Are you building a product or service that involves blockchain technology, or are you planning on running a token sale, airdrop, ICO, or STO at your blockchain startup?
With ‘blockchain’ being one of the primary buzzwords in today’s tech and marketing landscape, how do you help your startup stand out and show the true value of your product to your early adopters, potential users and investors?
Community building, social validation and blockchain marketing!
In other words: building a large following of people that see the value in your company’s vision. These followers should be willing to spread the word about you, whilst gaining some form of value for themselves in the process of doing so.
Here are a few of the best blockchain marketing steps to get started in growing your own community:
1. Understand your product and find your brand
Before anything else, make sure you understand your own product and value proposition better than anyone else.
This may seem superfluous, but it’s critical for you to dive deep into your business’s own fundamentals.
- What are your (assumed) value propositions, and have you validated these?
- Have you found your product/market fit?
- Does your product need blockchain or its own cryptocurrency?
- If so, are you planning to use a security token, utility token, or otherwise?
Although it’s difficult to understand these things early on in your company’s journey, having these fundamentals in place will help you define your brand before you put lots of effort into marketing your blockchain project.
This means that once you do start building your community, you’ll have a head start and a competitive advantage because you won’t be needing to change your product’s messaging somewhere along the way.
At this stage, focus on your story and narrative from the customer’s point of view.
Slapping the words ‘decentralised’ and ‘blockchain’ onto every part of your product messaging doesn’t work like it may have used to.
Focus on the solutions that your product provides to your users: how does it make aspects of their lives easier, or how does it save them money?
2. Find a way to connect with your ideal community members
Who could benefit from your product the most, or who would it interest the most from an investment point of view?
Take the necessary time to do research on this, and remember that the blockchain communities congregate in different and new channels all over the world and the web.
Initially, you’d like to check out existing communities, perhaps even for competing products, and build up some relationship with them.
Blockchain enthusiasts specifically hang out on community platforms like Reddit, Telegram, Discord, and Slack.
This phase shouldn’t be about marketing your product or your brand to large audiences, it should be about having real, honest conversations with people that might be interested in what you have to offer.
Find out exactly how your product or service could be beneficial to them.
Humility is key throughout this process.
Chances are that the people you’re talking to have been in the space for longer than you have and that they’re discerning and critical of “just another blockchain marketing message”.
3. Make community buy-in worthwhile
This is really about giving back to your community: providing them with a real and tangible value which they can benefit from, without necessarily asking for anything in return.
For example, provide them with useful content. There will hopefully be something about your product or service that’s tied to knowledge only you possess.
Share that knowledge.
Educate your community with insightful content related to how your product works or how you envision the blockchain space to develop, also, what’s in it for them? Make sure that you provide value when you ask someone to commit 20 minutes to read your content.
Again, keep this within the confines of your expertise, at least in the beginning.
There are enough people out there with general, sweeping statements about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Keep your insights specific to the things in which you’re an expert, and grow from there. Credibility is key when it comes to marketing your blockchain project.
Apart from providing your community with content, you could allow them to participate in contests, or you could provide them with early access to certain components of your product.
Be creative, and always ask for feedback. Keep finding new ways to provide value and keep your community engaged.
4. Find out what your community likes
When following the above three steps, you’ll hopefully find the right balance between taking your time to build valuable relationships and moving at a fast speed in order to quickly get your product to market.
At the same time, you would hopefully have learned about the types of values and rewards that your community benefits from.
- If your product has a utility token, does it benefit your users to reward them early with the tokens that they’ll be using on your platform?
- Perhaps an airdrop might be a good choice for you?
- Perhaps the contest you ran via your social channels showed significant traction?
Whatever it is that showed the most results, make sure to hone in on it when scaling up your marketing efforts and building out your campaigns. These are the key selling points to get people to back your blockchain project.
Try and avoid the shiny object syndrome. What works once will more than likely work again.
5. Amplify reach through a viral contest
Once you’ve established your initial community and figured out what type of value they’re interested in, you’ll need to engage and scale this community.
This is where we found VYPER to be a very useful tool in our blockchain marketing campaign.
We used it to facilitate viral contests (also known as an airdrop, bounty or token offering etc), which are able to vastly amplify the reach of your audience size and engagement.
In practical terms, this consists of rewarding people for taking part in certain actions, such as sharing certain posts on social media or creating custom content around your product/brand through channels such as Youtube and Medium.
Case Study: Vyper to boost virality
At Spike, we have successfully used VYPER to make certain blockchain campaigns go viral. Here’s an example and a few steps on how we did it.
Step 1: Build a pirate funnel
Getting a person to promote and share your project is a pretty big ask.
Essentially, what you’re asking is for the person to put his reputation on the line for you.
This is why, normally, it is a bad idea to ask for referrals straight in the awareness phase of your marketing campaign.
On average, a B2C customer needs a minimum of 8 interactions before he/she is convinced to buy from you.
It wouldn’t make sense to start with such a big request after the second customer interaction right?
This is why a fully mapped out pirate funnel is important to follow throughout your blockchain marketing campaign.
The Pirate Funnel is a useful customer-lifecycle framework invented by Dave McClure. It is used to map out and optimize your marketing funnel.
Essentially, for every product that you’re trying to sell, the objective is to funnel them through a similar journey.
If you’re not familiar with it, the funnel looks as follows:
Awareness → Acquisition → Activation → Retention → Referral → Revenue.
The order is flexible and can be rearranged, depending on the nature of your product or service.
The pirate funnel serves as a solid framework and is the ideal basis for creating a flowchart for your specific business.
