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How to increase your Sales with WhatsApp bulk messages?

Miodrag Magyar
November 2, 2022

WhatsApp Bulk messaging is the most efficient, cost-effective feature you can use to leverage WhatsApp’s reach and engagement rates. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about increasing your sales and boosting your brand image with WhatsApp bulk messages.

Where do I start? And what are my options?

First, you need to make your business available on WhatsApp, if you haven’t done so already. 

Once your WhatsApp Business account is ready, you can use WhatsApp’s Broadcast features. This one-to-many communication allows you to send bulk messages to initiate a conversation, promote a product or a service, and interact with your customers and leads.

The Broadcast feature allows you to send a message or media to multiple contacts at once. You can only send these messages to users who've opted-in to receive WhatsApp messages from your business.

Customers who receive bulk messages are unaware they are on a broadcast list. Instead, they see the bulk message as a private WhatsApp message from your business profile to which they can respond or take a specific action through suggested answers or buttons. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.

There are many bulk WhatsApp software solutions available that you can use, some officially affiliated with WhatsApp, some not. You can even send bulk messages directly through the WhatsApp Business app without connecting your account to third-party tools. It all depends on your needs and appetite.

What options are more suitable for my business?

Depending on your business, there are three options to choose from:

  • WhatsApp Business app
  • WhatsApp Business Platform/API
  • Unofficial bulk senders

If you are just starting, you probably don’t have too many customers who have opted-in to receive messages from your business, and yes, your customers must opt-in. Otherwise, your WhatsApp Business account might get restricted or banned for spamming.

WhatsApp Business app

If you’re just beginning to explore the possibilities of sending messages to your customers, the WhatsApp Business app is the perfect solution for your business. 

WhatsApp Business Platform/API

If, on the other hand, the number of customers who reach out to you on WhatsApp is increasing, it’s time to leverage the advantages of using WhatsApp Business Platform/API

With WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you can scale your communications by using automation, deploying chatbots, creating message templates, monitoring the number of conversations and closing times, using interactive features in your messages, sending bulk messages, and much more.

Unofficial bulk senders

The third option is to use unofficial bulk messaging tools, such as WhatWeb Plus. However, you should stay away from these. As WhatsApp continues to evolve, the unofficial tools will inevitably fail to work. Since they are not approved by WhatsApp, your account will be at risk of being banned.

Using these tools is in direct violation of WhatsApp’s policies, making them illegal to use, and posing great risk to your business. Your data might also be compromised, since these apps are not regulated.

Although they might seem like a cheaper alternative to WhatsApp Business Platform, in the long run, they will cost you more. Your credibility, brand image, and customer experience will suffer.

Which is a better option for bulk messaging: WhatsApp Business Platform/API or WhatsApp Business app?

Which option is more suitable for your business depends on several factors:

  1. How many of your customers have opted-in to receive messages from your business.
  2. How many of them have saved your number into their phone’s address book.
  3. Do you want to use WhatsApp messaging for simple customer queries or take advantage of automation, chatbots, interactive messages, unlimited broadcasts, etc?
  4. Do you have the budget to cover the cost of using the WhatsApp Business Platform, or do you want to use the mobile app for free?

How can I send bulk messages with the WhatsApp Business app

The WhatsApp Business app is a counterpart of WhatsApp Messenger but is designed for businesses. It enables you to create a business profile, connect a product catalog with up to 30 items from your portfolio, automate welcome and away messages, use quick replies and send bulk messages

The WhatsApp Business app supports 1-to-1 text messaging, sharing images, audio, and video, voice and video calls, group chats, and adding labels to your conversations, to help you organize your chats.

The WhatsApp Business app can be operated on a mobile phone or WhatsApp Web. Although you can connect four additional devices to the same WhatsApp Business account, only one can be a mobile phone at any given time. If you are running a micro-business and just starting to use WhatsApp Business to handle a small number of customer queries, this is not a major drawback. However, once the number of messages ramps up, you'll find it difficult, if not impossible, to handle the load.

