WeChat has become in a couple of years the most famous but also most used APP in China. International brands are now looking for optimizing their WeChat marketing strategy so they can reach out to their audience through the app better.
Until recently, brands on WeChat had a limited marketing toolset through official accounts, but the introduction of a mini-program has changed the game! In this post, we are taking a look at:
- WeChat Mini Programs definition and highlights.
- What are the steps to develop one?
- How to use it and promote it with efficiency?
- Mini Programs in use: a brands case study
If you are looking for tips to develop or promote your Mini Program, this article is for you. Similarly, if you are looking for an agency in China, don’t be shy and contact us!
1. What are WeChat Mini Programs?
Mini programs are small, lightweight mobile apps that you can use to do things like order food, book a taxi, or pay bills. They’re built on the WeChat platform and can be accessed through WeChat’s “Mini Programs” directory.
Unlike regular apps, mini-programs don’t require installation. You can just open them up and use them right away for your E-commerce needs. And since they’re just small programs that run inside of WeChat, they’re fast and efficient with very few storage requirements.
Users simply scan a QR code with their device or open a link in the WeChat app that links to the program – no operating system complexities required.
WeChat Mini Program in Data
- Launched in January 2017 by Tencent
- Mini Programs are attracting 450millions daily users as of 2022
- +3 million WeChat mini programs were created since the initial launch
- Their transactions reached RMB1.6 trillion in 2020, a number that doubled in 2021!
Possibilities of The WeChat E-Commerce Mini Program
You can find a lot of Mini-Program useful for your brand… here are some examples of WeChat programs:
- Music/Videos management
- Tourist destination audio guide
- Membership Management
- Voice translation
- Free WIFI in public places
- E-Commerce store
- VIP program
As soon as it got launched, WeChat Mini Program followed a very high penetration rate among different industries such as:
- Mobile payment
- Online Videos/Pictures/Music
- Retail/E-Commerce & Group Buying
Also, as those retail store mini-programs do not require coding capability, they can, therefore, be adopted by a large number of small retailers.
Fast to be developed and pretty cheap, it’s a perfect tool for companies.
Mini-programs will not replace the mobile APP as you know it, but they will be very efficient to help the main app to acquire new users”
Moreover, with 517 million players in China, WeChat mini games turned out to be very popular as well. Gamification of the app used by Brands to raise awareness and convert fans.
About WeChat Mini Program Users
They don’t need to download, install, or register to run the app programmed within the WMP framework. Contrary to the mobile app which will require complex features and functions.
Male and female users can launch a mini-program directly through an official account, a menu, or as soon as the user will start following the account for the first time.
2. What are the Steps to Develop a WeChat Mini Program?
List of Requirements
You can launch a mini-program on WeChat if you are one of the following entities: a Company (Chinese and local representation of a foreign company), Media, Public Organization, and other organizations with an official presence.
Documents that will have to be submitted in order to Weixin Mini Program Verification:
- ID documentation (Chinese ID card, Residence permit…)
- Legal documents of your organization – for instance, the business needs to upload a business license.
- Company’s registered bank verification through Wechat pay
Here is a list of policies to follow when developing a Wechat Mini-programs:
- Wechat MP can be launched from the WeChat official Account’s menu
- WMP can be launched from regular or existing 2D code
- It supports third-party platforms to develop/manage WMP
- Provide data on the user’s journey (location, visit trend, retentions, and other statistics)
- An official account can be linked to 3 WMPs of different parties or 10 programs from the same developer
- Can use the same name as the Official Account
How Much Does a Wechat Mini-program Cost to Develop?
The cost of developing a mini-program depends greatly on what you are looking for and how you proceed. Generally speaking the cost of developing a mini-program on WeChat range from $3K (think template) to $20k (highly customized).
Templates are the route we would advise you to go unless you are a company with a lot of resources, already known in China, and you have a very specific project in mind.
3. How to Use WeChat Mini-Program as a Key Success Factor in Your Brand Development?
Before we get started, here are a few (obvious) things to keep in mind when using WeChat Mini-Programs to promote your brand in China:
- Make sure your Mini-Program is well-designed and user-friendly. Poorly designed Mini-Programs will not be successful.
- Promote your Mini-Program through online and offline channels. Offline promotion is especially important in China, where many people still do not use the internet regularly.
- Create interesting and engaging content for your Mini-Program. If people are not interested in your content, they will not use your Mini-Program.
- Keep track of user feedback and make changes accordingly. Users should be able to easily navigate your Mini-program on Wechat.
We saw that WeChat mini-programs can be very interesting to engage your community, building brand loyalty, and even enable your customer base to reach a new high. However, to expect any result with your mini-programs, you need to have people ready to use them. Sounds logical but it’s true.
A very lightweight App (under 10MB), but still an App. And if nobody knows ever heard of your brand, then nobody will use your mini-app… here is some basic advice on how to promote your brand and WMP so you can reach your goals!
Do People Know Your Brand?
If you’re already in China, you sure know how important it is to be visible on Chinese online platforms. If that is not something you are familiar with, here is a quick reminder of why and some platforms you want to explore:
- Chinese people don’t have access to Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other Western platforms
- Chinese online channels offer a way to reach a large and diverse audience. Online platforms like Weibo and WeChat have hundreds of millions of native app purchasing users, so there’s a good chance that your target audience is already using them.
- Baidu: the Chinese google is China’s #1 search engine
- Weibo: Chinese “Twitter” is one of the most consulted social media in China
- If they have a problem or look for a product to solve their problem: they’ll check on Baidu
- If they don’t know you and want to be sure you’re not a scam or fake company: they’ll check on Baidu and on Weibo
But being visible in China is not enough. Thousands of new brands appear every day in this market.
So, to be the minimum well-known and recognize by netizens (meaning to make some sales), successful companies work on their reputation.
In a country of 1.4 billion people, being here is not enough. To be a star you need to work on your fame. It’s the same with products. Here’s how to do it. It’s simple but not easy:
- Be present on Social media: Open an official WeChat account, and be present on Douyin, Youku, and any other social media.
- Show yourself as a quality brand! use PR, blogs, KOL, and forums. People need to talk about you You’ll need to get positive comments/reviews.
- Are you making enough money? In China, nobody trusts a brand that is not making money. And Chinese people don’t like to be the first ones to buy… So, if you have good products then you need to have some sales and show it. Join E-commerce platforms and show how popular are your products through the huge amount of products you sold.
In short, once your brand awareness is big enough, then only you’ll start getting traffic to your mini-program. Work on that reputation first, then launch your mini-program that you’ll it to nurture your followers and existing customer base.
How to Promote Your WeChat Mini-Program
- Link your WeChat Program to your official WeChat account. Then, it will be easy for your community to access your mini-programs and will allow you to interact with them and integrate them with efficiency.
- Use WeChat groups. As you should already be a member of WeChat, you may know about groups. If not, consider that groups are a good way for companies to share information, discounts, coupons, and more generally interact with people. You can make your own groups or join other’s groups.
- Use ads. It’s a possibility for you to promote your WMP, but ads on WeChat are not very efficient… You’d better use Ads to develop your fan base on Social Media which could, later on, lead to new followers on your WeChat account, meaning new people using your App.
- The power of KOL. You can use Key Opinion Leaders or micro-influencers to spread the news about your brand/product/app, among their own community. Chinese people act like sheep… If an influencer tells them “this product/app is awesome, I use it every day…”, they’ll use it. End of the story.
Wechat Mini-Program in Use: A Brands Case Study
Let’s take a look at 2 successful case studies of brands that have used WeChat mini-programs to drive significant results. Hopefully, these examples will give you some ideas on how your business could use WeChat mini to reach more customers and achieve your goals.
Wechat Mini-Program Case Study: Longchamp
The Luxury French Brand uses 2 Wechat mini-programs:
- An online boutique/store: focusing on product customization, they allowed users to customize their unique Longchamp bag, with options such as 2 colors, 3 badges, and an imprint.
- Location-based photo-sharing platform: it allowed users to search for the nearest store while using a digital map to find their way there. Following what, users can share pictures of their Longchamp bags with the brand’s community.
Basic and minimal. The custom function is awesome but could be a bit more developed. However, it provides data and insights that can be very useful to the brand to, later on, provide a better personalization service.
The location app, helps people to reach easily their favorite store, but also builds a community and encourages fans to share pictures. They built there a new ecosystem integrating users’ habits on WeChat.
The Dior Mini Program
Dior is a serial mini-program user:
- Online boutique: they offer limited items ranging from 300 to 600 yuan while offering product introductions and campaign videos matching these ones.
- Gift Sharing app: matching with the Chinese Valentine’s Day, they allowed people to offer a gift card with a love message on the cover. Plus, they enable their clients to choose a gift option to be purchased: lipstick or perfume.
- Once the client decided what to buy, the lovely card will be sent directly on WeChat and the gift can be picked up from the nearest Dior retail store.
Dior is a well-known luxury brand but they offered pretty cheap items to be purchased, meaning an easier buying decision for the customers. And which lady won’t be happy to get Dior branded gift?… an excellent move to expand its customer base.
The virtual gift card is also very interesting. Basically, something working in China, but as a luxury brand, it could lead to a positioning issue… it looks cheap. In that case, people prefer a real luxury wrapped gift.
WeChat Mini-Programs Vs. WeChat Official Accounts
WeChat mini-programs and WeChat official accounts are two of the most popular tools for communication and mini program development in China. While WeChat official accounts are mainly used as entrance points for customer engagement on the WeChat platform, mini-programs offer more comprehensive features than native web apps such as contactless commerce.
Mini-programs allow users to access functions from within the WeChat ecosystem, including items like mini-games, audio/video streaming services, and even mini programs that integrate with other wechat groups. With mini programs, developers can create user experiences designed for their specific needs and can also optimize them for their target audience.
From a customer experience perspective, mini-programs offer customers an easier way to find what they’re looking for without having to download an app or visit a website.
All in all, these two tools offer unique features that improve the customer journey while providing powerful communication solutions.
To Sum Up: Why Do You Want to Create a WeChat Mini program for Your Marketing Effort in China?
There are many reasons why businesses should use WeChat Mini-Programs to promote their brands in China. Some of the benefits include:
- WeChat Mini-Programs are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. This makes them a convenient way for Chinese consumers to access your products or services.
- Mini Programs load quickly, even on slow internet connections, and don’t require downloading an app.
- WeChat Mini’s searchable on WeChat, so they can be easily found by Chinese consumers who are looking for your products or services.
We are GMA. The Chinese Gentlemen of Marketing
For more information about WeChat Mini-Programs or doing business in China, feel free to contact us.
- Digital Marketing & Chinese Market Expert
- We make your business greater
- Check on our case studies for more information
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- We help BtB companies to develop themselves in China.
- We are specialized in lead generation strategy,
- We are result-oriented
- Pragmatic approach
- We know your target and the different problems that may face a foreign company in China.
Pls I have a registered company in China . I already do sales and generate quite some traction . My wechat is currently full and I need your services in creating a WMP and official account . Pls kindly contact me on wechat 13072439612
We will contact you soon. (we just see your comment Pearl)
Email/contact form is better than comment.
? this feature image tho! is facebook lurcking on Wechat?