WhatsApp marketing 101: your 2024 guide [+10 WhatsApp campaign examples]

WhatsApp marketing 101: your 2024 guide [+10 WhatsApp campaign examples] blog

By Maxine Hess

Writer | WhatsApp marketer | Creative

WhatsApp marketing is an essential revenue channel for brands in 2024. Here's how to get started in the best way and ensure success in the long-term (+10 WhatsApp campaign examples).


You may have heard of WhatsApp marketing. Now you may be wondering how it works, what are the benefits, who's doing it, what they're doing and how to get started.


If so, you're in the right place :) 


Who is this article for?

This is for marketing managers, CRM managers, digital/online professionals, CMOs, CEOs and even customer service managers at medium to large enterprise brands:

  • Already do WhatsApp marketing? Find top tips to generate more revenue from your WhatsApp campaigns plus real-life campaign examples.
  • Don't do WhatsApp marketing yet? Get up to speed on how to profit from WhatsApp marketing, learn real case studies and find out how to get started efficiently.


What you'll learn:


What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp marketing is the use of the messaging app WhatsApp to promote your business, generate revenue and build relationships with customers (through Meta's WhatsApp Business arm).
Businesses send and receive messages through the WhatsApp Business API/Platform (medium to large businesses) through a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider like charles, or the free WhatsApp Business app (small businesses).



Enterprise WhatsApp marketing blueprint banner, simple landscape



Other terms used for WhatsApp marketing, include: WhatsApp newsletters, WhatsApp campaigns, WhatsApp promotion, WhatsApp advertising, conversational marketing, conversational commerce, chat marketing and social marketing.



Black Friday WhatsApp message collage (1)

Our customers are enjoying amazing success with WhatsApp marketing. Here's a snippet from last year's Black Friday WhatsApp campaigns



7 reasons why WhatsApp works for marketing

  1. Widely used by consumers: WhatsApp is the number 1 messaging app in the world, with nearly 3 billion monthly users and as many as 100 billion messages sent every day.
  2. Excellent on privacy: WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption to significantly boost security of message content.
  3. Highly visible: unlike Facebook Messenger and Instagram, WhatsApp goes directly to your customers' phones, with more people getting instant notifications. 
  4. Impressive results: our customers are making € millions from WhatsApp every year. Average open rates are 85-90%, click-through rates are 20-25% (far higher than email) and revenue per conversation is around €2 per conversation (meaning WhatsApp is highly profitable). See top 5 KPIs
  5. Proven success: In countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia, WhatsApp marketing is a huge success. These countries even have extra functionality like making payments directly in WhatsApp. WeChat is also a model that Meta aspires to, as the go-to app for everything consumers need. See customer success stories here.
  6. Continuous investment from Meta: Meta is looking at monetizing WhatsApp with WhatsApp Business. This means it's pushing the app to businesses, improving functionality all the time and has ambitious plans for the future.
  7. Personal touch: people enjoy interacting with brands in messaging apps. Plus, thanks to segmentation capabilities (and learning about customers through interactive WhatsApp flows and storing tags), brands can send highly targeted campaigns that address customer needs and wants (for higher performance). 


charles brand character, Typie, peeking out of a blue circleSee more reasons to do WhatsApp marketing in 2024 here.



The WhatsApp marketing opportunity for European brands (it's huge)

With nearly 3 billion users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging in the world. Since WhatsApp Business arrived in 2018, brands have also had the chance to enter WhatsApp.



WhatsApp Business downloads, 2018-2023 StatistaWhatsApp Business app downloads have risen steadily, almost tripling in the last few years

(source: Statista)



Dermalogica banner WhatsApp charles longConnecting with businesses on WhatsApp is now a way of life for consumers in Brazil, India and Indonesia.


Seeing this success (and that of WeChat in China), in the last few years, 1,000s of European brands have started using WhatsApp marketing in key markets of Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK.


WhatsApp marketing was a hot topic at Hamburg's online marketing festival, OMR 2024.


