With 200 million users, Whatsapp has emerged as one of the best platforms of communication for businesses. Though its usage continues to increase at a phenomenal pace, WhatsApp is an effective messaging platform that remains true to its simplicity and transparency — one of the key reasons messages sent through WhatsApp have an open rate1 of 99%.
This makes Whatsapp a natural choice for businesses that want to engage with their customers through personalized conversations. However, given how WhatsApp has always prioritized user experience, it should come as no surprise that the popular messaging app has taken several measures to make sure that users are not overwhelmed with spammy messages. Hence, they have made it mandatory for organizations to collect WhatsApp opt-in before they begin interacting with customers on this platform.
What is WhatsApp opt-in?
WhatsApp opt-in is getting your prospects and customers (both new and existing) to agree on providing their number and to receive messages and notifications from your business via WhatsApp. However, the app mandates that businesses cannot get this opt-in via WhatsApp itself. It is usually done through channels such as your website, app, email, SMS, etc.
How does WhatsApp opt-in work?
We now know that companies that wish to use WhatsApp for business communication require consent from customers before interacting with them via WhatsApp and this opt-in should be collected through a third-party channel.
However, there are also other specific criteria2 that the opt-in must meet.
- It must be an active opt-in triggered by a user’s action.
- It must adhere to this format: “receive [noun], [logo and name], on [number]”
- It must have a specific user interface. The opt-in must be done through a visual element, should have the WhatsApp logo in it, and the user has to manually enter their phone number.
Pro tip: Transparency is of the utmost importance when using WhatsApp business. Hence you need to store your opt-ins and ensure that customers only receive what they signed up for.
4 ways to collect WhatsApp opt-in
You can navigate your customers towards WhatsApp opt-in using one or more of the tactics while making sure that you comply with WhatsApp’s opt-in guidelines. You can choose one or a combination of these strategies for successful WhatsApp opt-in.
#1 Create WhatsApp opt-in opportunities on your website
What’s a better place to create opt-in opportunities than on your website where most customers come to learn about your products and service? You can either use a pop-up, floating banners or simply placing a CTA in a strategic location on the website such as your ‘Contact us’ page, to promote WhatsApp as one of your channels of communication.
You can also set up banners on the most visited webpages, blog articles to grab the attention of visitors, prospects, and customers, and nudge them to switch to WhatsApp for faster communication.
#2 Build dedicated landing pages
The next best opt-in strategy is to design a dedicated landing page. This a great solution particularly when you are introducing WhatsApp as a communication channel to your customers for the first time. It also gives you a lot of space to be creative and share more information about the WhatsApp service. What’s more, it’s easy to promote.
Pro tip: Make sure that the landing page is responsive and optimized particularly for mobile devices.
#3 Leverage 3rd-party channels
The best way to get the word out is to leverage existing communication channels that your costumers are most familiar with. This includes SMS, email, IVR, and social media, to name a few.
SMS might seem like an easy way to get the opt-in from your customers. However, it does not allow you to include the complete WhatsApp logo. Hence, instead of using it as a direct opt-in, you can use it as a door opener, to let customers know about the new WhatsApp service. You can include a link to the landing page where customers can provide immediate consent to use WhatsApp for communication.
Pro tip: Remember to comply with the WhatsApp guidelines for opt-in.
Email is another great way to get your customers to opt-in for WhatsApp services. Similar to landing pages, you can be creative by using captivating designs, images, and gifs in your emails. You also have the space to provide detailed information on the benefits of using WhatsApp for business communication. Simply embed a consent form and voilà: your customers can opt-in in a single click.
You can automate the WhatsApp opt-in process using IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System). It’s a fairly simple process — all you need to do is set up automated voice messaging asking customers to provide consent by clicking/pressing a specific key on their dial pad. Once they do that, you can send an opt-in confirmation message through WhatsApp.
You’d know by now that social media is a popular way to broadcast to a wide range of audiences. A good way to get an opt-in is by using carousels. Alternatively, you can redirect users from your social media post to your landing pages where customers can provide their consent to use WhatsApp.
Pro tip: Pin your WhatsApp availability on your social channels. This way you can get customers to opt-in for WhatsApp services and also help resolve their issues on the messaging platform.
#4 Enrich existing workflows
One of the key applications of using WhatsApp business is to send updates such as purchase confirmation, delivery status, e-tickets, etc. Hence, it only makes sense to ask customers for opt-in during checkout. However, you are not limited to such instances alone. Other opportunities include getting opt-in during the sign-up process or when the customer is filling out a contact form. Ecommerce, retail, logistics, and travel are some of the industries that can best benefit from this strategy.
Pro tip: Though there are numerous touchpoints in the customer’s journey where you can ask for an opt-in, be sure to specify what kind of messages your customers will receive.
WhatsApp opt-in can be a tricky business. However, if you play by rules, you can increase your opt-in rate. No matter the strategy, always remember to communicate the value of using WhatsApp service, design an opt-in model that is easy to navigate and minimizes user effort, and find a strategy mix that fits into your existing communication processes.
And yes, don’t forget that WhatsApp logo!
Do you know of a WhatsApp opt-in strategy that has worked for you which you’d like to see included here? Let us know in the comments below.
1 — https://www.tyntec.com/blog/7-stats-kick-2020-why-your-business-should-be-using-whatsapp
2 — https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/guides/opt-in/
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