Bulk messaging with the WhatsApp Business app is a free and convenient feature. It allows you to create a broadcast list with up to 256 contacts. However, only the recipients who have saved your number in their mobile phone’s address book will receive these messages. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t provide any analytics, so you’ll never know how many messages were received, or how many were opened and read.

The limitation of the broadcast list in the WhatsApp Business app means that if you have more than 256 contacts who gave consent to receive messages from your business, you’d have to create more than one list. If you have a contact list saved in an excel table, you can’t import the numbers into the app. Instead, you’d have to do it manually. 

If you want to know more about creating broadcast lists, and sending bulk messages, read “How to Send Bulk Messages on WhatsApp?

All in all, sending bulk messages with the WhatsApp Business app is a handy, user-friendly feature. However, it does come with some significant drawbacks that can affect your workflow, especially when your business starts to grow:

  • Limited broadcast lists
  • Only the most basic automation 
  • No analytics
  • No chatbots
  • No message templates
  • No green tick eligibility

My advice is to definitely try it out, and if it turns out to be something that has the potential to increase your sales and bring even more benefits to your business, transition to the next option.

How can I send bulk messages with the WhatsApp Business API

If your business is picking up speed and you are starting to build a larger audience of customers and leads, it’s time to move your account from the WhatsApp Business app to the WhatsApp Business Platform/API. The API has all the benefits of the WhatsApp Business app, plus, it will enable you to connect with a larger number of customers, provide better customer support, deploy chatbots, use unlimited broadcast lists, and more.

If you think you’re ready for the upgrade, first, you’ll need to deactivate your number from the WhatsApp Business app and subscribe to one of the Business Solution Providers (BSPs) approved by Meta, since this service is not available for public use.

To access WhatsApp Business API, you’ll need a verified Facebook Business Manager ID. If your Facebook Business ID is not yet verified, follow these instructions. 

  1. Go to Security Center in Business Manager.
  2. Click Start verification.
  3. Enter your business details and click Next
  4. Select the correct business from the list, or select None of these match if you don't see your business on the list.
  5. Confirm your business details.
  6. Choose to get a verification code on your business phone number via a text message or phone, or email.
    - Note that the phone number option may not be available in all countries.
    -If you don't get the verification code, you can request to receive another code. If you're still having problems getting your verification code, learn more about how to troubleshoot phone call issues.
  7. (Optional) If your domain is already verified, you can click Verify us... at step 5. If not, complete the domain verification process. Then return to the Security Center and click Continue
  8. Enter your verification code (not applicable if you use domain verification).
  9. Click Submit.

It takes about one week to obtain verification.

Once your business has been verified, you can proceed to subscribe to one of the official BSPs. From there, you’ll be able to generate your API key and use it to connect your WhatsApp Business API with a customer communication platform or CRM platform. 

If you wonder why you need a third-party tool to use the API, it's because the API doesn't have a user interface. So, to be able to use it, you'll need third-party software such as Rasayel to take advantage of all the advanced features and tools available:

Team inbox 

Unlimited team members can access the platform and collaborate. It helps streamline your WhatsApp conversations and lets an unlimited number of team members access the platform on multiple devices from a single dashboard. Conversations can be tagged, prioritized, and assigned in a shared team inbox between users. This feature will help you manage all messages exchanged between your business and your customers and leads in a timely manner, providing your customers with the best possible customer experience.

WhatsApp Business can be part of your omnichannel strategy, so you can manage all communication channels like Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, Telegram, Google Business Chat, Apple Business Chat, Email, SMS, and more, from a single platform.

Complex automation

A WhatsApp Chatbot will enable you to automate FAQ responses and stay connected with customers 24/7. If you are a technical person or have a tech team, you can build program automation yourself, or use third-party platforms with ready-to-use solutions.

