We understand why many affiliates wonder how to use WhatsApp for affiliate marketing. Most digital marketers use Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. Even affiliate brands seem to have an affinity for these platforms but not WhatsApp.
However, tapping into WhatsApp’s two billion users (at par with Instagram) makes sense. Moreover, the platform has features perfect for building and strengthening affiliate-brand-audience relationships.
So, what steps should you take to leverage WhatsApp’s reach and affiliate-friendly features? Relax, enjoy your coffee, and listen to relaxing music while we deliver nine easy steps to ace affiliate sales & marketing with WhatsApp.
How to Use Whatsapp for Affiliate Marketing for Beginners in 9 Simple Steps
WhatsApp is no longer just an instant messaging platform. It’s an app with robust features for individuals, groups, and businesses, leveraging humankind’s need for interpersonal connections. Here’s how you can optimize WhatsApp for digital marketing.
Create a professional business profile
For nearly a decade, WhatsApp only catered to individuals. In 2018, the platform launched WhatsApp Business to empower small business owners and entrepreneurs to connect and communicate with their customers.
And this platform is your go-to as an affiliate.
Signing up with a WA Business account isn’t different from a personal version, although it extends beyond the usual details. You’ll need a company name, profile image, and a company category best describing your niche.
We recommend planning this step because it’s your affiliate brand’s face to the outside world (or other WhatsApp users). You’ll want to convey credibility when people click on your business profile.
Setting up a business account with WhatsApp doesn’t end with the usual signup.
Add business contact details (i.e., phone number, email address, and other methods for connecting with your business. Consider the company description, painting a picture of trustworthiness without being ambiguous to audiences.
Highlighting your affiliate experiences (preferably underscoring the benefits other WhatsApp users can get) should make the business more credible, allowing you to expand your audience base faster.
Define WA’s business labels to improve client segmentation and more individualized content distribution. Create quick replies and automated greetings to boost response times.
That should set you up for productive digital marketing with WhatsApp.
Share engaging niche-related content
A proven marketing strategy is creating engaging content. And that applies to WhatsApp.
With the exception of some, most WhatsApp users are “amicable” or “sociable.” They want to read exciting stories, thought-provoking messages, and posts that stir emotions.
So, instead of going all out on text-based content, why not add whimsical images, funny GIFs, or video clips that tickle the funny bone? You could post anything that will have audiences “react” to or “engage” with.
Getting a comment about your post is nice. But if your audience shares the message to respective social networks, that’s even better!
Of course, your content must be within your niche or interest to project authenticity and convey an image of authority.
For example, you could talk about pet grooming tricks if you’re into such a niche. How about describing to the audience how an ordinary household item can clean stubborn stains?
These posts might not seem much, but they’re enough to elicit audience responses.
And that’s what you want – an engaged audience. It gives you more chances of turning them into leads and customers.
Promote offers via WhatsApp Group
Perform this step only if you have sufficient audiences in your WhatsApp account or believe WA users already trust you. Adhering to this tip will make your promotional activities appear “less pushy.”
You can optimize promotional activities by offering affiliate items on WhatsApp groups.
For example, you could promote the latest smartphone deals, content management software upgrades, or computer learning courses on your tech group.
Another example would be to promote diet plans, nutritional supplements, weight loss programs, and other fitness offerings to a health, wellness, and fitness group.
The point is to leverage a WhatsApp group’s inherent attribute – an online community with shared beliefs, passions, and interests.
However, please don’t bombard your WhatsApp groups with purely promotional materials. We recommend scheduling broadcast messaging to not more than 12 times monthly.
That translates to about three messages weekly, with one broadcast promoting your affiliate offerings.
Disclose affiliate links
Did you know the Federal Trade Commission can file a civil suit against you for failing to disclose your affiliate relationships (read, making money endorsing or promoting somebody else’s offerings)?
Although it’s not a felony, paying fines up to $50,120 for a single violation can drain your affiliate earnings.
So, give your WhatsApp audiences a head’s up when embedding links in your promotional messages.
Such a move endears you more to potential customers because you project honesty. You recognize and appreciate their need for transparency. And that goes a long way towards building trust in this platform.
Craft compelling, concise messages
You need at least two messaging attributes to master how to use WhatsApp for affiliate marketing.
First, the WhatsApp message must be compelling. It must be audience-centric, like talking with a friend or an acquaintance. The message is simple, free of technical jargon and superfluous words to minimize, if not eliminate, reader confusion.
Ideally, you will want the post to be readable and relatable. You could draw from experiences and weave a story WhatsApp users can easily understand. And when you do that, compelling audiences to act (or react) should be easy.
Second, the message should be concise, without leaving crucial information behind. After all, WhatsApp’s character number restrictions can be unforgiving.
You only have about 1024 characters for automated messages, replies, and other templates. Although WhatsApp session messages are more forgiving with 4096-character limits, some affiliates find it insufficient.