More and more LinkedIn posts are appearing with WhatsApp success stories, like this one from our customer, Jack Wolfskin (and these from fashion brand, ZOE LU and cosmetics brand, Duschbrocken). 





By now, WhatsApp has more than proven its worth as a powerful revenue-generating, relationship-building, retention-boosting channel. And with Meta continuing to invest in its WhatsApp business arm as key to its monetization, it's set to grow bigger every year. 


charles brand character, Typie, peeking out of a blue circleRead more about the WhatsApp opportunity, with key stats, in our free, comprehensive, 60-page WhatsApp marketing guide.



How to use WhatsApp for marketing

You can use WhatsApp for all the marketing use cases you carry out on other channels like email, Instagram and Facebook.


However, WhatsApp messages are read more often and usually more quickly. A short WhatsApp notification often performs a lot better than other channels for uses like this.


10 uses of WhatsApp for marketing

  1. Discounts

  2. Competitions

  3. Quizzes

  4. Product launches

  5. Loyalty programs

  6. Surveys/feedback requests/product suggestions

  7. Seasonal creative campaigns (Black Friday, Valentine's Day, the Holidays)

  8. Brand building

  9. Delivery updates

  10. Order confirmations


WhatsApp marketing campaigns are generally sent to highly segmented audiences no more than 1-2 times per month.


The frequency is usually less than other channels, but usually the performance is much higher, thanks to the immediacy and high levels of personalization.


After sendout, businesses respond to any customer replies, carry out analytics, track user behavior and optimize for future campaigns. Customers can ask to unsubscribe at any time.


WhatsApp marketing messages can be highly interactive. You can add up to 3 buttons or a list of up to 12 items that people can choose from. Answers can be stored automatically as tags. This allows for 2-way conversations that generate customer information and are completely automated. 


Plus you can automate entire WhatsApp flows (using software features like charles Journeys) product finders, creative campaigns, surveys and even games


How to get started with WhatsApp marketing

Here's how to start with WhatsApp marketing as a medium to large consumer brand (small businesses can just download the WhatsApp Business app):


1. Choose a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP)

You'll first need a WhatsApp Business software partner.


charles is a WhatsApp BSP and Official Meta partner that provides a leading WhatsApp marketing platform to consumer brands like MediaMarkt, adidas and Dermalogica. We also provide in-depth support and advice so brands can generate the maximum revenue from WhatsApp marketing. Your WhatsApp BSP will set you up in the WhatsApp Business Platform. See a checklist of how to choose a WhatsApp BSP here
Maurizio demo application call to action banner charles

2. Integrate with your CRM, service and other software platforms

WhatsApp is more powerful when you integrate with your other software tools.


This way, you can synchronise data, send the right message in the right place at the right time and ease your processes. For example, with charles' service integrations with Zendesk, Gorgias and more, service agents can answer WhatsApp messages directly in the service desk.


And with our CRM integrations like Emarsys and Klaviyo, our customers can trigger WhatsApp flows with email actions and transfer data from one platform to another for the best customer experience.

charles WhatsApp integrationsSee charles integrations

3. Build your WhatsApp audience

You need to get 1,000s of subscribers to make your WhatsApp marketing activities worthwhile (to maximize revenue).


Our customers do this in several ways: website popups (usually with discount for subscribing to WhatsApp marketing/newsletter), exit intent popups, click-to-chat ads, thank-you page boxes, social media posts (especially instagram stories, in-store posters and outdoor ads.


See charles Chat-ins


4. Get permission to send WhatsApp marketing 

Part of being GDPR compliant in WhatsApp is getting people's permission to send them marketing communications, just as you would with email. See how to set up a WhatsApp opt-in here (plus how to get more from your welcome flow).

  1. Send WhatsApp marketing messages: use your WhatsApp marketing software platform (like charles) to send campaigns, set up automated flows, answer WhatsApps from customers and much more. See costs of WhatsApp conversations here
  2. Continue optimizing: with analytics, you can quickly see what does and doesn't work with your campaigns and activities. At charles, we hold regular meetings with customers to help them continue improving campaigns and finding ways to generate more revenue using WhatsApp – while building close relationships with customers.