With access to WhatsApp API, you can set up custom message flow, automate the sale process with chatbots, and set proactive notifications to send updates on orders, appointments, service requests, and payments.

Integrations

The WhatsApp Business API can be connected to any third-party application like Customer Relationship Management software (CRM), Shopify/eCommerce store, or customer communications platform.

Message templates

To initiate a conversation with customers, you must use a message template - a customizable message that includes text as well as placeholders for variables. You can use these sections in your template to customize and personalize the message for each customer. 

A typical message template can look like this:

Hey {{1}}! The sun’s about to set on our Winter Sale, so hurry! Enjoy up to {{2}}% off! Sales event, happening now through {{3}}!

What the customer receives is a normal-looking message with all variables filled with information relevant to the customer and the promotion. It will look like this:

Hey Peter! The sun’s about to set on our Summer Sale, so hurry! Enjoy up to 20% off! Sales event, happening now through Saturday, August 27!

Interactive messages

You can increase your engagement and click-through rates with interactive message templates. These messages give your customers a chance to respond by choosing one of the suggested answers or taking a specific action.

Here are two examples of interactive messages with Quick reply buttons and Call-to-action buttons:

Besides ensuring a higher customer response rate, interactive messages offer a better customer experience and a higher chance of sales by simplifying the conversion process.

Advanced Broadcasts

WhatsApp Business API lets you broadcast bulk messages to as many as 1,000,000 unique users at once. The best part is, contrary to when you use the WhatsApp Business app, your customers don’t have to save your number in their phones to receive your messages.

With over 90% message open rate in most countries and a 45-60% click-through rate, WhatsApp is a perfect way to increase your conversions. There are only two restrictions on the type of messages you can send:

  1. Must be in the form of a message template and;
  2. Message templates need to be approved by Facebook before you can send them.

What is the difference between WhatsApp Broadcasts and WhatsApp Groups?

It’s easy to confuse WhatsApp Broadcast with Group messages. The main difference between the two is that in WhatsApp Broadcasts, your customers will receive messages in a private chat and won’t see the names and numbers of other recipients. 

In WhatsApp Groups, on the other hand, both your messages and individual responses can be seen by everyone in the group.

If you’re using the WhatsApp Business app, you can send messages to WhatsApp groups to up to 256 users. The WhatsApp Business API doesn’t support group chat.

Can I use WhatsApp Groups for sales?

Yes, but use extreme caution with this! The most critical advice I can give you about using WhatsApp groups for sales is: Be transparent with your customers when adding them to a group

Creating a group with people who don’t know each other exceeds the limits of confidentiality, as their phone numbers will be visible to the entire group. Before adding customers to any group, make this clear and ask for their permission - written and signed!

Although you won’t be able to reach as many people as with a WhatsApp Broadcast, there are other ways to take advantage of this feature. Of course, you’d need to apply different sales methods, but if used intelligently, the results can be tremendous.

Here’s an example - Create a WhatsApp group with 50 of your most loyal customers. Let’s call it a VIP group. 

You can send exclusive messages to your VIP group announcing a new product that hasn’t been launched yet. That way, you can create anticipation and let your most valued customers prepare before the rest of the world even hears about it.

Create a special promotion or a discount that only applies to your VIP group. You can send them discount coupons or make it fun by giving them a password for a special offer that they can tell your sales agents. This will create a sense of belonging, which, not only will it increase your sales but will strengthen customer loyalty as well.

Whatever marketing activities you apply to your VIP WhatsApp group, don’t forget to highlight the exclusivity of your proposition, as they’ll be the only ones who can enjoy the special offers. 

How can I increase sales with bulk messages?

Whether you use the WhatsApp Business app to create broadcast lists with only 256 contacts or you use unlimited broadcast lists with the WhatsApp Business API, this feature is the most efficient way to reach a large number of your customers over WhatsApp.

