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Mastering WhatsApp Template Messages: A Step-by-Step Guide

WhatsApp has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses seeking efficient and rapid communication with their customers. The introduction of WhatsApp template messages has revolutionized the way companies interact with their audiences. These templates allow for streamlined communication processes, saving time while still delivering personalized and engaging messages. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of creating effective WhatsApp message templates that enable businesses to establish meaningful connections with their customer base. Whether you are a novice in using WhatsApp for business or a seasoned professional, this article will provide valuable insights into optimizing WhatsApp message templates.

WhatsApp Template Message: An Introduction

For users of the WhatsApp API, sending messages to customers beyond the 24-hour customer-service window involves the use of WhatsApp Message Templates. These templates are a pivotal component of business communication on WhatsApp. However, before using them, WhatsApp Message Templates must undergo approval by WhatsApp itself, ensuring compliance with their guidelines.

WhatsApp Message Templates are not just text-based communications. They can be enriched with various features, making them more engaging and interactive compared to traditional message formats like SMS or email. These features include customizable placeholders, media headers, and Quick Reply or Call-to-Action buttons. The ability to tailor messages to individual customers enhances the user experience.

It’s important to note that WhatsApp Message Templates are not free to send. They are subject to WhatsApp’s conversation-based pricing model, where rates vary depending on the recipient’s country code and the Message Template category. We will delve further into Message Template categories and their use cases in the next section.

WhatsApp Message Template: Categories and Use Cases

WhatsApp enforces strict limitations on the use of Message Templates to prevent spamming and maintain a high standard of user experience. These templates are classified into different categories, each serving specific purposes. The approved use cases of Message Templates by category are as follows:

  1. Utility: These templates assist customers with specific requests or transactions, such as providing updates on ongoing transactions, sending post-purchase notifications, or recurring billing statements.
  1. Authentication: These templates are used to authenticate users, typically involving one-time passcodes. They are essential in multi-step login processes, including account verification and account recovery.
  1. Marketing: Marketing templates are employed for promotional or informative updates. They also serve as invitations for customers to take specific actions. Any conversation that does not fall under the utility or authentication categories is considered a marketing conversation.

Sending a Message Template initiates a new conversation within its designated category, and businesses are charged accordingly. However, if a Message Template of the same category is sent within an ongoing conversation, additional charges do not apply. For instance, a company can send multiple utility templates within a running utility conversation without incurring extra fees.

WhatsApp Template categories: Utility, authentication and marketing

In addition to use case restrictions, WhatsApp has established rules governing the content and formatting of Message Templates to maintain a high-quality user experience.

WhatsApp Template Message: Comprehending the Rules

Unsolicited messages can be a nuisance to customers and may lead to them marking your messages as spam or reporting your number. This can negatively impact the quality rating of your WhatsApp Template Message. If the quality rating falls to a low state, your Message Template will be flagged. If the status does not improve within seven days, it will be disabled. To avoid this scenario, obtaining customer opt-ins before sending Message Templates is crucial.

Apart from customer opt-ins, WhatsApp enforces two sets of rules: content rules and formatting rules, which are essential to adhere to:

Content Rules: WhatsApp has formulated content rules to protect its users from spam and harmful content. Businesses are prohibited from including the following content in Message Templates:

  • Threatening content
  • Data collection
  • Prohibited services
  • Contests or quizzes

WhatsApp Template guidelines: Content Rules

For example, Message Templates that threaten customers with legal action if they fail to repay their loans are not allowed. Likewise, businesses cannot use Message Templates to collect customer data, request sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, or conduct contests or quizzes. However, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are an exception to this rule.

Moreover, businesses cannot employ Message Templates to offer prohibited services to customers. Services that fall under this category include automotive, event, fitness, home maintenance services (e.g., cleaning), non-veterinary, personal, and travel services.

Formatting Rules: WhatsApp has established specific formatting rules for Message Templates, covering the name, body, and placeholders.

  • Message Template Name: The name must only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters and underscores. Special characters and spaces are not allowed.
  • Message Template Body: The body should not contain tabs or more than four consecutive spaces. Additionally, it is limited to 1,024 characters, which includes letters, numbers, special characters, and emojis.
  • Placeholders: Placeholders within the Message Template should be enclosed within double curly brackets (e.g., {{1}}). These placeholders can be customized to include letters, numbers, or special characters.

WhatsApp Template guidelines: Name format

To send Media Message Templates containing images, videos, or documents to contacts, businesses must adhere to the platform’s limitations regarding media size. Only PDF documents are supported when uploading a document in a Message Template.

WhatsApp Template guidelines: Placeholder format

Now that you are familiar with the rules governing Message Templates, let’s explore the process of creating a WhatsApp Message Template.

How to Create a WhatsApp Template Message

Creating and sending WhatsApp Message Templates requires two primary prerequisites:

  1. WhatsApp API Account: You must have a WhatsApp API account to initiate the creation and use of Message Templates. Obtaining a WhatsApp API account can be accomplished in a matter of minutes through services like Leadshouse.io.
  1. Customer Communication Management Software: To connect to the WhatsApp API, you’ll need customer communication management software. While the Meta Business Manager is an option, it has limitations, particularly for larger companies. The Meta Business Suite is exclusively compatible with Meta platforms and does not support advanced automation or integration with WhatsApp CRMs. Therefore, it is recommended to use an omnichannel solution like Leadshouse.io.

