The new way of marketing is through WhatsApp
When WhatsApp was introduced, nobody could have forecasted that it would annihilate all messaging systems, each of which was not small by any means. But this newbie in the messaging scene managed to achieve that because of the many advantages it offered. People could now send large or small messages to different devices with different operating systems, in different languages and at any time. Even the restriction on formats went out of the window. But what made WhatsApp popular was the low rates at which all these features were possible.
Soon WhatsApp was spotted by marketing folks and before they could really exploit its potential Facebook stepped in. Facebook has realized that social groups can become a huge gold mine. What Facebook does is that it lets friends “like” a brand or product, and displays such brand across the entire group. It certainly influences others from the group to check what the friend liked or bought and effectively targets a more clearly defined market. Friends can now consult and then buy something that they were not quite sure of. The same idea can now be extended to smartphones with slight variations. WhatsApp is the software tool that facilitates such marketing.
The biggest advantage that WhatsApp offers to marketers is its ability to send bulk messages at a rather low cost when compared to the messaging systems that use the telecommunication infrastructure. Obviously, WhatsApp is using the internet for messaging and therefore, it is free from many other barriers such as device or OS restrictions, and “do not disturb” bans. But that does not mean any WhatsApp marketing service will spam or fill in the message boxes forcing the person to view what he or she does not desire to. In fact, it does the opposite of that. It gives the viewers the liberty to read what they want and ignore what they wish to.
Application developers have kept WhatsApp’s bulk messaging ability at the core, and developed several desirable features for marketing purposes. Many of these are analytic and others are conveniences.
The basic features of WhatsApp present in any WhatsApp bulk messaging tool include:
- Ability to send messages in different formats such as audio format, video format, text format, Excel format, and vcard format. A combination of these formats is also possible. This feature is huge considering the fact that former methods of messaging only allowed text messaging.
- Ability to send bulk messages. This is the second most desirable feature that bulk WhatsApp marketing services require. In conventional messaging, the message has to be typed, and then sent to specified parties in the contact list or the telephone numbers have to be keyed in. But with WhatsApp several such messages can be easily developed, and sent easily to several places. Effectively WhatsApp is a highly refined way of mail merging.
- Ability to send messages in different languages, which was not possible in the conventional way of messaging. Effectively, this tool can now be used to identify the location of the person, and market the product in the local language, thereby expanding the market.
- Ability to cross the barriers of platforms. Platforms of Windows, BlackBerry, iPhone, and other Android devices always posed difficulty for some communications. While messaging from iPhone to iPhone was not difficult, there were problems encountered when iPhone was sending or receiving messages from a BlackBerry or Android device. Such inter-platform infrastructural as well as operating systems related hassles have been resolved, and messaging has become considerably smoother.
- Reliability of communication. This was another problem with conventional messaging because relaying and capturing in telecommunication infrastructure is not as accurate as that in satellite based communication systems.
- Speed of course matters and Internet related technologies have improved tremendously, thus increasing the overall speed.
- Establishing channels, which is similar to friends and public in Facebook.
- Ability to store enormous information in very little space. Because WhatsApp can facilitate sending larger files of varying sizes to different contact addresses it follows that there has to be some way to store such large data. Therefore, WhatsApp comes equipped with this feature.
- Ability to share information. Sharing information has become a common feature of all social websites, and WhatsApp was born as a social tool.
- Ability to chat. This is another social media requirement these days and WhatsApp came with that feature too.
With these as basic ingredients, software developers refined the features to make WhatsApp the most sought after marketing tool. Requirements are not uniform across the board. Therefore, different WhatsApp marketing solutions have different features. Some of these features are common whereas other features are more specific. The following is a list of some of the common features in WhatsApp for marketing.
- Generate channels. Channels are just contacts. But these contacts are links with other WhatsApp users. The channels are established to indicate who uses the tool, so that messages can be sent across to that person. Some of these channels may be locked, and others may have to be identified. Such identification need not be done manually like it used to be done at call centers cold calling. Instead, the software indicates which channels would be open for communicating.
- Securing channels. Naturally there are competitors, and they need to be kept off those channels, because each person can only read as many messages. Security becomes all the more important to any business offering WhatsApp marketing service.
- Contact list import. The contact list is not confined to the list on one SIM card. There may be many SIM cards, and emails from which the contact list may have to be collected. Separate software or part of software may be needed for collecting such contact lists from different SIM cards, etc., and organizing them as needed. The WART tool for example is commonly used for this job. Not only are contacts added but additional information about the contact such as the location of the contact is also noted so that messages are not sent to those persons who have no use for it.
