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Written by
Katy Ratican
9 Jan 2023
16 minutes

WhatsApp for business: The ultimate help guide

Thinking about using WhatsApp for business? Here’s everything a small business owner needs to know
WhatsApp for business help guide

In a world of messaging apps, there’s only one that was specifically designed to help small business owners. WhatsApp Business allows you to connect with customers from around the world, market your services and provide quick customer service.

Whether you’re already using the platform or are new to it, this guide will help you understand the best features of this platform and explain how to use WhatsApp for business.

Contents:

What is WhatsApp for business?
Why should small business owners use WhatsApp for business?

How WhatsApp for business empowers small business owners

How to use WhatsApp for business

7 best practices for engaging on WhatsApp for business

How to create a WhatsApp Business account: A step-by-step guide

WhatsApp Business vs. WhatsApp API - Which one is for your business?

9 great uses of WhatsApp for business

The most useful WhatsApp for business tools

WhatsApp Business features and how to use them

Why you need a virtual phone number for your business

Using Chalkboard alongside WhatsApp for business purposes

What is WhatsApp for business?

WhatsApp for business is an app specifically designed for businesses to engage with their customers and manage customer relationships. It provides tools such as automated messages, customer support, analytics and more. It also allows businesses to communicate directly with customers, send promotional messages and create custom chatbot experiences.

WhatsApp for business was rolled out to provide businesses with a secure and reliable way to communicate with their customers. It enables businesses to connect directly with their customers and offers a wide range of features such as order tracking, marketing tools and more.

By providing businesses with a secure communication channel, WhatsApp for business ensures that customer data is kept safe and secure. It is different from other platforms because it provides more specific and tailored features for businesses.

Why should small business owners use WhatsApp for business?

WhatsApp can be an incredibly useful tool for small businesses. It can help to streamline customer communication and provide better customer experiences. You can use the platform to quickly respond to customer inquiries, share updates and manage orders.

Additionally, WhatsApp for business can be used to send automated messages, collect payments and even create customer support bots to help customers find answers to their questions quickly and easily. Small businesses can market and promote their products and services using personalised messages and discounts to customers who are already in contact with the business.

Independent businesses can also use WhatsApp for Business to encourage customers to follow their page or join their group chats. This makes it easier to reach out to customers with updates and news, as well as create a stronger connection with customers that may lead to increased loyalty.

How WhatsApp for business empowers small business owners

Traditionally, small business owners had limited digital marketing options. While SMS, email and social media are effective modes of communication, they usually require outside help. If you were to do it all by yourself, you would need additional tools to automate those functions. All these require time and effort. But with WhatsApp, now you can be in charge.

You could be running a grocery store, managing a salon, operating a carpet cleaning business or providing accounting services. WhatsApp for business makes it possible for you to communicate directly with customers, without the help of a specialised agency. Moreover, you also get to use automation in marketing and customer service.

As a small business owner, you can set up automated welcome messages, quick replies and automated away messages. You can create custom labels to categorise and organise conversations and set up an “Away” message when you are not available to respond.

Businesses can also use WhatsApp Business to send out bulk messages, use analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour and collaborate with coworkers through group chats. All of these features provide small businesses with the same powerful tools that large enterprises have for communicating with their customers.

To put it simply, with WhatsApp for business, you can level the playing field.

How to use WhatsApp for business

For decades, successful direct marketing was the holy grail of marketing. If you could directly communicate with customers, earn their loyalty and solve their problems, the success of your business was guaranteed. Here’s how small businesses can use WhatsApp for business to achieve that success.

1. Get a business profile

First, you will need to create a business profile on WhatsApp. This includes creating a name, logo and bio to give customers an idea of who you are and what you do. With a verified profile, you build credibility.

2. Connect with customers

Once you have your business profile set up, you can start connecting with customers. You can do this by sending out messages to existing customers or broadcasting messages to potential customers.

3. Engage with customers

In addition to messaging customers, you can also engage with them on WhatsApp by creating groups or starting conversations. With WhatsApp for business, you can give customers more personalised attention and build better relationships.

4. Offer support

You can use WhatsApp for business as a customer service tool by providing customer support via chat or phone. This allows customers to easily reach out for help when they have a problem or question.

5. Send promotions

Lastly, you can use WhatsApp to send out promotions and discounts to your customers. This is a great way to increase sales and keep your customers engaged. Since it’s personalised marketing to customers who have already shown interest, it will be more effective than traditional channels.

7 best practices for engaging on WhatsApp for business

With WhatsApp Business, you can add enormous power to your marketing and customer engagement. These tips for WhatsApp for business will help you use the platform effectively.

1. Humanise your interactions: You’re not interacting with numbers, clients or customers. You’re talking to human beings. So, greet the customer by name and thank them for reaching out. A humanised conversation will make your business stand apart.

2. Ask open-ended questions: Don’t limit your questions. Let your customers explain their problems. To be able to provide relevant answers, you need a better understanding of your customer’s needs.

