How To Article

3 Ways to Get Customers To Message You Over WhatsApp

Chris Lai
Content Writer, Respond.io
December 29, 2020

WhatsApp has a strict opt-in policy to prevent businesses from spamming customers. Therefore, it’s not always possible to send the first message to your customers over WhatsApp. An easier way to connect with your customers on WhatsApp is to encourage them to initiate the chat. In this article, you’ll learn how to get your customers to start a WhatsApp conversation with WhatsApp Link Generator, WhatsApp Widget and Click to WhatsApp ads.

Interested in using WhatsApp for your business but don’t know how? We’ve put together a guide to show you how to use WhatsApp Business for Sales and Support teams. Check out our A to Z guide for setting up a WhatsApp CRM for your company here.

WhatsApp Business At A Glance

In case you didn’t know, WhatsApp has two types of business accounts - WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API. The former is designed for small businesses while the latter is made for bigger companies.

One of the biggest differences between Business App and Business API is their messaging limitations. WhatsApp Business App has no messaging limitations, which means you can send the first message to customers as long as you have their number.

This is a picture showing the messaging limitations of WhatsApp Business App and WhatsAppBusiness API. One of the biggest differences between Business App and Business API is their messaging limitations. WhatsApp Business App has no messaging limitations, which means you can send the first message to customers as long as you have their numbers. To avoid spam, WhatsApp has a more restrictive messaging policy for Business API accounts. Before initiating a conversation with Template Messages, businesses will need to collect opt-in from customers. Thankfully, you have the option to encourage customers to send you the first message instead. To do this, you can create a WhatsApp Link or URL WhatsApp with a WhatsApp Link generator, or with a WhatsApp widget.
Messaging Limitations for WhatsApp Business App and API

To avoid spam, WhatsApp has a more restrictive messaging policy for Business API accounts. Before initiating a conversation with Template Messages, businesses will need to collect opt-in from customers.

Opt-ins means obtaining consent to receive your WhatsApp messages. They can be obtained in many ways, on and off WhatsApp. For example, you can collect opt-in through automatic phone systems (IVR) or via a website contact form.

Getting opt-ins can be complex depending on your use case. Thankfully, you have the option to encourage customers to message you first instead. Once they’ve done so, you can continue the conversation within 24 hours even if they haven’t opted in.

In this article, we'll cover the best ways to encourage customers to start a WhatsApp conversation. Regardless of whether your WhatsApp Business account allows sending the first message, these methods will be useful to attract new WhatsApp contacts.

How To Get Customers To Send the First WhatsApp Message

There are 3 ways you can get customers to message your business first. You can create a WhatsApp Click to Chat Link, add a WhatsApp Widget to your website or run a Click to WhatsApp ad.

1. Generate a WhatsApp Link with WhatsApp Link Generator

WhatsApp Link (WhatsApp URL) lets you begin a chat with someone without having their phone number saved in your phone's address book. A WhatsApp Link always begins with wa.me/ followed by your WhatsApp number.

This is an image of WhatsApp Link (WhatsApp URL). Click to chat WhatsApp lets you begin a chat with someone without having their phone number saved in your phone's address book. A WhatsApp Link always begins with wa.me/ followed by your WhatsApp number. Check out our blog post to learn how to create a WhatsApp URL link with a WhatsApp link generator, and how to use a WhatsApp Widget
How to Use WhatsApp Click to Chat: WhatsApp Link

WhatsApp Link is the simplest way to get your customers to send the first message. All your customers have to do is click on it, and they’ll be taken to a pre-filled WhatsApp chat where they can message your business quickly.

There are 2 ways to use a WhatsApp Link for your business. You can create a WhatsApp button with WhatsApp Link and add it to a website. Or you can generate a QR code for WhatsApp Link and display it in your store.

