Every marketer is up for reaching new customers, building better communication channels. The reason can be to have another channel where you can have meaningful conversations. Or to have another channel where you can contact stranger is masses, deliver a bunch of cold content and see what sticks. This tutorial won’t be useful in the second case, but you can benefit from it if you belong to the first group.
Whatsapp business has been around since beginning of 2022, giving you the option to communicate with your clients through this cost effective channel. But long before that there were integrators, who connected Whatsapp Web to an API enabling you to communicate through they interface with your clients.
This channel should be in no way used for mass communication, but perfect for delivering meaningful messages directly into the Whatsapp inbox of others. And the cost is: peanuts.
Should you go with a Whatsapp Business Account or use the Web based integration? What are the pros and cons?
|Whatsapp Web||Whatsapp Business|
|Cost||Small flat fee||1000 conversation free, then sms like pricing|
|Verification process||No verification||Strict vetting process|
|Integration with Mautic||Whatsupp plugin||Through Twilio|
|Challenge||Monthly need to rescan QR||There is no official plugin (2022.06.)|
|Delivery quality||90%+ according to my tests||?|
|Message templating||Free||Approved business templates|
Going into details:
In the Whatsapp plugin I’m connecting to a service called Wo-Wa. They charge me USD 14 every month and I can send as many messages I want. This cost would be probably above the Whatsapp business account pricing based on the low number of messages I’m sending, but a client of mine uses it for order confirmation, delivery dispatch information and other customer service. They need to send multiple messages to each client during the life cycle of each order, and this turned out to be the best way. (Order confirmation, dispatch info, delivery person arrival, invoice, feedback) Weekly 150 customer x 5 message x 4 = monthly 3000 messages. This would cost around 150 EUR / month with Twilio.
Each Whatsapp Business account owner has to go through a verification process, as Whatsapp also would like to protect the service and not to have spam in they system. The process is couple of steps, and honest sender can be approved, but it still takes time.
If you send through Wo-Wa, you don’t need any special process, just register, scan your QR code, and you are ready to go. Certainly, you’ll need to rescan your code from time to time, but if you are using the service frequently, then it happens only once in couple of month.
Integration with Mautic
I’ve seen some posts about Twilio’s Whatsapp Business integration with Mautic but most of them are webhook based, and require you to do some hacks.
With the Whatsapp plugin, you only need to add credentials you get from Wo-wa, and ready to go.
The Whatsapp business account integration with Twilio supposed to just work out of the box, but like I said, I haven’t seen any well documented solution yet, just workarounds and hacks. With a Whatsapp Web integrator you only need to make sure your QR code is regularly scanned. If you keep messaging people your Whatsapp Webb will never log out, so you don’t even need to rescan it for months.
It’s up to you if you choose one pain over the other.
Since there is no real Whatsapp Business plugin with Mautic there is no point to discuss which channel is it replacing. If you are hacking your Twilio account together with Whatsapp Business, then probably it replaces the SMS channel. It means you can’t send SMS, just Whatsapp messages.
It is the same case with the Whatsapp Plugin. You will send Whatsapp messages, but Mautic will still say “Text message” or “SMS”. The plugin just diverts the SMS channel to Whatsapp. In the near future there will be a solution where a new channel is created, so you’ll be able to keep sending SMS and Whatsapp on different channels.
Like I said before, I expect to get 100% delivery over Whatsapp Business, but I have no experience with it, so I can’t tell you how good deliverability is. My tests with Whatsapp Web are very very good, over 90% of the messages are getting delivered to the clients. I’m not sending any spam of course, and they especially expect my messages.
You can send your individualised messages with Whatsapp without restrictions. At the same time they they try to regulate the content businesses send, and similarly to a Facebook ad, you’ll need to submit the templates you are using for mass messages. This can be a major dealbreaker for many, because we don’t want to wait, get refused by someone who has 25 seconds to decide if our text is according to the rules or not. But again, this might be the way to go for many, especially if you plan to deliver cold messages.
With Whatsapp Web it’s different you can use any text you like, with some restrictions. This is the official rule set for Wo-wa for example:
- Connect WhatsApp numbers which already >30 days old or has been used as human normal activities such as reply chats, save contact, join group, send photos, scan qr code on personal desktop Whatsapp, fill in profile details, and other types of activities in WhatsApp chat application,
- Avoid sending spam messages or mass messages or blasters that are not desired by the recipient,
- Make informed consent or request permission to the recipient of the message who state that they are willing to be sent messages via WhatsApp,
- Avoid sending messages in more than 500 messages/hour,
- Avoid sending messages with words or sentences that are 100% identical to >20 numbers in same time.
So what can you send? You can send really cool personalised messages like:
- Abandoned cart reminders
- Reactivation of non-active visitors
- Personalised offers
- Special content relevant to a specific user
Make your choice
So Whatsapp business or Whatsapp web?
If you are a business, that relies on cold messages or has fewer them 50 / day interactions to different numbers, and you can hack your Twilio account to Mautic I suggest to use Whatsapp Business.
If you want to start to send Whatsapp messages right away, you are okay with rescanning your QR code from time to time, I would go with the Whatsapp Web solution.
Get your Mautic plugin now – it’s free
The plugin is super-easy to install:
1. Download from Github
2. Unzip in your plugins folder and make sure the folder name is MauticWhatsappBundle
3. Make sure you reload your plugins (mind using the right user / permissions)
php bin/console mautic:plugins:reload
4. Get your credentials, register an account on Wo-Wa. I use the 14 USD / month subscription.
5. Add your domain, phone number.
6. Scan your QR (just like any WhatsApp web app) + get your API Key:
7. Go to your settings and publish the plugin:
8. Publish the plugin and add your key
9. Choose Whatsapp as SMS channel in your Configuration – Text message settings:
10. Send a regular SMS (Which will arrive as Whatsapp message from your phone number.)
As you can see, this is just a starting point for adding Whatsapp to your Mautic communication channels. I’d like to create a new channel, and make sure this plugin doesn’t overwrite the SMS channel. I’d also like to add image upload capabilities and incoming message reading.
Plz forgive me for any bugs, it’s a work in progress, but as you subscribed to my news I figured you’ll be happy to be the first ones using this plugin.
Any comment, contribution are appreciated.