So, What IS A WhatsApp Business Account?
We’re all familiar with WhatsApp Messenger – but what about WhatsApp Business?
Over two billion people around the world use the WhatsApp Messenger app to send messages, images, videos, voice notes and audio files to their families and friends.
A WhatsApp Business account is separate from your personal WhatsApp account, and is specifically designed for professional use. Just like WhatsApp Messenger, it’s free, secure and easy to set up – but it also boasts a range of features designed to support and help grow your business.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of WhatsApp Business, whether you need a second mobile number to set up your Business account and what’s included in WhatsApp Business Premium.
What is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business is a free messaging app that is available to download from the Google Play Store or the App Store. WhatsApp Business has been specifically created for businesses to interact directly with their customers. WhatsApp Business is very similar in function and design to the WhatsApp Messenger app, but also includes professional tools. These allow businesses to automate messages, categorise chats and advertise products and services effectively.
Why would someone want a WhatsApp Business account?
There are many advantages to WhatsApp Business when compared to the private version of the messaging app. It’s a powerful tool to help you communicate more effectively with your clients, facilitate sales and attract new customers through your business profile.
Many industries are moving their client interactions over to WhatsApp Business, from startups and sole traders through to large businesses with big customer service teams. Small businesses, from busy estate agents, personal trainers, beauty therapists and hairdressers through to specialist consultants and freelancers, are using WhatsApp Business to take control of their work lives by making their customer interactions quicker, easier and more personalised to each individual.
Here’s how to take advantage of some of the professional tools that WhatsApp Business has to offer:
Create your business profile
New clients can see your cover photo, profile image, business description, website, opening hours, contact details, catalog and links to your social media profiles in just a few taps and swipes – so you can make a great first impression, every time.
Fill in your product or service catalogue
These days, consumers want information up-front and immediately available – and your catalogue is the perfect place to showcase everything that you sell.
Customise your quick replies
Craft perfectly-written, subject-specific templated messages to send out in just a few taps using the quick replies functionality, and you’ll never have to waste time typing out an FAQ answer ever again.
Set up auto-replies
Automatic replies, such as friendly greetings or away messages, can help to set the tone for future interactions or manage your customer’s expectations, so they know exactly when they’ll get a response.
Use labels to categorise messages. Finding it hard to stay on top of all your messages? Labels can help you sort chats into customisable buckets, so you can instantly see what a contact is interested in or where they are in the sales funnel.
Are there any disadvantages to a WhatsApp Business account?
There aren’t many disadvantages to using WhatsApp Business, but it’s worth considering whether the device limits would be an issue for your team. A single WhatsApp Business account can only be installed on one phone and up to four other linked devices. If you need more than five devices to be connected, the WhatsApp Business API may be a better fit.
Is WhatsApp Business right for you?
If you’re not a business, you don’t need to download WhatsApp Business. You can use the WhatsApp Messenger app for personal use, such as to stay in touch with family and friends or to contact businesses as a customer.
WhatsApp Business is ideal for small business owners or sole traders who want to optimise the open rate of their messages, streamline their customer service and sales funnels, and keep their personal WhatsApp account separate.
Still not sure? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Would your customers benefit from a real-time communication channel?
In a world where next day delivery is seen as standard and everyone has smartphones in their pockets, most customers have an expectation of rapid response times – and they certainly don’t want to sit around waiting for a customer service representative to respond to their email. WhatsApp offers both the comfort of a familiar platform and the immediacy of direct messaging, making it the preferred communication method of just under half of the UK population (43%).
Would your business benefit from group broadcasts?
The broadcast list feature is one of the most useful WhatsApp Business tools for small businesses. You can save lists of contacts who have similar interests and send out relevant marketing messages to the whole list at once, without having to hit send to individual contacts each time. Users receive messages in a one-to-one conversation format, rather than being added to a group. Broadcasts are a great way to keep your customers up to date with new product launches, sales, special offers and other marketing announcements.
How will WhatsApp Business integrate into your existing comms and marketing strategies?
