The Ultimate Guide to Using WhatsApp for Business in 2021

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Kayla Carmicheal
Kayla Carmicheal



Does your business offer international services, but you've found it hard to connect with global customers in a personalized, cost-effective way? Do you, as a marketer, struggle with offering one-on-one experiences with customers when you're not online?

whatsapp marketing: image shows people sitting down near a phone with the whatsapp logo on the screen of the phone

Marketing messages are hard, right? But they don't have to be. Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite app for customer relationships: WhatsApp.

Now, if you've just read that and thought, "WhatsApp? What's that? And how is an app going to help?" That's understandable.

Allow HubSpot's Head of Conversational Marketing, Connor Cirillo, to break it down: "WhatsApp has become the center of gravity for billions of users around the world. It's where we message the people we care about most — like our friends and family," he says.

He continues by noting that, "Businesses always want to build relationships and meet customers where they are. WhatsApp can become one of the most important marketing channels."

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Even though the app is the most popular global mobile messaging service, WhatsApp commonly isn't known as a tool for businesses. For instance, just over 7% of marketers use WhatsApp for business.

However, while on the surface it may seem like WhatsApp is just another messaging service, there are tools built in the app that are great for maintaining strong customer relationships and cultivating lead generation.

But, what exactly is WhatsApp, and what does it do?

To use WhatsApp, you have to download the app on your phone, or scan the QR code from a computer with your phone's camera. The app is available for desktop, but you need a phone in order to sign up.

QR code to download WhatsApp for desktop.

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WhatsApp is appealing because, in most cases, the app is free to use, depending on your phone service's messaging rates. Additionally, it provides a centralized location for multiple group chats, multimedia sharing, and voice messaging.

Here, let's explore some ways those benefits can be used in WhatsApp for marketing efforts.

WhatsApp Marketing

If you want to remind your customers about promotions, offer accessible customer service options, or increase visibility, WhatsApp is a perfect tool for you. And, with the addition of WhatsApp Business, it's now easier than ever to build positive customer relationships.

More of a visual learner? I've got you. This video will walk you through everything you need to know about leveraging WhatsApp for business. 

With WhatsApp Business, you'll be able to offer personal customer support to your audience with automated messages and chatbot-like capabilities. So, if you're launching a new product, WhatsApp can automatically send the messages you've created to the customers you select.

Think of selecting customers being synonymous with audience segmentation — which you can do in the app using a broadcast list.

Additionally, if you have a global audience or customer base, you'll find it easy and cost-effective to connect with your international customers, since WhatsApp doesn't charge a fee for international communication. This helps you strengthen customer relationships abroad, and allows for quick-problem solving.

Next, we'll show you how you can use the tools provided in WhatsApp Business to make an effective WhatsApp marketing campaign.

How to create a WhatsApp Business profile

Making a WhatsApp Business account is easy, especially if you have the app already downloaded. If not, head over to your local mobile app store and type in "WhatsApp Business." If you've already set up an account, the app will connect your account to a Business profile.

Next, accept the Terms and Conditions, and enter a phone number. (If you want to refrain from using your personal number, this is something you can change letter in Settings).

And then, you're all set! You can make your Business account look polished and professional from here. You can also begin to explore some of the business-specific functions available to you, like contact labels and short links.

The features of a WhatsApp Business profile

Let's talk about some of the features you'll have to work with in WhatsApp Business.

First, you can list your company's contact information, such as email, address, and website link, in the "Business Profile" section, accessed by clicking "Business Settings". If you've ever seen a Facebook or Google Business profile, they're very similar. Your WhatsApp Business profile will be a quick view of your company.

WhatsApp Business profile

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Your Business profile will also be listed as one, so when you communicate with leads and customers, they will know they're talking to your business. Another identifier for customers is a green checkmark:

WhatsApp verified business checkmark.

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You'll see it added when your account is verified by WhatsApp, which involves the app making sure the information you've given to set up your profile is accurate.

You'll also be able to use labels to organize sales functions, access messaging metrics (such as stats on when messages are sent, delivered, and read), and build a catalog of products from your business. We'll get more into how these features can help your marketing strategy in the next section.

How to Use WhatsApp for Business

You can use WhatsApp for business efforts in a couple of different ways. Mainly, the app is used for communication and sharing, and that's the basis of using WhatsApp to your advantage. If you would like to incorporate WhatsApp Business into your own app or platform, you can also consider using WhatsApp Messaging API for your developers.

WhatsApp can be a powerful app to have in your toolkit. You can improve visibility, automate communication, and keep your workflow organized.

The app is also free to use and manage, so you won't be spending money downloading new software. Let's cover how some other ways to use WhatsApp as an asset for your company. 

1. Improve your business's visibility.

Similar to Facebook, WhatsApp allows businesses to have a Business page on the app. Your profile will offer important information for customers, such as location, description, website, and contact details. You can also add a catalog to your WhatsApp, like shown below:

WhatsApp Business catalog feature.

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The catalog tool lets you upload your products in bulk, so users can browse your offerings through the app. This tool is an easy way for customers to get an idea of what they can purchase from your business. Having a business page for your company increases the amount of possible customers who can interact with your business using the app.

For instance, let's say your customers want to know what your business offers, but don't feel like Googling it. If your catalog is set up, they'll be able to access your offerings before their attention is diverted to something else.

