WhatsApp marketing 101: Everything you need to know

Remember when WhatsApp was just an app for sending quick messages to friends and family? Today, it has transformed into a powerful marketing channel with over two billion active users globally, offering immense potential for businesses to connect with their audiences in a direct, personal, and highly engaging way. But how did this evolution take place, and what makes WhatsApp marketing so effective?

It's not about blasting out tons of messages or spamming your customer base, but about leveraging the unique features of WhatsApp to create personalized, engaging, and interactive experiences. Think of it as having a direct line of communication with your target audience.

Forget the days of unread emails and lost connections; the marketing world has been transformed by the introduction of a messaging platform.

What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp Business launched in 2018, offering features specifically designed for businesses, including company profiles, quick replies, labels, and automated messages. These features opened the door to more sophisticated marketing strategies, like personalized campaigns, interactive content, and even chatbots.

To put it in even simpler terms, it is the strategic use of WhatsApp to connect with customers and promote your business. It involves using features like direct messaging, group chats, rich media content, and automation to achieve your marketing goals.

How effective is WhatsApp marketing? 

Marketing through WhatsApp enables you to cut through the noise and connect with your audience in a meaningful way. If you're still questioning the effectiveness of WhatsApp marketing, here's the success story of Tata CLiQ, a business which was transformed thanks to the messaging platform.

How effective is whatsapp marketing

Tata CLiQ is an online marketplace that offers a diverse range of products, from international luxury brands to everyday essentials. It provides electronics, homeware, fashion, and beauty items at competitive prices in the Indian market.

They wanted to connect with customers who signed up for updates on their websites, but sending emails and texts wasn't working as well as they hoped. People often don't open these messages, and there were limitations on what kind of content they could send. After trying out various options, they developed a strong preference for WhatsApp. The platform's ability to personalize messaging based on browsing history, abandoned carts, and wishlists resulted in impressive results:

  • 51% click-through rate

  • 1.7 times higher purchase likelihood from website visits triggered by WhatsApp notifications

  • 10 times higher return on investment compared to previous Diwali and Black Friday sales

This success stemmed from WhatsApp's wide popularity around the globe and its ability to deliver engaging, personalized content, exceeding the limitations of SMS.

How can businesses get started with WhatsApp marketing?

Creating a successful WhatsApp marketing campaign requires more than just sending out messages; it involves building relationships and providing value to your customers. A well-crafted campaign should offer something of value, whether it's exclusive discounts, behind-the-scene peeks, or helpful tips related to your products or services.

For instance, an ecommerce store could use WhatsApp to share fashion tips, outfit ideas, and behind-the-scenes content with your subscribers. By providing valuable content on a regular basis, you not only keep your customers engaged, but also position your brand as a trusted source of inspiration in the fashion industry.

WhatsApp for business isn't just about broadcasting messages; it's about engaging in two-way conversations with your customers. Encourage them to ask questions, provide feedback, and share their experiences with your products or services. By actively listening to your customers' needs and preferences, you can tailor your marketing efforts to better serve them.

To get started with WhatsApp marketing, it's essential to choose the right software for your ecommerce store. Look for features like contact management, automation capabilities, and analytics to track the performance of your campaigns. Zoho Marketing Automation is bundled with a comprehensive suite of solutions that cater to the needs of online retailers.

Key advantages of WhatsApp marketing


  • Divide your customer base by demographics, interests, and purchase history. This enables you to tailor messages that resonate with individual needs. For instance, a sports apparel brand could send targeted messages about new running shoes to customers who have previously purchased athletic wear, leading to a 20% higher click-through rate compared to generic messages.

  • Mention the customer's name in your messages to create a more personal touch. Studies show that personalization can increase email open rates by 26% and is likely to have a similar impact on WhatsApp communication.

Interactive content

  • Include images, videos, GIFs, and even polls and quizzes in your messages. This breaks the monotony of plain text and encourages users to engage more actively. 84% of millennials say they trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations, so consider incorporating user-generated content into your messages to build trust and authenticity.

  • Encourage engagement by running fun contests or giveaways. Most of the people who participate in brand-hosted contests offer an excellent opportunity to generate excitement and collect valuable user data.


  • Don't just bombard your audience with promotional messages; offer helpful tips, tutorials, and industry insights related to your products or services. This establishes you as a thought leader and builds trust with your audience. For instance, a gardening store could share tips on plant care through WhatsApp, which positions them as a valuable resource and increases customer loyalty.

  • Use WhatsApp as a platform to address customer inquiries, resolve issues promptly, and offer personalized support. This fosters positive brand perception and encourages repeat business. Almost all customers value the ability to message a business directly, highlighting the importance of responsive customer service through WhatsApp.

Pro tip: Always maintain a professional tone in your communication and avoid spammy tactics.

How does marketing automation software enhance WhatsApp marketing? 

Increased productivity 

Automate routine tasks like sending personalized messages, greetings, and reminders, and thereby free up your team to focus more on strategic initiatives.


Easily manage bulk messaging to large groups or segments, ensuring consistent communication and reaching a wider audience without manual effort.

24/7 availability 

Provide a consistent customer support experience even outside business hours with automated responses and chatbots.

Personalization and targeting

Dynamic content 

Leveraging customer data and personalizing messages with names, purchase histories, and preferences leads to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Behavioral triggers 

Trigger targeted messages based on specific customer actions, interests, or purchase histories to deliver relevant content and offers at the right time.

Segment-specific campaigns 

Create and schedule targeted campaigns for different customer segments; tailor your messaging and offers to their unique needs and expectations.

Data and analytics 

Unified platform 

Track and analyze WhatsApp marketing data alongside other marketing channels within the same platform to get a holistic view of campaign performance and customer interactions.

Detailed reports

Gain access to in-depth reports on key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, allowing for data-driven decision-making and campaign optimization.

Identify trends and patterns 

Leverage advanced analytics to identify patterns and trends in customer behavior, which in turn enables you to refine your messaging and tailor your approach for better results.

Streamlined workflow and collaboration 

Team collaboration 

Assign tasks, track progress, and collaborate with team members within the marketing automation platform to ensure efficient communication and workflow management.

Integrated reporting 

Generate comprehensive reports that combine data from various marketing channels to facilitate efficient performance evaluation and team communication.

Reduced errors 

Automate routine tasks and eliminate manual processes to minimize the risk of human error and ensure consistent messaging across all channels.

Five key takeaways before you start off with WhatsApp marketing 

  • Segment audiences and craft targeted messages for higher engagement.

  • Include images, videos, and GIFs to capture attention.

  • Aim for 24-hour response times to maintain customer satisfaction.

  • Monitor key metrics and adapt your strategy based on data.

  • Obtain consent, comply with regulations, and maintain a professional tone.

Remember, while automation offers immense benefits, it's crucial to maintain a human touch in your communication, comply with regulations, and continuously monitor and adapt your strategy based on data and customer feedback. Embracing these principles and effectively utilizing marketing automation software can empower your business to harness the power of WhatsApp marketing and achieve significant results in today's dynamic digital world.


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