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Jun 24, 2022
6 minutes read

A Starter Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates & Buttons

WhatsApp Business message templates are specific message formats that businesses use to send out notifications, alerts, and customer care messages to people who have opted-in to receive messages. These may include appointment reminders, shipping information, issue resolutions, payment update, and they can be enriched with interactive buttons. Here’s what you need to know about this platform.

What is a WhatsApp Business Message Template?

A WhatsApp Business message template – also known as Highly Structured Messages (HSM) - is the most efficient way to communicate with customers via the WhatsApp Business Platform. Templates will enable you to use message content repeatedly once users have opted-in to receive text messages from you.

Creating WhatsApp Business message templates makes responding to messages faster, and allows you to automatically send personalized information to a customer while streamlining customer service efforts.

What Are the Benefits of WhatsApp Business Message Templates?

More and more businesses are turning to this format to reach out to customers quickly and effectively. Here's a look at why this format is growing in popularity.

  • Customer Care Window: This is a 24-hour session that allows you to interact with a customer using session messages or message templates. Session Messages are messages initiated by your customers and Template Messages are initiated by you or your business. Once the Customer Care Window closes, you will still be able to send notifications to customers that gave an opt-in to receive communication via Template Messages. 
  • Message template approval: This is a very specific notification format, and having an approval process ensures WhatsApp tracks the quality of conversation. 
  • WhatsApp Business message templates will generate brand loyalty through an improved customer experience. 
  • They increase customer engagement, even outside of business hours. 
  • They decrease your response time to customers and allow you to generate business leads. 
  • Rich features: Your WhatsApp Business message template text can be enriched with emojis, URLs, images, PDF, videos, buttons. 

What Are the Benefits Of WhatsApp Buttons?

WhatsApp Buttons will allow you to give your customer suggested answers. Here are some of the ways the WhatsApp Buttons can help you:

  • Faster customer interactions: You can create an easy chat using buttons to guide the logical conversation flow. 
  • Clarity: The WhatsApp Button creates clear options for your customer to choose from, which helps define faster journeys to the right answers.
  • Fewer mistakes: You can automate your internal process and limit misunderstandings with predefined answers. This offers clear options making it easier to interpret for a chatbot.
  • Consistency: It is the same for all WhatsApp Business accounts, so there is consistency in options. 

CM.com has made accessing WhatsApp Buttons incredibly easy. You can request your interactive Button templates for WhatsApp on your CM.com dashboard. Can't wait to try them out? Log in here or check out our API docs.

Two ways to use the WhatsApp Business Buttons 

1. Call-To-Action Buttons (CTA-URL)

CTA buttons come in three options. Using a static URL, you can give direct access via a single click to your website. You can also set up the button to visit a dynamic website with your customer directed to a personalized website. Finally, you can use it to call a predefined phone number.

2. Quick Replies

Using buttons as quick replies is convenient for a reservation confirmation, checking phone credit, balance checks, ordering services, and more. This option allows you to create up to three buttons for your customer to choose from.

What Does a WhatsApp Business Message Template Look Like?

WhatsApp Business is a channel to send useful information and provide customer support. Therefore, sending advertising, marketing, and promotional messages is prohibited and can result in the disapproval or suspension of message templates with such information included.

A greeting message template may consist of text, emojis, or WhatsApp-specific formatting and contain 1 024 characters. To customize the message, you can use numbered placeholders inside double curly brackets {x} that correspond to personalized fields.  

For Example:

Hello {1}, thanks for your order! We will let you know when your order is ready to be shipped. You can track your order with the number {2} here {3}. Enjoy your day! 

What Are the Most Popular WhatsApp Business Message Templates?

WhatsApp Business message templates must fall into one of the following categories, or WhatsApp may reject them.

1. Account Update 

Account updates enable you to inform customers about changes to their account settings.

Here's an account update example for an eCommerce/retail business: 

Hello {1} !

Welcome to our services at Your Company Name Retail. In the next 24 hours, you will be notified about the status of your Smart Devices. 

Starttime: {2}

2. Alert Update

Use alert updates to notify customers about changes to products or services ordered. 

Here's an alert update example for a recruitment message:

Hi {1},

We may have work for you that matches your availability requirements. Are you still available? Please let us know.

Sincerely,

{2} of {3}.

3. Appointment Update

Most businesses find that appointment updates and reminders are one of their most valuable business tools. Here's an appointment update example for general use:

Hello {1}, this is an appointment reminder for your upcoming visit.

DATE: {2}

TIME: {3}

1234 Main Street, Suite E

Please remember to bring a valid Driver's License or photo ID.

For changes or cancellations, please call us at {4} or reschedule online now {5}.

Thank you.

4. Auto-Reply

Never miss a customer text! Use a WhatsApp business greeting message template that's ideal for weekends, holidays, or other business closures:

Hello {1}, 

Thank you for contacting us. We will respond to your message within 24 hours. We look forward to speaking with you!

5. Issue Resolution

Resolve customer issues and inquiries quickly with issue resolution templates:

I've done some research based on our last conversation, and I have found an answer to your question. 

The product costs {1} and is available at {2}. 

If you want to continue with our conversation, please respond with 'yes.'

6. Payment Update

Send simple payment confirmations to put your customers' minds at ease:

Hello {1}, 

We received your payment totalling {2} on {3}. 

Thank you.

7. Personal Finance Update

Respond to account balance questions with a personal finance update template:

Hi {1},

The balance on your account is currently {2}. Type 'HELP' if you have any questions.

Your Company Name.

8. Reservation Update

Forgotten reservations can affect your bottom line. Whether you own a restaurant, hotel, or other reservation-based business, reservation templates are lifesavers: 

Hi {1},

This is confirmation that {4} has paid {6} for reservations and will be checking in on {5}. Please click here to confirm: {2}

Your Company Name.

9. Shipping Update

Customers love to know where their packages are. Use shipping updates to keep them in the loop: 

Dear {1} 

Thanks for your order. Your order has been shipped. Your tracking number is {2}. Enjoy your purchase.

10. Ticket Update

Whether you're confirming tickets or sending e-tickets, use ticket updates to build excitement for your event:

Hi {1}!

Please show this ticket at the main entrance of {2} to see {3} in concert on {4}.

See you at the show!

How to Register New WhatsApp Business Templates

To register your message templates, you must provide a template name and template type.

What is a Template Name? 

A unique name to identify the template's business use case.  

Example: order_confirmation.

WhatsApp advises businesses to use descriptive words for new templates rather than random ones like "message_12345." This speeds up the approval process and helps you manage the templates you create. 

What is a Template Type? 

You will need to select the type of message from the predefined set listed in the above section. 

Start sending WhatsApp Message Templates in Campaigns

To upload your complete contact list, you can use Address Book – this is a simple and intuitive contact management tool to manage your database of customers and clients. You can import up to 1 million contacts to Address Book using Excel or CSV.

Once your database is uploaded, you can create and send personalized campaigns at scale. Once your WhatsApp message template is approved and your contacts have opted-in to receive messages, you’re all set. 

Step-By-Step Guide

  • Step 1: Navigate in your CM.com platform account to the pre-installed Campaigns app, which you can find under the nine dots in the upper right corner. 
  • Step 2: Start a new Campaign by clicking on the + and select WhatsApp as your channel. 
  • Step 3: Select your contact list. 
  • Step 4: Fill in your template variables.

That's all it takes. You can set up your Campaign in less than 5 minutes.

To start, log in here and, if you need more information, check out our API doc for an example of a WhatsApp interactive template message and on WhatsApp interactive replies (MO).

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