WeChat’s Strength In China’s Markets
There’s no doubt that WeChat is one of the most essential apps when it comes to China’s digital marketing scene. Most, if not all, businesses that begin in China or expand to China venture WeChat as an important resource in customer acquisition and customer interaction. With such a vast demand for this resource in every sector, marketing automation has become imperative.
WeChat has multiple automated marketing tools built-in to its framework that assist enterprises with a plethora of tasks while reducing human labor and making the businesses cost-effective.
WeChat’s Marketing Automation Tools: In A Nutshell
Marketing is a versatile profession that requires skill and experience. With China being the most populated country in the world, the market is quite extensive but somewhat saturated at the same time. There are so many avenues of approach that it’s quite a task to handle everything at once. This is where automation comes in.
WeChat’s Marketing automation tools have revolutionized the way businesses use the platform.
All WeChat official accounts have basic auto-reply functionality. There are 3 ways to go about it:
Auto Greeting Reply
A predefined welcome message that gets sent out automatically every time a user follows your WeChat official account.
Keyword-based Auto Reply
Predefined auto-replies set for specific target keywords. For example, an automated reply “What can I help you with?” can be used for keywords such as “hi”, “hello” or “need help”.
In this scenario, only an exact keyword match will trigger an auto-response.
If none of the user’s queries match any of the keywords, an alternative response can also be set to be sent, if that.
Advanced Auto Replies
This is merely an extension of the basic auto-reply tool with the addition of 3rd party plugins. The plugins collect and analyze all the keywords used by users on your WeChat official account and provide valuable feedback on how to respond better.
While WeChat does not provide built-in chatbots, it has the ability to integrate 3rd party chatbot plugins. Chatbots help take auto-replies to the next level.
They are bots with a predefined guided conversation that attempts to imitate real conversations with the users. It is one of the most essential marketing automation tools for any business, be it B2B or B2C. They also allow your business to stay online 24×7 even when there isn’t any executive available online.
They can be used to interact with your potential clients, answer queries, convert leads and so much more.
Auto-Tagging and Autogrouping
Auto-tagging and grouping plugins are essential WeChat automation tools that improve work efficiency on the platform.
They group your WeChat account followers into different segments automatically based on metrics identified by the platform or the plugin. While this is done manually on WeChat, 3rd party plugins allow this process to be automated quite easily.
This feature is only available for verified WeChat accounts. Similar to Broadcast messages, push messages can be sent to your WeChat official account followers in segments or even one-to-one. The only difference is that Push messages allow rich media e.g. audio, video, gifs, etc. while Broadcast messages can only send text-based media.
Service accounts can push only 4 messages a month while subscription accounts can push a message daily.
Segmented pushing requires a 3rd party plugin to execute. It allows you to send different media to different segments, enabling a better marketing approach. WeChat also allows for bulk message pushing.
Overall, there can be 2 types of bulk pushing:
Service Message Bulk Push
This is only available to verified WeChat official accounts. Service messages are messages that are sent to your followers who have interacted with your account in the previous 48 hours. A 3rd party plugin is required to automate this process, otherwise, it can also be done manually.
Template Message Bulk Push
Templates are quite restrictive when it comes to audience interaction but also very effective. WeChat provides strict industry standards that need to be followed while structuring a template message.
When it comes to marketing automation in China, templated messages are used for official tasks like sending users receipts or reminders set by the user themselves.
The western world is quite familiar with email automation and businesses use it extensively. But comparatively, WeChat automation tools are a little restrictive since it’s essentially a messenger and not a marketing automation tool. Compromising the very idea behind the app is not something Tencent is willing to do just to please its business user base.
Even so, WeChat is one of the widely used apps in China and that makes it a more than a viable form of marketing platform if a business wants to expand its reach to the eastern subcontinent.