Unfortunately, creating concise WhatsApp messages can be intimidating for beginners. You can eliminate redundant details and unnecessary qualifiers & modifiers. You can also focus on affirmatives, ditch phrases for a word, and minimize prepositional phrases.
For example, “You’ll receive a 20% discount coupon when you apply today” sounds better than “You will receive a 20% exclusive promo offer if you apply with us today.”
Add personal experiences to promoted products
Do you know how to convince your WhatsApp audiences to become potential clients?
Give them an honest review about the product you’re promoting.
Although some affiliates will write product reviews, they often base it on the brand’s technical descriptions and weave several customer experiences into the story.
A more authentic (and honest) way is to buy the product (at a discount) or ask for a sample from the retailer. Many companies would love to give trial products for social media influencers and affiliates to evaluate.
Try the product and evaluate its effects. You could take before-and-after shots to document everything.
Although subjective, WhatsApp audiences will still want to hear your experiences. Start with the unboxing and move to application or installation, ease of use, desired effects, and adverse reactions (if any).
Does the product deliver on its promise? What benefits will your WhatsApp audiences get from using this item? Are there alternatives?
Using personal experiences to make product recommendations is one sure-fire way of building trust. Your WhatsApp followers will appreciate you sharing such experiences so they don’t have to (if using the product turns out bad).
Interact and build lasting audience relationships
Your digital marketing journey with WhatsApp doesn’t end after promoting a few affiliate products. It also doesn’t terminate when leads become customers.
Note they are your customers for life.
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. WhatsApp users are like other folks who are more likely to share negative experiences with social networks than positive ones.
Research shows that 45 out of 50 individuals would share negative experiences with acquaintances, friends, and other social contacts, while only 87% will do the same thing with a positive experience.
Failing to interact with and engage WhatsApp audiences after a “sale” is a sure way to get a “negative” scorecard from people. And they won’t hesitate to share this “bad experience” with others.
So, continue interacting with your audience, offering new beneficial information, and updating them with developments. Keep nurturing relationships by sending customized messages on special holidays and occasions.
And if you have their details, a simple birthday greeting should make your audiences feel valued and appreciated.
Offer exclusive deals, discounts
Many affiliate networks provide discount coupons, promotional items, and exclusive offers to their affiliate partners, not for their consumption but to entice more customers into the brand.
And here’s another piece of good news!
Affiliates are often the first to know when a company rolls out a new product or plans to offer exclusive deals.
It should give you sufficient time to prepare and generate excitement among your WhatsApp followers. Or, you could surprise them with such offers.
Analyze performance, optimize strategies
WhatsApp could be a more powerful platform with an integrated mechanism for tracking and analyzing affiliate performance.
Although it doesn’t have this technology, it shouldn’t dissuade you from performing this last step.
Analyzing your digital marketing performance is crucial because you’ll want to understand which strategies work and which need tweaking.
So, what should you do if WhatsApp doesn’t have a tool for this job?
First, ask the affiliate platform or network for such technologies. Most have affiliate management systems with user dashboards for monitoring everything affiliate activity-related. You’ll receive timely performance reports to help define succeeding strategies.
Second, use a third-party affiliate performance tracking & management solution. This option might set your finances a bit, but the insights you’ll gain from monitoring marketing performance will pay off any price concerns.
And that’s how you use WhatsApp for affiliate digital marketing.
What is Whatsapp?
WhatsApp started as an iPhone-only messaging app in 2009, empowering users to “ping” or notify friends with wacky personalized statuses.
The brainchild of former Yahoo! employees Jan Koum and Brian Acton, WhatsApp grew in popularity over the years that Google and Meta Platforms embarked on a tug-of-war to see who could net the skyrocketing instant messaging platform.
The Mark Zuckerberg outfit eventually grabbed WhatsApp in 2014 for a dizzying $19 billion.
Today, WhatsApp enjoys over two billion monthly active users, more than ten times its user base a decade ago.
And that makes WhatsApp one of the best platforms to execute proven affiliate marketing strategies.
WhatsApp is a feature-rich program, enabling ordinary folks and business owners to expand their networks and build new ones.
If you’re fond of group chats, WhatsApp has it. How about catalog integration and business profile creation for entrepreneurs? Yes, this platform has them, too.
Sending text messages, conversing with contacts through video calls, and exchanging multimedia files are a cinch with this platform.
Security isn’t an issue, either. WhatsApp features advanced end-to-end encryption technology to give users unparalleled peace of mind.
And with Meta overseeing everything, you can expect communication and social interactions to be more meaningful with WhatsApp.
Pros Vs Cons of Using Whatsapp for Affiliate Marketing
WhatsApp can be a powerful tool for affiliate marketing. However, like any marketing channel, it has pros and cons affiliates must consider to help decide whether WhatsApp is right for your affiliate journey.
