This process, known as an opt-in, is designed to ensure that users have control over the messages they receive on WhatsApp and to prevent businesses from sending unsolicited messages or spam. Users must always have the ability to opt-out or unsubscribe from receiving messages from a business at any time, should they no longer wish to receive communications.
What Is the WhatsApp Opt-in Policy?
Before we get into the details, it’s worth noting that WhatsApp's policies and guidelines can and almost certainly will evolve over time; so it's always a good idea to refer to the official WhatsApp Business documentation or contact WhatsApp directly for the latest information regarding opt-in requirements.
As we'll see shortly, there are several third-party channels through which businesses can obtain customers’ consent. However, it's important to note that before doing so, the following requirements must be met:
The business has to state clearly that a person choosing to opt-in will receive messages from them through WhatsApp
The name of the business that a person is opting in to receive messages from must be clearly stated
Businesses must be prepared to comply with applicable law in all cases when required to do so
Simply put, you must get a clear opt-in, but where you get this opt-in is essentially up to you provided that the above points are sufficiently observed.
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Which Channels Can I Use to Get WhatsApp Business Opt Ins?
This is where businesses can start to get creative. Below is a list of just some of the many channels that you can make use of to obtain active opt-ins from your customers:
The company's website, where the customer is directed through a pop-up ad or through direct access
A mobile landing page alongside your SMS campaigns, where customers give their consent by providing their phone number on the landing page and clicking a checkbox
QR codes on packaging, posters, or physical product catalogs that put customers through to a chat
A WhatsApp thread, where companies can ask customers to opt in during an active conversation
In-person, where the customer opts in by signing a document in the company's physical store or during delivery, etc.
Via the use of social media ads where users can swipe up or click on a story and be sent to WhatsApp directly
Also read: How To Grow an Audience on WhatsApp >
Are there any requirements for gaining consent through third party requirements?
To make designing your company’s opt-in process a bit clearer, below are the Third-Party Requirements as stated by WhatsApp itself.
The opt-in must have a visual element (check box or similar) next to the WhatsApp name + logo.
The user should be able to enter or edit the phone number used for opt-in, meaning he has control over what number is used.
Also, it must be explained clearly what information will be received and that this will be shared via WhatsApp.
A customer sending a message to a company does not, in and of itself, provide the latter with an opt-in. If a customer sends you a message, you may send them replies for the duration of the 24-hour customer care window. However, in order to send business-initiated messages to customers outside of the window, a prior opt-in is required.
Best Practices for Obtaining WhatsApp Opt Ins
As mentioned previously, WhatsApp already has a number of features in place which serve to ensure compliance with privacy regulations and generally build a more positive relationship between customers and online businesses. However, it’s always important to think about the customer experience that you are offering users and the best practices that should be observed at all times. Here are some of the points that you ought to have in mind when it comes to obtaining opt-ins for WhatsApp Business:
Keep things relevant
Businesses should clearly communicate the value and benefits users can expect when they opt in to receive messages from your business. You can offer them exclusive content, promotions, access to customer support, reservation updates, policy updates, appointment reminders, and anything else that you believe will be relevant to them.
Avoid spamming customers
WhatsApp Messaging Limits already define the maximum number of unprompted messages that can be initiated by a particular phone number in a period of 24-hours. However, if customers feel that your messages are repetitive or annoying, they can still report you for spam or choose to opt out from receiving messages.
Keep on top of your quality rating
The quality rating of your message templates is calculated through usage, customer feedback, and user signals. WhatsApp can temporarily block message templates that have been given a poor rating by customers, which can ultimately have a negative impact on your marketing operations. To stop this from happening, make sure your message templates are of the highest possible quality and relevance to your customers.
Transparency is key
Clearly communicate to users how their data will be used and protected. You should explain the types of messages that will be sent, how often they can expect to receive them, and reassure customers that their data will be handled safely and responsibly. Businesses should also include clear instructions on how users can control their preferences or can opt out of receiving messages at any given time. This kind of transparency allows for increased trust and confidence in your business on the part of the customer.
Get Started With WhatsApp Business Platform
Here at CM.com, we make it easy and straightforward for brands to get started with using WhatsApp Business Platform to help drive their marketing operations. As the world's leading messaging channel, WhatsApp offers a wide range of features and a global reach; making it an invaluable addition to any communication strategy.
Keen to get started? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how CM.com can help you transform a simple WhatsApp message into a rich channel of communication between you and your customers.