It’s worth taking the time to consider how you plan to process and respond to the messages that you’ll receive through WhatsApp Business. Many customers prefer using WhatsApp over more traditional methods of communication such as email or phone calls, so you may find that you’re able to spend less time on these as your WhatsApp presence grows.
The size of your business will determine whether WhatsApp Business is a good fit for you. The WhatsApp Business app is free, but medium to large businesses may find the WhatsApp API better suits their needs.
What is the WhatsApp Business API?
The WhatsApp Business API is a paid-for product that is more advanced than the WhatsApp Business app. It’s designed for large scale businesses, and allows for many different users and devices to be integrated into one business account. If you want to set up the WhatsApp Business API, you’ll need approval from a WhatsApp Partner.
Take a look at some of the key features of the WhatsApp Business API:
- Integrate with CRM, analytics and third-party apps
- Get a Green Tick to verify your WhatsApp Business profile
- Send bulk notification message broadcasts
- Use WhatsApp Chatbot and interactive message support
- Set up multi-agent access to one account
The WhatsApp Business API uses conversation-based pricing, with each chat falling into one of two categories:
User initiated messages: Once a user creates a new conversation, the business can respond within a 24-hour customer service window for free. These are called session messages.
Business initiated messages: This is when the business sends a message to a user outside of the 24-hour customer service window and pays a per-message fee. These are called template messages.
The first 1,000 conversations per month are free, regardless of whether they’re user initiated or business initiated – and this allowance is refreshed monthly.
The price you pay is determined by the WhatsApp Business Solution Providers or WhatsApp Partners, and is set to change in June 2023, so it’s worth checking for any hidden costs.
Find out more about the WhatsApp API pricing here.
Can you use WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp with the same number?
No – you can’t have both WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger set up with the same phone number.
You can have both apps running on one phone, however – that’s where YourBusinessNumber comes in (hi!). In just three clicks, we’ll set you up with a virtual number to use on WhatsApp and instantly send the SMS verification to your mobile.
The best bit? You can skip the hassle and expense of buying a second SIM card or an extra handset – it’s all generated virtually in under 10 seconds. There’s no contract and you can cancel any time, from only £4.99 + vat (UK) or $5.99 (US) a month.
Can you use WhatsApp Business for personal use?
In theory, yes – but you’d miss out on all the benefits of keeping your personal and professional messages separate.
With a second virtual number, you have all the convenience of a single device with none of the drawbacks of having all your contacts saved on the same app.
That means a better work-life balance, maintaining the privacy of your own mobile number, and no risk of accidentally sending something *ahem* sensitive to a client or customer.
What About WhatsApp Business Premium?
WhatsApp Premium tools are subscription-only features that are designed to give your business an edge over the competition and help support growth.
WhatsApp Business Premium currently includes:
Premium WhatsApp Web Page
This is more extensive than the free WhatsApp Web Page, which only shows your business name and profile picture. With Premium, you can also display your hours, address, website and product or service catalog. You’ll also be able to set up a vanity URL – a customisable link that’s easier for your potential clients to remember.
This allows a larger team to manage chats from a single business account by connecting up to 10 web-based devices and 1 phone. You can name linked devices, assign chats to agents, and see which team member sent each message. These features are ideal for small businesses who may have various staff members dipping in and out of their WhatsApp Business messages.
Where is WhatsApp Business Premium currently available?
WhatsApp Business Premium isn’t currently available everywhere, and WhatsApp haven’t released a list of roll out locations yet.
To find out if WhatsApp Business Premium is available for your account, tap Menu, then Settings, then Premium. If the service is available for you, choose from Start Free Trial or Subscribe to activate your account. You can find out more in WhatsApp’s FAQs.
How do I set up my WhatsApp Business account?
It couldn’t be easier. Simply pop over to our generate page and enter your current mobile number, then we’ll generate your new virtual mobile number in seconds.
Next, download the free WhatsApp Business app from the App Store or Google Play store.
Finally, use your new number to complete the verification process. That’s it: you're ready to go!