WhatsApp partner checklist - charles

Have this to hand when searching for WhatsApp marketing software to benefit your enterprise



Best WhatsApp marketing software

A big part of your success in WhatsApp will be the software partner you choose.


Here are 5 tools we rate that are worth looking at for an enterprise WhatsApp marketing strategy (especially if you're based in Europe):


  1. charles: yes we're biased but we're one of the WhatsApp marketing software leaders in Europe, offering industry-leading support, a feature-rich, easy-to use platform, help with GDPR compliance, a pure WhatsApp-only focus, and ROI knowledge that aims to ensure maximum revenue for brands. See our G2 reviews here.
  2. Sinch Engage 
  3. UserLike
  4. Trengo
  5. Superchat


See more here.


WhatsApp marketing software feature overview, charles

Get a free 30-minute demo of the charles WhatsApp marketing platform



Benefits and challenges of Whatsapp marketing

Here we share both pros and cons of WhatsApp marketing so you can make an informed decision:


Benefits of WhatsApp marketing

WhatsApp is a direct, personal channel and consumers tend to respond very well to marketing campaigns sent as simple WhatsApp messages. Particularly when campaigns are highly relevant to their preferences and behavior:

  1. High open rates: WhatsApp messages are short, sweet and within an app people already use. This leads to most of your messages being seen: open rates of around 85-90%.
  2. Low effort: WhatsApp is an app people know well and enjoy using. Businesses can fit right in without having to do any extra work. Setting up a marketing campaign is quick and easy.
  3. Strong customer loyalty: WhatsApp is an amazing retention channel. Customers appreciate getting personalized messages, discounts and product news in a short format, in an app they already have. It's very easy for businesses to reconnect with customers.
  4. Narrow segmentation: through WhatsApp conversations and questions during opt-in, you learn about people's preferences and behavior. This enables you to send highly targeted campaigns to customer you know will be interested in your message.
  5. High ROI: the effort of sending a marketing campaign via WhatsApp is very low, yet the revenue generated is typically very high – leading to very high ROI numbers. See WhatsApp benchmarks.
  6. Ability to be found: in Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, and the UK, customers can search a WhatsApp or their favorite businesses so businesses can be found easily in WhatsApp. In Brazil, there's a WhatsApp business directory which makes this even easier. (This will come to the EU soon.)


For more, see Top 5 reasons ecommerce brands should start with WhatsApp marketing from onlinemarketing.de (in German here, 29 August 2022).



Shopify Integration Extra 6

ROI results from recent client WhatsApp marketing campaigns



Challenges of WhatsApp marketing

The disadvantages of WhatsApp marketing:

  1. Higher sendout costs compared to email: emails are mostly free to send, WhatsApp marketing campaigns come with a cost per conversation from WhatsApp (and your software provider). 
  2. Limited data to date: at the moment (in Europe at least), WhatsApp marketing is a fairly new market. This means businesses only have 2-3 years of results to draw from to make a good business case for WhatsApp marketing and measure success.
  3. Risk of being blocked: WhatsApp is a personal channel. Break trust and your customer will block you. Unless they opt in again, you've lost them.
  4. Message limits: depending on your quality status, you can be limited in the number of messages you send, and even suspended for a time. Read messaging limit numbers here.
  5. Customer acquisition: WhatsApp is mostly a retention tool at the moment. Larger businesses should already have decent web traffic before setting up a WhatsApp channel. When the WhatsApp business directory rolls out in more countries, this will change. 