Step 2: Determine the objectives and key results (OKRs)
Setting objectives for the team is an effective way of later measuring the outcomes and results of your campaign.
In the case of a viral campaign, your OKRs can be (for example):
Objective 1: To build a large and highly engaged community
- Key Result: 20,000 Telegram members in the community before start date of pre-sale
- Key Result: 40.000 participants in referral/bounty program
- Key result: 10,000 Twitter followers + 10,000 Facebook likes + 5,000 Youtube subscribers
- Key result: Project x appeared in at least 10 tech or crypto publications before start of crowdsale
- Key result: Project x has been reviewed by or ran an AMA with at least 5 influencers before start crowdsale.
The main question then becomes:
- Based on the above defined OKRs, how can we leverage VYPER to get to these key results?
- Through VYPER, you can reward your community with points for certain social actions.
- Based on the above set OKRs, there are at least three key results we can achieve by using VYPER.
Step 3: Set up a rewards program
This is going to be one of the most important parts of your blockchain marketing campaign.
We’re going to reward the community for joining our Telegram group, liking our Facebook page, following us on Twitter and subscribing to your YouTube channel.
You need to choose bonus actions that are relevant to your project. Some examples we used below. Each bonus action is rewarded with points (+8).
But how are you going to get 20k people to join your Telegram group when you currently have an email list of just over 1k people?
This is when the referral marketing feature comes into play.
Step 4: Implement a referral program
The best part about VYPER is that, instead of just rewarding your community for single actions, you can also reward them for referring their friends & colleagues.
You can do this using their landing page builder, embed it on your own landing page or add the widget to your site.
This means that if your community likes your product and brand, and the reward structure (or perceived reward structure) of a campaign is spot on, you’ll get your community promoting your blockchain project for you.
- A referral = when someone who enters your contest shares their referral link with friends or co-workers and they sign up.
- A reward = collect 100 points by referring others and completing bonus actions to get X number of tokens.
How to make a project go viral?
At this point, we’re using artificial virality to grow our product reach. With virality, you look at the Viral Coefficient and try to optimize that.
The viral coefficient is simply ”the number of new users an existing user generates”.
The difference between organic and artificial virality is that artificial virality incentivizes the sharing through a tool (VYPER), whereas organic virality is when your product’s success is based on the network effect.
This means that your product has been built for users to organically share it with their peers (think Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter).
More information can be found in this article about the viral coefficient.
The difference between the rewards mentioned earlier on and the referral is that the social actions are limited.
Users can only like your Facebook page or follow your Twitter account once, while they can invite an unlimited amount of friends to your contest.
This key difference is important to understand.
While people are more likely to follow you on Twitter than referring your project to their friends (remember, they risk their reputation to refer friends to your project), they are also wired to win a game or contest.
When entering a leaderboard contest, for example, participants might not be planning on referring their friends straight away.
They first start with following you on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but soon find out there is no other way to go up the leaderboard than by referring their friends.
After having done these multiple micro conversions (actions that lead users to your target conversion) and seeing their place on the leaderboard, they are more likely to promote your project through referrals.
Next to that, by rewarding the referral action with, for example, 5x the points of normal social actions, you further stimulate virality.
So at this point, you will likely have your community competing against each other for our prizes.
If your campaign setup is spot on, and you have a positive and high enough viral coefficient, you will go viral in a natural way.
For example, when you start with 100 participants and they all invite 12 friends per week on average, of which 4 eventually sign up (viral coefficient of 4), that will result in 25.600 participants by the end of the month.
(conversion rate % is so high as we used an embed contest option which does not count the page views, only the conversion within VYPER.
You can choose to run a contest on a VYPER landing page, your own or a website widget.).
Here are some more tips for marketing your blockchain project:
Make sure your prizes provide a high-enough incentive and resonate with your audience.
We generally always opt for a leaderboard contest as opposed to a non-leaderboard structure, as this incentivizes continuous sharing by participants to obtain the first place and win the main prize.
Think, what would your ideal customer/audience do anything to get? What has a high enough value for them to share your project?
Create engaging content urging viewers to participate or share.
Make sure that the content you create looks nice, and that it facilitates easy sharing.
Design a good looking contest, share images and make sure the social pages you’re trying to build look good and have some engagement and recent posts.
Leverage urgency and social proof
Always toggle on the use of social proof and urgency. For example, add a time limit to your campaign to ensure that participants join sooner rather than later.
Have the social proof feature enabled to show potential signups that people are entering.
Think of relevant entries
What content do you want to get shared? What are the most relevant channels that you want to grow? This could mean more reward weighting for Youtube video productions rather than Medium articles, for example.
Amplify awareness through ads
Promote the contest yourself. Let the world know that you’re going viral. If executed correctly, you’ll witness a snowball effect.
Leverage your contest to build social proof on your ads to improve your CPA, CPC’s and CPM’s. Here’s a guide on how to do that.
To sum it all up:
Growing your community starts with trust.
With a strong idea and vision in place, and by finding the right balance between passion and humility, you’ll be able to excite potential new users and investors.
When you offer your community real value and adopt a “giving back” attitude, community growth comes naturally.
Authors: Pascal van Steen, Gino Taselaar & Erich Rickens, Spike | Blockchain marketing agency
Spike is a growth marketing agency driven to facilitate the widespread adoption of emerging technologies, most notably within the domains of Blockchain, Fintech, and Proptech startups.
By constantly applying data-driven and agile workflows, we’re able to swiftly implement growth strategies, focusing on quick wins in the short term, whilst upholding the outcome of long-term growth and user adoption, depending on the nature of your product. If you need any help running a viral contest, feel free to contact us.
Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.