WhatsApp Marketing Malaysia: A Guide To Using WhatsApp Marketing In Your Marketing Strategy

by Aiman
whatsapp marketing malaysia

WhatsApp Marketing Malaysia

We are well aware that Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are all integral parts of digital and online marketing. But as of late, we are starting to see messenger apps like WhatsApp take hold of digital marketing as well.

The messenger app WhatsApp is very popular here in Malaysia, many online businesses and stores would usually display their WhatsApp number to visitors so they can message them about products. Needless to say, the platform has brought in many benefits for both businesses and customers.

Plus, we can also consider its large user base as well. As of 2020, WhatsApp reported around 2 Billion active users using the messenger app, making the most used messenger app in the world. In Malaysia, it is safe to say that almost anyone and everyone with a smartphone will have WhatsApp installed. Market penetration using WhatsApp marketing in Malaysia is something that marketers cannot ignore.

WhatsApp: A Quick History

whatsapp marketing malaysia
WhatsApp founders: Brian Acton and Jan Koum (Source: Reuters)

Now I’m sure most of you reading this might already be well aware of what WhatsApp is, but just in case, we will give you a little refresher, and maybe a short history lesson.

WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by former Yahoo! employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum. They got the idea when they purchased an iPhone in that same year, and saw the potential of the App industry on the Apple store. The two had an idea and visited their friend, Alex Fishman, where they began discussing a messenger app that could “display statuses next to their names”. 

To take their idea further, they needed to see an iPhone developer. Fishan found someone on the website, RentACoder.com, that might be able to help with this, a Russian developer by the name of Igor Solomennikov. 

In February of that same year they had the idea, WhatApp became incorporated in California. But the early beta versions had a pretty rocky start as the app kept crashing. Jan Koum even considered quitting and giving it all up, Brian Acton suggested that he should give it some time, so he did.

When WhatsApp 2.0 released with a fleshed out messaging component, the user drastically increased to 250,000. 

The app finally saw it’s final release in November 2009 on the iPhone. Koum hired his friend, Chris Pieffer, to begin work on developing the app for the Blackberry, this version was released in January 2010. 

In 2011, WhatsApp was among the Top 20 apps on the U.S Apple Store.

Koum got the name WhatsApp because it sounded like the greeting, ‘what’s up”. Eventually through trial and error, WhatsApp became one of the largest and most used apps. In 2014, Facebook, a company which Acton and Koum applied for after leaving Yahoo, but failed, purchased the messenger app for a whopping 19 Billion USD. Which really goes to show the value and worth the app has garnered itself. 

Now, WhatsApp has become the most used messenger app in the world. 

WhatsApp: The Features

whatsapp marketing malaysia
Source: Reuters

You can now use WhatsApp on different platforms, these include Apple, Android, Windows phones and select Nokia phones. There are also versions available on both PC and Mac, but you will need to link it to your phone account to be able to use them.

Registering and using WhatsApp is pretty simple. To register, all you need to do is put in your phone number and you will get a text with a confirmation code to complete your verification, once you have put in the verification code in the app, you can now use it. 

To add friends, or colleagues on WhatsApp, all you need to do is get their mobile phone numbers, if they are registered on WhatsApp, they will then appear in your contacts list. If you want to pass people from overseas, you just need to make sure you add their number with their respective country phone code. 

This easy to use approach to the app is possibly why it is very popular. With WhatsApp users can:

Chat One-to-One

If you add someone on WhatsApp you will be able to chat with them for free and without charges. So long as you have mobile data or a wifi connection, you can talk to them as long as you want to.

Create Group Chats

This feature is perfect for friend groups and for office employees who want to create a chat room for people who are involved in whatever it is they might be doing. You can have around 265 members in a single group-chat. 

Pictures, videos,GIFs, voice recording snippets and files can be sent via WhatsApp to other people as well.

Video and Voice Call

WhatsApp also has a video and voice call feature, so you can contact your friends, families and colleagues anywhere in the world with an internet connection without worrying about overseas call fees. 

Broadcast

WhatsApp also allows the ability to send out broadcast messages in which you can to those in a broadcast list. Basically you can create a list of people you have saved in your phone book who have WhatsApp. The recipients will see the broadcast as a regular message on the app. If recipients reply to the broadcast message, it will just be a regular one-to-one message between them and the broadcaster.

WhatsApp Marketing: Malaysia’s Best Form of Marketing?

Well, to put it as the best would be an over exaggeration, but what we will say is that WhatsApp marketing in Malaysia might be one of the most effective ways to market.

Why?

Well, let us remind ourselves of the numbers, again, WhatsApp has 2 billion active users as of February 2020, it is safe to say that a good majority of Malaysians have access to it, we that more than half of the population at least. 

With those kinds of numbers, using WhatsApp for your marketing in Malaysia would be very effective as you will be able to reach a wider pool of people.

Should Businesses Use It?

To put in short, yes. To not use WhatsApp marketing in Malaysia would mean that you lose a large chunk of your targeted consumer base to market to. And it’s not just about marketing either, WhatsApp has allowed direct communication between the business and customers and gives the chance to provide great customer care. 

If your customers have a query that they want answers to, you as a business can tend to those queries. Customers will appreciate the one-to-one communication much better than your typical email that they have to wait a day or two to get answered.  

Another factor to consider using WhatsApp as a marketing tool is that it has a high engagement rate, most people would open messages sent via WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp is especially helpful for smaller businesses where customer engagement is very important. Say you are an owner of a small bakery that sells their products online. Having WhatsApp as a means to not only communicate but to sell products, confirm payments and tend to other queries is a great advantage small businesses can have. 

Younger customers are more enticed to engage with companies via WhatsApp, mostly in part due to the efficiency of it all, and the availability to get answers quickly from sellers. 

How To Do WhatsApp Marketing in Malaysia

Unlike other social media platforms, WhatsApp does not have the availability or space to place ads on their platform, nor does it have any other business related features, not yet at least. So, this means that businesses will need to come up with their own strategy if they want to use WhatsApp marketing in Malaysia. 

Another thing that businesses are limited to is that WhatsApp does not have a business account feature. Sure, you can have a seperate mobile phone number that deals with your business, but on WhatsApp, you are given the same limitations of every other user. So be sure to strategise around that as well.

It is important to remember that unlike emails or other computer based platforms, WhatsApp is solely built with mobile users online, so most interactions via WhatsApp are personal, so with that, it is important for businesses to retain a sense of personality when using WhatsApp marketing in Malaysia. Another thing businesses should also think about is building a brand personality via WhatsApp as well, and think of creative ways to market, we can look at Absolut Vodka’s WhatsApp marketing strategy they did for one of their campaigns. 

WhatsApp Business App

One thing business owners can try out is another separate app, developed by WhatsApp, with business owners in mind. WhatsApp Business is a free app that allows the creation of catalogs to show products and connect to customers more efficiently with tools that allow for the automation, sorting and quick response to messages. 

Conclusion

So, should you use WhatsApp Marketing in Malaysia? Absolutely.

Especially if you are a small business. There are just lots of benefits to using WhatsApp as a form of marketing. From broadcasting promotions, discussing purchases and answering queries from your customers or potential customers.

Larger businesses with a larger base of customers might have difficulty with WhatsApp marketing, because the accounts are our phone numbers, so you won’t be seeing Digi or Apple using WhatsApp anytime soon for their marketing, this is where smaller businesses have the advantage.

So, if you are planning on starting your own business, be sure to include WhatsApp among your choices of marketing platforms.

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