As mentioned, over two billion people are on WhatsApp, tying another Meta platform (Instagram) in global usage.
Only Facebook and YouTube eclipse these social media networks, allowing you to promote almost any product to virtually a fifth of the world’s population.
WhatsApp is a global communications tool bridging cultures and peoples across geopolitical boundaries. You could be promoting to Africans and Middle Easterners while staying in relative comfort in your American home.
Communicating on WhatsApp is a cinch. After all, it’s an instant messaging app with cool features that can take your affiliate-audience relationships to the next level.
Engaging audiences should be easy, leveraging WhatsApp’s customizations, automation, and product recommendations features.
Sending product demos, customer testimonials, and other high-value content over WhatsApp is easy because it bridges multiple platforms accommodating various media formats.
Chatting with groups, customers, and business partners is easy with WhatsApp. The broadcast function is especially beneficial, updating groups of upcoming and ongoing promotions, exclusive deals, and other exciting offers.
These features empower you to build stronger and more credible relationships with your audience, making promoting and selling high-quality products easier. It translates to better commissions, too.
Perhaps our only gripe about WhatsApp is its lack of built-in performance monitoring system, especially on the Business version. The good news is you can use the WA Business API or similar third-party solutions to stay updated of affiliate performance.
Common Mistakes When Promoting Affiliate Programs on Whatsapp
Marketing on WhatsApp is as easy as other platforms. However, you will want to avoid the following mistakes to learn how to use WhatsApp for affiliate marketing as effectively as possible.
Not adding value
An effective affiliate marketing campaign (regardless of channel or platform) requires continuous relationship-building and strengthening activities. You’ll want to keep audiences excited about your channel.
You cannot do that if you’re content on rehashing old posts and messages, recycling them until audiences can memorize each line by heart. Or worse, promoting only products.
Each post you send out to audiences and groups must contain new information, preferably something valuable or people can integrate into their daily lives.
Adding value to audience experiences might sound cliché, but it’s a fact some affiliates overlook.
We must admit. We don’t like receiving “unwanted messages.” Unfortunately, nearly 15 billion messages sent daily worldwide are “spammy.”
Unsurprisingly, WhatsApp isn’t immune to these “unsolicited” messages. And that’s why the platform disabled over two million Indian WhatsApp accounts in 2022 because of “shady” promotional messages.
Avoid getting banned (temporarily or permanently) on WhatsApp by posting only relevant, valuable content.
Please don’t bombard your audience with promotional messages or flood a single post with links. Even if WhatsApp doesn’t suspend your account, you will annoy your audience and make them stop following you altogether.
And if you must convey several promotional messages in the same article, we recommend spacing them with high-quality content.
Not varying the strategy
Don’t you grow tired of reading text-based posts after wordy posts? We do, and so do many of your audiences.
Sure, you can add video clips and images to make posts more interesting, arouse curiosity, and encourage discussion. But these strategies often take audiences off the equation. And if we know people, most want to be part of the action.
So, how about organizing a contest for your WhatsApp Groups? For example, you could give a prize from one of your affiliate programs for whoever wins. Participants could post links in their WhatsApp accounts and receive a “raffle” entry for each post.
This trick should boost engagement through the roof, while expanding your audience base.
Promoting mediocre products
Nobody likes “misleading” products or offerings that don’t work. Unfortunately, not only will buyers distrust the item, they might also think negatively of the person endorsing these products – you!
Although damage control tactics are available, the wound is ever-present. Some consumers can’t forget that, while others might be unforgiving.
You don’t want your trustworthiness and credibility to take a hit and make you rebuild. And that’s why every product you promote should undergo thorough vetting (like some affiliate networks vet your application).
Product reviews help, but a better approach is to test and evaluate the offerings yourself.
Disrespecting audiences’ need for privacy and transparency
The law requires influencers to disclose their affiliate relationships (read, making money for promoting someone else’s products). It allows audiences to decide whether to read the post and click links.
More importantly, transparency underscores your honesty. And when that shows through your posts, audience respect and trust in you rise exponentially.
Additionally, most people don’t like getting added to a broadcast list or group without their approval or consent. Although WhatsApp is a “social” platform, most users still want some degree of privacy.
So, ask permission from prospective group members and audiences before sending them broadcast messages, statuses, and promotional communication.
And if they decline, thank them anyway. They will notice your amicable gesture, leaving the door open for a potential addition in the future.
Successful Examples of Affiliate Marketing on WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a good platform for affiliate marketing, with many advantages and a few drawbacks. Moreover, the common marketing mistakes associated with this platform are easy to address. But how exactly does this social media app work in modern digital marketing? Let’s look at some examples.
More and more people are integrating fitness activities into their daily lives. And if you want proof of this, the industry is now worth $87+ billion globally. It should breach the $430 billion-mark by 2028 with its current trajectory.