Build a broadcast list

If you’re using the WhatsApp app, you are limited to 256 contacts per list. However, you’re not limited to how many lists you can create. So, if you have, let’s say 2,500 customers who have opted-in to receive messages from your business, simply create ten broadcast lists.

With WhatsApp Business API, you can create unlimited broadcast lists, but how do you fill them with customers' numbers? Here are a few tips for creating more interactions with customers on WhatsApp, so you can quickly populate your broadcast list:

  • Get a WhatsApp widget for your website
  • Add a WhatsApp button on your Facebook Page
  • Offer gated content to collect your customers’ phone numbers
  • Run ads that click to WhatsApp
  • Advertise your WhatsApp number in your brick-and-mortar store
  • Use your Facebook and Instagram profiles to give entry into WhatsApp through QR codes, short links, and action buttons
  • Utilize the customer data from your CRM software or/and Shopify

Have a strategy

Your brand must have a marketing strategy and should include WhatsApp as an integral part. A well-developed strategy underlines the effectiveness of your promotional activities over WhatsApp. Here are a few important tips to help you make killer sales:

  • Define the goals you can pursue and the KPIs that will help you understand whether you have met these goals.
  • Know your target audience. Create customer profiles to determine the most effective approach and key messages. WhatsApp has impressive open rates compared to other channels, but sending irrelevant or poorly designed content may decrease customer engagement, resulting in higher bounce rates.
  • Create a brand persona. Define the tone of your brand and underline your brand’s values. Try to develop a personal and conversational tone in your communications. People prefer to talk to humans rather than to an impersonal business.
  • Ensure great customer service. In most cases, customers will reach out to you via WhatsApp in search of some type of support. How you handle these queries will determine the level of their satisfaction and it will influence retention rates.

Divide customers into different categories

Create different customer categories based on their level of relationship with you. This will help you determine what approach you can take to develop more targeted communications.

For example, you can make one broadcast list for new customers and another for your high-end customers. That way, you can plan your marketing activities on WhatsApp according to their level. Giving new customers discounts and gift cards will improve your customer retention. The customers who have been loyal to your brand for years and have made multiple purchases from you deserve your special and exclusive offers, memberships, loyalty discounts, etc.

Don’t try to sell all the time

Sending too much promotional content can cause people to avoid opening your messages. This is why you must balance sending promotional messages and building meaningful relationships with your customers.

Make sure you send interesting and helpful messages about the products they buy from you. For example, if you sell vacuum cleaners, you can send them messages with helpful tips and tricks on the model they’ve purchased, or offer a discount for their next purchase.

Create a broadcast schedule

Make sure you synchronize your broadcast strategy with your marketing calendar. This way, you can have organized and structured communication with your customers.

With a schedule, you can have an overview of everything that needs to be sent to your customers at any given time. In addition, this planning will help you avoid sending the same message more than once. 

Respect the feedback

Hearing what your customers have to say about you is crucial in growing your business and improving customer satisfaction.  WhatsApp is a direct communication channel, so you need to use it to talk to your customers about the issues they might have with your products or service. Take their criticism (and praises) seriously.

This includes the people who request that you no longer send them messages. If you receive such requests, remove them from any broadcast lists to avoid being reported, or worse, banned, for spamming.

Ensure excellent customer service

Today, people feel more confident messaging businesses than using more traditional customer service channels. The majority of customers will message a company to get support. 59% of people believe they get responses faster via messengers, and that they find better advice and care in this communication channel. 

With WhatsApp, you can provide your customers with real-time support, increasing their brand appreciation and loyalty, so they'll be more likely to prefer you over your competitors. As you grow, make sure you dedicate enough time (and team members!) to support your customers on WhatsApp.

How much will it cost me?

The cost of using WhatsApp bulk messages to increase sales depends on several factors. If you're using the WhatsApp Business app, you won't have to pay anything, as the app is free. If you use the API, WhatsApp will charge you per conversation, which includes all messages delivered in a 24-hour session.