10 best WhatsApp marketing campaign examples

You probably want to see examples of exactly how brands are using WhatsApp for their marketing. Here are top 10 campaigns we like from our customers:


1. L'Occitane en Provence: Mothers Day campaign x PURELEI (seasonal)


Group 1333638 (3)Customers received a Mother's Day gift code via WhatsApp, and L'Occitane collaborated with jewellery brand PURELEI for this (also a charles customer)


2. Dermalogica: Personal WhatsApp consultations



WhatsApp conversation Dermalogica x charles 3

Customers can just send a WhatsApp voice note or photo



3. Katjes: Candy counting competition powered by charles' inhouse agency



Frame 11307

Katjes gained 1,000s of subscribers by asking people to guess the number of candies in a jar (and send the answer in WhatsApp) 



4. Leevje: Winter clothing sale (seasonal)



Screenshot of Leevje's website for Black Friday WhatsApp presale campaign

Leevje shut down its website, then gave a password to access the presale via WhatsApp only. See the full case study here.



5. ABOUT YOU: Clever use of segmentation and influencers



Screenshot 2024-03-28 at 15.30.08

German influencer Guido Maria Kretschmer teases his new collection on Instagram, leading to WhatsApp



Screenshot 2024-03-28 at 15.28.10

Every Guido fan that subscribed to WhatsApp gets a 'Guido' tag.




Then customers with the "Guido" tag were sent a WhatsApp message from Guido



6. BRAINEFFECT: Black Friday turns into Black Month on WhatsApp (seasonal)



Website popop from BRAINEFFECT to get people into WhatsApp

BRAINEFFECT extended Black Friday to a whole month of actions, using WhatsApp and other channels. See full BRAINEFFECT case study here



7. Oatsome: Let customers be your promoters with WhatsApp pre-access and early reviews


oatsome Choco Crush launch on Instagram and WhatsApp

Oatsome invited customers to try out the new Choco Crush flavor before other customers through WhatsApp only – then asked them for feedback in WhatsApp 



oatsome 3 product reviews from WhatsApp pre-access

Oatsome received over 50 reviews they could then use to strengthen the public product launch. See the full Oatsome case study here.



8. Every. Foods: Using Veganuary to build a healthy vegan lifestyle community (seasonal)



Chat-ins on Website, Instagram and Flyers Image

Every. Foods did Veganuary very successfully in WhatsApp



WhatsApp Newsletter

Every. gained nearly 1k new WhatsApp subscribers in its educational campaign



9. Lampenwelt and Wesco: win-win campaigns for brand and customer



Group 1333946

Lampenwelt and Wesco successfully collaborated to do a raffle. Both brands benefited from a high opt-in rate for this campaign paired with a low cost per lead. 



10. WWF: First WhatsApp game worldwide to raise awareness on endangered wildlife



The WWF and charles teamed up to create the world's first WhatsApp roleplaying game. In 'Tree of Hope' players can start an adventure as an Eco Ninja and help save the planet by solving puzzles


🕹️ Play WWF's award-winning WhatsApp game Tree of Hope here.



✉️ WhatsApp vs email marketing

WhatsApp messages are much easier to create and send than emails, and enjoy far higher open rates, engagement and conversion. They may come with extra costs to send but achieve far higher ROI (when done right).


Most brands still use both for different purposes, but are increasingly putting WhatsApp first in their marketing strategies – because of the higher revenue with lower effort:


  WhatsApp marketing Email marketing
Cost Free for app, cost per conversation to send from WhatsApp Business Platform (plus software provider fee) Free to send (plus software provider fee)
Consumer use Most popular messaging app in the world with 2 billions monthly users (source: Statista) 4 billion daily users (source: Hubspot)
Open rate ~90%
(source: charles)


(source: Mailchimp)

Click-through rate


(source: charles)


(source: Campaign Monitor)

Security End-to-end encryption Password protected
Attachments Many multimedia attachments allowed: voice messages, images, videos Images, gifs. Video lowers user experience. Voice messages not used widely in emails.
Formatting Bold, italics, strikethrough or monospace, bullets Wide formatting possibilities
Interactive functionality Can add poll, 2x buttons, list, drop-down menu Limited interaction: click on link, reply to email



email vs whatsapp marketing boxing gloveSee our article: WhatsApp vs email marketing, which is best?



