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Lead nurturing using Whatsapp

Whatsapp with its 800 million users is a very valuable social media platform for brands and marketing professionals. Being a mobile centric platform and the earliest mover in the space of mobile messaging, Whatsapp has attracted users across the board, spanning all age groups. About 60 million active users come from India alone.

What does this platform offer for marketers?

There is very little a brand can do on Whatsapp. There is no in-app advertising allowed and that has been the guiding philosophy of the application since its inception. Further, the limitation on the number of people who can see a broadcasted communication within a Whatsapp group is a constraint. A maximum of 100 people can be part of a Whatsapp group, making it an app for personal use or one on one messaging.

However, can something be done using Whatsapp? At GenY Medium, we have tried some interesting ideas of using Whatsapp for communicating with different audience types. The insight from our work is that Whatsapp can be a great lead nurturing tool. In fact, many small enterprises and local vendors use the tool effectively.

Why another channel to nurture leads?

The answer lies in the challenges associated with existing options for channels used for lead nurturing. The challenges are on two fronts: a) How easy is to access the leads and communicate effectively; b) How expensive is it to do so. Popular lead nurturing methods include:

  • Emailers: Ancient method. It is difficult to escape the junk/spam filters and land up in the mailbox of your leads. The open rates are dismal. The communication is non-spontaneous. This has an access rather than a cost problem
  • Re-marketing: This methodology can be effective, however it is an expensive method and the communication is more “eye balls” based, at most leading to yet another landing page.
  • Custom-audience targeting: Having mobile phone numbers or email addresses allows one to create a “custom audience” on facebook and show nurturing content to these leads on facebook. Effective, yet the same issues as in re-marketing, namely, expensive and not engaging enough
  • SMS: At the lowest end of the engagement spectrum, with a DND gateway to fight against, this methodology is simply outdated.

Of the above, remarketing and custom-audience are the only methodologies which are leverage social platforms well, but are relatively expensive.

How can Whatsapp be used for lead nurturing?

Whatsapp based chat sessions can help nurture leads, provided there are only fewer than 100 leads. We deployed this strategy for a leading University which wanted to communicate to potential applicants. The objective was to have a free flowing chat with senior management of the University and answer questions from aspirants.

Lead nurturing using Whatsapp

  • Objective: To host a virtual info-session on the University’s MBA program using Whatsapp
  • Approach: Invite leads to join a Whatsapp group specially created for the purpose of interacting with leads. The group chat was a fixed time period activity. The event was promoted on social platforms to get more participants who might not have yet provided their mobile phone numbers.

Whatsapp chat lead nurturing

  • Results: Participation by a total of 180 aspirants in two separate chat groups. Several questions were asked by applicants and clarified by senior management of the University. This was a very engaging, two-way communication, much the same way as it would have happened in a physical info-session event. The questions raised from eligibility, preparation needed to placement statistics for the particular University program.

Whatsapp can be a very convenient, truly two-way communication channel for brands nurturing a smaller number of leads. We will write about other approaches to utilize the power of Whatsapp for brands in subsequent posts. Stay tuned!

July 30, 2015
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