WhatsApp Link: Add a WhatsApp Button to Website or Email

WhatsApp button is a clickable WhatsApp logo or text embedded with a WhatsApp Link. It’s a great way to encourage online visitors to initiate a conversation, especially for businesses with a lot of website traffic or many email subscribers.

This is an image showing how to add a whatsapp chat button on website. Check out our blog post to learn how to create a WhatsApp Link using WhatsApp Link generator, how to add whatsapp to website and how to use WhatsApp widget.
Click to Chat for WhatsApp

Wondering how to create WhatsApp Link? WhatsApp Business App has a built-in WhatsApp Link Generator, so you can get your WhatsApp URL from the app itself. Simply navigate to Settings > Business Tools > Short Links.

If you are using WhatsApp Business API, you need a third-party WhatsApp Link Generator to create WhatsApp Links. Connect your WhatsApp business account to respond.io, and you can create a link using respond.io WhatsApp Click to Chat generator.

To get started, navigate to Settings > Channels and select the connected WhatsApp account. Click on Scan Code and enter your WhatsApp number. It’s that simple!

WhatsApp button is great for converting online visitors into WhatsApp Contacts. However, it can’t drive offline visitors to message you. You’ll need a WhatsApp QR code to do that.

WhatsApp Link: Create a WhatsApp QR code

WhatsApp QR codes help convert offline traffic like foot traffic at a physical store to WhatsApp contacts. Customers can simply scan a QR code to begin a WhatsApp conversation, no typing needed.

You can place WhatsApp QR codes anywhere in real life. We recommend displaying your QR codes on physical surfaces like product packaging, banners, flyers or receipts.

This is a picture of a WhatsApp QR code. WhatsApp QR codes are embedded with click to chat for whatsapp. They help convert offline traffic like foot traffic at a physical store to WhatsApp contacts. Customers can simply scan a QR code to begin a WhatsApp conversation, no typing needed. Read our blog post to find out how to create WhatsApp Link with WhatsApp generator and how to add WhatsApp Widget to website
WhatsApp QR Code

The steps for creating a WhatsApp QR code differ depending on the type of business account you’re using. WhatsApp App users can find their account’s QR code by going to Business Tools > Short Link > QR Code. Learn more about WhatsApp Business App QR code here.

If you are a WhatsApp API user, you can generate a WhatsApp QR code using respond.io Code Generator. Go to Settings > Channels > WhatsApp Channel > Scan Code. Then enter your number and download the QR code in your preferred dimensions.

Now that you’ve learned about WhatsApp Link, let’s move on to the next method to get your customers to message you - WhatsApp Widget.

2. Add a WhatsApp Widget to Website

Using WhatsApp widget is fairly straightforward. When clicked, it will take website visitors to WhatsApp to start a conversation. WhatsApp widget is a lot better than live chat widget, you can always get back to your customers after they’ve left the chat.

Respond.io Multichannel Website Widget gives website visitors the option to contact you via live chat or WhatsApp. Plus, you can add more messaging Channels like Facebook Messenger or Line to the widget.

This is a picture of Respond.io Multichannel Website Widget with WhatsApp Widget.gives website visitors the option to contact you via live chat or WhatsApp. Plus, you can add more messaging Channels like Facebook Messenger or Line to the widget.  Read our article to find out How to Create the WhatsApp Link to Start Chat
Respond.io Multichannel Website Widget with WhatsApp Widget

Before adding a WhatsApp widget to your website, you'll need a WhatsApp API with respond.io integration. Once you’ve connected WhatsApp to the platform, navigate to Channel Settings, press Add Channel and choose Web Chat. This will open up a setup window.

In the setup window, enter the website where the Widget will be added. Respond.io lets you customize the WhatsApp widget by choosing a theme colour for the widget that matches your website and brand.

Then, follow the on-screen instructions and the platform will generate a script. Finally, add this script to your website. If you need help installing the script, forward the script along with installation instructions to your website administrator.

We'll be redesigning our multichannel WhatsApp widget to make it more mobile-friendly and allow more customization. Watch this space!

