Using Whatsapp as a marketing tool is the most discussed topic among many a marketing professional today. Whatsapp, whose main objective is to connect people from around the world does not sound commercial in any way. Whatsapp has gained commercial importance among businesses mainly after its acquisition by the Social Networking major Facebook for a whopping $19 billion. When a brand like Facebook, the most sought after online marketing platform had turned its attention towards an instant messaging app like Whatsapp, we can only expect Whatsapp to have some commercial use for businesses.
Brands big and small have started investigating on the possibility of using Whatsapp in their brand communications. Whatsapp has many advantages and we have listed out a few of them which had made whatsapp a valuable marketing platform. It’s quicker It is as simple as that. Whatsapp is an instant messaging application which involves lesser efforts to get the message across. Marketers had used emails and social networks to communicate with their customers and this simple app let’s them to directly interact with their customers with just a smartphone. We all know that people like to fidget with their smartphones looking for information every now and then and Whatsapp allows you to feed them instantly. Text messaging is not dead yet, the SMS is. Like the social networks, Whatsapp allows you to do text messaging along with images and videos which is too good to ignore for marketers. Unlike Social networks, efforts for creating content is lesser and much easier with Whatsapp.
Absolut vodka has best used the simplicity of Whatsapp’s features to promote its campaign. It created a conceptual campaign for the young. The users have to get themselves invited to a party which is for Absolut Vodka reaching a milestone of 4 million uniquely designed bottles. The engagement had been overwhelming with users sharing rich content with images and videos.

Costs you almost nothing With just $1 a year, Whatsapp costs you absolutely nothing for your marketing efforts and instantly boosts customer conversations around the brand. With SMS becoming expensive, the wider audience have moved on to Whatsapp for messaging purposes which had already resulted in a huge blow to the telecom service providers. Whatsapp Marketing has proved to be a boon for small businesses who aim at cutting costs at every step and adopt frugal practices. To run a marketing campaign on Whatsapp, all you have to do is allocate a person exclusively to manage the campaign and respond to the messages promptly just like what the Israeli Chocolate brand Klik did on Whatsapp.

Customer relationship With the shift in power from the producer to the consumer and with the rise of social media, consumers are habituated to voice their concerns about a brand quite easily. Whatsapp is yet another tool for them. Be where your customers are: Smartphones have enabled easy access to your customers. To get in touch with your customers, you just need to have their numbers saved in your mobile phone and you will now be able to Whatsapp them. Communication with the customer is not time bound and is open 24/7.
To give you a valid example, in Kazakhstan a rumour had spread that 3 of its top banks are on the verge of bankruptcy and the situation was tensed with customers running around to withdraw money. Whatsapp came in real handy to inform their customers that all is fine. Such is the power of Whatsapp in spreading a message at the right time.

Brand Positioning With much more personalized interaction, you would know what your customer wants from you and hence will be able to position your marketing communications based on that. Your customers will be delighted that all their queries are answered in real time by real people. As a brand, you can very well show your customers, how much you care.
Homeshop 18 used Whatsapp to change customer’s perception about the brand as a TV shopping network. The campaign, “shopping makes me Happy”, positioned the brand as an all rounder for the consumer’s shopping needs not limiting itself to the television. To add the fun element to its messages, the brand used Billy and Sunny, the father and son duo as the brand’s voice.

Marketing communications through Whatsapp Whatsapp can be used for a variety of marketing activities. It is the best place to showcase a product’s image, a video explaining the product’s features, discount coupons and festive offers. Whatsapp makes it easy to invite customer feedback and for grievance redressal. One-on-one interaction is helpful in conducting surveys and a Whatsapp group can be used as a focus group to discuss about the brand.
Brands had started using a platform which is as personal as Whatsapp to send marketing messages. Red FM had asked their listeners to engage with them on Whatsapp, the listeners sing a line from any song and send it via Whatsapp for the opportunity to become a “RedFM ka Whatsapp Star”. The store managers of various brands like Cartier, Armani and Diesel are effectively using Whatsapp to communicate offers and promotions according to an article by Economic Times

Dos and Don’ts of Whatsapp Marketing Dos 1.Share your Whatsapp Contact details on your website and other social media platforms.
2. Use whatsapp only when you have an established relationship with your customers even though it is not made mandatory.
3. Though whatsapp is an informal platform, always maintain a decorum while speaking to your customer.
4. Respond immediately to queries. Timely communication is essential for any business. Who knows you may even close deals by being prompt.
5. Post images and videos of your product. Visual messages have a greater impact.
6. Include some fun element in your messages- A joke or a meme would be appropriate.
7. If you are not available all the time. Mention that you can be reached on a specific day at a specific time period.
8. Select your prospects carefully.

9.Posting a product offer on FaceBook and follow up on Whatsapp is the key to targeted communication.

Don’ts 1. Do not send messages to all the mobile numbers that you get your hands on. If you send irrelevant messages, you would anyway end up being blocked.
2. Do not send messages too frequently. Overdose of information is not healthy for your brand image.
3. Do not ignore customer feedback or queries. Customers may tend to lose interest on your brand.
4. Keeping your profile inactive may also send a signal that you are not keen on promoting your brand. Update your profile regularly.
5. Avoid creating groups of unknown people. A group must have something in common- it may be the locality or school or interest.

Following the above mentioned points will help you manage hassles in sending out marketing messages to your customers. Text marketing has not lost its charm yet. With a few visuals you are good to go. While Whatsapp does not come in to the category of permission marketing like that of SMS and Email, we may expect the service to adopt the same sooner or later. Until then, anyone with a phone number saved in his mobile phone may do Whatsapp Marketing.
Whatsapp Marketing to us must be a part of a well integrated market plan, ignoring it or fearing the extra effort will only let you lose the reach to those you can otherwise easily influence.

Source : thestartupvideosdotcom