💬  WhatsApp vs SMS marketing

In Europe, WhatsApp is a no brainer over SMS. It's highly used (see usage of WhatsApp in Germany), costs less to send and offers more message options and formats. In the US, SMS is still quite popular, although WhatsApp is growing fast now stateside


  WhatsApp marketing SMS marketing
Message length Headline: 60 characters
Message body: 1,025 characters
160 characters
Cost Cost per conversation to WhatsApp plus software subscription and conversation fees When connected to WiFi, free. When offline, cost per message from mobile provider. Plus cost per message from software provider.
Consumer use Most popular messaging app in the world Not as popular in most countries (due to cost), except in the US, where SMS is (for now) more popular than WhatsApp.
Network connection 3G, 4G and WiFi commonly available in Europe Relies on mobile data when out of WiFi area.
Security End-to-end encryption (see more) No end-to-end encryption (see more)
Attachments Many multimedia attachments allowed: voice messages, images, videos Can't send voice messages: send attachments, need to send MMS which costs more
Formatting Can add headline. Bold, italics, strikethrough or monospace, bullets, links. No rich text options (unless use MMS). Can send links.
Extra functionality Can add list and buttons No extra functionality



How much does WhatsApp marketing cost?

WhatsApp marketing costs vary depending on how you use WhatsApp Business, the type of conversation and whether or not you use a software platform. Here's an idea of how much:


WhatsApp Business costs

As a user of the WhatsApp Business Platform (API) via charles, you pay Meta:

  • €0 for the first 1,000: every WhatsApp Business account (WABA) gets 1,000 conversations a month for free.
  • Then a cost per conversation: you pay a small fee for every conversation you have with a customer. A "conversation" includes all messages within a 24-hour window from the first one sent by your business. In Germany, this cost for a "marketing conversation" is around €0.07.


Check the WhatsApp Business page for the latest prices.


Plus WhatsApp software costs

  • A monthly subscription for the software: which should include advice and consultation on how best to plan and execute your WhatsApp marketing campaigns
  • Possibly an additional fee per conversation: this can be a good thing, as it incentivizes your software provider to grow your business (so you message an high volume of people)


This would be offered through an official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider like ourselves. See more here: WhatsApp Business Platform Pricing Explainer


See how much you could earn with WhatsApp marketing: WhatsApp revenue calculator


10 WhatsApp marketing best practices

Here's some best practice tips for your WhatsApp marketing campaigns from Blessing Osadolor, charles Client Success Manager:


1. Add an offer

this will depend on your brand. For low average order (AOV) products, discounts like 20% off work well. For high value products, you might want to add an extra reward, or offer deals like 4 for 3.


2. Be creative

A competition, an event, a fun name, a visual. Get creative and stay true to your brand. Decide if you need to hire a WhatsApp marketing agency or have the resource to do your own (steal our ideas here). Interactivity in WhatsApp is second to none, so use your imagination to catch attention!


3. Get the timing right

Start your campaign before a major sho9pping event when things are a bit quieter. Offer early access via WhatsApp. See if there's an interesting time for the campaign. For example, a sportswear client brand boosted engagement by sending a WhatsApp deal to soccer fans during half time of a big game.


4. Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation

We always say, "high relevance, low frequency." You need a relevant audience and few messages. This way customers will stay engaged and not feel like you're spamming them. You can segment very finely in our platform.


5. Save time and get more interactive with automation

Increase relevance and ease your work. For example, your campaign asks a question, your customer replies yes/no, blue/red, then a relevant offer gets sent automatically (and a tag added to the customer profile).


You can even automate your thank you message. (See charles' WhatsApp automation tool, Journeys.)


6. Add tracking links

Use tracking links so you can accurately measure the success of your campaign and make learnings. (In the charles platform we add these automatically once you've integrated with Google Analytics.)


7. Boost WhatsApp sales with links to prefilled carts

with charles you can set up a "Chatout" link – a link to a filled cart that helps customers complete a purchase in as little as one tap (if logged in to your store). 