3. Run a Click to WhatsApp Ad

Click to WhatsApp Ad is a Facebook ad with a call-to-action Send WhatsApp button. Click to WhatsApp Ads work almost exactly like Click to Messenger Ads, but clicking on them will open a WhatsApp conversation instead of a Messenger chat.

This is a picture showing how Click to WhatsApp Ad works. Click to WhatsApp Ad is a Facebook ad with a call-to-action Send WhatsApp button. Click to WhatsApp Ads work almost exactly like Click to Messenger Ads, but clicking on them will open a WhatsApp conversation instead of a Messenger chat. Check out our blog to learn how to use a WhatsApp Link Creator.
Facebook Click to WhatsApp Ads

Another difference between Click to WhatsApp & Click to Messenger ads is their tracking abilities. Unlike Click to Messenger Ads which come with advanced tracking features, Click to WhatsApp Ads don’t allow you to track how many customers clicked on the ad.

There are 2 ways to create a Click to WhatsApp Ad- by boosting a Facebook post or create it directly from Ad Manager. We recommend creating Click to WhatsApp Ads from Ad Manager because it has more customization features. Here’s how to do it.

Set up Click to WhatsApp Ad from Ad Manager

You can run a Click to WhatsApp Ad with a WhatsApp Business App or Business API account. Before setting up a Facebook Click to WhatsApp Ad, you need to:

1. In Ads Manager, create a campaign with the Messages objective. When choosing this objective, your call-to-action will become Send to WhatsApp.

This is a screenshot of step 1 of setting up Click to WhatsApp Ad. In Ads Manager, create a campaign with the Messages objective.  When choosing this objective, your call to action will become Send to WhatsApp.
Choose Messages As Your Campaign Objective

2. Edit campaign name and campaign details. Where appropriate, declare your ad as a Special Ad and set up A/B test to understand which ad strategies give you the best result.

This is a screenshot of step 2 of setting up Click to WhatsApp Ad. Edit campaign name and campaign details. Where appropriate, declare your ad as a Special Ad and set up A/B test to understand which ad strategies give you the best result.
Edit Campaign Name & Details

3. Select WhatsApp Business as the Message Destination. If you are managing multiple Facebook Pages, choose the Page you want to create the ad for. Make sure it’s connected to a WhatsApp Business account.

This is a screenshot of step 3 of setting up Click to WhatsApp Ad.Select WhatsApp Business as the Message Destination. If you are managing multiple Facebook Pages, choose the Page you want to create the ad for. Make sure it’s connected to a WhatsApp Business account.
Select WhatsApp Business As the Message Destination

4. Edit Budget, Schedule, Audience, Placements, Optimization and Delivery on the same page. Then, click Next.

5. Choose your ad format under Ad setup. Then compose your ad under Ad Creative.

This is a screenshot of step 5 of setting up Click to WhatsApp Ad. Choose your ad format under Ad setup. Then compose your ad under Ad Creative.
Compose a Click to WhatsApp Ad

6. Create Template. Write a Greeting Message and Frequently Asked Questions. Click Save and Finish when you’re done.

This is a screenshot of step 6 of setting up Click to WhatsApp Ad. Create Template. Write a Greeting Message and Frequently Asked Questions. Click Save and Finish when you’re done.
Create Greeting Message and FAQs for Your Ad

7. Finally, click Publish to launch the Click to WhatsApp ad.

And that’s how you create a Click to WhatsApp ad. Check out this article to learn how to set up a Click to Messenger ad.

Using WhatsApp Link & WhatsApp Widget: Infographic

This is an infographic on how to get customers to message you over WhatsApp. You can create a WhatsApp Link, add a WhatsApp Button to your website or emails, place a WhatsApp code at a physical store, add a WhatsApp Widget to your website, or run a Facebook Click to WhatsApp ad.

Further Reading

If you're interested in using WhatsApp for Business, you'll want to check out these blog posts:

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