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A complete guide to send WhatsApp Bulk Messages

How to send bulk WhatsApp messages? Free and premium options

Businesses can choose from either a free or paid WhatsApp solution to send bulk WhatsApp messages. The options are the free WhatsApp Business App and the paid WhatsApp Cloud API

WhatsApp Business app is a free version with more tools than the normal app, for businesses to communicate with their customers.

For more advanced features, WhatsApp introduced WhatsApp Cloud API, a special service that businesses can use to make WhatsApp work better for them. With this option, businesses can connect WhatsApp to their computer systems or apps. This integration streamlines various processes, including efficient management of customer messages and automation of tasks. 

What is bulk WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp marketing digital

WhatsApp bulk messages, also known as WhatsApp broadcast messages, are marketing campaigns that businesses now use to send the same message to a big group of customers or clients.

Imagine you have something important to say, like sharing a big sale happening at your store or announcing a new product launch. Instead of sending the same message to each person individually, you can use WhatsApp bulk messages.

Bulk WhatsApp marketing by broadcasting messages allows you to send the same message to a lot of people all at once. It's like sending a single message that gets delivered to many people's phones at the same time.

WhatsApp bulk message campaigns offer several benefits that make them an appealing avenue for businesses to engage with their audience. These include:

  • Direct and personalized communication: WhatsApp allows businesses to engage with customers directly and on a personal level, fostering a sense of connection.

  • High engagement rates: WhatsApp messages generally have a higher open rate of up to  98% and better response rates compared to traditional email marketing with only 21.3%.

  • Rich media sharing: Businesses can share a variety of content formats, including images, videos, and documents. 

  • Immediate communication: WhatsApp messages are delivered instantly, making them suitable for time-sensitive promotions or announcements.

  • Opt-in model: Users must consent to receive messages, ensuring that businesses communicate with an interested audience that becomes high-quality leads.

Find out how to successfully request consent from your customers to prevent your account from getting blocked by uninterested customers.

WhatsApp Business App vs. WhatsApp Cloud API

AspectFree WhatsApp Business AppWhatsApp Cloud API
Maximum contacts256Scalable
Risk of ban Higher risk of getting bannedLower risk and adheres to guidelines
Message customizationManual editing requiredAutomated and dynamic
Legal complianceFollows WhatsApp rulesPartnered with official BSPs
Message sending mechanismLimitedEfficient and streamlined
Cost structureNo additional costsConversation fees and BSP charges

How to send bulk messages on WhatsApp for free

WhatsApp broadcast businesses

If you do not know, you can actually send WhatsApp bulk messages free of charge on the WhatsApp Business App. Here are the simple steps you can follow:

  1. Download and install the WhatsApp Business App on your device.

  2. Verify your business number. Ensure that it's different from your personal number.

  3. Create a broadcast list containing up to 256 contacts.

  4. Compose your message and manually customize it for each recipient.

Note: you can only send WhatsApp bulk messages to contacts who have saved your business phone number.

Head over to our guide on WhatsApp Broadcast Messages and discover how to make the most out of them.

Limitations of sending WhatsApp bulk messages on the free WhatsApp Business App

While the free option of bulk WhatsApp marketing is enticing, it comes with some limitations:

1. Only 256 contacts

Although WhatsApp does not limit the number of broadcast lists that you can create, it does limit the number of recipients in the lists. You can only send a broadcast to a maximum of 256 contacts at a time. If you have a larger customer base, this can be problematic, as you might need to send multiple broadcasts to reach everyone.

2. The risk of getting banned is higher

Sending broadcast messages from the WhatsApp Business App to a large number of contacts could potentially trigger WhatsApp's anti-spam measures. If WhatsApp detects behavior that appears to be spammy or suspicious, your business account might be flagged, leading to temporary or even permanent bans. This can disrupt your communication efforts and damage your business's reputation on the platform.

Also, if the users fail to recognize your WhatsApp Business number and mark your message as spam, or worse, block your account, you may also get banned by WhatsApp and lose your account forever.

