WhatsApp Broadcast for Business: The Ultimate Guide (Sep 2021)

WhatsApp bulk messages are normally ‘one-to-many’ or ‘broadcast’ type of messages that are sent using the broadcast feature

12
 min. read
September 9, 2021
WhatsApp Broadcast for Business: The Ultimate Guide (Sep 2021)

How to send bulk messages on WhatsApp?

You may have hundreds of emails, dozens of notifications, and a few SMSs that are yet to be opened and read. But how many such messages do you have on your WhatsApp? Very few, unless you are on a digital detox or have misplaced your phone.

WhatsApp is so personal and accessible that almost all users eventually read the messages they receive. No one likes to see the green badge icons that display the number of messages waiting to be read.

Many businesses use the messaging platform to send personalized messages to their customers. But some abuse it by sending unsolicited bulk messages, which may get them banned from the app.

In fact, between May and June 2021, WhatsApp banned two million Indian accounts, of which over 95% were due to the unauthorized use of automated or bulk messaging. Furthermore, between June 16 and July 31, the messaging app banned more than three million Indian accounts, its compliance report revealed.

In December 2019, WhatsApp decided to take legal action against businesses that are engaged in or assisting others to send bulk or automated messages on its platform.

What are WhatsApp bulk messages?

As the name suggests, bulk messages are messages sent to multiple people at the same time.

WhatsApp bulk messages are normally ‘one-to-many’ or ‘broadcast’ type of messages that are sent using the broadcast feature on the messaging app. The feature, in the personal app, allows a sender to send messages to 256 recipients with a single click (provided the numbers of intended recipients are saved).

In WhatsApp Business API, however, a sender can broadcast between 1,000 and 100,000 messages to as many unique users (depending on the tier they are in) in a rolling 24-hour timeframe.

Presently, many businesses are using this feature to advertise and promote their products and services to a large number of users in less time.

But WhatsApp considers sending bulk messages for advertising purposes as an intrusion of its users’ privacy. In its Terms of Service, the messaging platform states that its products are not intended for automated or bulk messaging.

Is sending bulk messages on WhatsApp illegal?

Sending bulk messages, which violate the terms and conditions of the messaging platform, is illegal. Sending unsolicited messages, marketing, broadcasting, or promotion is a violation of WhatsApp's terms and conditions.

But not all bulk messages sent on the platform are illegal. You can send bulk messages on the messaging app by complying with the rules and in a precise manner. Many medium and large businesses send bulk messages on the WhatsApp business app for sharing files and relevant documents with their employees.

You can send bulk messages in any format such as an pdf, word doc, jpg, png, xls, depending on your needs.

Why do businesses prefer sending bulk messages via WhatsApp?

Some businesses prefer sending bulk messages on WhatsApp because of its:

High user base

There are over 2.5 billion WhatsApp users all around the world. This gives businesses a gold mine of opportunity to generate more leads and connect with more prospective customers.

High open rate

WhatsApp messages have an open rate of 99%, which is way higher compared to messages received from other media. On average, the messages sent to the platform are seen within five minutes. As the messages are more likely to reach the target users, more businesses prefer the messaging app to get in touch with their customers.

Accessibility

Many email users may not have their email accounts opened all the time and some even don’t have notifications enabled. But almost all WhatsApp users access the app frequently and read the messages they receive.

No ‘Spam’ folder

In your email account, there is a spam folder that stores unwanted emails. Unlike email services, however, WhatsApp does not have such a feature (or an inbuilt spam) filter that automatically filters out and stores the unnecessary messages in a separate box. It only does that after a user uses the new ‘Report spam and block’ feature.

Message tracking feature

The messages sent on WhatsApp can be tracked. Senders can see the number of messages sent, delivered, read, and how many people replied to those using analytics. Emails and SMS do not provide this feature.

Compatibility with most devices

Be it Android, iOS, or web browsers, WhatsApp is compatible with major operating systems and web browsers and can be accessed through PC or mobile devices. SMS can only be read on phone.

Ability to send multimedia files

Using WhatsApp, businesses can send images, videos, PDFs, word files, excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other file types to their staff and customers. Sharing multimedia files via WhatsApp is more efficient than SMS and email.

