Email has existed since the inception of the Internet. Most people nowadays use email as their primary mode of communication. Many online stores or e-commerce companies have been using email marketing to expand their customer base, increase advertising returns, and promote brands. This will allow them to make good use of their existing customer list in order to achieve the remarketing effect. Email marketing is without a doubt one of the most cost-effective marketing channels. This is true, despite the fact that many consumers’ email addresses are inundated with various email promotions. Furthermore, it is the most cost-effective channel for brands to develop CRM and manage prospective customers.
However, as technology advances, the introduction of social media and communication software significantly alters the mode and frequency of global communication. In Hong Kong, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging software and is considered an emerging marketing channel.
So, what is the difference between email and WhatsApp marketing? What is the distinction between the two? Which platform should brands use to promote their products? This article will answer the questions above and help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of email and WhatsApp marketing. Make the best decision according to your company’s needs!
Before we get into the differences between email and WhatsApp marketing, let’s take a look at their features, benefits, and drawbacks.
Email marketing is simply the use of email as a channel to promote products and services. While many argue that email is obsolete, it remains a communication channel with a large number of active users. It’s a low-cost way for brands to reach customers quickly, and it also helps them create personalized and targeted messages.
74% of respondents born between 1946 and 1964 believe that email is the best channel for receiving messages from brands. Similarly, 72% of Generation X (people born between 1965 and 1980) respondents and 64% of millennials reckon.
When deciding on a promotion strategy, you should also consider the age demographics of your customers. This will have a direct impact on how well your brand is promoted.
Advantages of Email Marketing
- Low cost: Online stores and brands can begin email marketing without the expense of printing, advertising, or branding.
- Allows sending of personalized and targeted information
- Strong scalability: Suitable for a broad or a more targeted target audience
- Enhanced customer interaction: A company’s email marketing contact list is typically made up of potential customers who are interested in the brand. Businesses can use email marketing to create valuable content for these customers and engage with them further.
- Find quality customers: Brands can use email marketing to assess the quality of potential customers based on their interactions with messages. Merchants who use email marketing platforms can see a list of subscribers, opens, click-through rates, and so on. Examples of email marketing platforms are Activecampaign, Mailchimp, etc. These useful details can help brands screen interested customers and focus promoting on them to increase conversion rates.
Businesses can view and analyze the activities of their contacts through the email marketing platform
Drawbacks of Email Marketing
- It’s difficult to ensure that customers will open your emails because most marketing content ends up in spam folders. As a result, promotional emails go unnoticed.
- With spam and promotional emails blushing, valuable messages are frequently drowned out by irrelevant emails. This makes it difficult for brands to reach their target audiences.
- Limitations of Marketing Effectiveness: It is natural to create engaging content to capture the attention of customers. However, due to email design constraints, creating marketing emails can consume a significant amount of marketers’ time.
- The average email click-through rate (CTR*) for all industries worldwide is 1.3%, with a 10.1% bounce rate*.
*CTR = total clicks/number of emails sent; From this number, marketers can tell how many times each recipient clicked on the link in this email.
*Bounce Rate: Emails bounced because they could not be delivered to the intended recipient’s email address.
With over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is considered the most popular messaging app. WhatsApp is a relatively new promotion channel in comparison to email marketing. In recent years, it has captured the attention of many businesses and consumers. WhatsApp marketing, on the other hand, refers to the use of the platform to promote a product or service. To use WhatsApp’s commercial extensions, many businesses will create a WhatsApp Business API account. This will allow them to boost their brand’s competitiveness through automation and chatbots.
The three versions of WhatsApp are as follows:
- The most common – Personal Version of WhatsApp
- WhatsApp Business
- WhatsApp Business API
To learn more about the differences and benefits of WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp API, read below.
Further reading: eCommerce Trends in 2022: 3 Benefits of WhatsApp Business to Boost Your eCommerce Sales
Businesses that launch WhatsApp Business as a marketing channel can instantly reach at least 1,000 customers. These are people who agreed to receive promotional messages and have one-on-one conversations. Merchants can interact with customers in real time, answer frequently asked questions, share marketing content, and boost purchases to potential customers. WhatsApp provides marketers with a whole new advertising opportunity to bring merchants or brands closer to customers through personalized conversations.
