While WhatsApp for Business has enjoyed rapid adoption in many parts of the world, the UK has been relatively slow to embrace the technology.

WhatsApp for Business

Recognising the power of this communication tool for personal use in the UK, Anicca Digital conducted a trial of WhatsApp for business to recruit students, with the aim of increasing conversion rates from an enquiry form to an enrolled student for their Digital Skills Bootcamp.

Email marketing has long been a staple of digital marketing strategies. However, its effectiveness is dwindling as the market becomes saturated and inboxes are constantly being bombarded with emails from brands. Even with the most optimized email subject line, how do you stand out?

According to Mailchimp the average open rate for an email is just 34%. In contrast, based on Anicca’s Digital Skills Bootcamp Student Recruitment, WhatsApp messages boast a staggering 78% open rate, making it a powerful tool for direct communication.

Anicca Digital’s Journey to using WhatsApp Automation

Anicca Digital, a Digital Skills Bootcamp Provider, faced challenges in their recruitment process despite generating thousands of leads through Meta Lead Generation Ads. The application process was extensive, involving multiple steps:

  1. Lead Generation Form
  2. Application Form
  3. Eligibility Check
  4. Diagnostic Test
  5. Screening Interview
  6. Signing Contract & Enrolment

Despite these efforts, conversion rates were too low, prompting a re-evaluation of their strategy.

To address these challenges, Anicca Digital turned to WhatsApp automation. Initially, the application form for the Digital Skills Bootcamp was shared with the prospective learner via email, but the Anicca team decided to also send it through WhatsApp. This resulted in a 78% WhatsApp open rate and 9% response rate from the 4,500 messages sent.

Implementing WhatsApp automation transformed their recruitment process:

  • 20% of leads converted into applications
  • 10% of leads became students

These impressive results underscore the potential of WhatsApp automation for increasing engagement and conversions.

Implementing WhatsApp Automation

To carry out this type of project, you need to use a Customer Engagement Platform, which includes or is specifically for WhatsApp conversations. Anicca introduced Wati.io, a platform that facilitates WhatsApp automation. There are some benefits to using Wati.io:

  1. Guided Set-up and Learning Resources: Wati.io offers comprehensive resources to get started.
  2. Platform Integration: It integrates seamlessly with various platforms, enhancing its utility.
  3. Affordability: The platform is cost-effective, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

Before launching WhatsApp for Business, it’s crucial to:

  • Have a verified Meta Business Manager account
  • Avoid spamming and obtain consent beforehand
  • Ensure conversations are engaging and relevant
WhatsApp for Business menu

Anicca uses Zapier to automate the majority of the user journey for their student Bootcamp. When integrated with WhatsApp, Zapier can automate the sending of messages, manage customer interactions, and ensure timely follow-ups. This enhances the customer journey and allows for easy two-way communication.

Alongside the Meta lead form and Google Sheet automation, we added the following steps into Anicca’s Zapier workflow:

1. Create Contact in Wati

When a user fills out a Meta Lead Gen Form, Zapier captures the details and sends them to Wati, creating a new contact ready for WhatsApp communication.

2. Send Application Form via a Templated Message in Zapier

Zapier triggers a WhatsApp message containing the application form link to new leads. This message is a template (which you create) but can be personalized with the user’s name/ relevant details to enhance engagement and response rates.

Alongside the automation, there were some manual processes which needed to be completed to increase conversions.

1. Using broadcasts to follow up and remind users

Within Wati, you can segment data and send a broadcast message to a large number of users, reminding them to either complete the application form, or continue with another step of the application process.

2. Customer Engagement

By using WhatsApp as a communication tool, you should expect a lot of messages from users. This inbox was managed by a member of the team, assisting with answering questions and providing support to the users when needed.

To further optimize their workflow, Anicca Digital used SheetGo, a Google Extension, for automation. This tool allowed them to manage and track data efficiently across different stages of the recruitment process, from application to enrolment.

For Anicca, the implementation of WhatsApp Automation to their Digital Skills Bootcamp Recruitment has been revolutionary. As more UK businesses begin to recognise and adopt these advanced automation strategies, they are likely to see substantial improvements in their operational processes and customer interactions. A win-win for both businesses and customers alike.

This is a written version of a talk originally presented by Rachel Cryan at brightonSEO UK, in April 2024.