WhatsApp vs Email Marketing: Which is More Effective?

updated on 26 April 2024

Brands are eager to leverage multiple communication channels to establish closer connections with their target audiences. In pursuit of this, email and WhatsApp have emerged as popular conversational platforms.

Email Marketing remains a powerful and long-standing strategy in the digital marketing world. Its versatility and effectiveness continue to drive sales and enhance brand awareness.

However, the introduction of WhatsApp into the mix has ignited the WhatsApp vs email marketing debate. Marketers like WhatsApp because it has a high open rate of 99%, and customers find it quick and appealing. This makes it a good alternative to regular email marketing.

So, who wins the debate between Email Vs WhatsApp Marketing? Which is the more effective marketing channel?

Today’s article will help you understand how well both platforms work and determine which fits your business or marketing goals best.

Table of Content

What is Email Marketing

What is WhatsApp Marketing

Email vs WhatsApp Marketing

Email vs WhatsApp: Which is more effective

Email Marketing: What It Is and Why It Matters

Email marketing involves businesses sending tailored messages, promotional content, and updates via email to connect with their target audience.

WhatsApp Vs Email Marketing Source
WhatsApp Vs Email Marketing Source

Emails like the one above prove effective in engaging with current and potential customers. They nurture relationships and prompt actions, such as making purchases, signing up for networking events, and so on.

Overall, email marketing is a powerful tool to engage with your audience, drive sales, and build brand awareness.

However, in recent times, the email open rate has tanked as low as 20%!! No matter how engaging your email is, when people are not opening your email, it's not worth it!

Nowadays, people open their emails just to check their business emails, verifying OTPs and email verifications

Emails are just not personal enough to convince decision making from a user.

And that's where WhatsApp Marketing comes in!

WhatsApp Marketing: What It Is and Why It Matters

WhatsApp marketing involves using the WhatsApp Business platform to connect with customers, share promotional content, provide customer support, and engage in one-on-one communication. WhatsApp marketing can also be used to broadcast messages to a large audience.

WhatsApp Marketing - WhatsApp Vs Email Marketing
WhatsApp Marketing - WhatsApp Vs Email Marketing

WhatsApp marketing is a direct, instant, and intimate way for you to interact with your audience.

To see what WhatsApp can do, here’s a sample marketing campaign:

In 2019, Unilever launched a WhatsApp marketing campaign called “I will bring you back your beloved clothes” in Brazil to make people aware of their new fabric softener. The company’s marketing team put up posters and billboards around Sao Paulo to reach as many people as possible.

The posters and billboards had a clear product image and a WhatsApp number. When people messaged the number, a chatbot named ‘MadameBot’ gave tips on how to care for their clothes.

The chatbot also introduced new products using audio messages, videos, and memes. At the end of the chat, people received a whopping 50% discount on the fabric softener with free shipping.

As a result of the campaign, Unilever’s sales increased by 14x, and the brand got 290,000 WhatsApp messages and 12,000 new customers.

WhatsApp marketing works because of the platform’s widespread usage and high engagement rates. With over two billion active users, WhatsApp offers a vast potential audience. It allows for real-time communication, enabling quick responses and immediate customer engagement.

You can create groups, use broadcast lists, or implement chatbots to streamline customer interactions and offer timely support.

Furthermore, WhatsApp allows you to share rich media content like images, videos, and documents, enhancing the overall user experience.

You can easily get started with WhatsApp Marketing through a WhatsApp Business API based platform like AiSensy. AiSensy helps you connect with hundreds and thousands of users in one click on WhatsApp, automate notifications, get WhatsApp Green Tick, run Click to WhatsApp Ads, send Catalogues and collect payments within WhatsApp as well as send retargeting campaigns to users. 

Get a Free Trial of AiSensy for WhatsApp Marketing - Free for 14 Days

Email Vs WhatsApp Marketing

WhatsApp Marketing Vs Email Marketing
WhatsApp Marketing Vs Email Marketing

Between WhatsApp vs email marketing, which one should you go for? Well, to decide which channel is most suitable for your business, it’s essential to understand the following differences.

