Have you ever had a day where you did not check your WhatsApp?Actually, I already have the answer to that. Of course not!
WhatsApp has truly revolutionized the world of communication. From being able to send just texts, today we can send multimedia messages and connect with someone instantly. Earlier you had to send a text in oblivion whether or not the receiver will see it, or when will the recover see it, and then sit back and wait for the reply. Well, we have a whole generation of people who have endured that. But WhatsApp changed the game for all, from personal to professional relationships, all of it can be maintained and nurtured through WhatsApp.
You want to get closer to a loved one, then connect on WhatsApp, you want to send bulk messages on WhatsApp to customers and make sure your business is always on their mind, then also, connect with them on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is pretty much now a one stop solution for business growth because of how effectively it has penetrated the market and established itself as a platform that can be used for marketing, sales, and customer service- all the three components that any business needs to succeed.
However, there is a fine line between using WhatsApp for personal conversations and professional conversations. Of course, user experience has been Meta’s number one priority thus the difference. You must have heard about the WhatsApp business app, it is made to facilitate conversations keeping in mind the ease of small business owners. However, it comes with several limitations, thus, it is not a viable solution for medium sized and enterprise level businesses. For the latter, there is WhatsApp Business API and you are going to know about every single detail of it so you can utilize it for your business for profitable returns.
WhatsApp Business API- The basics
In 2018, Meta launched WhatsApp Business API to help medium and enterprise level businesses to scale their customer support by helping them receive and send unlimited messages through WhatsApp. Unlike the WhatsApp business app, WhatsApp business API ensures seamless communication without pesky limitations.
After WhatsApp became one of the top platforms of communication, businesses chose to start using it for the ease of customers. This was the point where Meta realized that it is time for them to take WhatsApp beyond just the platform for personal communication. The decision indeed took WhatsApp to a whole new level, but it also helped businesses to grow at an unimaginable speed. Many businesses even ditched email and other channels for communication in favour of WhatsApp marketing.
This is how WhatsApp business API was launched and ever since it has been unstoppable and has come up with several alterations that helped businesses grow. Many businesses even marked their journey from being a small business to an enterprise through the benefits of WhatsApp business API.
No doubt, it is everyone’s favorite solution!
WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API
Ah! The dreaded confusion. Don't worry, I don’t blame you, Meta did really choose to confuse us all!
The WhatsApp Business application is solely there for the small business owners to help them manage their business through the comfort of their phones without having to give their personal contact to their customers. It is the perfect solution for your nearby grocery store owner or your favorite boutique owner, but not a feasible solution for giants like WalMart or Target, who would require a WhatsApp marketing strategy as part of their campaign.
WhatsApp Business app is very close to the regular WhatsApp that you use to engage with your friends and family just with some added limits. However, the app is absolutely free and you can directly reach your customer as long as you have an internet connection.
WhatsApp business API on the other hand was curated especially for large businesses and enterprises. Meta realized that the WhatsApp Business app was not catering to the needs of the enterprise level business owners, because how are you supposed to send a automated WhatsApp marketing campaign to thousands of people with the broadcast list limitation of 256 people? Well, that was the struggle many had to endure until the launch of WhatsApp Business API. It was also the reason why large businesses were unable to leverage WhatsApp automation. Meta saw this as an opportunity and today as we know WhatsApp Business API is being used by several businesses out there.
Another major difference between the WhatsApp Business Application and WhatsApp Business API is that the application can be installed within your phone through Play Store or App Store and is ready to be used instantly while the WhatsApp Business API needs to be applied for and could be provided by only the WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSP).
BSPs are the selected partners by WhatsApp that are supposed to provide the businesses with access to WhatsApp business API, it is more like a mediator between the business and WhatsApp.
However, involvement of the third party also made the solution crazy expensive!
Well there is no gain without pain so you need to bear the price if you intend to grow your business.
Do you really need the WhatsApp Business API?
If you want to grow your business then yes, you do!
