WhatsApp has a user base of around 2bn in over 180 countries, which makes it one of the largest online messaging platforms in the world. Many brands are rapidly adopting WhatsApp Business API as their target audience are already using it and it gives them an opportunity to connect with their customers globally in a more customized, secured, and simplified way.

Brands can get its customers to start a conversation with them using WhatsApp Business API through:

Online conversation starters:

1. Click-to-WhatsApp Chat using Facebook Ads:

Facebook offers click-to-WhatsApp Ads via Facebook Page, it means that you can post an Ad on Facebook with a send message button as this drives users to open a chat with brands on WhatsApp. FB & WhatsApp accounts need to be integrated with a few simple steps & the ad with a Click-to-WhatsApp button is ready.
Online stores can create ads for ordering, share promo codes, update special offers, etc. Consumers can even request to customize orders, ask for special offers, get promo codes, keep track of a delivery, change delivery timings and locations.

2. IVR Deflection to WhatsApp:

Imagine a scenario where there is 4-5 minutes wait time to get through a customer care agent. WhatsApp Business API can be easily integrated with an IVR channel by adding another input option to continue the conversation over WhatsApp. Once the customer opts-in, the call gets cut and a WhatsApp notification is received on the end-users phone to start the conversation on WhatsApp.

3. Click to Chat Button on Website:

Similar to live chatbot, even WhatsApp click to chat buttons are available to enable easy and seamless communications between brands & end-users. It works on both phone and WhatsApp web. Click to chat button can be placed on your homepage, contact page, support page which makes your business instantly accessible to customers through WhatsApp.

4. Email Signature with custom URL:

Call to Action in an email marketing campaign is one of the most important components that encourage customer engagement. A custom URL can be created by embedding the WhatsApp Business numbers which directly opens the chat on WhatsApp. It enables a direct connection between brands and their customers. It can be used on business cards as well.

5. In-App Promotions:

In-App promotions is another interesting way to connect with the target audience to promote products, offers, new upcoming products, subscription for blogs and newsletter, bookings for upcoming events, webinars through overlay screens. Overlay screens in your business app can help you to secure a WhatsApp opt-in, from which an E-commerce company can gain more subscribers and can use the channel to go paperless, for e.g send an invoice, details of the orders, tracking details, etc.

6. Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listing:

Google SERP listing of the phone numbers enables a quicker connection between Google users and businesses. Having a number displayed or having a QR code that leads to a WhatsApp Business number in an organic listing provides a direct connection to business through WhatsApp number provided on SERP. The users will know that the brand is active on WhatsApp. You can also use it in your google text ads to get an opt-in. This can even help brands to generate more enquiries.

Offline conversation starters:

7. Product Packaging:

Customer support numbers are printed on most of the product labels for users to easily contact the customers care agents for any queries. Most of the FMCG products have started listing WhatsApp Business numbers on product packages so that users can send feedback or even photographs. In order to initiate a chat with businesses, customers need to firstly save the WhatsApp Business number printed on the products label and start communicating directly.

8. OOH Advertising

Placing your WhatsApp Business number on billboards, digital billboards, transit advertising, in-cinema advertising can help any potential client to connect with your brand easily. A wider target audience can be reached using this medium.

9. QR Code:

A QR code can be printed on pamphlets for home delivery by restaurants for ordering. The QR code needs to be scanned from the smartphone, select options from the menu & place an order without calling the restaurant. The restaurant will confirm the order, send delivery updates, ask for feedback & share promo codes. Brands can also print QR codes on product labels, emergency contact services, newspapers, websites, invoices, etc.

10. Point of Purchase (POP):

Brands try to take opt-ins at the point of purchase to receive any further updates via WhatsApp notifications. It is done by taking the consent of the customers and only if customers agree then the brand can contact via WhatsApp. Big brands are usually taking the opt-ins at the point of sale and as a result, they can share product catalogues, sale details & promo codes on WhatsApp.

Published in Entrepreneur India: 10 Ways to Start a Conversation With Customers Using WhatsApp Business Solutions