WhatsApp Business API conversations fall into two categories that are priced differently:

The user-initiated conversation starts whenever you reply to a user within the 24-hour window. 

The business-initiated conversation starts when your business sends a message outside the 24-hour window. 

The rates for conversations vary by market. Charges for conversations are based on the country code of the customers and are different for user-initiated and business-initiated conversations.

The first 1,000 conversations each month are free. If your WhatsApp Business account has multiple numbers attached, the 1000 free conversations are shared between all your numbers. The free tier is refreshed monthly.

Conversations are not charged when users message your business using call-to-actions buttons on Ads that Click to WhatsApp, or a Facebook Page call-to-action button. You already pay for the advertisement, so the conversations initiated from the ad are free. These are called Free entry point conversations and can only be user-initiated. The first conversation that starts from the entry point is free of charge. Subsequent conversations with the user are charged.

The second factor is the pricing from the BSPs’ end. All official Meta partners have their own pricing model. I will break down three pricing models to help you understand how BSPs charge their fees.

Twilio (Per message fee)

This cloud communication platform has conversation-based pricing, and the charges differ for business-initiated and user-initiated conversations. The fees vary depending on the country of your business.

To give you an idea of how their pricing works, let's check what the charges are for 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 business-initiated conversations with 5,000 messages. We’ll select the United States for this exercise. I will keep the amount of messages sent at 5000 to simplify things, but you can check all variations using the calculator available on Twilio's pricing page.

  • 1,001 conversations x 5,001 messages = $25.01
  • 5,000 conversations x 5,001 messages = $83.81
  • 10,000 conversations x 5,001 messages = $157.31

This “pay-as-you-go” pricing ensures you only pay for what you use. The first 1,000 conversations per month are free, and the price per message is $0,005. These charges apply to both WhatsApp Template Messages and Session Messages.

360dialog ($15 fixed rate)

This accredited Business Solution Provider offers flat pricing for WhatsApp Business API at $15 (if you subscribe through a partner like Rasayel) for unlimited session messages and conversations. As with Twilio’s fees, this price is on top of WhatsApp charges per user-initiated and business-initiated messages and conversations.

With this breakdown of the two different pricing models, it's clear that if you are a small business with fewer messages, Twilio is the cheaper option for you. However, if you need to send a large number of messages, 360dialog is the more suitable solution.

To find the best solution that answers your needs, you need to check what the BSPs offer in terms of prices and features and conduct your due diligence. 

A customer communication platform expense 

The third and final factor to take into account is the price you pay to connect your WhatsApp Business Platform/API account with a customer communication platform. Rasayel offers three different plans, starting from $60 per month, and a 14-day free trial period for all plans. 

How do I measure my ROI?

WhatsApp Broadcasts help you reach a wider audience with the lowest investment, but what about conversion rates and Return Of Investment (ROI)?

When you work with a customer communication platform like Rasayel, you can have a complete overview and detailed analytics of your broadcast campaign, including:

  • How many messages were sent, delivered, and read;
  • How many orders were placed;
  • What is the value of the orders directly matched with your Shopify store data

With these reports, it shouldn’t be hard to measure your ROI and see how much profit WhatsApp brings to your business. Simply use this formula:

(Revenue - Expenses) / Expenses = ROI

To put this into perspective, let's assume you are subscribed to 360dialog at $15 per month and connected to Rasayel with the basic plan at $60. Let's assume as well that you made $3,000 in sales on Shopify, coming directly from your WhatsApp bulk messaging campaigns conducted in one month. Your ROI calculation will look like this:

($3,000 - $109) / $109 = $26.5

According to this calculation, you've earned $26.5 on each $1 invested. Not bad if you consider that the expenses cover the full potential of WhatsApp Business API, not just sending bulk messages.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at: +13024070488

We also offer a free consultation session where we go through your use case, answer any questions you have about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us here. We’d love to speak you:

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