WhatsApp Business API was created with the mindset of growth for medium to large businesses. If you want to level up your business from a small business to a medium sized enterprise then you should probably give WhatsApp Business API a try! It can modernize your sales engagement process and streamline lead generation. Listing down a few other factors that will help you determine if WhatsApp Business API is right for your business.
If you need to connect with a large number of customers and handle several queries at the same time, WhatsApp Business API is the right choice for you, or else WhatsApp Business App might suffice as well.
The volume of conversations
Do you have to attend to multiple customers at the same time? Do you constantly have to be there to answer your customers’ queries? Do you get an overwhelming number of customer queries everyday? If yes then WhatsApp Business API is the solution for you to manage it all with automation.
Huge data management
If you use tools like sales CRM or other data management systems then that means you are operating with a large customer base. Thus to get the maximum benefits from WhatsApp marketing you need to integrate your CRM with WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business API allows you to do so.
How to apply for WhatsApp Business API
I get the curiosity to want to get WhatsApp Business API right away, especially after knowing how better it is than the Business App for your business but before you apply for it, you need to know about the prerequisites for it.
What do you need to apply for WhatsApp Business API
Before you go ahead with Business API, you need the following as per Meta guidelines.
1/ A Facebook Business Manager account
The facebook business manager account allows you to manage multiple accounts and assets. From Facebook to Instagram to WhatsApp everything can be managed through the Facebook Business Manager account.
2/ A verified business account
Get your business verified before you start rolling in to access WhatsApp Business API account you need to get your business verified through Meta. Once filed the verification result can take from up to 10 minutes to 14 days, so make sure to be patient.
3/ A WhatsApp Business Account
Before you apply for Business API you need to follow the step-by-step guide to create a WhatsApp Business account.
4/ A payment method for your business account
Be sure that there is only one credit line for all the technologies owned by Meta, so you cannot apply for any separate line of credit for WhatsApp Business API if you are using multiple services.
Step-by-step guide to apply for WhatsApp Business API
Earlier it was a task to get a WhatsApp Business API account because of the involvement of a third party. So Meta came up with another solution called WhatsApp Cloud API with features similar to business API just making it easier to get access to. Here are two ways you can apply for WhatsApp Business API.
Directly from Meta aka WhatsApp Cloud API
WhatsApp cloud API is hosted directly on Meta’s servers and your business can get it without any involvement from a third party. It also allows you to build and customize your features on top of WhatsApp to respond to your customers quickly and effectively.
How to get WhatsApp Cloud API
Set up developer assets and platform access.
- Register as Meta Developer.
- Enable two factor authentication
- Go to developer.facebook.com, select My Apps, and finally Create App. Select your Business Type and proceed further with the help of the prompts.
- Select WhatsApp as the app that you would like to connect and continue further with your business manager account.
- Connect your app with your Business Manager account and generate your WhatsApp Business account.
- Get a test business phone number that you can associate with your WhatsApp account.
- Finally redirect your WhatsApp to the API Setup panel in the dashboard.
That’s it you are then ready to roll to send a test message with WhatsApp Cloud API.
From a business service provider
Another way to get access to WhatsApp API is through a third party called business service providers. The BSPs help you in the entire process to get access to WhatsApp API solutions. However, you must keep it in mind that it will be hosted on the server of the business service provider and not directly by Meta.
WhatsApp API pricing
The pricing model for both business API and cloud API vary widely mostly because one is hosted on Meta’s server while the other is hosted by the third party.
In the latter situation the price composition is also determined by the business service provider. The pricing model that you get from a BSP includes the payment that needs to be made to Meta along with the profit markup of the BSP. This is one of the reasons that also made WhatsApp Business API less accessible.
On the other hand, WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta servers thus maintenance charges and other extravagant charges are taken care of by Meta itself. Your business will only have to pay for the conversations as per Meta’s conversation based pricing.
WhatsApp Business API vs WhatsApp Cloud API- Which is better?
In layman’s language both WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp cloud API are used interchangeably mostly because of the similarity of features. However, when it comes down to the real differentiation it is about where both the solutions are hosted.