Ease in automation

WhatsApp messages can be easily automated and sent to a large number of customers, who opted-in to receive updates about fresh stocks or delivery.

Easy handling by multiple team members

Many businesses also use the WhatsApp Multi-agent Inbox to enable multiple team members to handle customer communication and send relevant bulk messages to their customers.

Ability to enhance customer experience

WhatsApp bulk messages can be personalized to provide a superior customer experience. The messages containing important updates, reminders, valuable information, and customer alerts can build trust and loyalty.

What do we think of bulk messages?

Bulk messages are good if they are personalized and sent for a particular purpose other than promotion and advertisement of products, services, and sales.

WhatsApp is working tirelessly to reduce spam messages and it has banned several numbers, even taken legal action against some, which were involved in spamming.

At BotSpace, we recommend using WhatsApp Business API for bulk messaging as the messages will be preapproved from WhatsApp and always comply with the platform’s terms and conditions. That means you can still reach out to a large number of people without the fear of getting banned.

How you can send bulk messages on WhatsApp?

You can send bulk messages on WhatsApp in three ways:

  • By using the personal app
  • By using the unofficial tools
  • By using your official WhatsApp Business API

By using your WhatsApp personal, you can broadcast messages to a maximum of 256 contacts in your contact list. Click on the More Options icon (the one with three horizontal dots), and you will see the ‘New Broadcast’ option in the second spot. After tapping on that, you can select the contacts (only the ones in your address book) and create a broadcast list. After creating the broadcast list, you can send your message, which will be broadcasted to all contacts in the broadcast list. A broadcast message can be identified by a small megaphone icon next to the time of delivery.

Using an unofficial tool may give you a shortcut to send your messages to a large number of people, but it can get you banned from the platform. Moreover, the tool will stop working when WhatsApp updates its machine learning systems or makes some changes in its platform.

On the other hand, using an official WhatsApp Business API is safe and quashes the chance of your number getting banned.

If you are initiating a conversation with some customers or unique users via a business API, the message templates must be preapproved from WhatsApp and you can’t send promotional messages. However, when customers send a message to your business account, you can respond with any content, which doesn’t need to be pre-approved, including advertising and promotional messages and surveys containing attachments and media files.

By using an official API, you can automate and schedule your messages. Furthermore, multiple people in your team can log in and address your customers’ problems and queries.

Advantages and disadvantages of broadcasting messages via WhatsApp personal app

The advantages of sending bulk messages via the Whatsapp personal app are:

  • Reach out to many people
  • Free of cost

The disadvantages of sending bulk messages using the personal app are:

  • Can only be sent to those who are on the contact list
  • The maximum limit is 256 contacts

Advantages and disadvantages of sending bulk messages using unofficial tools

The advantages of sending bulk messages using unofficial tools:

  • WhatsApp API approval not required
  • Approval of message templates not needed
  • Easy setup
  • Can be used for personal use or work-related purposes

The disadvantages of sending bulk messages using unofficial tools:

  • The number may get banned as these tools are not affiliated with WhatsApp
  • May stop working as WhatsApp constantly updates its platform
  • No possibility of Green Checkmark verification

Advantages and disadvantages of sending bulk messages using official Business API

The advantages of sending messages using official business API:

  • The number integrated with the business API will never get banned
  • Messages can be automated and scheduled
  • Allows building of auto-reply chatbots
  • Multiple agents can handle conversations
  • Possibility of Green Checkmark verification
  • APIs can be integrated with external systems

The disadvantages of sending messages using official business API:

  • Needs Business API approval
  • WhatsApp pre-approves message templates
  • Promotional messages are prohibited
  • Bulk messages are charged by WhatsApp

A step-by-step guide to send WhatsApp bulk messages using an official API

You can send WhatsApp bulk messages to your contact list using the platform of an official business service provider such as BotSpace.