3. Stay true to your brand character: If your brand character is playful, carry that same tone in your WhatsApp Business conversations. Use emojis where necessary. If you’re more of an authority figure, be convincing and reassuring.

4. Show genuine interest: Be interested in the customer’s queries and resist pushing your product. Use active listening techniques to ensure you are providing the best service customised to their circumstances.

5. Explain the solution: Once you understand a customer’s unique situation, explain how your product or service can help them. Focus on the benefit you can deliver and not just on the product attribute or feature.

6. Provide resources: While you can answer several questions related to customer orders or other queries and provide WhatsApp help, your customers may need more resources. Provide website links or multimedia help wherever necessary.

7. Offer additional assistance: While WhatsApp help can be useful, some customer queries may need more assistance. This is when you should offer to call them or give them a number to reach your team.

How to create a WhatsApp Business account: A step-by-step guide

This is how you can create a WhatsApp for business account for your small business.

  1. Download the WhatsApp Business app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  2. Open the app and tap ‘Create Account’.
  3. Enter your phone number and hit ‘Verify’. You can’t use a number that you would have previously used on the platform.
  4. Enter the 6-digit code sent to your phone via SMS and press ‘Continue’.
  5. Enter your business details such as name, profile picture, and description.
  6. Set up an automated greeting message that will be sent to customers who initiate contact with you on WhatsApp.
  7. Set up an Away Message with a custom response if you are unavailable or away from your phone.
  8. Set up an FAQ section to provide customers with helpful answers to common questions without having to manually answer each query when it comes in.
  9. Create a list of keywords for automated responses that can be triggered when customers send messages containing those words or phrases.
  10. Finally, customise your WhatsApp Business account settings such as notifications, security and privacy according to your preferences and click ‘Save’.

Chalkboard works alongside WhatsApp Business

You can be present on WhatsApp through a Chalkboard number - helping you to keep work separate, and your personal number private.

Second number download module

WhatsApp Business vs. WhatsApp API - Which one is for your business?

The short answer is: it depends on your business needs.

WhatsApp Business is a free-to-use messaging app for small businesses. It allows you to communicate with customers easily and efficiently and to automate customer service. You can set up automated messages for frequently asked questions, use message templates and labels to organise conversations and track analytics to measure performance.

You should use WhatsApp Business if:

  • You’re a small business with fewer than 10 employees.

  • Your customers are millennials and Gen Z who prefer using chat.

  • You expect to handle a low volume of customer interactions.

  • You have only one person to handle WhatsApp for Business.

  • You only need basic features such as away messages, greeting messages and quick replies.

  • Your business only has to broadcast messages to a maximum of 256 contacts.

  • You can manually add contacts to WhatsApp for business.

  • You don’t need the use of chatbots.

WhatsApp API, on the other hand, is a paid solution that offers a more robust set of features such as integration with other systems such as CRMs, advanced analytics and greater scalability.

It is designed for larger companies with more complex communication needs and thousands of customer interactions every day across locations. It allows you to send personalised messages to large groups of customers at once, automate customer service tasks across multiple teams and create marketing campaigns.

You should use WhatsApp API if:

  • You have more than 10 employees.

  • You need to provide immediate answers to queries related to e-commerce orders, ticket reservations etc.

  • Your business handles a large volume of customer interactions.

  • You have multiple customer service agents to handle customer queries.

  • You need to integrate your CRM with WhatsApp for Business.

  • Your business needs to automate processes related to orders, cancellations, and refunds with the help of chatbots.

  • You want to use customised message templates.

  • You want to send bulk notifications without any upper limit.

  • You prefer adding contacts through an API instead of doing it manually.

  • You want an option of directing customer calls to WhatsApp chat.

9 great uses of WhatsApp for business

Why is WhatsApp for business such an excellent tool for small businesses and service professionals? Because you can scale and automate your marketing and customer service. Here are nine great ways in which you can use WhatsApp for business.

1. Instant messaging

WhatsApp for business is a great way for businesses to communicate with customers and staff quickly and easily. Messages can be sent to individuals or groups of people with just a few clicks. Synchronous communication means better comprehension and higher chances of conversion.

2. Automated customer service

It’s not viable for small businesses to have dedicated customer service divisions. But with WhatsApp help, you can automate customer service and help customers with their enquiries more quickly and efficiently.

3. Broadcast messages

Reach large groups of people in one go. Broadcast messages allow businesses to reach a large volume of customers with a single message. This is great for marketing campaigns, product announcements and more.

4. Promotions and discounts

Creating a campaign with promotions and discounts need not be tedious for small businesses anymore. With WhatsApp for business, you can send promotional messages and discounts to customers, encouraging them to purchase more.

5. Customer support

At the core of every enduring brand is exceptional customer service. With WhatsApp for business, you can provide customer support and handle customer queries more effectively than you would have been able with email or social media.

6. Secure payments

With WhatsApp Pay now available in certain countries, businesses can quickly accept payments from customers without having to enter long credit card numbers or other sensitive information. User journeys can now be completed without exiting the platform.

