If you are an Instagram influencer, increasing your followers is your number one goal. It’s the only way to measure your influence and monetize your creativity. The same applies to businesses that want to increase their profit. They compete to build brand awareness, drive customer engagement, and boost their sales through marketing campaigns with all available tools and channels.
In the not-so-distant past, email and phone were the go-to channels for communication between brands and customers. With the rise of social media, however, all that has changed. Customers no longer want to wait for days, even hours, for an answer. They now prefer to have conversational, even friendly communication with their favorite brands using messaging apps like WhatsApp.
This change of behavior has transformed WhatsApp into the most popular messaging service in the world. With over 2 billion users, more than 100 billion messages exchanged daily, and powerful automation and integration possibilities under the hood, it’s no wonder WhatsApp has turned into one of the most efficient channels for marketing, selling, supporting, and retaining customers in 2022.
Messaging with WhatsApp Business
Before we dive into the different message types, let’s familiarize ourselves with the difference between the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business Platform/API.
Small and medium companies mainly use the WhatsApp Business app for ad hoc customer service and small-scale marketing. You can run your profile using the app or operate it in a web browser and add four additional devices that you can use to interact with customers from the same account.
With the WhatsApp Business app, you can connect a product catalog to your business profile, can broadcast messages to a list with only 256 contacts, and use very limited options for automation. With the app, you can’t acquire a green tick to verify your profile.
The WhatsApp Business Platform/API is used by brands of all sizes to conduct mass messaging campaigns and manage strategic customer service. If you want to use WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you’ll need to deactivate your WhatsApp Business account and register your number for WhatsApp Business Platform/API.
Once you register, you can connect your business account with a customer communication platform like Rasayel and leverage all the advanced tools and features it offers. You can run your profile with an unlimited number of users and devices, use a shared team inbox, respond or assign messages to team members, build contact lists based on customers’ interests, create unlimited broadcast lists, send bulk messages, create message templates, automate communication processes, deploy chatbots, and much more.
Inbound vs. Outbound messaging
The two main categories of WhatsApp messages are:
- Inbound message - sent by a consumer and received by a business account on WhatsApp.
- Outbound message - initiated by a business to start a conversation with its customers and leads.
When a user sends a message asking a question or requesting information, the business can respond with a free-form message within 24 hours. These are the most popular elements in a WhatsApp message:
You can send text messages and use any of these formats:
- Bold (*using asterisks*)
- Italic (_using underscores_)
- Strikethrough (~using tildes~)
- Monospace (```using three backticks```)
Alternatively, you can use shortcuts on Android and iPhone.
Android: Tap and hold the text you're entering in the text field, then choose Bold, Italic, or More.
Tap More ⁝ to choose Strikethrough or Monospace.
iPhone: Tap the text you’re entering in the text field > Select or Select All > B_I_U.
Then, choose Bold, Italic, Strikethrough, or Monospace.
If you want to send documents, make sure their names are no longer than 240 characters. The size of a document can be up to 100MB. You can send file types such as:
You can send images with (or without) captions. Image captions can be up to 3000 characters long. The size of the images can be up to 5MB. WhatsApp supports these image types:
You can respond to customers with audio files up to 16MB. These types of audio files are supported:
You can send video messages to customers with or without captions and up to 16MB file size. Video captions can’t exceed the length of 3000 characters. These are the supported video formats:
Besides these popular formats, you can also respond using stickers, location, contacts, interactive lists, product messages, multi-product messages, and send all common file types.
Product and multi-product interactive messages are essential when replying to a customer interested in a product you sell. To send a product Message, you must have a catalog connected to your WhatsApp Business account.
Product messages must have a body and action elements, and optionally, a footer. The action element contains:
- Catalog ID
- Product Retailer ID: The product ID that is present in the catalog.
In a multi-product message, you can include up to 30 products presented in a maximum of 10 sections in the message. These messages must have a Header, Boddy, and Action, while the Footer is optional.
The Action element contains the following components:
- Catalog ID
- Product Retailer ID: The product ID that is present in the catalog.