Since, WhatsApp Business API is hosted on the server of a BSP it costs way more than WhatsApp Cloud API. Furthermore, you do not get access to the new features instantly on WhatsApp Business API until manually updated. However, the case is opposite when it comes to WhatsApp Cloud API.
However, both the solutions can be integrated with WhatsApp marketing tools like Sales Simplify that help you grow your business and level up by adding flairs of automation to your WhatsApp marketing strategy.
Keeping the aforementioned points in mind, pick your winner as per your business needs!
Why opt for WhatsApp API over WhatsApp Business App?
You are wondering why you should invest a hefty amount of money in WhatsApp API.
I ask you why not!?
You need to take your business where your customers are, and your customers are on WhatsApp. If even this is not the reason enough for you to get WhatsApp API, here are a few more benefits that come with it and might give you an insight into what WhatsApp API can do for your business and its growth.
Improved and increased customer communication
In the end it is all about customer communication. How your customers feel interacting with you, what is the tone and setting of the maximum conversations you have with the customers. It is important to have engaging conversations with customers for any business to sustain and grow, customer communication is quite literally the key to growth and WhatsApp API facilitates that.
Increase customer satisfaction with instant responses
No customer reaches out to any brand just for fun. Every customer seeks support after they have tried everything on their own and were unable to figure things out. In that situation if a brand delays the responses then it might frustrate the customer even more, however, if a brand leverages that situation and provides instant response then the effect can be opposite and magnified as well.
When you are there for a customer in the time of need they will feel valued and cared for, it will calm them down, and finally help them gain faith in your business. The consequence of all this is satisfied customers and quality conversations and who does not want that?
Real-time messaging and interaction
With emails you have to wait for responses, with SMS you are unaware if they have been even read or not, with WhatsApp neither is the case. It is very transparent from both the business and the customer’s end. WhatsApp API enables you to send and receive messages in real-time. Your team and your customers can have a consistent conversation in real-time.
For instance, if a customer is unable to understand how to put your product to use, your team can provide a quick response and help them instantly right there and then.
Highly personalized interactions
Getting WhatsApp API takes you one step closer to your customers and personalization is the next step that you need to impress your prospects and win more deals. With WhatsApp API you can have one on one conversations on a platform most preferred by your customers and not just that but also use the elements of personalization to the maximum extent possible.
The personalization is not just for live chats but also for targeted marketing and sales engagement campaigns. Send your WhatsApp marketing messages by directly addressing your customer using their name and increase your chances of sale or retention. Not just that, but you can also leverage your customer’s previous interactions with you to make recommendations and enhance their experience with your business.
One of the top benefits of having WhatsApp API is the ability to automate texts and integrate chatbots. I am sure your customers’ queries must never stop coming; however, you cannot have a team working in real-time just to answer everyday queries like delivery status, or common questions related to your product and services. That is where WhatsApp API will come in handy. You can automate your chat flow and answer customer queries instantly without any hassle.
Resolve customer queries quickly!
So with automated messages your customers no longer have to wait till your working hours to get a small update. If they want to know where their product is even at 3 am in the morning they will get the answer. Or if they want to know how to best use your product they will get the answer they are looking for no matter where they are and what time of the day it is.
Of course, for complex queries the customers will have to connect with your team but rest can be taken care of within a second with automated replies.
24X7 availability aka improved customer loyalty
As a customer yourself you will understand how important it is to get a timely response from a brand. I know it matters to me, because waiting to get a query resolved even for a min agitates me. With the advancements in technology the expectations of customers have advanced too, it is not just me but many out there who expect a response within a second especially for small queries like delivery details, FAQs, giving a review for food, or even tracking where the food is. For such queries no one should have to wait and WhatsApp Business API makes it happen with the help of message automation.
