Do you have WhatsApp?
I’m sure a customer has asked you that before and your answer was (probably) yes. Indeed, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app out right now. With 1.5 billion active users a month, it’s the biggest messaging platform, ahead of Facebook Messenger by more than 200 million users. As a leisure activity business, you understand the significance of being engaged on platforms where your customers are active and where you can stand out. WhatsApp is one of those platforms.
This article will show you why WhatsApp is an important component of your marketing strategy and provide you with 10 tips and tricks on how to use it effectively to reach your audience.
Let’s get started.
Why Should WhatsApp Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?
WhatsApp’s power as an instant messaging app is well known around the world. However, most businesses fail to realize the platform’s growing power as a marketing channel.
WhatsApp is part of the Facebook family, along with Instagram – it was purchased for $19 billion in 2014. When Facebook rolled out Snapchat’s stories feature to Instagram, they also rolled it out to WhatsApp and gave the app its first social feature.
In addition, to quickly emerging as a social media network, a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism survey found that a large number of countries view WhatsApp as a trusted source of news.
WhatsApp indeed recognizes its current power and future potential to be a powerhouse for marketers. They even made an announcement about their plans to turn WhatsApp into a more functional marketing platform.
Building A Campaign on WhatsApp
It might be a good idea for you to start planning a WhatsApp marketing campaign now.
There is no barrier to entry on WhatsApp: all you need is a smartphone. And there is plenty you can do on it to market your business. For example, you can:
● Use it as a messaging app to send event updates and exclusive offers.
● Send multimedia content.
● Use it to survey and get customer data.
● Record your data and messages by backing them up to Google Drive.
Are you convinced yet? If so, one of the first things you need to do before you start building your marketing campaign on WhatsApp is to stop thinking of it as a messaging app. Think of it like any other marketing platform like Facebook, where you can post messages and statuses. There are three main ways you can use it as part of an effective marketing strategy:
1. Broadcast Messages
Using the broadcast messaging feature, you can send a single message to multiple people on your contact list. Think of it as an SMS marketing campaign. However, WhatsApp currently only allows you to send to 256 contacts per message.
2. WhatsApp Status
If you’re already using Instagram and Snapchat stories, you are probably familiar with how the status feature works in WhatsApp. Using it, you can post videos and images to engage your audience with your brand for 24 hours. After 24 hours, your stories delete themselves.
3. WhatsApp Text Status
This feature was temporarily removed from the app when the Status feature went live. It allows you to put up a text status to broadcast discount codes, invite your audience to have conversations with you and any other call to action you want to make.
Now that you know why you should use WhatsApp to market your leisure activity business, here at 10 tips and tricks on how you can effectively use it to reach your target audience.
1. Create Broadcast Lists
You should create lists that are related to specific topics or audience segments. Once the lists are prepared you can send one-way communications that are specifically tailored to increase engagement, just like you do on Twitter.
You can include offers, links, or invitations in your messages. For example, if you are having an event or launch that will interest your audience, broadcast lists are the way to go.
Let’s assume you are a leisure and spa business. Then your audience will be interested in anniversary celebrations, summer and bank holidays. So you can use those opportunities to send them broadcast messages.
2. Use Group Chat
Group messages are shared with members of a group, and also include responses from group participants. That comes in handy when you need to conduct focus groups or market research before launching a product or service.
The group feature is also the best way for you to grant exclusivity to specific customer groups. It is also a way to encourage your customers to interact with one another and perhaps introduce other existing customers to try a new service or product that they’ve never tried before.
WhatsApp group chat provides benefits for both you and your customer: Your customers can easily interact with you and one another and you can easily connect to an international audience.
3. Offer Customer Service on WhatsApp
Providing immediate customer service is a luxury for many small businesses, particularly leisure activity ones. However, WhatsApp can help you and your staff to answer and address customer queries quickly.
Since WhatsApp features multimedia messaging, you can provide personalized customer service by using text, audio, or video. You can even provide live-video help or tutorials on WhatsApp, which will further streamline the customer support process for both you and your customers.
Also, remember that WhatsApp has a desktop application. So if you are using other customer support software on your desktop, you can easily merge the two and provide even faster customer service.
4. Get Feedback
Instead of calling customers for feedback, consider sending questions to your customer list via WhatsApp. Especially since the open rate for WhatsApp messages is 70 percent. It is marketing research at its optimum and it is also free.
When you receive the feedback, you can directly respond to their requests within the app and improve on the products or services that you offer.
And don’t just stick to traditional questionnaires. Develop entertaining and creative ones that are both a reflection of your brand and also enable you to interact with your customers in a non-intrusive way.
Since their feedback is of great value to you, you can reward them with coupons to encourage brand loyalty, and as part of a customer retention strategy.
5. Personalize Communication
If you’re doing WhatsApp marketing correctly, your groups will continue to grow. And as they grow, you can personalize your interaction with customers by directly communicating with them on the platform – one-on-one.
This is particularly helpful to small businesses because direct interaction with their customers makes it much easier for customers to directly message them if they need a specific product, have questions, or need customer support.
6. Call Your Customers
In addition to interacting and marketing to your customers via messaging, you should directly engage with them via phone calls.
For example, when you get a customer request (perhaps someone is interested in talking to a salesperson or simply wants more information), you can respond right away, within the app, by calling them.
The new WhatsApp Status Update feature enables you to widely share special promotional codes for customers to redeem at your business.
You can use the instant photo and location feature to distribute the promotion codes to let everyone in your groups know about the special promotions you are running.
This can be a two to three-hour flash sale or one-day event to drive traffic or create buzz. If you have success with it, you can keep it exclusive to WhatsApp.
8. Partner with Complementary Businesses and Influencers
When you collaborate with businesses that offer complementary services or influencers in your space, you are increasing your audience and the number of WhatsApp groups you belong to. The partners do not need to be in your industry; the goal to become part of more conversations across various WhatsApp groups.
Even if people in other groups are not interested in your products or services, they might mention your brand in other groups or social channels; and those within their circle, who are interested in your business, will find you.
9. Create Quality Content
Yes, even on WhatsApp. Just as quality content is important for your site, it is also important for messaging in WhatsApp.
In WhatsApp, your messages need to be short and powerful. But you don’t have to worry as much about the length as you do on Twitter, but every single word should count. Your style and word choices should resonate with your audience or you’ll risk seeing very little engagement. Keep it simple, engaging, and focus on the benefits for your customers.
10. Use Third-Party Analytics
Just as with any marketing campaign, the most important part is analytics. You need to track and analyze your traffic so you can fine-tune and optimize your campaigns.
There are many thirds party apps and software that provide WhatsApp analytics.
Tracking software like Google Analytics can provide WhatsApp analytics data to help you optimize your social media strategy and fine-tune your strategies for reaching the right audiences.
Just as WhatsApp continues to evolve from a messaging app into another social media platform, so will your marketing efforts. We recommend that you start incorporating it into your marketing strategy today. Not only because it is a versatile platform that you can use to distribute files, videos, images, and texts about your products and services. But also because it is a free way to spread the word about your brand; and to better understand your customers’ needs so you can serve them better in the future.
The key is to measure your interactions and ensure that each message you send provides value. Track your analytics and keep optimizing your campaigns.