When sending a message to your list on WhatsApp, brands have to create WhatsApp message templates to keep their messages looking professional and credible. But what happens when a WhatsApp message template is rejected or blocked?
We’ll start with a quick recap.
What is a WhatsApp message template?
A WhatsApp message template is a message format that brands can use repeatedly to message customers in their WhatsApp list. This message format can be used to promote new deals and discounts, sales, new products or even follow up with customers on their previous purchases.
Why is your WhatsApp message template rejected?
Previously, when a brand wanted to get started with using WhatsApp for marketing and sales purposes, they’d had to follow through WhatsApp message template guidelines and submit it for approval. The process would usually take 1-2 days, wherein WhatsApp would come back with actionables that a business would need to take if a WhatsApp message template is rejected.
The most common reasons for a WhatsApp message template rejected being:
- Template starts or ends with a variable
- Variable parameters contain special characters
- Variable parameters are not sequential
- Variable parameters are missing or have mismatched curly braces
- Variable parameters are not defined; for eg. the type of media you want to send in the message
- Spelling or grammatical errors
- Language defined does not match content
- Submission format for testing your API connection is incorrect
- The URLs for your links are shortened
- The URL domain in your links does not belong to your business
- The message template(s) contains content that violates WhatsApp’s Commerce Policy
- The message template(s) contain content that violates WhatsApp’s Business Policy
- The content contains potentially abusive or threatening content
- The message template is a duplicate of an existing template
Now we know that a lot of the reasons above sound all too technical and too much to comply with. That’s why WhatsApp initially started by letting brands know when and where they went wrong - but now, the process is in the hands of your customers.
To remain a community-led platform, WhatsApp has changed the process of WhatsApp message template approvals.
Instead of going through 1-2 days of review from WhatsApp, the message templates are now immediately approved. The WhatsApp message template rejection now comes from the customers that a business is sending messages to!
So if you’re spamming your customers without taking an opt-in or have not structured your message thoughtfully, your WhatsApp message template can be rejected or blocked by the community. And it’s a lot easier than you think:
What happens when a WhatsApp message template is rejected or blocked?
Once WhatsApp registers a number of customers blocking or rejecting your WhatsApp message template, your business is immediately flagged and marked for following spammy practices. And your campaigns come to a half as your business account is either temporarily banned or blocked forever.
This can create roadblocks in your communication with customers on WhatsApp, creating inconsistencies that will lead to loss of customer engagement and hence, the revenue you are driving from the channel.
What to do when your WhatsApp message template is rejected or blocked?
If your WhatsApp message template gets rejected or blocked, you will need to submit it for approvals - and this time to WhatsApp. This can now take 2-3 days to get a response, which may not always be in your favor. And the time it takes could quickly spiral into a week, making you resort to other channels for customer communication, or creating a whole new business account to keep the campaigns going - either of which is not a good scenario when it comes to displaying credibility to customers.
Alternatively, you can work with a WhatsApp Business API solution provider like QuickReply.ai - who can essentially help prevent blocks and rejections and apply the best practices below.
How to avoid WhatsApp message template blocks and rejections?
Having worked with a number of businesses, helping them leverage WhatsApp automations for marketing, sales and support, using the WhatsApp Business API, here are some lessons we have learnt and recommend following:
1. Always get a WhatsApp opt-in
Whether you capture a customer’s data from your website WhatsApp widget, a WhatsApp link on social media, a click to WhatsApp ad or other campaign types, remember that it’s important to seek permission before you send them a promotional message. You can do this by simply automating a greeting/ welcome message on WhatsApp that clearly states how you intend on using the platform, what the customer can expect to hear from you on, and how frequently, along with an option to either continue or opt-out.
2. Understand WhatsApp’s policies
No one likes to read the fine print in policies. But if you want to turn WhatsApp into a marketing and sales channel to grow your business, remember to read through and understand the Business and Commerce policies. The summary of which is basically to remain respectful in the way you use the platform - no spam, no abuse, no threats, and so on.
3. Control message frequency based on engagement
Yes, WhatsApp messages get a high open and click through rate. This may tempt you to send more WhatsApp broadcasts to keep customers engaged - but more is not always good, and can result in your WhatsApp message template getting rejected or blocked, or customers opting out of your list.
This is where QuickReply.ai has built a more proactive approach to controlling WhatsApp message frequency as compared to other automation tools. We use customer engagement as a leading parameter for brands to send WhatsApp messages, helping them avoid falling into spammy practices.
For example, if two promotional WhatsApp broadcasts have been sent to a customer in 30 days, the platform automatically does not send the third message if the previous two have not been engaged with. This also helps brands keep their WhatsApp list healthy - in a much similar fashion as how email lists work, where brands can proactively sift out consumers who are the least likely to respond.
4. Vary the type of campaigns
Most eCommerce businesses can be seen using WhatsApp broadcasts for sending out updates around new deals, discounts and sales running on their stores. But WhatsApp is a community-led platform, meant for natural conversations - that is why it is also important for brands to experiment with different types of campaigns.
For example, instead of always sending out a WhatsApp broadcast message with discount coupons, share a lookbook with your recent collection, a media mention, social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials, and so on. This will also show customers how you intend to use the platform in a meaningful way.
5. Focus on the customer lifecycle
As of today, more than 70% of consumers expect brands to personalize their communication based on their individual interests, intent and previous interactions. This is where it becomes important for businesses to pay attention to how WhatsApp is being used across the customer lifecycle.
From the point of discovery to when a consumer drops you a message on WhatsApp, pay close attention to how you communicate with the buyers at every stage - up until post-purchase and the journey there on.
To enable brands to do this easily, QuickReply.ai has actually built 40+ eCommerce chatbots and automation workflows that brands can further customize to meet their consumer expectations. Using these workflows, brands can automate their communication across the funnel, but at the same time personalize each message to reach their audience with context.
6. Seek customer feedback
While this falls into focusing on the customer lifecycle, we are stating it as a separate practice to ensure it becomes a rule of thumb.
We recommend brands working with us to set up WhatsApp campaigns to collect customer feedback in a proactive manner. If the brand has been using WhatsApp for marketing, sales and support for anywhere between 3-4 weeks, we recommend pushing out one broadcast message that is simply targeted at seeking inputs from the customer - no promotions!
From asking customers what they’d like to hear about more to what you can do better, customer feedback is a great way to ensure your WhatsApp message templates don’t get rejected or blocked.
Are your WhatsApp message templates getting rejected or blocked?
If you have been experiencing a drop in your customer engagement rate on WhatsApp, there is a chance that you may soon see rejections and blocks coming your way. This is an indication that your WhatsApp messages are not meeting customer expectations and require additional personalization.
This is where our WhatsApp marketing experts can help.
We work with brands on an individual basis to help them not just comply with all the policies set up by WhatsApp, but also understand all the capabilities of the WhatsApp Business API and create a well documented strategy to leverage the platform.