  1. First, open the WhatsApp business API then go to the dashboard.
  2. Then select the WhatsApp Business API number integrated to your...
  3. There you will see a ‘Broadcast’ tab. Once you click on it, you will see a cyan-colored ‘New Broadcast’ button on the top-right side.
  4. After accessing it, you can type the broadcast name, choose a template message, select a method to add recipients, add template variables to the message, and schedule the time you want to send the message. You then can click on a bright green-colored ‘Next’ button on the bottom-right side.
  5. Then you can select the recipients from a list of your contacts or you can upload your own list of receivers by clicking on an excel file. Next, you can click on the ‘Add Broadcast’ button on the bottom-right side.
  6. After that, you can track your WhatsApp broadcast statistics and analytics. You can see if the messages are getting processed, sent, queued, and failed. Once the messages are sent, you can view how many recipients read them and replied to the same. You can read all the replies on the ‘Team Inbox.’

When should you send bulk WhatsApp messages?

Bulk WhatsApp messages are useful when they are sent for the following purposes:

1. To send reminders to your customers

Busy customers appreciate speedy and reliable information from the businesses they are dealing with. Sending reminders will help customers to make time out from their busy schedule, keep up with their appointments, and save money even. This will also build a strong perception of your company in their minds.

2. Keep customers up to date

You can use bulk WhatsApp messages to keep your customers informed about the new developments in your company, products, or services. This will make them feel important, like a key stakeholder in the true essence.

3. Send alerts if your customers need to be aware of any problem

In case of any problem, which can directly affect your customers, you can use bulk WhatsApp messages to inform them fast about the issue as well as the solutions to avoid the potential inconveniences. Customers will appreciate such alerts as they are useful and avert misunderstandings.

4. To share important files with team members

WhatsApp bulk messages can also be sent to team members for internal file sharing. The messaging platform supports document sharing and enables users to share a wide range of documents such as word files, pdfs, xls, csv, txt, and many more.

Best practices for sending WhatsApp bulk messages

If you plan to send WhatsApp bulk messages, it is important to follow the best practices. Here are some tips and best practices on how to send effective bulk WhatsApp messages:

1. Focus on providing value to the receivers

Before sending a message, ask yourself this question, “What value can the message bring to the life of the receiver?” Can it save them money? Can it save their time? Can it make their life easier? If the answer to any of the questions is in the affirmative, then go for it. The top best practice must be to send a message only if it can provide some value to the recipients.

2. Make sure the right message gets delivered to the right person at the right time

WhatsApp bulk messages are most effective when it is sent in a time-bound manner. It is extremely crucial to send the right message to the right person at the right time. Let’s take an example of a post-order message, it must be sent after an order is placed but before its delivery with the order id, amount, and confirmation code in it.

Before sending any message, assess your BSP’s throughput—the number of messages they can send in one second (Message parts per second). Messages with high urgency must be delivered first with the highest priority. In contrast, other messages with low urgency could be sent leisurely.

4. Ensure the message is relevant to all recipients

As pointed out earlier, irrelevant messages are waste of time, annoying, and create an unfavorable impression in the mind of receivers. So, when you plan to send a template message to many customers and users, make sure that it is relevant to all of them.

5. Ensure you are responsive

When customers initiate a conversation on your WhatsApp Business API, you are free to respond with content that does not need to be pre-approved. In such cases, you can respond with any content, including advertising and promotional messages as well as surveys containing attachments and media files.

6. Get customers’ consent before messaging them

Before you message a customer, it is important to get their consent first. Messaging customers without their consent is an intrusion of their privacy.

7. Set the frequency of your messages

When it comes to getting in touch with customers, less is more. It’s better to send one message to each customer per week than to send them daily. It, however, depends on your company, your market segment, and your customer base.

8. Make sure you send the messages to the numbers that use WhatsApp

Last but not the least, ensure that you send the messages only to those numbers that use WhatsApp. This won’t be a problem in sessions messages, where you will respond to customers’ messages. But this can be an issue if you are initiating a conversation and don’t know if all the numbers use WhatsApp.

Conclusion

When sent for the right purpose, bulk messaging on WhatsApp can be helpful for both your business and your customers. It will save your time and effort, and it will provide valuable information, updates, reminders, alerts, and resources to your customers and staff.

Choosing an official BSP is crucial to send bulk messages in compliance with WhatsApp’s terms and conditions. At BotSpace, we offer bulk WhatsApp messaging services and Multi-agent shared inbox for all types of businesses. To know how our services can transform your business and help you reach out to more customers, contact us for a free consultation.