Furthermore, when you are available for your customers 24x7 it gives them an impression that you care about them, their time, and they value you as a customer, thus, helping you gain the customers’ loyalty. The small investment in WhatsApp API can give huge returns in the form of customer loyalty. Just be there for your customers and watch them trust your brand blindly, all it takes is understanding and fulfilling customer needs. By being available for them 24x7 through their preferred platform of messaging you are making it happen!
A wide array of integrations
Let’s be real! No solution is enough on its own when it comes to customer service. There is always scope for more customer service and sales automation, adding more speed to the process, or increasing the functionality of one solution. Amalgamating the versatility of WhatsApp with other automation tools will only make things easier and better for your business. WhatsApp API enables you to do that by providing you a wide array of integrations that can take your business a long way.
CRM and CMS integration for enhanced and seamless support
WhatsApp Business API can be integrated with a CRM and that’s just only one of the many perks it has for your business. With CRM integration it becomes 10X easier for you to keep your customer information organized and also easily accessible. Furthermore, it makes it easier for your support team to answer customer queries keeping in mind the previous interactions and customer information in mind.
This also enables your team to pull up information about your customers instantly while interacting with them thus making sure that the customer response time is reduced and the team member’s productivity is improved. And of course, nothing comes at par with seamless support for customers.
Automation is fine, and so is the option of real-time chat with customers. WhatsApp Business API enables both of those, however, what makes it even better is that it allows chatbot integration! By integrating chatbot with the WhatsApp API you make your brand available to your customers around the clock. The moment that happens, your customers’ experience is enhanced manifolds with just one small step.
Integrating a chatbot with WhatsApp helps you ensure that your customer queries are never missed or neglected no matter what time of the day it is. Here are a few more benefits of integrating a chatbot with WhatsApp API that will tell you why you need it for your business as well:
- Helps in increasing engagement by providing quick and value adding responses to customer queries.
- Uses AI to make sure that the customers do not feel the lack of human touch.
- You can determine the flow and tone of the conversations that your customers have with the chatbot by highly customizing the chatflow.
- Help you in building a solid brand identity by enhancing customer loyalty towards your brand.
- Take your WhatsApp marketing campaign ideas efforts to a new level by resolving any and every query regarding that campaign.
- It can handle thousands of different conversations with different customers at the same time.
Integrate with third party WhatsApp marketing tools
WhatsApp is indeed an amazing solution for your business, however it can only do so much, but it allows you to enhance its functionality by letting you integrate it with WhatsApp Marketing tools that are created specifically to help your business grow through WhatsApp.
One such tool is Sales Simplify that helps you in getting increased ROI on your WhatsApp marketing efforts and here is how it helps you do that:
- It allows you to run multiple campaigns simultaneously.
- You can send messages in bulk to customers with just one click, thus helping you reach a wider audience.
- It helps you with predefined and approved WhatsApp messaging templates.
- You can keep a close tab on the performance of your campaigns with the extensive analytics it provides you with.
- Most importantly, with Sales Simplify you only pay for the work that it does for you. There is no fixed credit limit for a month or a year and your wallet balance stays intact until you actually spend it in your WhatsApp campaigns.
Take marketing and sales to a new level
Marketing and sales go hand in hand and without one the other would make no sense. Now imagine having a tool that helps you facilitate both. WhatsApp API is that tool, it helps you take your marketing and sales to a whole new level by integrating both of those together.
Run effective marketing campaigns on one hand and close more sales by quickly responding to the customer queries regarding your campaigns. Well that is a lethal combination that can help you accelerate business growth at speed by making sure that your marketing is more effective than ever so that sales will follow.
Broadcast message to a wide audience in one go
As an enterprise, a broadcast list of just 256 participants is not enough and that is what the WhatsApp business application provides you with. WhatsApp API removes this limit and allows you to send bulk messages to a huge audience. It helps you gauge customers’ attention by sending promotional messages, new product updates, and whatnot.
You can make the entire process even more effective by integrating WhatsApp API with a WhatsApp marketing tool such a Sales Simplify that not only allows you to send bulk message updates but also provides you with detailed analytics of the same. One click, and you can reach thousands of customers in one go and keep a close track on the performance of your marketing campaign as well.
