WhatsApp Business API For Beginners
When you initiate with WhatsApp marketing, it is intended to connect with your customers personally. There cannot be strategies behind doing that. Because your customers are the lifeline of your company. And they cannot be tricked. Large corporations realize this better than small and emerging companies. This is why they keep marketing strategies outside of WhatsApp and work on improving customer-friendliness.
But there is a way that companies get in touch with customers. And it is not like your typical social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter where audience engagement is relatively simple. WhatsApp was developed with the idea of having to message free and private among people.
Cut to the chase, companies need to connect with their audience. But not without knowing their contact numbers. WhatsApp has recently launched the WhatsApp Business API for large companies to help them connect with their audience. And this is the first-ever application that’s monetizable by Facebook from companies. Before you assume that it is going to be a cakewalk, this article will help you understand the process behind having a WhatsApp Business API. And it is quite a process.
What Is An API?
Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface that bridges the gap between the user and the software. For example, you access a booking portal looking for the best deals for your buy. From the listed options, you choose an ideal option and send a request using an API. API acts as a representative to fulfill your request by confirming the same and giving what you need.
Understanding WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Business API works similarly to how an API facilitates interaction. WhatsApp Business API was developed to fill the communication gap that large companies faced with their customers. WhatsApp, partners with companies that are experts in handling customer information for communication purposes. These companies are called WhatsApp Partners or WhatsApp API partners.
WhatsApp Business API is primarily intended for any large company-
That wants a wider customer reach.
That wants to keep its customers updated about their actions with the company.
That wants to establish a seamless flow of communication.
Having got a fair idea of what WhatsApp Business API is, it is a question of choosing the right WhatsApp partner for your business. There are a ton of WhatsApp partners to choose from. Facebook Partner Directory has a curated list of companies where companies can find the appropriate WhatsApp partner that suits them.
Breaking Down WhatsApp Business API
The way WhatsApp Business API works is unlike your normal WhatsApp application. It is not downloadable from the Google Play or App Store and cannot be initiated by simply creating an account. WhatsApp Business API was built for the use of large corporations that can establish communication with its customers.
Applying A WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Business API accounts are available only through WhatsApp Partners. They are SMS or Voice data providers who have access to large volumes of caller information. They charge you for WhatsApp messages on top of their SMS messages. Therefore, companies are first required to apply for a Business API account with a number that stays permanently. There is also a provision to buy/rent a number from the WhatsApp API partner depending on your country code.
Setting Up Your Business Profile
For any API partner you choose, you need to submit some basic information about your company. This can happen if you have your business verified on Facebook which then gives you a Facebook Business Manager ID. You can submit your business information to WhatsApp after getting your business verified by Facebook. WhatsApp takes 3 to 14 business days to verify your company information. After verification, WhatsApp asks for your official number to add to your API account. You have to remember that this number is permanent and cannot be migrated in case you change to a new WhatsApp partner. The same number cannot be used with different APIs.
Setting Up Your Verified WhatsApp Business API Account
As said before, currently, WhatsApp Business API is limited to large companies who can get verified, given their business credibility. Some of those companies include Uber, Netflix, Zolo Stays, etc. Once your company is verified, a green tick appears aside your business name and your business will be identifiable even without the user saving your number.
WhatsApp Business API Pricing
It is important to note that WhatsApp Business API pricing is set by WhatsApp partners and not by WhatsApp. WhatsApp serves as a dashboard to house all WhatsApp partners under one roof.
The pricing models depend entirely on the type of WhatsApp partner you choose. It could be a per-message model or a monthly subscription.
There is also something called Template messages and Session messages. These come the per-message pricing model. Template messages are pre-approved messages by WhatsApp before it is sent to the customer. They are priced between ₹3 – ₹3.5 for every message sent after lapsing a 24-hour window. Session messages are messages that are sent and received within the 24-hour window. Though session messages are unlimited to the sender and the receiver, it costs about ₹ 0.37 per message.
Besides this, WhatsApp partners also charge an upfront fee for companies to set up their API account. Since WhatsApp Business API has to be integrated with your business’ software interface, an initial set up cost is charged by WhatsApp API partners. The most important thing to note is that the message prices are standard for a said volume of messages. The more the volume of messages increases, the messages prices are discounted as per Facebook’s List Schedule.
How Helpful Is WhatsApp Business API For Companies?
Besides the common knowledge of reaching customers far and wide, WhatsApp Business API is for simple purposes. Companies use WhatsApp Business API to give instant updates on offers, promotions, or send confirmation messages about orders, or answer business queries through personal chats.
These methods are what help companies garner more reach to their customers as satisfied customers naturally market the service elsewhere.