8. Make thank yous go further

Use your thank you messages to encourage further actions: like an extra discount, a question, a review request, a marketing opt-in.


9. Attend to replies

Are you there for real-time conversations? Do you have enough people? Are they trained? It's really important you answer within a minute or so. (Use WhatsApp service integrations.)


10. Promote your WhatsApp campaign

Work hard to get more people to engage with your WhatsApp marketing activities and opt in to your WhatsApp channel: website banners, flyers, emails, Instagram stories, even guerilla actions.


charles brand character, Typie, peeking out of a blue circleSee more in 6 dos and 1 don't of WhatsApp marketing and 5 secrets of WhatsApp success for Black Friday.


4 reasons WhatsApp marketing is growing in 2024

1. The need for WhatsApp is growing

  • Businesses are looking for more personal ways to communicate with their customers and build long-term relationships. Email is impersonal, offering only a one-way means of communication, with low average opening rates of around 17%. And social media is a crowded landscape full of noise and algorithms that can be hard to crack. 
  • Consumers want quicker answers and more personal communications. They're tired of impersonal emails, faceless retail companies and marketing complexity. They increasingly want to use messaging apps to communicate with businesses.


2. WhatsApp results are becoming more known

Statistics like 80-90% open rates and 8-10X ROI are a big reason businesses are flocking to WhatsApp. See our clients' results from Black Friday 2022 to see the difference 1 year makes.


3. WhatsApp functionality is maturing

Both WhatsApp and software solutions are improving rapidly. With the conversational commerce market growing, more investment is – even with a downturn in other industries. Advanced tools like automation, detailed analytics and commerce integration save time and money and help continual optimization. 


4. Many businesses aren't there yet

The opportunity is big, yet many businesses are not yet on WhatsApp. This makes now the time for early adopting businesses to easily differentiate themselves from their competitors by being there for their customers on WhatsApp.


How to make money with WhatsApp marketing

We've been doing this for 5 years now and it's clear that brands using WhatsApp are making millions in revenue. We understand brands' revenue and retention needs, so ROI is the number 1 focus of both our software and our support.


One of our first customers to use WhatsApp for marketing, and the first to hit €1 million in revenue several years ago was clothing brand SNOCKS:





charles brand character, Typie, peeking out of a blue circleSee more in How to make money from WhatsApp marketing 


Get started with WhatsApp marketing with charles

The time is now. Get your free 30-minute demo of the charles platform, tailored to your business – and start generating untold revenue and retention with WhatsApp marketing.




WhatsApp marketing FAQs

Is WhatsApp marketing legal?

Yes, WhatsApp marketing is legal. When WhatsApp Business was launched in 2018, it was a customer support channel only. Businesses weren't allowed to send unsolicited advertising or marketing messages via WhatsApp. 

In 2022, WhatsApp allowed businesses to send WhatsApp marketing messages.

Who is WhatsApp marketing for?

WhatsApp marketing is mainly used by ecommerce and retail brands, from single-person businesses, to larger direct to consumer (DTC) shops, to global enterprise brands.

It's increasingly being used for other use cases like charities staying in touch with donors, sports clubs building communities of members, food delivery services, business to business (B2B) companies and even life coaching services.

Which countries use WhatsApp marketing most?

WhatsApp marketing is already established in countries like India, Spain and Brazil (WeChat is a similar, more advanced app in China). It's now growing in use across the rest of the world as WhatsApp grows its functionality and consumers look for more direct, personal ways to stay in touch with brands.

This is particularly true in key European markets like Germany and Italy, where WhatsApp usage is very high. They're becoming increasingly familiar with using WhatsApp to communicate with business and feel it has many advantages over traditional channels like SMS and email.

How much does WhatsApp marketing cost?

WhatsApp marketing using the WhatsApp Business App is free.


If you use the WhatsApp Business Platform (API) it depends on the number of messages and country. The first 1,000 messages are free, then there's an additional cost per conversations. In Germany, this is €0.011 (as of February 2023).


See above for more on WhatsApp costs.

We hope this helps.

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