How to: Collect opt-ins for WhatsApp Business API

Edee Carey2020-11-19

WhatsApp is becoming one of the most popular channels for messaging, especially between businesses and their customers. The key to business messaging is getting an opt-in from your customers, then staying in touch throughout the customer journey.

Read on to learn how to get this opt-in for WhatsApp Business API.

About WhatsApp Business API Messaging

WhatsApp Business API supports all types of messages, including two–way conversations, but in order to initiate a WhatsApp message to a person, you must first receive opt-in permission. This means confirming that the recipient wishes to receive future messages from you on WhatsApp. The opt-in must:

  • Clearly state that the person is opting in to receive messages from you over WhatsApp

  • Clearly state your business’s name

  • Comply with applicable laws

From WhatsApp’s Business Policy.

It’s important to note that opt-in is required only for template messages – meaning the messages that you initiate and send to the end user. These WhatsApp-approved templates ensure that your messages won’t seem like spam to customers.

While we are here to support you and your business, we don’t provide opt-in handling or storage, so it is your responsibility to make sure the necessary opt-in is in place and used correctly.

How to Connect Customers to WhatsApp and Collect Opt-Ins

There are different ways you can show your customers that they can reach you on WhatsApp. First of all, you need to know where your customers are and which channel they use. Then you can implement the opt-in collection method most relevant for your target audience. You want to make sure the opt-in process is simple and convenient.

You can collect the WhatsApp opt-in either in WhatsApp (customer-initiated chat), or off WhatsApp (e.g., through a third-party channel).

Here are some different methods for collecting opt-ins for those end users you want to get in touch with:

  1. When customers reach out to you first (in a WhatsApp chat): If an end user contacts you first (called a session message), you then have 24 hours from the last message to collect the opt-in directly in the WhatsApp chat. The sender explains the types of messages the customer might receive in the future and confirms the opt-in.

  1. Third Party Channels: Use the channels that you already have to let them know you’re on WhatsApp and collect opt-ins. For example, send an SMS linking to your WhatsApp page with a place for them to provide their opt-in information for future WhatsApp messages.

  1. QR Code: Create a QR-code and add it to your online ads, your website or print media. Potential customers do not need an app to get started, they can use their own mobile camera. Once customers open the QR-code, they’ll be able to get in touch with you. Then after they’ve initiated a conversation, you can ask for the opt-in.

  1. Website

There are several ways to inform customers that you’re on WhatsApp and to get their opt-ins:

  • Include your WhatsApp number to your contact information on your website. Once they contact you over WhatsApp, you have 24 hours to ask for their opt-in.

  • Use a pop-up or a specific “WhatsApp contact us” button on your homepage to ask customers to opt-in or create a dedicated landing page where customers can fill in the required opt-in information.

  • Add a QR-code on the website that has information on how they can contact you or opt-in to WhatsApp communications.

  1. Email signature

Use the WhatsApp number, website URL, or QR-code in your email signature to remind customers that they can reach you on WhatsApp in addition to phone and email. After they reach out to you, you can ask them to opt-in to receive future WhatsApp messages from you.

Encourage employees and/or customer service agents to use links in email signature lines. links are short URLs that can instantly open a WhatsApp conversation with your business from emails, SMS texts, apps and more.

To create your own link, use: followed by your full business phone number in international format (i.e. If your international phone number is +1 555 123 4567, then your link will look like: Omit any extra zeros, parentheses, spaces, dashes, or the plus sign when adding the phone number in international format

  1. Paid Awareness

Create ads that link to WhatsApp from websites like Facebook or Instagram. You can also add it to your Google AdWords campaign. When a person interacts with your ad on Facebook or Instagram, a conversation with your business will immediately open in WhatsApp, enabling you to request their opt-in for future communications. Ads that link to WhatsApp give your business a fast and convenient way to answers questions, drive transactions, and offer support.

  1. Offline

Place QR-codes, phone numbers, and relevant information on product packages, boarding passes, delivery boxes, or other advertising material to inform customers that you are available for customer support on WhatsApp. These unique touchpoints will catch the attention of customers, making them more inclined to opt-in.

WhatsApp is a great way to send notifications to your customers or help them with their customer service needs. Make sure your end users understand the value of WhatsApp as well! It’s important to remember that when starting a conversation with an end user, you will need to use a predefined and approved template message, as well as get opt-in permission from that end-user.

We can help you get started with the WhatsApp Business API or support you if you’re already a user. Get in touch!