WhatsApp Marketing Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide


The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.

— Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO, Marketoonis


Imagine a situation where you are marketing to a customer and it doesn’t even feel like marketing. How can you get to this state? A great option is to speak their language, on a channel they are most comfortable with – WhatsApp. The messaging channel has become extremely popular as it more engaging and provided one-on-one interactions.

In fact, messaging apps have grown even bigger than social networks.¹ With 2 billion users, WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app of all time. But despite its widespread popularity, only 7% of marketers have used WhatsApp for business.²

As a marketer, what can you infer from this? At the least, it means WhatsApp marketing is a relatively untapped niche and can give early starters an edge over the competition.

As you would know, most of the popular advertising platforms like Facebook and Google have leveraged user data as an opportunity to target their users with ads. WhatsApp, on the other hand, has taken a more thoughtful approach. Even though it could have used user data to monetize its platform, it has refrained from doing it. And because of this WhatsApp has seen a huge growth in its user base, great open rates, and more opportunities for marketers to break through the noise and have personalized interactions with their users.

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WhatsApp has introduced business tools like WhatsApp API and WhatsApp Business app to empower businesses connect with their customers, foster engagement, and deliver a great customer experience. Depending on the organization’s size and requirements, both tools are compatible with a range of marketing strategies.

Marketing using WhatsApp

Here are the top 7 ways you can use WhatsApp to ramp up your marketing game.

1. Use opt-ins to generate high-quality leads: WhatsApp opt-in is the option using which customers provide their consent to receive messages from the business. Opt-in must be collected by the business before they start sending messages to their customers using WhatsApp API. Businesses using WhatsApp APIs should collect opt-in using a link or a banner shared through their website, mobile app, email, SMS or social media channels. Once clicked, the user will be asked to provide their phone number after which they can continue to chat with the business on WhatsApp.

And because only those people who are genuinely interested will opt-in, businesses will get a pool of high-quality leads who are more receptive to business communications.

Kaafmeem, a Saudi Arabian fashion e-tailer has successfully leveraged WhatsApp to drive more conversations and achieve business goals. Kaafmeem’s customer service team had traditionally used email and direct calls to handle sales queries, delivery information requests, or questions about refunds and replacements. However, to have a direct dialogue with their customers on a user-friendly channel, they started using WhatsApp as the main communication channel and promoted it on their newsletter, website, and Instagram profile.  

As a result, their CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score bumped up to 4.5 and FRT (First Response Time) reduced from 1hr 12min to < 1min. Thus, WhatsApp became the preferred channel of communication constituting 30% of query volume and helped the company build relationships that matter.


2. Build your eCommerce store on WhatsApp with in-app catalogs – In-app product catalog is a great feature available in WhatsApp Business app to help businesses organize, display, and sell their goods and services without needing to create a website. The in-app product catalog showcases your product with the help of an image and description, just like an e-commerce website. This helps users make quick purchase decisions. Payment links can be provided in the chat window to complete the purchase.

WhatsApp bot - automate sales process

Additionally, as users don’t have to exit the chat to select and evaluate the product, businesses close more deals and reduce drop-offs, providing a unified user experience.

3. Acquire more customers with click-to-WhatsApp ads – Typically when businesses run ads, customers usually get directed to a website. But businesses that don’t have a website can take advantage of “click to WhatsApp” ads that directly take the customer to their WhatsApp Business profile.

Click-to-WhatsApp ads are created in Facebook Business Manager and can run on Facebook and Instagram. While creating WhatsApp ads, businesses can also choose their target audience similar to when they run Facebook ads. 

4. Generate brand awareness using the Status feature – Since its introduction in 2017, one of the most popular features on WhatsApp is the Status feature. Available on the WhatsApp Business app, this feature can be used by businesses to spread awareness about a new product or service with the help of images, videos, audio, and links.

WhatsApp Stories growth

Source  – Buffer

While using the status feature make sure to keep the following in check:

  1. Avoid having more than 7 stories at a time to avoid drop-offs. The optimal posting length for stories on Instagram is 1-7 stories and as WhatsApp status also works like Instagram stories, the same metrics can be used as a yardstick.
  2. Use status for announcements (like offers or contests) and product updates.
  3. Don’t spam and avoid being ‘salesy’.