  • Open Rate: Open rate shows the percentage of users that have opened your email or WhatsApp message. According to a Campaign Monitor report, WhatsApp has an open rate of 99%. This is due to the quick and personal nature of WhatsApp messages, prompting individuals to open and respond to messages immediately. 

In contrast, email users normally encounter challenges like cluttered inboxes and unwelcome spam messages. These have led to a lower open rate of 21.33%.

  • Click-Through Rate: Click-through rate is the percentage of people who click on the links included in your email or WhatsApp broadcast messages. WhatsApp boasts a click-through and conversion rate of 45-60%. The higher click-through rate of the WhatsApp platform is attributed to its personalization feature, instant response, and direct communication. 

On the other hand, email recipients are usually hesitant to click on external links, leading to lower click-through and conversion rates of about 2-5%. The reason for this may range from security concerns to unexpected/ unfamiliar emails.

  • Junk & Spam: In email marketing, emails are susceptible to being marked as junk or spam. This could happen if your recipients do this deliberately or if your subject lines contain spam triggers. Unlike emails, WhatsApp messages aren’t designed to land in a junk or spam folder. 

Thanks to the double-tick and blue-tick features, you can also tell if your customer has received and read your intended message.

  • Resource Dependence: Resource dependence shows how email and WhatsApp marketing differ in their needs. Emails need lots of effort in design and content, while WhatsApp is more casual, needing fewer resources. Unlike email, WhatsApp also lets you share different content without worrying about file size.

This means WhatsApp marketing requires less effort and resources than email marketing.

  • User Responsiveness: An average user spends 40 minutes daily on WhatsApp. WhatsApp messages have an almost instant response rate since people check their WhatsApp notifications multiple times every hour.  Meanwhile, emails have a comparatively low user responsiveness as people usually only open emails for OTP verifications or to check business mails. 

All this is not to say email marketing is obsolete. As I said, email marketing remains a force to be reckoned with. Just look at the stats. A staggering 82% of marketers worldwide still use this type of marketing.

Email Marketing vs WhatsApp Marketing: Which Is More Effective for Your Business?

Email marketing and WhatsApp marketing have their unique strengths when it comes to helping you engage with consumers and fostering brand growth. While WhatsApp offers quick, intimate, and resource-efficient communication, email marketing delivers segmented, personalized content and offers a substantial ROI. Additionally, you can verify email addresses before sending out emails ensuring they are not undelivered or marked as spam.

Your answer to the WhatsApp vs email marketing debate hinges on the nature and goals of your business. That doesn’t mean you need to choose one over the other for your marketing, though. If you want the best results, combining the two channels makes more sense. Let me illustrate with an example. 

Consider a local restaurant aiming to enhance its customer outreach strategies. The restaurant might use AiSensy to offer an easy click-to-chat WhatsApp button on its website. So, when website visitors click on it, the restaurant can offer them quick, immediate offers, like a lunch special to attract customers on short notice, on WhatsApp. This strategy allows for fast responses and instant engagement.  

Meanwhile, the restaurant could use email marketing to share stories, recipes, and updates with customers interested in a deeper connection. Email, after all, allows for more detailed content. 

In other words, in this case, combining WhatsApp and email in the restaurant marketing plan can be very effective. WhatsApp can grab attention quickly for immediate deals, while email marketing can build stronger, ongoing connections with customers over time. 

In Closing

We’ve seen that both WhatsApp and email have their strengths. While WhatsApp excels in immediacy and intimacy, email thrives in personalized, detailed content. 

In the debate between WhatsApp vs email marketing, your choice of platform depends on the nature of your company and business goals. But that doesn’t mean you should choose one over the other.

For the best results, why not leverage the strengths of both platforms? Ultimately, a balanced approach ensures swift engagement and long-term relationship-building for a robust marketing strategy.

Author’s Bio

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.

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