Account banned? Find out how you can revive your WhatsApp Business account and prevent it from happening again.

3. Manual editing of message content is required

Broadcast messages are sent to multiple recipients, but they appear as individual chats on the recipients' phones. Hence, when you send broadcast messages through the WhatsApp Business App, you'll need to manually customize the message content for each broadcast, i.e. with the recipient's name or specific details. This process can take up a lot of time and might cause inconsistencies if you make errors while editing.

Note: Some third-party WhatsApp bulk senders offer free numbers for you to blast messages to an unlimited number of contacts, but this violates WhatsApp’s Terms of Service. WhatsApp has the authority to take legal action against individuals or companies involved in such violations. Even by associating with these platforms, there’s a chance of inadvertently exposing yourself to legal repercussions.

Quick tips for sending WhatsApp bulk messages 

WhatsApp broadcast campaign

Sending broadcast messages for your bulk WhatsApp marketing is an effective way to save costs and time. 

Here are some tips on how to send bulk messages on WhatsApp:

  1. Segment your audience: Divide your audience into relevant segments based on demographics, interests, or past interactions. This helps you send more targeted and personalized messages.

  2. Avoid spammy content: Craft messages that are valuable, relevant, and not overly promotional. Avoid using excessive emojis, excessive capitalization, or misleading information.

  3. Obtain consent: Ensure you have the necessary permission from recipients to send them messages, especially if you're sending promotional content.

  4. Timing matters: Send messages at appropriate times to increase the chances of engagement. Avoid sending messages during late hours or times when people are less likely to be active.

  5. Monitor engagement: Keep an eye on how recipients are interacting with your messages. If you notice a low engagement rate, it might be a sign that your content needs improvement.

  6. Provide opt-out option: Always give recipients the option to opt out of receiving future messages. This helps maintain a positive reputation and avoids frustrating users.

How to upgrade your WhatsApp messaging limit

WhatsApp has a rate limit tier for every WhatsApp application. To move up the rate-limiting tiers, you need to meet specific criteria outlined in the provided information:

  1. The total number of distinct recipients over the past 7 days. 

  2. Actively initiate conversations with a wide range of recipients.

  3. Ensure your messages are high-quality and adhere to WhatsApp's guidelines.

  4. Keep your phone number connected and in good standing.

Tiers for WhatsApp messaging limits

TierNumber of recipients allowed for WhatsApp Broadcast
Tier 1Limited to 1000 unique WhatsApp message recipients per day
Tier 2Limited to 10,000 unique WhatsApp message recipients per day
Tier 3Limited to 100,000 unique WhatsApp message recipients per day
Tier 4Unlimited WhatsApp message recipients per day

Quality rating of your WhatsApp Business account

WhatsApp assesses your quality rating based on user feedback and engagement. Maintaining a positive quality rating is crucial for your business account's reputation. 

Below are some steps that you can consider to keep your message quality rating at medium or high:

  1. Ensure your messages comply with WhatsApp’s Business Policy.

  2. Send messages that provide value to recipients.

  3. Don't overwhelm users with too many messages in a short timeframe. 

  4. Aim to respond promptly to user queries and messages. 

High-quality ratings are also extremely helpful when you apply for the green tick on your WhatsApp Business account.

How to send WhatsApp bulk messages on the WhatsApp Cloud API

Sending out WhatsApp Broadcast Messages for WhatsApp Marketing

What is WhatsApp Cloud API?

WhatsApp Cloud API is the cloud-based edition of WhatsApp Business API or on-premise API that is hosted by Meta (the parent company of WhatsApp). WhatsApp Cloud API has the same characteristic as WhatsApp Business API except for the hosting method. 

Businesses can now choose between developing their own in-house business messaging tools using Meta’s developer resources or acquiring the service through an official Business Service Provider (BSP) such as SleekFlow, that offers the WhatsApp Cloud API.

A guide for you to send WhatsApp bulk messages via WhatsApp Cloud API on SleekFlow

SleekFlow WhatsApp Business API

As mentioned earlier, using an official BSP can ease the process of your bulk WhatsApp marketing. Moreover, you can streamline your business’s services by integrating with a Customer Relationship Management system or e-commerce platforms.