In the subsequent sections, we will further explore best practices and tips for maximizing the effectiveness of WhatsApp Message Templates.

Common Causes of Message Template Rejection

1. Violation of WhatsApp’s Content Rules

To avoid rejection, it’s essential to ensure that your WhatsApp Template Message complies with WhatsApp’s Content Rules. Be clear and transparent about the purpose of your message, as WhatsApp reserves the right to reject Message Templates that have unclear intentions.

Example of a violation:

“Hi {{1}}, please share your full credit card number to proceed.”

2. Requesting Sensitive Information

WhatsApp will reject Message Templates that request sensitive information or collect personal data from users. It’s crucial to prioritize user privacy and security.

3. Generic Message Templates

WhatsApp will likely reject Message Templates that lack specific details about how they will be used. Generic templates, such as reminders without context, may not be approved.

Example of a generic template:

“Reminder: {{1}}.”

4. Unclear Message Template Names

The name of your Message Template is important. WhatsApp reviewers may reject templates with unclear names that don’t provide context about their intended use.

Example of an unclear name:

“template_1”

5. Incorrect Category Selection

WhatsApp may reject your Message Template if the selected category does not match the content. It’s essential to accurately categorize your templates to avoid rejection.

6. Violation of WhatsApp’s Formatting Rules

Formatting rules are often overlooked but crucial. A slight formatting mistake can lead to rejection.

Example of formatting issues:

“Dear {1}, you have an appointment scheduled with us on {3} at {2}. We look forward to seeing you!”

7. Floating Placeholders

WhatsApp will reject Message Templates that contain floating placeholders with no accompanying text. These templates could potentially be used for spam.

Example of floating placeholders:

“Hi {{1}}, {{2}}. {{3}}.”

8. Spelling or Grammatical Errors

Message Templates with misspellings or grammatical errors may be rejected, as they can appear untrustworthy.

Example of errors:

“Hii {{1}} Thanks you for your subscription.”

9. Language Mismatch

Ensure that the language selected for your Message Template matches the content. Mismatched language and content can result in rejection.

10. Exceeding Template Limits

Each WhatsApp API account has a limited number of Message Templates. If you need more, you can request a higher limit, but WhatsApp’s approval is at its discretion.

Best Practices for WhatsApp Message Templates

1. Obtain Customer Opt-In

Always obtain active consent from customers before sending WhatsApp Message Templates. Having a customer’s number doesn’t imply their consent.

2. Double-Check Formatting

Strictly adhere to WhatsApp’s formatting rules for Message Templates. Ensure proper use of placeholders and curly brackets.

Example of correct formatting:

“Dear {{1}}, you have an appointment scheduled with us on {{2}} at {{3}}. We look forward to seeing you!”

3. Avoid URL Shorteners in Message Body

WhatsApp recommends not using URL shorteners like bit.ly, as they can obscure the intended link destination. If necessary, use URL shorteners within placeholders instead.

Example without shorteners in the message body:

“Your return request {{1}} has been generated. Visit {{2}} to learn more about our return policy.”

4. Proofread Templates

Thoroughly review your Message Templates for any spelling or grammatical mistakes. WhatsApp is strict about this.

Example of a well-proofread template:

“Hi {{1}}, thank you for your subscription.”

5. Give Templates Meaningful Names

Use names for your templates that provide clear context about their purpose.

Example of a meaningful template name:

“order_delivery”

6. Remind Customers of Opt-In

In your Message Template, remind customers that they’ve given you permission to send messages. This reinforces the consent they’ve provided.

Example of a reminder:

“I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to respond to your inquiry on {{1}}. Please reply ‘yes’ if you’d like to continue the conversation.”

7. Avoid Spamming

Avoid sending Message Templates too frequently, as it can lead to customers opting out or marking your business as spam. This negatively impacts your account’s quality rating and can result in Message Template disabling.

8. Get It Right the First Time

Remember that you can’t edit your Message Template once it’s approved. Be sure that you’re satisfied with your template before submitting it.

9. Be Persistent

If your Message Template is rejected, it might not always be clear why. It may take a few attempts to get a WhatsApp Message Template approved. Be patient and open to revisions.

10. Seek Help from Your WhatsApp Partner

If you face repeated rejections, contact your WhatsApp Partner, such as Leadshouse.io, and provide them with details of the issue. They can request WhatsApp to reconsider the rejected Message Template.

Conclusion

WhatsApp Message Templates offer businesses a powerful tool to communicate effectively with customers. By adhering to WhatsApp’s guidelines and best practices, businesses can create engaging and personalized templates that drive customer engagement and satisfaction.

Remember, the key to success with WhatsApp Message Templates lies in providing value to your customers while respecting their preferences and privacy. With the right approach, businesses can leverage this communication channel to build strong and lasting relationships with their audience.

Incorporating these best practices into your WhatsApp messaging strategy will help you make the most of this valuable tool and drive meaningful interactions with your customers.

If you have any further questions or need additional information, feel free to let us know!

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