attachments to your messages.
WhatsApp also comes with Messaging tools that you can use for customer services. You can set a Greeting Message and Away message plus you can also save time by setting up Quick replies to enable a speedy response to frequently asked questions about your business, products and services. All of these options can be setup under Settings/Business settings then scroll to the bottom of the screen for Messaging tools.
Last week WhatsApp launched a great new feature called Catalogue that allows you to display your services and products. Go to Settings/Business settings/Catalogue. From here you can add details of each of your products or services complete with photos, product/service name, price, description, link and product or service code. A great feature to showcase your wares and to encourage customers to purchase on your website. I would imagine that by the end of next year, customers will be able to purchase directly on WhatsApp. You can view what the Catalogue looks like on my business profile – add 029 2078 9139 to my Contact details on your phone to view.
As you’d expect from any marketing tool WhatsApp Business comes with analytics called Statistics. Whilst not extensive you can view details for messages sent, delivered, read and received under Settings/Business settings/Statistics. I would expect more data to be provided in due course such as profile views and clicks from products/services in Catalogue.
Every business relationship starts with a conversation so what could be better than the world’s most popular messaging app to help you do more business? WhatsApp Business is easy to use and helps you form a more immediate and personal relationship with customers. If you’re already using the standard WhatsApp for business use, now’s the time to ‘go pro’ and make the switch.
With 67% of mobile messaging app users expected to use chat more with businesses over the next 2 years (Source: Nielsen) and the ability to advertise in Status coming in 2020, the future looks good too.
For an example of what a WhatsApp Broadcast message can look like, please view an example of The #SocialMediaDaily (pdf).
You can find out more about WhatsApp Business and download the app at https://www.whatsapp.com/business. If you work for a medium to large sized business I recommend you check out the WhatsApp Business API which can also help provide customer support and deliver important notifications to customers.
If you have need help on setting up WhatsApp Business or training in its use, please get in touch using the Contact form below or WhatsApp me on 029 2078 9139.