SleekFlow’s broadcast campaign feature offers:

  • The ability for multiple team members to log into the same WhatsApp Business account, enabling concurrent customer interactions using the corporate WhatsApp number.

  • Customize messages using variables such as names and dates, adding a more personalized touch to your communications.

  • Begin with sending up to 1000 messages daily, and you can expand to 10,000 messages by sending over 500 within the first week, subject to WhatsApp's approval.

  • Automate WhatsApp Broadcasts using pre-designed message templates that can be tested before being sent.

  • Obtain hassle-free approval for pre-designed Template Messages while adhering to WhatsApp's guidelines.

Note: Remember to choose a Meta-partnered WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) to make sure that you’re getting trusted services from Meta.

WhatsApp bulk message price with the WhatsApp Cloud API

The cost for bulk WhatsApp marketing is divided into two parts: WhatsApp conversation fees and service charges from WhatsApp BSPs.

WhatsApp conversation fees for your bulk message campaigns

WhatsApp conversation fees are the official charges introduced by WhatsApp, last updated in July 2023. Conversation fees for your bulk WhatsApp marketing are the charges associated with engaging in conversations with recipients when broadcasting messages. 

Conversations are divided into two categories, below is a table to show the differences between them:

AspectUser-initiated/service conversationBusiness-initiated conversation
InitiationCustomers message the business firstThe business messages the customers first
Type of interactionResponding to customers' inquiriesProactive engagement, updates, marketing
SubcategoriesNo subcategoriesSubcategorized as utility, authentication, marketing
Message typesFree-form messages allowed in responsesOnly Template Messages are allowed
Customer care window24-hour window from the message last sent24-hour window from the message last sent, but charges will still apply if different templates are used within the same window
Cost structureDepends on your country/regionSpecific pricing based on conversation type

To find out how much each type of conversation costs for your country, head over to our comprehensive guide on WhatsApp Business's pricing and model worldwide.

WhatsApp business pricing from June 2023

MarketBusiness-initiated rate for utility conversations (USD)Business-initiated rate for authentication conversations (USD)Business-initiated rate for marketing conversations (USD)User-initiated rate for service conversations (USD)
Hong Kong$ 0.0472$0.0425$ 0.0732$ 0.0224
Singapore$ 0.0472$0.0425$ 0.0732$ 0.0224
Malaysia$ 0.0200$0.0180$ 0.0860$ 0.0220
United States$ 0.0150$0.0135$ 0.0250$ 0.0088
United Kingdom$ 0.0398$0.0358$ 0.0705$ 0.0388

WhatsApp Pricing Calculator

If you're uncertain about the calculation, you can also use SleekFlow's pricing calculator to gauge the charges you'll incur with the new pricing structure based on conversations.

WhatsApp Pricing Calculator

WhatsApp bulk message sender service charges from WhatsApp BSPs

When businesses use the services of WhatsApp BSPs like SleekFlow to send bulk messages, there are corresponding costs involved. These charges cover the use of the BSP's technology, infrastructure, and resources that facilitate the sending of these messages at scale. 

Here is how the charges generally work:

  • Business partnership: Businesses collaborate with WhatsApp BSPs to access their tools and services tailored for bulk messaging. These providers ensure strict adherence to WhatsApp's policies and guidelines.

  • Service fees: WhatsApp BSPs typically levy charges on businesses for utilizing their services. These fees might be structured based on the volume of messages sent, the number of recipients, or other pertinent factors. Check out SleekFlow’s pricing packages on our website.

  • Value-added services: Some WhatsApp BSPs offer supplementary services, such as analytics, reporting, and automated chatbot features, to amplify the impact of bulk messaging campaigns. These additional services could come with separate charges.

It's important for businesses to understand the pricing structure and terms of service offered by WhatsApp BSPs before engaging their services. Different BSPs might have varying fee structures and additional services, so businesses should evaluate their options to ensure they are getting the best value for their needs.

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