When a customer initiates a conversation with a business, the message triggers the 24 hours session in which the business can respond with a free-form message. If you miss this window and respond with a Session message after the time is up, your message will not be delivered.
So, should you forget about that customer if you miss the 24-hour window? Not at all! You can use a Message template to respond, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
If a brand wants to start a conversation with its customers, or respond outside the 24-hour window, the only way to do that is by sending a message template. This type of message must be pre-approved by WhatsApp, and the customers who have opted in, i.e., have given their consent to receive messages from that brand, will get the message.
Templates are your only way to re-engage with the customer outside the 24-hour window. If you want to use templates to respond to users’ messages, send product announcements, promotional offers, issue resolutions, etc., you must first deactivate your number from WhatsApp Business. Next, you’ll need to register it to WhatsApp Business Platform/API provided by one of the Business Solution Providers (BSP) and start using a customer communication platform such as Rasayel.
A WhatsApp template is a predefined message that uses variables or placeholders you can replace with dynamic content according to your data. That way, you can make them personalized and relevant to the customer’s needs. You can use a template multiple times to connect with your audience once they've opted-in to receive a message from you.
Here’s how a Message template looks:
When this template is used to deliver a message to someone named, for example, Robert with order number #212 for a total of $200, and delivery in 2 days, it will look like this:
WhatsApp reviews & approves each message template you send to ensure you follow the WhatsApp guidelines. It takes less than 24 hours for WhatsApp to approve message templates, but in most cases, they get approved within 2 minutes.
Creating a template with Rasayel
You can create a WhatsApp template in five easy steps, using Rasayel.
- Go to Settings, click on Channels and select your WhatsApp channel.
- In your WhatsApp settings page, scroll down to the Message templates section. Click on + Add new template.
- You can now craft your template. First, fill in the Template name, language, and category.
- You can create either a simple text-based template or a complex one with images, videos, documents, buttons, and more.
- When you’re ready, click the Submit template and wait for WhatsApp to approve it.
If your message template is approved, its status will be set to Active - Quality pending, and you can begin sending it to customers. If it is rejected, you can edit it and resubmit it for approval or appeal the decision.
You can find a detailed guide on creating and sending Whatsapp templates in this article.
Interactive Message templates
If you want to give your customers the possibility to interact with your messages, you can use Interactive message templates. These WhatsApp message types can offer the user different options for response. For example, they can choose an answer from a list of suggested answers, click a button to visit a landing page or website, view single or multiple products from your catalog, add products to a shopping cart, etc.
Interactive message templates give users a seamless experience and better customer service. Businesses using templates ensure faster conversion rates and higher engagement. You can learn more about these types of templates, and how to create and use them in this article.
WhatsApp Bulk messages
If you’re already hyped up about using WhatsApp like a pro, get ready to be blown away because this is where the magic happens. WhatsApp Broadcast is a feature that allows you to send bulk messages to multiple customers at once.
To send a Bulk message, you first need to create a broadcast list. This list will contain the contact numbers of your audience. The WhatsApp Business mobile app limits the number of users to 256 unique contacts in each broadcast list, but if you use the WhatsApp Business API connected with a customer communication platform like Rasayel, you can broadcast a message to thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people.
After you broadcast your message, you can track results and analytics to determine how effective your campaigns are. This data will help you in developing and planning your next campaign as well, ensuring higher reach, engagement, and conversion rates.
Scheduling bulk messages
This feature is extremely useful if you want to synchronize your WhatsApp campaign with your overall marketing calendar, plan promotions, discounts, offers, etc. Scheduling bulk messages is a straightforward process it will allow you to run your sales and customer relationship management in a more efficient, organized, and structured way.
Now you know how to leverage the different WhatsApp message types. If you’re still using the WhatsApp Business app, consider moving up to WhatsApp Business Platform/API. It will enhance your marketing game with the advanced messaging tools available at platforms like Rasayel and help you better manage customer relationships and get more possibilities for killer sales on WhatsApp.
Are you already using WhatsApp Business Platform/API? Try Rasayel for free.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can make the best out of WhatsApp for your business, please feel free to reach out to us on our WhatsApp number, at +13024070488.
We also offer a free session with one of our WhatsApp experts 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: