Conventional lead generation channels that companies have used in the last couple of years have been landing pages, websites, or blog articles. 

Something to incite prospects to take action and progress through the funnel and eventually become a paying customer. This is how all companies work. 

A relatively new player in this segment is WhatsApp, and lots of companies are starting to use it as a lead generation channel as well. But first, what is it? How does it work? Also, why use it at all? 

We’ll cover these and more in this article! Let’s start with its definition.

WhatsApp for lead generation: What is it?

Companies using WhatsApp for generating leads (driving prospect interest for their product or service) is known as WhatsApp for lead generation. 

Leveraging it as a channel to reach out to prospects, identify potential customers, and eventually convert them to paying customers is the crux of the concept.

Many companies in recent times have started adopting it for lead generation. 

For example, you might have received cold WhatsApp messages from a company you wouldn’t have interacted with before notifying you about offers, discounts, or an overview of what they offer.

Why use WhatsApp for lead gen?

While WhatsApp has generally been used for personal 1-to-1 or group conversations, many businesses started using it to keep in touch with existing customers and generate new ones. 

Here are a few reasons why companies can use WhatsApp for lead generation: 

  • High open rates: A simple number crunch will show you why WhatsApp is an excellent channel for generating leads. It’s simply because so many people use it, and messages have high open rates. 
  • Huge conversation rates: Apart from huge open rates, WhatsApp messages also have high conversion rates: 45-60%! This is exponentially more than email or SMS. 
  • Easier to have conversations: Ultimately, it’s just a lot easier to have a conversation over WhatsApp since most users are always on it, and are bound to open it multiple times throughout the day, compared to their email or SMS app.
  • Send broadcasts: It’s super easy to send messages to around 100,000 people at the same time through WhatsApp Business API (once approved by Meta). More people reached out to, means more opportunities, and high conversion rates. 

Did you know? You can easily send broadcasts to prospects with a tool like Cooby, without WhatsApp Business API. Cooby is a Chrome Extension that fits right onto WhatsApp Web to help you supercharge your conversations every single day.

Different ways to use WhatsApp for lead generation

From embedding links within emails to running campaigns to your existing list of contacts, here are 7 different ways you can generate leads using WhatsApp. 

Share WhatsApp link

So you’re prospecting leads over email, but are getting little to no response? It’s a problem many companies face. It hasn’t gotten to the point where we can safely say that “email prospecting is dead” (when done right, emails are still a beautiful medium), but open rates are considerably lower. 

To have a better chance at generating new prospects, simply share your WhatsApp link. This could be through emails or towards the end, within a signature. This can help leads easily get in touch with you while they’re going through your email, to know more about what you offer. 

Use click-to-WhatsApp ads

Instagram and Facebook make it easy to show targeted ads to users while they’re browsing through their feeds or stories. In most cases, even if the ads are relevant, they end up getting scrolled through or swiped. 

Here, it makes sense to have a click-to-WhatsApp CTA inserted within the ads to make your reachability easier. Once you bring your prospects to WhatsApp, you can seamlessly take the conversation forward. 

Leverage WhatsApp QR codes

Similar to click-to-WhatsApp ads, QR codes can help leads directly get in touch. You need to generate one first and ensure that it is programmed in a way that directs users to a WhatsApp conversation with your company or access a landing page that showcases all your products and services. 

Perform cold reach outs

You can also re-engage with leads that have had some exposure to your company in the past by directly sending them a WhatsApp message. Granted, you need to have their consent before you can follow this strategy. You can create an elaborate sequence of reach outs with various touchpoints and ensure easy lead generation through this method.

Engage with WhatsApp status

For leads who have saved your number but have gone cold for some time, you can set WhatsApp statuses and plan out a sequence to get them interested and reach out to you. This is another low-effort way to get leads to engage with you; you can

use WhatsApp statuses to warm-up prospects that have engaged in the past but have not interacted with your company in a while. 

Use WhatsApp broadcast

You can send message broadcasts to a large list of contacts. You can select contacts that have not engaged with you in a while, or do a wide cold reach out and share deals, weekend/monthly offers, and more. This helps you reach a wide audience and ensures high chances of generating leads. 

While there are Broadcast limits set by Meta, that limit how many people you can reach out to in a day, an extension like Cooby can help you seamlessly reach out to unlimited contacts without WhatsApp API. 

Tip: Cooby helps salespeople create, modify and capture contacts, sync chats, and more directly from WhatsApp to HubSpot with the Cooby HubSpot integration. This helps salespeople reduce their administrative work and focus more on sales.  

Pros and cons of WhatsApp for lead generation

Here are some benefits and downsides of using WhatsApp as a lead-gen channel. 

Pros

  • Lots of users. WhatsApp has over 2.4 billion monthly users from various countries, and as said before, this means there’s lots of potential to generate leads. 
  • Instant communication. Unlike channels such as email, WhatsApp provides a way to communicate with prospects instantly. The messages get sent directly to phones (most people always have their WhatsApp notifications turned on). 
  • Speak the customer’s language. Companies can easily personalize messages before sending them to leads, making them feel relevant. 

Cons

  • Anti-spamming policy. It’s important to stick to Meta’s spam policies to ensure your messages aren’t reported or marked as spam by users. Multiple violations can get your account banned. 
  • Prospect availability. You need to take stock of your prospect’s time zone to ensure you don’t message them when they’re unavailable. This can cause unnecessary delays. 
  • Broadcast cap. WhatsApp allows companies to send broadcasts to only 250 users at a time. This means, if you want to message more users, you can only do it for 250 people every time; plus, there’s a daily limit. 

WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Business: Which is better for lead gen? 

Both the regular version and the Business variant of the app are perfect for lead generation, but the latter edges the front in terms of business-specific functionalities that make it a better choice.

That’s not to say that you can’t perform lead-generation activities at all with the regular version of WhatsApp. However, here’s a list of what you’ll miss: 

  • Verified profile: With a WhatsApp Business account, you can verify your business profile and have a checkmark next to your company name. This boosts your company’s trustworthiness and makes prospects feel safe when they are reaching out to you.
  • Quick replies: The vanilla version of WhatsApp does not allow you to set up quick replies to send to people who message you while you’re not available. WhatsApp Business allows you to send quick messages to show you’re unavailable and that you’d be getting back to them soon. This boosts credibility and shows the prospect that you care. 
  • Automated greeting messages: Similar to quick replies, WhatsApp Business also allows you to send automatic greeting messages to leads as soon as they reach out to you. Speedy communication always helps, and with a quick greeting message, you can get prospects immediately invested in the conversation.
  • Labels: WhatsApp Business helps you organize particular messages or entire chats into 20 different color-coded labels to access messages easily. So if you’re in the process of responding to a critical message, you can put a pin on it and come back later.
  • Catalogs: WhatsApp Business also allows you to display your offerings through a catalog that prospects and customers can access through your profile. This helps them quickly go through your products or services while they wait for you to get back.

Tip: Cooby seamlessly integrates with Hubspot CRM to help communicate with customers, prospects, and contacts through WhatsApp and capture data within the CRM. This helps provide visibility across all prospect and customer conversations since the CRM captures everything and this ensures that your team is updated on every interaction. 

Things to keep in mind before using WhatsApp for lead generation

While WhatsApp is a great platform to surface new leads, it’s important to follow some rules in the process. 

Here are some do’s and don't while prospecting on WhatsApp:

Keep the messages short

It’s important to make your messages read conversational. While it could be tempting to say a lot in one message, break it down into multiple messages to ensure prospects get enough space to read one before moving to the next. It would be best to keep each message as short as you can but also convey the value in fewer words. 

Don’t be pushy

If prospecting is your main goal, then you should stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away, trying to push a prospect for a sale before they’re even warmed up. This is why setting up a sequence of messages and letting the value of your product or service sink into the lead is important before you try to close a sale. Being too pushy may not make them convert and you could end up being blocked or reported. 

Ensure you are prompt

You need to have a backup plan of action if a prospect reaches out to you while you’re unavailable. If it is the case, ensure you have an auto-reply set up based on the context of the message so they know they can expect a response soon. 

Bottom line

WhatsApp is a great platform to generate leads when used properly. There are so many users, its messages have high open rates, and it’s shown to have high conversion rates over the past few years as well. 

When combined with Cooby, lead generation on WhatsApp is a breeze. The best part? It works right on top of regular WhatsApp for Web. 

Check it out today and get a free 7-day trial. 

Conventional lead generation channels that companies have used in the last couple of years have been landing pages, websites, or blog articles. 

Something to incite prospects to take action and progress through the funnel and eventually become a paying customer. This is how all companies work. 

A relatively new player in this segment is WhatsApp, and lots of companies are starting to use it as a lead generation channel as well. But first, what is it? How does it work? Also, why use it at all? 

We’ll cover these and more in this article! Let’s start with its definition.

WhatsApp for lead generation: What is it?

Companies using WhatsApp for generating leads (driving prospect interest for their product or service) is known as WhatsApp for lead generation. 

Leveraging it as a channel to reach out to prospects, identify potential customers, and eventually convert them to paying customers is the crux of the concept.

Many companies in recent times have started adopting it for lead generation. 

For example, you might have received cold WhatsApp messages from a company you wouldn’t have interacted with before notifying you about offers, discounts, or an overview of what they offer.

Why use WhatsApp for lead gen?

While WhatsApp has generally been used for personal 1-to-1 or group conversations, many businesses started using it to keep in touch with existing customers and generate new ones. 

Here are a few reasons why companies can use WhatsApp for lead generation: 

  • High open rates: A simple number crunch will show you why WhatsApp is an excellent channel for generating leads. It’s simply because so many people use it, and messages have high open rates. 
  • Huge conversation rates: Apart from huge open rates, WhatsApp messages also have high conversion rates: 45-60%! This is exponentially more than email or SMS. 
  • Easier to have conversations: Ultimately, it’s just a lot easier to have a conversation over WhatsApp since most users are always on it, and are bound to open it multiple times throughout the day, compared to their email or SMS app.
  • Send broadcasts: It’s super easy to send messages to around 100,000 people at the same time through WhatsApp Business API (once approved by Meta). More people reached out to, means more opportunities, and high conversion rates. 

Did you know? You can easily send broadcasts to prospects with a tool like Cooby, without WhatsApp Business API. Cooby is a Chrome Extension that fits right onto WhatsApp Web to help you supercharge your conversations every single day.

Different ways to use WhatsApp for lead generation

From embedding links within emails to running campaigns to your existing list of contacts, here are 7 different ways you can generate leads using WhatsApp. 

Share WhatsApp link

So you’re prospecting leads over email, but are getting little to no response? It’s a problem many companies face. It hasn’t gotten to the point where we can safely say that “email prospecting is dead” (when done right, emails are still a beautiful medium), but open rates are considerably lower. 

To have a better chance at generating new prospects, simply share your WhatsApp link. This could be through emails or towards the end, within a signature. This can help leads easily get in touch with you while they’re going through your email, to know more about what you offer. 

Use click-to-WhatsApp ads

Instagram and Facebook make it easy to show targeted ads to users while they’re browsing through their feeds or stories. In most cases, even if the ads are relevant, they end up getting scrolled through or swiped. 

Here, it makes sense to have a click-to-WhatsApp CTA inserted within the ads to make your reachability easier. Once you bring your prospects to WhatsApp, you can seamlessly take the conversation forward. 

Leverage WhatsApp QR codes

Similar to click-to-WhatsApp ads, QR codes can help leads directly get in touch. You need to generate one first and ensure that it is programmed in a way that directs users to a WhatsApp conversation with your company or access a landing page that showcases all your products and services. 

Perform cold reach outs

You can also re-engage with leads that have had some exposure to your company in the past by directly sending them a WhatsApp message. Granted, you need to have their consent before you can follow this strategy. You can create an elaborate sequence of reach outs with various touchpoints and ensure easy lead generation through this method.

Engage with WhatsApp status

For leads who have saved your number but have gone cold for some time, you can set WhatsApp statuses and plan out a sequence to get them interested and reach out to you. This is another low-effort way to get leads to engage with you; you can

use WhatsApp statuses to warm-up prospects that have engaged in the past but have not interacted with your company in a while. 

Use WhatsApp broadcast

You can send message broadcasts to a large list of contacts. You can select contacts that have not engaged with you in a while, or do a wide cold reach out and share deals, weekend/monthly offers, and more. This helps you reach a wide audience and ensures high chances of generating leads. 

While there are Broadcast limits set by Meta, that limit how many people you can reach out to in a day, an extension like Cooby can help you seamlessly reach out to unlimited contacts without WhatsApp API. 

Tip: Cooby helps salespeople create, modify and capture contacts, sync chats, and more directly from WhatsApp to HubSpot with the Cooby HubSpot integration. This helps salespeople reduce their administrative work and focus more on sales.  

Pros and cons of WhatsApp for lead generation

Here are some benefits and downsides of using WhatsApp as a lead-gen channel. 

