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Advertising via Instant Message - WhatsApp Marketing

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Whether in 1:1 communication or in groups, WhatsApp is one of the most used apps worldwide. Not without reason: communicating, sharing, calling and video calling never went easier. 

Today, no company can get around social media. What many use privately, but don't have on their radar in a business context in the context of social networks and messenger services, is the app WhatsApp, which was bought up by Facebook. The messenger service is not only used daily by a great many people and has an enormous reach, it also has a very large potential for marketing and advertising. Raise the curtain on WhatsApp marketing!

Whatsapp Marketing 

WhatsApp marketing is a form of online marketing in which the app "WhatsApp" is used for commercial purposes. Through the chat of this app, a new communication channel has emerged, which can also be used for marketing to provide customers or prospects with individual information (service notifications). 

One goal of WhatsApp marketing is to reduce costs, because this online medium is much more cost-effective than, for example, print advertising or other forms of online marketing. Many companies promise to strengthen customer loyalty and satisfaction with this channel. Mass messaging is directly prohibited by the app and a kind of "WhatsApp newsletter" is not possible. Only 1:1 communication is possible commercially.  


WhatsApp marketing has some advantages that are currently still used by few companies. 

For one thing, the app is very widespread, especially in Germany, and users open the app at least several times a week. In addition, WhatsApp messages have an open rate of up to 98%, making this channel highly attractive for marketing. Via WhatsApp, proximity to the customer is virtually given and communication (so also customer service) can take place in real time. WhatsApp is also not currently perceived by consumers as an advertising channel, so acceptance is high overall. Consent and registration are also required for WhatsApp marketing messages to be sent, so a conscious decision is made that already signals interest. 


Before we look at what steps need to be taken until implementation, it is important to mention that there are 2 types of WhatsApp marketing accounts: the Business App and the API (application programming interface). For small and medium-sized businesses, the WhatsApp Business App is sufficient. If you want to know more about the WhatsApp API, feel free to check out this article from respond.io, explaining the most important things. 

One disadvantage of the Business App is that it lacks some features, such as not being able to set up push notifications. One advantage is that the business app is free.

Anyone thinking about using WhatsApp marketing as a channel in the future should therefore compare the two options before making a decision. 

1. WhatsApp link, registration via website or QR code 
⁠Before you can send a message to a prospective customer via WhatsApp marketing, registration or consent must have taken place. For this, different ways can be found, ideally they should all thereby not show too many hurdles for the registration. Therefore, it is possible to register via QR code, WhatsApp link or via your own website (as well as for newsletters). Before starting the implementation, it should be clarified which of these ways is the easiest for the target group. 

2. Determine goals
⁠This second step has nothing to do with WhatsApp for now - it is a fundamental step in marketing. Before designing possible content for a channel, it must be clarified what is to be achieved with it and why the choice has fallen on this channel. This applies just as much to WhatsApp marketing as it does to newsletters, social media or a print ad. 

3. Designing content 
⁠This step now involves designing the content of what is to be communicated via WhatsApp. In most cases, potential content is also derived from the goals. If the goal is to sell products, for example, WhatsApp can be used to draw attention to existing discounts, offers and the like. For the exact design of the content, however, you should know your target group well enough to find the right wording, to design the selection of emojis accordingly and also to be able to choose the image or video material.

4. Build and segment the audience 
⁠To build an audience for this channel, you should draw attention to the channel via other channels and show the target group what added value they will get from choosing to contact a company via WhatsApp. Let's stay with our discount example: for example, you could draw attention on social media to the fact that everyone who signs up for the WhatsApp group will learn about new discount promotions more quickly. 
⁠Depending on how large a target group is and whether the WhatsApp channel is advertised via various other channels, it may well make sense to segment the target group. In doing so, segmentation is recommended based on where the target group comes from, among other things. For measuring success, this can be a good starting point. 

5. Send out advertising mailings
⁠Now the planned content can already be sent out. If you have more than one target group on WhatsApp, you should also adjust the advertising content accordingly. 
⁠WhatsApp can also be used for remarketing, for example, to make existing customers aware of new products or even upgrades. 

6. Test, measure and learn 
⁠This step also applies in marketing: every action should be tested in order to learn as much as possible from it. If you have segmented your target group according to where they came from, it is also easier to measure which channel works best for attracting new WhatsApp prospects. 


WhatsApp marketing has great potential, but it also needs to be designed and planned so that success does not take forever. To support this, there are - of course - also many tools on the market. We have looked at them, according to the costs and for what size of company they are suitable. Here we go. 


Company Size



All sizes

0€/month up to individual pricing 


Small Business

3$/month up to 20$/year



79€/month up to individual pricing 



89€/month to  599€/month


All sizes

79€/year to 289€/Lifetime


midsize to large Enterprises

199€/month bis 699€/month

In addition to the 6 tools mentioned, there are many others that can facilitate and automate the entry into this form of marketing. However, before choosing a tool, the guideline should be in place, the objective should be clear and the required budget should be made available. 


WhatsApp is one of the few channels that can be used to accompany a customer along the entire customer journey. The potential is as great as the reach. The availability of tools and access to the app hassle-free. A new channel, a new opportunity for marketing - but well meant is not always well done. Therefore: a concept is needed. Because even if the implementation can be done quickly and you can easily integrate this new channel, the content should, despite everything, offer added value for the recipient, the placement should be well chosen and the organization planned. 

As always, you can find more blog posts on the Flanke 7 blog.

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