- Ability to instantly chat. This is crucial because the marketer is usually free but the client is not. After the marketing content has been sent across to the intended recipients, the person sending it has to wait for a reply. If there is a mismatch of the timing the recipient loses interest and may forget the subject altogether or may begin searching for something equivalent. Instead of letting such a prospective customer get away, the tool facilitates instant chatting so that the person sending the marketing content can be immediately contacted and required clarifications can also be sent across immediately.
- Multiple chatting for call centers of WhatsApp marketing services. As the name suggests this type of tool allows call center professionals to tackle more than one chat box simultaneously, thereby increasing their output and preventing the customers from losing interest.
- Providing information and statistics such as how many people responded to the marketing message, and who were they. How many were provided information and how many are yet to be given the desired information etc., is all managed by software that facilitates bulk marketing through WhatsApp.
- For services using WhatsApp for marketing, this tool is a boon. They can manage multiple accounts of different clients, and have multiple marketing initiatives of different clients running concurrently, whether related to the same project or not. This flexibility also allows them to charge correctly for their services, and yet offering more to the client than what the client would have got if such services would not have been availed of. In fact, opting for such diversely equipped services is better even though they are slightly more expensive when compared to using in-house bulk messaging WhatsApp inhouse. This is because such services have several different tools with varying features and complexities. They also have more knowledge and experience on the subject so they can use their discretion in selecting the most appropriate bulk messaging WhatsApp tool. These services also buy the latest tools so that they can offer more features to their clients. Buying so many tools can prove to be expensive for individual businesses.
- The software programs that are integrated into the tool that facilitates marketing through WhatsApp also increase its speed enormously. While WhatsApp is fast, additional information such as marketing campaign content and contact information can slow it down a bit, especially if channels and contacts vary for different marketing campaigns. In such cases, indexing and sorting can slow down the basic program unless external logic sorts it and reduces its workload. Developers have managed to improve the speed to an extent that 1000 messages can now be sent in merely 2 hours, which is an unbelievable speed considering that in the previous methods it would be difficult to send 100 messages each day.
- Another feature that software developers add to WhatsApp for marketing is shuffling of marketing messages. By changing the content about the same product, service, or project, it is possible to make the content appear to be personalized and unique each time. Marketers can now afford to have multiple types of content for the same project with flexibility to use it in a way that it seems personalized, thanks to such specialized software. So far this had not been possible. Customers who express interest in any project tend to lose some of that interest if the same content is shown to them again and again.
- Inbox and outbox are provided to keep track of which person has been replied to, and what was the message. Effectively, each prospective who replies gets a complete file, and the marketing professional does not have to go to email to search for the responses. Another advantage of this system is that messages are sent instantaneously, therefore, interactions can be faster. Because it is possible to identify which customer opened the content, it is understood that the customer is interested in the product, service, or project. Therefore, the marketing professional can afford to spend more time on such persons rather than trying to shoot in the dark like they have been doing in the past.
- Software provides a user friendly interface. People may be familiar with WhatsApp and using it. But they may not know how to do marketing on WhatsApp. Therefore, they need to be led to the required options in simple and layman’s terms. Software developers have therefore, developed tools that can be understood easily and the person can get the most out the tool.
- WhatsApp viral marketing is about sharing it and when a person who opens it shares the content with another person, new channels are opened and new contacts can be added. Effectively, the marketing personnel may have targeted only one or two persons, but they in turn may send it to some more, increasing the number of people who get to see the content, without the business paying for such favor.
The list of modifications and refinement to the basic WhatsApp tool for using it for marketing, is truly unlimited, because each day some new feature that is useful for marketing is added to the list. Knowing which of these features are needed, when to use them, and how to use them is important for succeeding in any marketing on WhatsApp. Small and medium size business enterprises cannot afford to have multiple bulk marketing WhatsApp tools. Therefore, they may not be able to use the marketing potential to the extent that WhatsApp actually offers. Instead, if they avail of the services of bulk message senders using WhatsApp and other relevant tools, they would stand to gain much more even though the fees may be slightly on the higher side. In any event the costs of marketing using telecommunication channels are much higher in comparison.
Going forward, Facebook and other social websites will be offering bundled packages in which such a refined WhatsApp marketing tool will be combined with the abilities of their website to generate leads for marketers. This will make the marketing scene highly competitive as there will cost benefits all around.