The most popular messaging app of all is available and primed to support your marketing efforts.
With consumers increasingly searching for travel ideas on their mobile phones, they expect to be able to discover your content, explore and share your digital assets, enquire about and book your products, and access destination information, travel tips, reviews and trip details.
Being able to have direct contact with tour consultants, product or service providers, is not only good for service but in this case, also a great value-add to your marketing mix.
Messenger marketing with WhatsApp
According to Brandwatch, WhatsApp boasts in excess of 5 billion downloads with 2 million (monthly) active users. Think about how often you check your own WhatsApp – if it’s on your phone, it’s pretty hard to avoid, unlike leaving the odd email unopened.
You can be sure they will get your offers, as text messages have a 98% open rate. – SendPulse
This is a relatively unexplored marketing tool and a good reason to consider using WhatsApp for your business. Messenger marketing with WhatsApp can benefit you by helping to:
- launch targeted campaigns;
- connect with customers and build relationships as you engage with them on a familiar platform they’re comfortable with;
- provide excellent customer service with quicker response times;
- personalise communications;
- nudging customers along the sales journey, boosting conversion rates; and
- reach a large audience cost-effectively.
You have the option of using the Business API, which carries some cost, or WhatsApp Business, which is free to set up.
Setting up WhatsApp Business
You need to set up a business account that’s separate from your personal WhatsApp number, and build your business profile around it. Add all the trimmings of your brand persona, business information and upload a suitable image to put a ‘face’ to your brand.
Import your existing contact list to begin with; then go about attracting new contacts.
How it works
- Share the short ‘click-to-chat’ URL with your contacts – you can also add it to your website, email signatures or social media pages as an invitation to start a chat with you.
- Link your WhatsApp Business account to your company Facebook page and you can even add a WhatsApp button on your Facebook page.
- Entice customers and new visitors with a special offer, discount or entry into a draw, where they must send you a WhatsApp message – this gives you permission to add them to your WhatsApp campaigns and message them directly.
- Automate and schedule messages to be sent to individual customers or groups – you can set up auto-responses for when you can’t attend to queries immediately.
- Respond to customer messages in person or set up automated message templates to do the trick. Just make sure the messages don’t sound robotic. Ditch the formality and use WhatsApp emojis to add a fun, personal touch to your messages.
- Create group chats with up to 256 participants. This is useful if you want to encourage group engagement.
- Send bulk messages to segmented broadcast contact lists – recipients that choose to respond can do so privately and directly with you.
- Label your chats to differentiate the stage of marketing funnel and action required, or segment your WhatsApp groups for personalised messaging.
- Share a story on your WhatsApp Status as a promotion or showcase an aspect of your property, activity, destination or experience. You can re-share it from WhatsApp to your Instagram and Facebook stories.
- Use the WhatsApp Catalogue feature to showcase your products with links to your digital assets. This will display on your profile and you can also forward this content to your contacts.
- Track the delivery of your messages and ‘read’ metrics to learn what’s landing with your customers, and what needs tweaking.
By getting new contacts to send you an initial WhatsApp message, they are effectively ‘opting in’ and permitting you to send your communications to them. They also choose whether or not to view your status updates.
Choose a reasonable cadence for your messaging, especially when sharing promotional content. As for posting on a WhatsApp group, you can manage permissions and limit posting messages on that group to yourself – control the nuisance factor by selecting ‘Only Admins’ in your settings menu.
Grow your leads
Earn referrals when you promote special offers to a broadcast list or group – recipients can simply forward your message or copy and paste the URL to the assets you promoted in the post, and share with other contacts.
Build brand awareness
Use your WhatsApp status to share entertaining, educational stories about your brand, what you care about, about events and dates you want to commemorate. Keep it short for an audience that’s short-of-attention and short on time. Status stories are visible for 24 hours and you can see who viewed them.
Create small forums with WhatsApp groups and share content that taps into their #FOMO. Post photos, videos, even voice messages on topics that interest them to generate excitement about information they perceive you’ve shared exclusively with them, and retain their loyalty.
Promote your offerings
Use the platform to increase visibility for your products by sharing links to mobile-responsive digital marketing assets, such as your iBrochure or digital itinerary URL, and videos.
By adding WhatsApp to your integrated marketing strategy, you can leverage the incredible global reach and popularity that the platform enjoys. Spend little but develop high-value engagements with your customers.