Pros

  • Lots of users. WhatsApp has over 2.4 billion monthly users from various countries, and as said before, this means there’s lots of potential to generate leads. 
  • Instant communication. Unlike channels such as email, WhatsApp provides a way to communicate with prospects instantly. The messages get sent directly to phones (most people always have their WhatsApp notifications turned on). 
  • Speak the customer’s language. Companies can easily personalize messages before sending them to leads, making them feel relevant. 

Cons

  • Anti-spamming policy. It’s important to stick to Meta’s spam policies to ensure your messages aren’t reported or marked as spam by users. Multiple violations can get your account banned. 
  • Prospect availability. You need to take stock of your prospect’s time zone to ensure you don’t message them when they’re unavailable. This can cause unnecessary delays. 
  • Broadcast cap. WhatsApp allows companies to send broadcasts to only 250 users at a time. This means, if you want to message more users, you can only do it for 250 people every time; plus, there’s a daily limit. 

WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Business: Which is better for lead gen? 

Both the regular version and the Business variant of the app are perfect for lead generation, but the latter edges the front in terms of business-specific functionalities that make it a better choice.

That’s not to say that you can’t perform lead-generation activities at all with the regular version of WhatsApp. However, here’s a list of what you’ll miss: 

  • Verified profile: With a WhatsApp Business account, you can verify your business profile and have a checkmark next to your company name. This boosts your company’s trustworthiness and makes prospects feel safe when they are reaching out to you.
  • Quick replies: The vanilla version of WhatsApp does not allow you to set up quick replies to send to people who message you while you’re not available. WhatsApp Business allows you to send quick messages to show you’re unavailable and that you’d be getting back to them soon. This boosts credibility and shows the prospect that you care. 
  • Automated greeting messages: Similar to quick replies, WhatsApp Business also allows you to send automatic greeting messages to leads as soon as they reach out to you. Speedy communication always helps, and with a quick greeting message, you can get prospects immediately invested in the conversation.
  • Labels: WhatsApp Business helps you organize particular messages or entire chats into 20 different color-coded labels to access messages easily. So if you’re in the process of responding to a critical message, you can put a pin on it and come back later.
  • Catalogs: WhatsApp Business also allows you to display your offerings through a catalog that prospects and customers can access through your profile. This helps them quickly go through your products or services while they wait for you to get back.

Tip: Cooby seamlessly integrates with Hubspot CRM to help communicate with customers, prospects, and contacts through WhatsApp and capture data within the CRM. This helps provide visibility across all prospect and customer conversations since the CRM captures everything and this ensures that your team is updated on every interaction. 

Things to keep in mind before using WhatsApp for lead generation

While WhatsApp is a great platform to surface new leads, it’s important to follow some rules in the process. 

Here are some do’s and don't while prospecting on WhatsApp:

Keep the messages short

It’s important to make your messages read conversational. While it could be tempting to say a lot in one message, break it down into multiple messages to ensure prospects get enough space to read one before moving to the next. It would be best to keep each message as short as you can but also convey the value in fewer words. 

Don’t be pushy

If prospecting is your main goal, then you should stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away, trying to push a prospect for a sale before they’re even warmed up. This is why setting up a sequence of messages and letting the value of your product or service sink into the lead is important before you try to close a sale. Being too pushy may not make them convert and you could end up being blocked or reported. 

Ensure you are prompt

You need to have a backup plan of action if a prospect reaches out to you while you’re unavailable. If it is the case, ensure you have an auto-reply set up based on the context of the message so they know they can expect a response soon. 

Bottom line

WhatsApp is a great platform to generate leads when used properly. There are so many users, its messages have high open rates, and it’s shown to have high conversion rates over the past few years as well. 

When combined with Cooby, lead generation on WhatsApp is a breeze. The best part? It works right on top of regular WhatsApp for Web. 

Check it out today and get a free 7-day trial. 

"Cooby created a massive impact on our business. Our teams became more efficient and effective in managing clients on WhatsApp."

Pascal Lammers
Head of Digitization, Mission Mittelstand GmbH

About the author

Sagar Joshi
Content Marketing Manager at Cooby

Sagar Joshi strongly believes that content marketing is a way of helping people. It motivates him to write well-researched content pieces on sales, marketing, and customer experience. In his free time, you can find him reading a book, learning a new language, or playing badminton.

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