WhatsApp allows brands to send non-transactional messages to clients, but with several restrictions. Find out how to make the most of WhatsApp features without risking a ban.
Using the right WhatsApp product for non-transactional messaging
WhatsApp is strict about intrusive bulk texting for a reason. This instant messenger has 2 billion users who send 100 billion messages and exchange more than 178 million conversations with brands every day. Protecting those users from intrusive or unsolicited texts is a part of WhatsApp’s business strategy.
The messenger offers not one, but two products for commercial use, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API — and regulates both diligently. The former is a free application for smaller companies, with certain limitations in functionality. WhatsApp Business API, or WABA, however, allows brands to message thousands of clients at the same time, automate bulk texting, add rich content, and more.
WABA and its conversational marketing capabilities are what we’re focusing on today.
Ways to successfully send WhatsApp messages on behalf of your business
Choose white hat methods
WhatsApp Business API is obtainable via third-party companies. The white hat companies supply them with authentic software, help with the required Meta registration, and provide support throughout the entire period of use. After being approved by the messenger, a business receives a verification tick and a branded WhatsApp name (ID).
Businesses can choose between:
- Independent Service Vendors that are certified by WhatsApp, like Messaggio.
- Business Service Providers from WhatsApp Partners Directory
The so-called grey hat companies offer smaller fees for bulk texting at the expense of legality and reliability. They essentially allow businesses to send WhatsApp spam; eventually, Meta blocks those businesses and blacklists them from ever using the messenger again, even legally. In some cases, Meta can also sue.
Know what can and can’t be sent in non-transactional messages
There are two types of non-transactional messages in WhatsApp Business API:
- Highly Structured Messages. Businesses create them as templates first and pre-approve them with WhatsApp. If a business wants to message its client first, they send a Highly Structured Message. WhatsApp will not pre-approve Highly Structured Message templates without a personalized touch, just for the sake of mass messaging. The templates must directly follow the client’s previous actions: purchases, user behavior, chatbot interactions, etc.
- Free-form Messages. Don’t have to be pre-approved by WhatsApp. If the client replies after receiving a Highly Structured Message or contacts the business first, the business can reply with a Free-form Message.
WhatsApp defines pro-active non-transactional notifications as follows:
- Product recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases;
- Useful information related to the brand activity;
- Customer help and support;
- Relevant offers;
- Reminders to book an appointment, confirm a purchase, etc.
Other anti-ban tips include creating notifications that are:
Expected, as in only sent to customers who have already opted-in to receive notifications from your business. Your WhatsApp messages shouldn’t come out of the blue, otherwise, you will lose customer loyalty very quickly.
Your business must opt-in in advance. WhatsApp policy requires:
- a clear indication that a user is opting-in to receive messages from the business via WhatsApp;
- a clear state of the business name under which those messages will be sent;
- compliance with applicable law.
Relevant, concise, and personalized for a specific customer based on their history with your brand. Each message must also clearly outline any next steps for them, such as placing an order, making an appointment, describing their request, etc. They also must have an easy way of opting out any second.
Timely — don’t message the same person too often. More than 1-3 messages each 2 weeks would be excessive. Unless, of course, you need to inform a client about something they have previously inquired about. In those cases, don’t keep them waiting.
Use the 24-hour window wisely
Every conversation with a client via WhatsApp has a 24-hour window that works like this:
- A client messages the business first or replies to their Highly Structured Message;
- This activates a 24-hour window. Each time the customer texts, the message is allowed to reply with a Free-form Message for 24 hours;
- After the 24-hour window is over, the business can send the same client a Highly Structured Message again, to re-open another session.
In order to engage clients in a 24-hour session, you can set up a WhatsApp chatbot with automated messages. You can inform them about new arrivals, sales, and personalized offers, send appointment reminders and order statuses, request feedback, and so on — everything that is not just relevant, but also conversation-worthy.
Keep an eye on your Quality Ratings
WhatsApp Business API supervises quality levels of non-transactional message templates, as well as the overall reputation of each business account:
- Quality Rating of a business account is influenced by customers, meaning that the number of spam complaints and reports, as well as the number of blocks each account receives, affects the results.
A single business account on WhatsApp can have up to 10 phone numbers attached to it, and each number has a quality rating. It’s important to keep those ratings on Medium or High levels.
- Quality Rating of message templates gets determined before businesses send them since those templates must be pre-approved by WhatsApp. To ensure a fast approval:
- check if a template doesn’t violate the messenger’s Business and Commerce policies;
○ follow message template guidelines;
○ for multimedia messages with images, videos, emojis, buttons, attached files, etc, pre-approve every element of each message;
○ for the same message in different languages, pre-approve a template in each language.
How to add relevance and quality to your WhatsApp Business message
Your goal is to make your non-transactional business messages as effective as possible. Here’s what you should do.
Grow the outreach
- Define a personalized strategy to re-engaged with loyal customers, as well as new customers who have expressed interest in your brand;
- Determine customer actions that would trigger notifications and engage them in a dialogue;
- Start slow and increase volume without a rush. Adjust your messages as you grow more familiar with your customer base before boosting volumes.
Gather and analyze your metrics
While you can review certain chat history and messages manually, you can use software to run automated reviews. Acquired statistics help you to determine how well your business performs with WhatsApp customers. Multichannel Messaging Platform Messaggio allows you to check:
- the number of outbound WhatsApp messages with delivery rates and open rates over a period of time;
- marketing and product metrics like ROI, LTV, CRR;
- customers’ sales funnel journey.
You can export each report as a CSV file and use it for all kinds of metric analysis via other resources. All reports will be saved in your dashboard, allowing you to monitor the dynamic of your business.