You can use catalogs to display a new product line, or feature your most popular products to entice your audience members.

2. Lessen the response time.

When you use WhatsApp Business, you can engage with customers directly. You can also automate messages using a chatbot, so your audiences can have their questions answered quickly.

Example of a WhatsApp chatflow.

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Notice how you can save a few quick replies for your customers. This interactive "FAQ" undoubtedly cuts down on having to type, or copy-and-paste answers to common questions.

Think about providing a content offer with quick replies. For instance, you might configure your welcome message to ask about your new offerings, ("Welcome! Would you like to know about our new sale?"), and include a quick reply that links back to your catalog, or another page or promotion.

3. Organize your duties.

WhatsApp offers different options for organization. First, you can organize your contacts using their label system. Alternatively, if you use a CRM that integrates with WhatsApp, like HubSpot, you can import your contacts directly from the CRM to the app, and manage conversations from there, like shown below:

Example of WhatsApp and HubSpot integration.

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If you can integrate WhatsApp with your CRM, you won't have to manually add contacts into the WhatsApp account. The two platforms will work together to import contact information onto your business dashboard.

Additionally, if you want to save the conversations you have with customers, you have that option with an integration. For example, HubSpot customers can access previous conversations on their HubSpot dashboard:

Example of HubSpot and WhatsApp integration.

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This will help you keep track of your customers and the relationships you grow with them. For more information about how to integrate your contact information with HubSpot, refer to this instructional post.

WhatsApp Marketing Campaign Examples

If you want to fit WhatsApp into a larger brand campaign, but are unsure how that will look, think of the app as a way to streamline communication in a way that's a little more personal, and easier to access, then email or a product page. Let's look at how some companies use WhatsApp.

1. Hellmann's Brazil

Tactic: Story-based chatflow conversations.

To help teach their younger audiences how to cook, the team at the Brazil headquarters of Hellmann's got to work, marketing through WhatsApp. This was an optimal choice for the team: WhatsApp is popular in Brazil, so their Brazilian audience would most likely already use the app.

This tool was a perfect addition to use in the campaign:

Here's how it works: After texting the Business profile, WhatsCook, with WhatsApp, users can ask the profile for recipes based on what they have in their fridge. Then, they can message the profile to get more direction, video-based instructions, or send photos of progress.

The profile offers multimedia directions, such as photo and video, to make the learning experience personalized. The app even texts you to remind you when the dish is done. With less than $900 invested, and four million people satisfied, Hellmann's had a home run.

The company used chatflows and labels to provide a choose-your-own-adventure story to connect with customers as part of their campaign to educate youngsters about cooking, all through text messages.

Think of how your customer service team would have an easier time organizing their contacts and helping customers with WhatsApp's quick messaging capabilities. They can create customized workflows using integrated software and upload them into WhatsApp.

Finally, if leads want to check out your business, they won't have to give it a Google search. They can just click on your user profile. These scenarios work for any type of business, and are some cost-effective alternatives to email marketing and international marketing.

2. Beck's Brewery

Tactic: Secondary app integration.

Beck's Brewery is an alcohol company that's popular in Europe, and focuses on legendary experiences. To make one for mobile phone users, their team created an app that integrates to WhatsApp, and offers a comic book theme for their chats:

This app promotes longer chats on WhatsApp, and increases brand awareness for Beck's Brewery as a brand. For instance, if a friend of a fan had never heard of the company before trying out the app, they'll learn about the brand when they try out the comic book-themed integration.

Maybe your company offers graphic design services, or is a software development company. The bright, designing minds at your company can use the WhatsApp API to come up with similar integrations to use as a promotional tool in part of your next campaign.

3. Tikkie

Tikkie is an app, available only in Europe, that lets its users repay small loans on their phone. The app is most notably used by global bank ABN AMRO to let users in the Netherlands make bank payments.

This can be done for customers using WhatsApp. To market this function, Tikkie's developers created a line of stickers that messengers can use in their chats to make them customizable, such as the ones shown below. Like other messaging apps such as Slack, these stickers add a funny, meme-able addition to chats:

Example of WhatsApp stickers from Tikkie

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These phrases, "Takes a long time," and "Paid!" are vague enough to be used in general conversations, funny enough to make an impact with younger customers, and branded enough to increase brand recognition with users choosing these stickers.

Though Tikkie isn't the first brand to use stickers for WhatsApp marketing (For instance, these Star Wars stickers celebrated the franchise's 40th anniversary), they highlight how you can use the money you save with a free app. This makes marketing messages more delightful for your customers.

To create a sticker campaign of your own, you can use this sample code provided by the app, after you read up on some best practices for creating stickers. Basically, make sure your sticker images have transparent backgrounds, is less than 100kb, and measures exactly at 512 x 512.

For more examples like these, be sure to check out these extra WhatsApp campaign examples.

Ultimately, it's important to keep in mind that WhatsApp shouldn't be a primary marketing tool, like a CRM or email marketing software. Instead, it should be a partner to advance your marketing messages.

If you have disorganized chatflow structures, and feel as if you can do more to build customer loyalty, give WhatsApp a try. You'll find a platform that's easy to use, integratable, and provides metrics about your performance to help you increase effectiveness over time.


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