Media support to increase engagement
Unlike SMS and emails, WhatsApp API does not have any limits when it comes to sending media to your customers. You can send videos, a ton of images, and even GIFs to your customers. This feature enhances the quality of your marketing campaigns and thus helps you engage more customers.
No one enjoys reading a marketing campaign full of texts, giving the crux to your audience and then letting the media explain everything further. If you can entertain your customers through your marketing campaigns then your sales will be unstoppable.
So do not hold back on sending an interactive video or a witty GIF.
WhatsApp API was curated from the perspective of business growth however, it still made sure that the customers are always a priority for the businesses and WhatsApp itself. So to ensure that user experience is not compromised, WhatsApp came up with the feature of opt-in. Which means that the user first has to agree that they want to accept the messages from a brand.
Now this feature might seem like an obstacle for your business growth but it is actually the opposite. When your customers will agree to get messages from your brand, it means that they are truly interested in the material that you are sending. They wait for the updates that you send, and they are either your existing or your potential customers. It helps you narrow down your audience and take you to the people who are genuinely interested in your brand and the products and services it has to offer. Which also means that your chances of getting reported and red flagged for sending promotional messages on WhatsApp are reduced and thus your reputation will stay intact on both the platform as well as in the eyes of your customers.
To me it seems like a win-win situation.
Makes team collaborations a cakewalk
It is not easy to keep your entire team on the same page at the same time. There is always a possibility of some or the other piece of information getting slipped out or being forgotten during interactions. However, this is not the case with WhatsApp API.
WhatsApp API is not just there for customer service but also for inter-team collaborations. You can have a group chat where you share every detail that your team members need to know instantly. You can exchange media, and large document files as well.
Furthermore, you can integrate WhatsApp with sales and marketing tools that help you in making task assignment, management and team collaboration easier. Moreover, with WhatsApp API, you can have multiple users accessing the same account on multiple devices as well. Which means the collaborations will be streamlined, and smoother intra-team collaborations will result in smoother communication with customers. Thus, no customer query of yours will ever be left unattended.
When your entire team will be aware of what you are planning and how you want to proceed with sales and marketing for business growth, they will all understand the objectives and manage things accordingly. This way, your entire team will be on the same page and collaborations would be highly streamlined.
Security and privacy
Why do you think WhatsAp is every user’s favorite platform? The answer goes beyond accessible UI, ease of use, and all the other possible benefits of WhatsApp for customers. It is everyone’s favorite because of the security and privacy that comes with it. The security that WhatsApp provides is unmatched and that is why your customers trust it to use it to interact with your business as well since they know that their information is protected.
End to end encryption between messages
WhatsApp Business API has made sure that the messages are end-to-end encrypted and all the conversations that happen on WhatsApp are accessible only to the sender and the receiver.
You must have seen, before you get a text from a new number or from a new brand, there is a big yellow pop-up on top. That Note reads “Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.”
Well, the confidentiality is at peak, when even WhatsApp itself does not have access to your chats.
Two factor authentication
Your customers need to feel safe while talking to you, be it on any platform, if they are not feeling secure conversing with your business then they won’t feel secure while engaging with you either. So you need to assure your customers that no third-party company has access to their data and adding two-factor authentication adds that extra layer of security.
WhatsApp makes sure that the users are always comfortable while engaging with any brand. They allow them to hide their status, profile photo, and even their bio from contacts as well as those not added to the contact list.
This makes the users feel comfortable since no one has access to any information related to them unless they share it, thus, making WhatsApp one of the top platforms to interact with customers.
Cost-effective in long run
If you see the bigger picture then that will tell you that WhatsApp API is a cost effective solution in the long run. Of course, initially you will have to invest some capital to get access to Business API however, in the long run it will save you a ton of charges.