7. File sharing

WhatsApp for business makes it easy to send files such as images, documents, videos and audio files with just a few clicks. With WhatsApp Business, you don’t have to direct customers to an external source to share product details.

8. Showcase products with catalogues

One of the biggest advantages of WhatsApp for business is that you can share your products through carefully curated catalogues. This makes the platform an excellent venue to share information about your products with the necessary images.

9. Professional networking

By setting up your verified profile, sharing your business information and showcasing your products, WhatsApp for business also allows you to engage in professional networking. It allows users to send messages and make voice and video calls from anywhere, at any time.

The most useful WhatsApp for business tools

These are six of the most useful WhatsApp for business tools that you can use to amplify the reach and engagement of the platform.

Chalkboard

A virtual number specifically created for small businesses, Chalkboard is the perfect way to get WhatsApp for business since you get a new number with the app. You can organise your contacts by interest or preference and send broadcast lists along with multimedia messaging. All this for just £10 + VAT or $10 per month.

WappBlaster

A leading marketing service provider for WhatsApp Business, WappBlaster makes it easy to send bulk messages. This automation platform will help you create broadcast lists for WhatsApp and send template messages in several languages. An anti-blocking algorithm and an intuitive user interface are the highlights of this app.

Whappext

Another marketing tool that allows you to broadcast bulk messages at scale is Whappext. With an easy-to-use interface, this app lets you communicate with customers worldwide. You can filter out regular and active WhatsApp users and get detailed statistics and reports for more accurate decision-making.

Whatsender

Whatsender is an inexpensive desktop application that allows users to send bulk WhatsApp messages to contacts or groups. It is designed to help businesses engage with their customers through better targeting. It supports multiple messages, contact lists, auto-replying messages, automated campaigns and more.

Viking WhatsApp Marketing Software

Viking WhatsApp Marketing Software is an automated marketing solution for businesses that want to send out bulk messages to their customers. You can create and manage campaigns, segment contacts, keep track of statistics, and more. It also supports various payment options and integrates with many other apps.

WhatsAuto

WhatsAuto helps businesses automate their WhatsApp messages and send them to contacts automatically. Users can easily set up schedules for sending messages, create custom templates for messages, and manage multiple WhatsApp accounts with ease. WhatsAuto also features two-way synchronisation.

WhatsApp Business features and how to use them

1. Automated replies

Automated replies are quick, automated responses to customer enquiries. To set up an automated reply, open the WhatsApp for business app and go to the settings tab. Then select “Business Settings” and then “Automatic Replies”. Here you can create custom messages such as “Thank you for reaching out! We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.”

2. Quick replies

Quick Replies are pre-written messages that businesses can send out with a single click. They are particularly useful for frequently asked questions. To set up a Quick Reply, open the WhatsApp Business app and go to the settings tab. Select “Business Settings”, then “Quick Replies”. Here you can create custom messages like “Our shop hours are 9 am - 5 pm.”

3. Away message

These are messages to be sent when your business will be closed. To set them up, go to Business Tools and then Away message. Click on “Set away message,” tap on edit and create a message. You can create a message such as “Hey, thank you for reaching out. We will answer your query during our business hours, Monday to Friday from 9 am - 5 pm.”

4. Labels

WhatsApp for business labels are tags that businesses can use to organise and identify conversations with customers. With labels, you can organise your conversations, which will make it easier to find your messages and chat. You can create labels with various colours and assign labels to a whole chat or specific messages within a chat.

5. Catalogues

WhatsApp for business catalogues can be used for a variety of purposes, such as product catalogues, menus, portfolios, event listings, and more. These can include product images, descriptions, and pricing information. Open the app, go to More options, Business tools, and then Catalogue. If it’s a new catalogue, click on “Add Item.” Tap on “Gallery” to upload images or take new photos. After that, you can provide the product details.

Why you need a virtual phone number for your business

A virtual phone number allows you to have a dedicated number for work and a single point of contact for customers, rather than having to use a variety of different numbers. It helps to avoid missed calls. It also helps to keep your personal number private, allowing you to use a specific number for business communication.

Since virtual phone numbers work over the internet, your business phone will be operational wherever you are. This makes them the ideal solution for remote and hybrid work. You also get access to advanced features such as voicemail, call forwarding, auto-reply, group broadcast and text messaging.

If you plan to use WhatsApp for business, your virtual number could be the business number you use on the platform. Finally, virtual numbers are cost-effective since you only pay a fixed subscription fee.

Using Chalkboard alongside WhatsApp for business purposes

When you use Chalkboard with WhatsApp for business, you’re doubling the marketing and automation tools at your disposal. You get a dedicated number for work to separate your work and personal communication and achieve a work-life balance.

Chalkboard allows you to organise your contacts according to their preferences, which is how you build a customer base. You can also use advanced chat for conversational marketing and auto-reply for seamless engagement. So, with WhatsApp help and Chalkboard, now you have the synergy of two automated texting platforms.

Download Chalkboard and start your free trial. This is how you empower the marketing and customer service of your small business.

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