Advantages of WhatsApp Marketing
- WhatsApp is a very secure platform, and all conversations can be encrypted end-to-end. The confidentiality and security of customer data are guaranteed.
- Through WhatsApp Business, merchants can provide real-time customer support and services, as well as instant responses to inquiries.
- WhatsApp is a highly interactive communication platform. GIFs, emojis, stickers, audio recordings, and videos can help brands make their messages more creative and engaging.
- Brands can use the WhatsApp API’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) function to manage customer lists. Furthermore, merchants create category labels for further targeted promotion.
- WhatsApp supports businesses and customers in strengthening their relationships. Interactions on WhatsApp can make brands feel more intimate, giving customers a sense of the brand’s human side. This increases credibility and customer loyalty indirectly.
- Merchants can improve customer service efficiency by handling frequently asked questions and product-related inquiries with automated and quick responses.
- Channels that boost conversion rates and sales in a short period of time: Because WhatsApp is more convenient than an email or other channels, customers are more likely to respond to a brand’s messages. Brands can send out promotional messages on a regular basis to promote new products or to share new discounts and offers. To avoid potential customer loss, these benefits can be shared with customers who have previously inquired about products or services.
Further reading: 6 WhatsApp Business API Features brands can’t miss out on!
Drawbacks of WhatsApp Marketing
- Businesses must adhere to a set of guidelines and policies established by WhatsApp. If the account is found to be in violation of WhatsApp policy, the maximum number of messages sent per day will be limited. In the worst-case scenario, the WhatsApp account will be permanently blocked.
Further reading: Ways to Prevent a WhatsApp Account from Being Banned
- When a customer contacts a business, the business must respond within 24 hours. Otherwise, they won’t be able to respond directly to the customer. Instead, merchants have to use a WhatsApp template message. WhatsApp requires pre-approval of template messages before they can be sent to customers.
- WhatsApp Business accounts can only initiate conversations with customers through template messages.
Further reading: WhatsApp Business API’s latest charging model – How Businesses Can Benefit from the Change
Differences Between WhatsApp Marketing and Email Marketing
|Function||E-mail Marketing||WhatsApp Marketing|
|Communication Method||More formal||More casual, conversational|
|Open Rate||20%||up to 98%|
|Communication Speed||Depends on when the recipient checks the message||Instantly in most cases, merchants can easily know when someone has read a message|
|Spam/Mail||Promotional emails often end up in the junk folder and go unnoticed||All WhatsApp messages are received as chat messages and do not fall into the junk folder|
|Multimedia Support||Most platforms only support images, text, and GIF files||Supports text, PDF files, videos, images|
How should merchants choose their own promotion channels?
Merchants must select the best channel for increasing marketing effectiveness based on their business goals and needs. WhatsApp marketing appears to be more in line with market trends and effective overall. However, this does not imply that businesses should abandon email in favor of WhatsApp. Merchants must ultimately choose a promotion channel based on their target audience.
To reach all target audiences, most businesses and merchants promote through multiple channels. They use various strategies on multiple channels to get the most bang for your buck. Some businesses, for example, may use emails to send updates and WhatsApp for promotions. Therefore, merchants with sufficient manpower and resources may wish to consider developing a set of strategies for different channels to increase revenue.
If you want to connect with customers and drive sales in a short period of time, WhatsApp is undoubtedly the best marketing channel for you.
VIMOS Chat Automation for Sales is an automated conversation-driven sales platform for SMEs. Our team has developed a series of customer management, automated dialogue, and remarketing tools as part of the digital transformation. This enables merchants to sufficiently provide online customer service. VIMOS hopes businesses will reap more benefits from conversational marketing while providing their customers with a caring and personal experience.
What better way to begin your business journey than with a conversation? Schedule a 15-minute online demo with VIMOS’ advisors today to harness the power of WhatsApp marketing!