On January 18, 2018, WhatsApp for business was rolled out for the US, UK, Indonesia, Mexico, and Italy. On January 23rd, India was added to the list of countries where the WhatsApp Business application is available for free.
At present, WhatsApp is the second most used messaging application globally. Its active user base has crossed 1.2 billion.
Leigh Christie, Director of Isobar NowLab, was caught saying that WhatsApp is Facebook Messenger’s global alternative, and hence pretty interesting. It has an impressive global footprint, said Matt Tepper from WPP Wunderman. Tepper added that a large international presence partnered with business opportunities put the WhatsApp business application higher on the marketers’ list.
Many infer that Facebook has tried to create the business-friendly opportunity with WhatsApp Business application that it couldn’t quite make with its native Messenger app. But, marketers seem more taken with the possibilities that WhatsApp Business features could create in the chat marketing or the ‘chatvertising’ space.
But Everyone’s Creating Chatbots- What’s New?
Chatbots are driven by artificial intelligence which has turned out to be pretty decent so far. They can converse with a user, personalise responses, understand complicated requests, and learn as they go.
In its entirety, the present day chatbots are programs working on a string of rules defined in an algorithm. As they’re getting better, they certainly can turn our future by 180 degrees, just that we’re yet to invent an AI that works flawlessly in a customer assistant bot.
Anyways, WhatsApp Business doesn’t offer you a chatbot, at least for now. Sheldon Pinto from Firstpost defines it as a concierge service where a business owner can contact a set of customers and run their business. It’s not meant for advertising your business, but as a utility window where you have a direct channel to the client.
And, Pinto stresses that it’s been done before. But WhatsApp has what others did not- a user base that spans many countries and runs in billions.
How Does Chat Marketing Fit in This Picture?
We’ve witnessed a massive shift in consumer behaviour in the past decade.
- First, it was the Email, then SMS, and now instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Twitter Direct, and Facebook Messenger which have conditioned the consumers to expect and demand fast services and faster information relay.
- Secondly, consumer controls the system in a way. They can block businesses, opt out of getting notifications, unfollow brands that upset them. They look for valuable interactions with brands. They consider it a more trustworthy way of determining whether they want to mingle with a particular business or not.
- Third, by giving them a direct line to any brand, where they choose to receive messages, control the interaction, and have an easy way out, WhatsApp business has struck the right nerve with present-day consumers.
Chat Marketing and Customer Conversion Rates- The Real Jackpot
44% of customers prefer live chat assistance while shopping.
And why wouldn’t they, since the wait time is short. The average interaction costs for live chat is much lower than other methods. No computerised answers repeat themselves every few minutes. And, the customer doesn’t need to pay attention to the ‘press 2 for Shoes’ announcement.
63% customers admit to returning to a website that has a live chat option, 38% say that they turned their interaction into a purchase because of the chat session. That, right there, is an example where conversation led to conversion.
Now, consider a conversational chatbot that aims at business functions, like marketing, support, commerce, etc., contains compelling content, and can hold one-on-one conversations with a customer in a substantial and consequential interaction.
Morph.ai, a leading provider of chatbot assistants for conversational marketing, is one such business that has worked on the “chatbots as a landing page” concept with brands like Yes Bank, Estee Lauder, and Motilal Oswal, among others.
Their chatbots are designed to offer personalised conversations. With 24X7 availability, real-time interactions, regular and regulated follow-ups, and insights for the business, this service helps brands generate leads (up to 200% in some instances) and convert them into successful sales.
Conversational Chatbots as a Service
The concept isn’t new, just refined!
WhatsApp Business is a golden chance to have a direct communication line to the consumer and making marketing a personalised activity.
Brands are looking up to this chance. Marketers have already begun their quests to draw as much benefit from WhatsApp Business as they can. However, considering how WhatsApp Business is yet to offer well-furnished APIs and marketing options, brands have turned to Facebook Messenger to get ahead in the race for most effective chat marketing campaigns.
Brands have turned to Facebook Messenger to get ahead in the race for most effective chat marketing campaigns
Facebook Messenger is a globally successful conversational tool with over 1.3 billion active users a month. It has already proved its mettle with more than 80% open rates and over 30% click-through rates of messenger marketing campaigns. Facebook chatbots, customer chat plug-in, broadcast API, Messenger marketing, and other features are being used globally by marketers to attract and retain new leads as paying customers.
For brands, both WhatsApp Business and Messenger are excellent opportunities for conversational marketing. However, the former doesn’t allow provisions about chatbots for marketing at present. The latter does.
With WhatsApp Enterprises on its way, brands that efficiently implement Messenger Marketing currently would get an added advantage over their competition. Their experience in dealing with chatbots and chat marketing campaigns will help them grip the market quickly.
WhatsApp Business Has Set the Stage, for Now
You may say that WhatsApp Business has a huge flaw, i.e. it’s possible that companies will begin to use it for their irritating salesman-marketing techniques. And, you’d be right!
Both WhatsApp and Facebook took a chance on disruptive technology. On the one hand, if everything goes as planned, customer communications will be revamped. Web chat will witness a revolutionary change. The way consumers and brands interact will be reformed into a much smoother, more trusted conversation.
Or, the entire program could crash and burn, leaving Facebook with yet another miserable blow in its face.
But, let’s keep in mind that WhatsApp for business offers a direct communication line to the consumer. Conversational chatbot services can be used to direct interactions with consumers in a non-intrusive, personalised, and hence efficient manner.
This combination has enough fuel to light up your sales graphs like fireworks, especially if you know the intricacies beforehand.
With AI-powered bots getting more potent by the day and brands developing an improved ethical code of conduct, it sure could be the beginning of a new era for the chat marketing space.
Keywords: WhatsApp for business, WhatsApp Business application, chat marketing, Conversational chatbot, conversational marketing, WhatsApp Business conversations, WhatsApp Business features