And get this. Nearly two out of five Americans have a gym membership.
Unsurprisingly, hundreds (if not thousands) of WhatsApp users form fitness groups within the platform. Examples are Gym Freak, iGym, Easy Workout, Fitness Game, FitynTM Health Tips, and more.
WhatsApp is a favorite of fitness experts for spreading the benefits of health and fitness programs. They create meaningful posts about high-quality minerals and vitamins supporting optimum health and bodily function.
Fitness experts on the platform post a catchy WhatsApp status, updating members and users of developments without opening their messages. Broadcasting fitness trends empower users to lead healthier and fitter lives.
The goal is to build credibility as an authority in health and fitness. With trust established, WhatsApp fitness experts can share links to nutritional supplements, diet plans, exercise programs, and other niche-related, commissionable products.
And that’s how fitness affiliates make money on WhatsApp.
Another niche worth promoting with WhatsApp is fashion and style. This market has a robust potential, growing at a commendable 6.2% and surpassing $1.7 trillion by New Year’s Day 2024.
Many WhatsApp influencers leverage this observation, with thousands of groups forming small online communities dedicated to equipping members with the most fashionable trends.
For example, WhatsApp users can join GR Fashion Cub, DOT Fashion, Fashion Bee, or Oxford Fashion Mart. Cheap Fashion is available for WhatsApp users on a budget, while New Fashion M&A should provide a stylish collection of wearables.
Fashion and style affiliates leverage WhatsApp’s catalog feature, allowing marketers to showcase dresses, suits, jewelry, pants, accessories, and other fashion items. It’s like having a virtual store, empowering members to shop wherever they are.
But it’s not only tangible products fashion affiliates provide.
Successful affiliates also offer style advice, allowing members, followers, and users to feel more confident about their choices. It’s like having a fashion consultant without professional fees.
It’s all about gaining fashion-conscious WhatsApp users’ confidence and trust in the affiliate. It guarantees higher conversion rates when promoting fashion-centric products and better earnings.
Of course, periodic broadcasts and status messages keep group members interested in the affiliate’s channel.
Few niches can be as lucrative as the tech industry. After all, humankind has grown “dependent” on these innovations to make lives easier and workflows more efficient.
Leveraging a $2.9 trillion market makes perfect sense! Making money shouldn’t be challenging, especially with the WhatsApp platform.
Would it surprise you to learn that thousands of WhatsApp groups dedicate their online communities to advancing technology-related concepts, services, and products?
For example, Mobile Tech Support is perfect for smartphone, laptop, and tablet owners (although owners of wearable technologies are welcome, too). Logo Designer is a community of aspiring digital artists, while All Network Data caters to everything “network-related.”
Tooning With A Mobile App, Hackers Worldwide, and Tech Master Tips & Tricks are also available, alongside hundreds of other tech groups on WhatsApp.
And you could leverage these groups to expand your audience and build credibility. Posting affiliate links and generating commissions are a cinch with audiences behind your back supporting you.
And that’s precisely what many tech affiliates do on WhatsApp.
How can I effectively promote affiliate products on WhatsApp?
You can make personal recommendations based on your experiences, highlighting the benefits of such products and how such offerings can be valuable to audiences. You can also deliver educational content, limited-time offers, and engaging posts.
What strategies can I employ to engage my WhatsApp audience for affiliate marketing?
Content marketing (i.eimages, GIFs, and video clips) remains one of the most effective strategies for engaging WhatsApp audiences, encouraging them to like and share such posts to their networks. Other strategies include automated messaging (for reminders and updates), group messaging (for building relationships), and broadcast messaging (for lead generation).
Are there any specific guidelines or best practices to follow when using WhatsApp for affiliate marketing?
Successful WhatsApp affiliates observe one rule: maximize persuasion and minimize invasion. Sending highly relevant, purposely segmented, and customized WhatsApp messages once or twice a month is more effective than bombarding audiences with a daily dose of crappy posts.
How can I track the performance and success of my affiliate marketing efforts on WhatsApp?
Use the affiliate platform’s analytics tools to monitor your digital marketing efforts on WhatsApp. Alternatively, you can download and install a third-party affiliate performance tracking and management software to stay updated of marketing performance.
WhatsApp allows you to leverage its instant messaging excellence and global reach to advance affiliate sales & marketing aims.
It might not be as robust as other platforms. However, given that most affiliates are on those channels, WhatsApp offers a decent platform for connecting with audiences, growing the base, promoting high-quality offerings, and earning a handsome financial reward.
Like other digital marketing platforms, growing and nurturing audience relationships is essential. So is adhering to WhatsApp’s rules and pertinent laws by regulatory agencies.
Create your WhatsApp profile today and embark on a financially fulfilling journey affiliating with the best brands.