WhatsApp has revolutionized ways of communication for our generation. Gone are the days, where overtly formal email and the limited characters of an SMS were used as the mainstream means of communication. People have started adopting more interactive tools of communication like sharing images, videos and even audio clips.
So why WhatsApp? Well, firstly smartphone usage in India will rise to an estimated 185 million users in June, 2014. Considering the massive surge in the number of smart phone users India has witnessed in the past 2 years, one can only imagine the reach smartphones will have in the years to come.
With an estimated 100 million users in India, a large portion of the smartphone community is active on WhatsApp. One of the reasons why WhatsApp is doing so well in India is that it is a free application and has no character limit.
What Can Brands Do on WhatsApp?
In customer Service – While talking about customer service industry, brands can create groups and interact with audiences for various purposes like upselling & maintenance of a product, reminders about new services, maintenance tips etc. A user can add 50 people to a group and 50 such groups can be created. 50 X 50 = 2500.
A brand can interact with 2500 people through a single number. For brands that sell high end products like a sports car or a premium watch, this is an optimum number to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Broadcasting Messages – A brand can use a pre-generated broadcasting list or choose a WhatsApp group as per their requirement. Brands can make use of groups created by Bulk WhatsApp offering companies. A brand can also use lists created according to various user demographics like age, interest, job profile etc. Brands can use these lists to launch new offers, services, products, events etc. This system is a replica of emailing lists but in order to send a broadcast message, the recipient has to save the number of the brand. These messages will be sent with discretion & without revealing the recipients to one another. In return, the recipient can respond to you privately as well.
Bulk Messages – With the recent restriction on the number of promotional texts one can send through SMS, brands are taking to WhatsApp in order to send out Bulk/Broadcast messages. Through a regular account, one can easily send broadcast messages to 25 users. There are certain websites who offer bulk messages with guaranteed delivery to a pre-decided number of people. The charges for these messages vary from 22 paise to 30 paise per message. One can send these broadcasts to anywhere between 30,000 to 1 million users.
With the kind of subscriber base WhatsApp possesses, it indeed is a marketers’ delight. With a large audience, no limit on characters and sharing rich media at an extremely low price, WhatsApp is a platform most brands should explore.
- Global reach
- Image Sharing
- Real-time responses
- High ROI
- Reputation Management
Through WhatsApp, a brand can target a global audience. A Global brand can target an audience group spanning over continents and share interactive content with them at the click of a button.
WhatsApp gives brands an option to share images instead of the plain and boring texts. This makes the audience connect to such brand-communication in a more interactive way and can understand the message put forth by a brand easily.
Real Time Responses
WhatsApp can prove to be a very important tool in customer service. With a dedicated WhatsApp number, customers can get their queries resolved on a real time basis by just writing to the dedicated WhatsApp number. This idea is more feasible for smaller brands who have smaller customer base.
Marketing through WhatsApp will prove to be a cheaper option as the primary cost incurred will be the cost of purchasing a subscriber base. Like in the case of an SMS, there will be no cost per message and neither will there be a character limit.
An organization can encourage interaction with an unhappy customer on WhatsApp as this conversation will be private and will not impact the reputation of the Brand/Product externally in any way.