WhatsApp has become a necessity in today’s life. It is more important than having a working sim card. Most people depend only on WhatsApp calling and chatting. They don’t even feel the need to get their mobile numbers recharged. Specifically, before Jio came into existence with its free sim, free calling, and free internet service, people mainly were dependent on WhatsApp calls. And even today, it is one of the best mediums to do international calling. People who have their family and friends staying abroad find WhatsApp to be a necessity. They can go for a day without food but not without WA.
Similarly, with an increase in demand and its popularity globally, WhatsApp has also become one of the best advertising mediums. And by introducing the new “24 hours photo status” option, WhatsApp has added to its popularity. It has given people a medium to market their small to medium businesses easily and conveniently. Though this feature has a limitation. People can only see your status if both parties have each other’s numbers saved. Even if one of the two doesn’t have the number saved, they will not be able to see each other’s statuses. And there is no privacy option as “Public”.
Despite the limitation, WA status is doing wonders. It has provided new generation entrepreneurs with a free marketing platform. You will often find people uploading images & graphics of their products and services as status. It does a great deal in promoting their business. And not only WhatsApp status, but WA has also come up with “WhatsApp Business”. This is especially for business owners where they can download the WhatsApp Business App (it is a separate app than the normal WhatsApp) and create a business account using their business numbers. In WhatsApp Business, people can not only create a Business Account but can also provide their business information that is visible publicly. They can give their business location, services, timing, etc. Moreover, it provides them with the option to filter their messages. They can mark messages with different colors to make it easier and sorted. It’s like transferring the messages into folders of different categories which makes it easier for them to find the messages as and when needed.
Now, coming back to the marketing strategies that WhatsApp offers. Both WhatsApp and WhatsApp business offer features like, 24 hours status update, broadcasting and group chats. These are the main weapons that small to medium (sometimes large businesses) entrepreneurs can use to market their product or service. But definitely, there are some Do’s and Don’ts for the same.
Most of you must be aware of these features but out of that most, most of you are not doing the right WhatsApp marketing practices. A majority of you make mistakes in using these features wisely.
Let me share with you the techniques that you can use to market your products for free with WhatsApp.
1. Join the different groups on WhatsApp. There are several groups for start-ups, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, doctors, colleges, festivals and more. I mean, you name a profession and for sure you will find a group related to that on WhatsApp. But yes, it is not as easy as Facebook to find or join groups in WhatsApp. Unlike Facebook, you cannot simply search with a name or profession and find groups. For this, you will need to build up a connection with the people around you. Maybe your school-mates, college-mates, tuition-mates, colleagues, clients or even sometimes your neighbour who you feel might be having a good network. Tell them about your business and also that you want to join a few genuine WhatsApp groups. I used the term ‘genuine’ because again, as I said most people don’t know the proper use of these features. Hence, there are a lot of groups that are very irritating, they follow no rules and timing. People in those groups are always spamming, sharing irrelevant content and links. So beware of such groups and people.
So, once you get connected with a few people and if even one of them manages to add you to one of the genuine groups, then you are half-way there. Through that one group, you can join many groups, start connecting with the people in the group. You can connect with them on personal chat and try to know a bit more about their business. Also, you can participate in group activities. You can ask the members to add you to some more genuine groups. And this way you can go on increasing your network. But, do NOT forget to save the numbers of people you start talking to and find genuine. Save their numbers and try to get your numbers saved with them (you don’t really have to tell them to do so. But you can simply introduce yourself with your and your company’s names and can ask them to be in touch. This way they are very much likely to save your number as well).
You can even try posting about your willingness to join WhatsApp groups on your social media accounts. If you are specific about any particular category then mention that too in your post (for example startup group in Kolkata, entrepreneurs group, etc.) This will not only help you in building your network but also to promote your brand. Keeping in mind the groups’ policy and rules (often mentioned in the group’s description) you can share graphics related to your business, a link of your products or services page, company profile, & other promotional contents. But make sure, you do not spam the group (spamming is not only sharing fraudulent links. But sometimes sharing a genuine link or image too many times or too frequently is also considered spamming).
Different groups might have different rules. Some allow promotions only on specific days. Some allow promotions during a particular time of the day. And some have a limit to the number of promotions per day/week, etc. There may be a lot of other rules also that a group might have. You can also be removed from the group if you disobey any of the rules or share something offensive.
And one of the most important things is not to spam people with too many images or messages at one shot. What I have noticed that a lot of you start firing people with innumerable images.
Let’s take for example an e-commerce business. A person into e-commerce has a lot of products to sell like women wear, men wear, kids wear, accessories, gadgets, cosmetics, etc. Now when this person goes on WhatsApp for promotion purposes, they send around 10-15 or sometimes even 25+ images to their contacts at a go. Trust me, this is very irritating for the receiver. There will be some upfront people who would ask you to stop spamming them. But there will be many who would not do so because they don’t want to be harsh on you. And you will feel like you have done a great job by sending it to 30 people out of which only 3 were the “bad ones” (because they asked you not to spam) rest 27 are very happy with your messages and they might soon be your customer. But trust me, the other 27 are equally mad at you but are too polite to show that. For you, you have promoted your business to 30 people, but these people are not very much likely to convert to your customers because you have irritated them. Just imagine someone sends you 20 images at a time and your mobile phone beeping constantly 20 times. Doesn’t it sound irritating? And especially when you are in the middle of something important, maybe a meeting, maybe someone’s funeral, maybe in the movie hall. Now, you cannot expect everyone to keep their phones on silent to avoid this annoyance caused by you, because they might be having some important calls and messages to receive.