Even though SMS marketing is still very prevalent and a good option for businesses to scale, it is not the affordable option. Furthermore, different areas have different pricing options, if your target audience is residing in an area where you have to pay hefty charges for SMS marketing then it is not exactly going to be a party. WhatsApp API on the other hand saves you this cost and has practically made marketing more affordable than ever. That is why in WhatsApp marketing vs SMS marketing, WhatsApp is the preferred choice.
The cost is further reduced with the help of automation, since now most of the queries could be easily handled through automation until human intervention is needed. That will save you a ton on team building and also help in improving the team’s productivity by allowing them time and space to focus on complex customer queries.
Furthemore, WhatsApp understands what it takes to build a business, thus it also allows several packages and scaling options when it comes to WhatsApp API pricing.
Take your business global
“I do not want my product and services to be known and used worldwide.”
- Said no business ever!
I know that you want to grow your business manifolds and at some point also penetrate the global market. Well, WhatsApp API gives you the freedom to penetrate the global market right away! The international level presence and usage of WhatsApp allows you to reach a potential customer who might be living 7 seas away from where your business is. WhatsApp API helps you remove the geographical barrier, all you need is to be prepared to enter the market with full force.
Not just that but you can reach out to the audience in the preferred language, for instance in India, Hindi is a major and widely spoken language. Some might even be comfortable just conversing in Hindi. Similarly, German might be the preferred language for your audience in germany. So WhatsApp allows you to get in touch with the audience in their preferred language by providing support in multiple local and regional languages.
So your business can cater to and engage with a diverse audience worldwide.
Map your business growth with solid numbers
WhatsApp API helps you scale by giving you real numbers. The results of all your marketing efforts are quantified and that helps you take the right business decisions and scale accordingly.
Read receipts and message delivery tracking
With emails, SMS, or any other channel of marketing it becomes really difficult to keep track of delivery and read messages. Someone might open your email, but you never know if they really read it, because emails are long and informative, people might open but might not read.
The format on WhatsApp is completely different and the possibility of your message being read after being opened is a lot more compared to other channels. So when you get the numbers on how many texts have been delivered and read, and the action they took next, it gives you an idea about what results you can expect. This also helps you in molding your WhatsApp marketing strategy accordingly.
A to Z metrics- All you need to know
With WhatsApp API you can track everything! Keep a track of how your marketing campaigns are performing, how many users clicked on the links shared by you through, what are the sales coming from WhatsApp marketing and calculate your ROI with the help of these numbers.
When you can quantify the results of everything you are doing, you are able to track output the better way and make decisions accordingly. Moreover, these analytica not only hellp you tell about your ROI but also help you know more about your customers and their behaviors. What messages are best liked by your customers, how customers engage with different kinds of content pieces, what is the frequency of engagement, what queries do customers usually have when they receive a campaign and a lot more.
The better you know your customers, the better will be your WhatsApp marketing strategy, and thus improved results. In the end it all comes down to increased sales, and WhatsApp Business API gives you all the possible opportunities for it.
Use Cases of WhatsApp Business API
The charm of WhatsApp API is such that it can be used for any and every industry making it the perfect solution for hundreds of use cases.
You are working in the medicine and healthcare industry?
Utilize WhatsApp API to facilitate patients to book appointments or get access to their reports or answer to their questions instantly.
Are you in the ecommerce industry looking to increase your sales?
Run WhatsApp campaigns to promote your products, reach out to customers where they are, collect their feedback on your products and services and improve accordingly.
Are you in banking and insurance?
Send instant debit, credit, messages through WhatsApp, or guide your users on how to use your banking app.
Working in the hospitality industry?
Send updates and interact with your customers through WhatsApp.
Are you working in the B2B logistics industry?
Well send regular and precise delivery updates to your clients.
You name the industry or use case and WhatsApp API is the solution!
Still reading the article? Go hurry, and get WhatsApp API!
Now that you've come this far reading, I am certain you have a fair knowledge of what WhatsApp Business API can do for your business. So I’d suggest you not to waste any time and get the WhatsApp Business platform for your business right away.
Scale, sell, flourish with WhatsApp API.