5. Create contests and campaigns – Due to its instant messaging feature, WhatsApp is a great platform for brand-related contests and campaigns. The key to a successful campaign is to encourage your audience to engage with you directly on WhatsApp.

Here is an innovative campaign launched by Absolut Vodka to communicate an exclusive Absolut Unique launch party in Argentina. In this campaign, they devised a unique WhatsApp based campaign for their limited edition bottles that required users to interact with Sven (a virtual doorman of the party) via WhatsApp and convince him to give the party access. As users got creative this campaign resulted in 3 days of uninterrupted chat with users, a lot of buzz on social media, and more than 1000 images/videos/audio messages to convince Sven. All of this happened by running a campaign using just WhatsApp.

6. Upsell & Cross-sell using WhatsApp bot flows – Did you know that 35% of purchases on Amazon come from product recommendations? Businesses can use WhatsApp bots to recommend related products when customers make their purchases and increase order values. One should note that the bots integration is available only with WhatsApp API.

Freddy custom bot flow


7. Collect customer testimonials for social proof – In order to understand customers and increase retention, it’s very important to get customer feedback. While bad reviews help you pinpoint the gaps, great reviews provide social proofing that can get you more business. Although feedback can be obtained by using survey forms and email, these channels see only 20-30% open rates with even lower response rates.  Compared to email, using WhatsApp to collect customer feedback can deliver much better results as the open rates are an extraordinary 99% with a 40% response rate.

SENS Group, an Argentina based insurance company has been proactively asking for customer’s feedback through WhatsApp. Due to the increase in positive ratings, leads have started pouring in and sales have also been on rise.

WhatsApp Business app or WhatsApp Business API? Which one is right for your business?

For micro-businesses: WhatsApp Business app

By definition, a micro business is a company with fewer than five employees. Such businesses often rely on a single person, who handles the entire volume of queries, complaints, and grievances. As the WhatsApp Business app allows only single user operability, the business app is meant for micro-businesses. The app equips businesses with basic automation features such as greetings, away messages, quick replies and no option to use chatbots or integrate with a CRM or CMS. With just basic features WhatsApp business app can be a good starting point. If you want to learn how to set up and get started with the WhatsApp business app then we encourage you to read our blog on WhatsApp Business.

For SMEs and large enterprises: WhatsApp Business APIs

Business API differs from the Business app in terms of automation features, bots, and the flexibility to integrate with other tools. It’s suitable for organizations with medium to large workforces, and multiple professionals handling high query volumes.

It’s programmability allows integration with CRM, CMS, and CSS software, enabling broader and more involved marketing strategies. This allows organizations to deploy WhatsApp automation for repetitive laborious tasks and mobilize resources from all departments into their marketing efforts. 

Supr Daily – an Indian subscription-based online delivery company for milk & daily groceries, recently shifted from the WhatsApp Business app to WhatsApp Business API due to an increase in queries during COVID as people ventured out less. As the demand for their services grew by 10x, it became impossible for the business to handle such huge query volume with the single-agent limitation of the WhatsApp business app. As a significant portion of the user base was more comfortable with WhatsApp than in-app chat, they decided to retain the channel but were on the lookout for a solution to sustain the query volume and help them upscale their business. During this phase, they evaluated and decided to go with Freshchat – WhatsApp API integration.

As a result, Supr Daily was able to scale its WhatsApp support team from a single agent to 50+ agents and they are now able to handle 4000+ messages per day. In the process, they have also reduced operational costs significantly.

Simple, but not limited: WhatsApp’s flexibility and the new normal

When all is said and done, marketing in the “new normal” boils down to a few time-sensitive aspects – crisis communications, empathy-based approach, humanizing your brand, and cost-effective strategies. 

WhatsApp witnessed a 40% surge in usage globally during the COVID-19 outbreak. But this isn’t a newly found thing, it is a circumstance-driven validation of WhatsApp – as simple to use but a feature-rich platform that is cost-effective, personalized, and a great channel for one-on-one communication.



  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-messaging-app-report-2016-4-23?IR=T
  2. https://www.hubspot.com/state-of-marketing
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/730306/whatsapp-status-dau/