So all your hard work of promoting your business is in vain because you managed to irritate 30 people and not make 30 customers. There is still a possibility that a few of those 30 can become your clients, but only a few. So why to target a few when we can target the entire lot?
Stop irritating people with your promotional activities and start interacting with them. Even if you have 50 newly launched products, don’t share all. Share 2-3 images at maximum and wait for the person at the other end to show interest. If the person is really interested, they themselves will ask you for more pictures and information.
I have seen people selling women wear and they share each and every photo in the catalog with their WhatsApp contacts. I understand that every customer has a different choice but it doesn’t mean you share the entire catalog. Same dress in 5 different colours, same pattern in different colours, etc. Choose a few images that you think are the best. Take suggestions from your family and friends on which ones they like the most and share the most voted ones. And in the end, you can add a message saying “Available in 5 different colours”. You can write this on the image itself.
A person who is even 1% interested in buying new clothes will surely approach you for more images and variations. But someone who is least interested will not get back to you even if you share an entire lot of images. Instead, they will be mad at you and make sure not to approach you in the future as well, since you have bothered them already. And the best thing being, you cannot force someone to be your customer. And spamming them is actually kind of forcing them.
WhatsApp has an option to mute notifications for certain chats and also to stop media from auto-download. You may think if the person doesn’t want to receive your messages then they can mute your conversation or maybe they can change their download settings. Then you are a fool. Now I will tell you why. In the first place if they mute your conversation then what’s the point in you sending them those promotional messages. Whatever chances you had of converting them to your customers will become zero. And secondly, why would you tell them what they have to do? I mean, why would they turn off auto-download because of you? There may be other contacts whose images they want to be downloaded automatically. Just because of you, they will have to turn off the settings for all their contacts (because it doesn’t have the option to apply this setting to individual contacts).
Hence, we suggest you not to spam, not to force people and not to tell them what settings they have to use for their WhatsApp. Instead, you change your activities and be wise.
2. You can also create a broadcast list of people in your contacts. It will make it easier for you to share a message with a list of people in one shot. You can simply create a broadcast list by selecting the contacts you want to add in the list and name the list as desired. You can create more than one list with a different set of contacts if you want to keep them in different categories. But again this feature also has a limitation. Broadcasts will only be received by people who have your number saved. People who haven’t saved your number will not receive your broadcast messages. Therefore, as I mentioned in point number 1, get into a healthy conversation with people and try to get your number saved. But do remember NOT to spam or overload them with too many messages and images. Use this method occasionally. This will help you in keeping your contacts reminded about you and your business. They might not have an immediate requirement but sending them occasional promotional messages, will help in storing your/your business’s name in their minds. And they are very much likely to contact you for their future requirements or maybe recommend you to others.
3. Now we go with a very widely used and interesting way of promoting. Yes, I’m talking about the 24 hours status update. It is the most common practice by most of us. It is a good way of promoting your business without sending personal/broadcast messages to your contacts. But as I mentioned above that status is visible only if both the parties have each other’s contact numbers saved. And this is one of the main reasons I said previously that try to get your numbers saved by interacting with them and not by irritating them. So, if you irritate your contacts or group members with uncountable messages then they will not save your number, rather will block you. And you will not be able to build your connection as well.
Also, the same rule of overloaded images applies in status marketing. We will take the same example of e-commerce. Imagine a person uploading 30 status updates at one go. Do you think anyone would be interested in checking out all the 30 updates? Just try doing this once and you will notice that as you go ahead you will see the number of views decreasing. If your first few statuses have 15 views, the next might have 14, the one after that might have 13 and so on. So ultimately you are wasting your time and energy in those statuses that are fetching you nothing.
I suggest uploading 4-5 statuses at one go. Wait for then to disappear and upload the remaining. And if you cannot wait that long then wait for at least a few hours and upload the other 5. Then again wait for another 2-3 hours and upload the rest. This will make it easier for people to check your statuses and will not bore them.
Moreover, do not keep uploading statuses related to your business always. Sometimes upload some other interesting content as well. This will build interest in people to check your statuses. If you monotonously keep uploading work related statuses, people will be under an impression that if they open your status it will be surely related to your product. And this will stop them from even opening your status update. Hence, do not make your statuses monotonous and boring because statuses are one of the most interesting and trending features of WhatsApp.
I hope this blog helped you in understanding some basic Do’s & Don’ts for WhatsApp Marketing. This content has been written in a very simple and conversational tone to make it easily understandable and to connect with our readers.
Do let us know if you like the blog. Comment with your views and additional tips if you have any.
Author: Atoofa Khushnood