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How Blockchain Projects Can Appeal To The Masses With Marketing

“We’ve got a lot of hype in the crypto space with a small and steady growth of users. But what we really want is the mass market. We think our Dapp can be their first touchpoint in blockchain. ”

Sound familiar?

There are many great consumer Dapps out there and many have a similar ambition — to not only be the next Crypto Kitties, but to reach higher and be the Facebook (or Apple) of Blockchain.

Honestly…not the craziest thing I’ve heard.

As ETH hits layer 2 and BTC moons yet again, the general public’s interest may soon return to the blockchain. And this time, they might be ready for a big time consumer product.

Mass adoption of a hot tech item doesn’t take much — just the right MVP, a solid growth hack, and impeccable timing.

In this post, I’ll break down growth marketing in the crypto space and how it can be applied to the consumer market. Basically what I think a Dapp needs to bring “everyday” people on board.

Who is this article for?

This is not the big master guide of crypto marketing, so it may not apply to everyone’s project. I’m focused here on a very small sliver of the crypto verse; DeFi, NFTs, Gaming, all that stuff. That’s the space I live in. That’s my lens.

The Two Audiences

I‘m writing with two specific audiences in mind:

A. Marginal Adopters

B. Direct To Blockchain (Mass Market)

Note that these audiences do not contain investors, developers, or super crypto enthusiasts. Marketing to those people is a totally different beast that’s a bit beyond my current scope.

If crypto adoption is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is your grandma who still pays by cheque and 10 is the guy who bought BTC in 2010, Audience A is somewhere between a 2 and 4.

This audience has made a handful of ETH or BTC trades, and has learned the lessons of the FOMO investment. Other traits:

  • They have a wallet ready for occasional transactions, likely created in 2019 to make just one transaction. The wallet is probably Metamask.
  • They have disposable investment income available to them.
  • They are ready to go deeper into blockchain, but have not found a product that truly consumes their interest.

Here’s where they are:

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Audience B: Direct to Blockchain (Mass Market)

This audience is a zero or 1 on the adoption scale and does not have much interest in Crypto. Their qualities:

  • They are the mass consumer market. Their attention is fleeting.
  • The first time they buy or invest in blockchain, they might not even know (or care) that its a crypto product.
  • Their first blockchain product adoption will likely be something that parallels a current interest of theirs (collecting, gaming, journalism, finance, real estate, etc.)

The Awareness to Adoption Chart

I made an awareness chart for blockchain products (below), ranging from daily users all the way to general public. The middle circle represent the Dapps daily users, and the next few circles the Dapp’s sphere of incluence.

Note the massive gap between the crypto community and the mass market that I have titled Sea of Uncertainty.

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Caveat with the chart here: I created it.

I’ve also noted where Audience A and Audience B live within this chart, and their trajectories to its middle.

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Audience A slowly makes their way to the middle, through a series of serious considerations in the crypto space. Again, they are ready for more, eager to invest, but it takes them a while to get in there.

But Audience B can be catapulted right to the middle, and completely ignore the rest of the graph.

Both audiences will follow the typical sales funnel: Awareness > Interest > Consideration > Intent > Evaluation >Purchase. Except Audience B has the potential to forego the crypto adoption part, especially if the product resembles something they know (again, parallel interest!).

If someone discovers a new product that’s about something they understand, or think they understand, it limits their resistance.

(again, parallel interest!)

This last part is what you want.

And that’s what this guide will focus on.

**************GUIDE STARTS HERE**************

Note: I’ve noted everything here in bullet points at the bottom of the article.

STEP 1: Create An Awesome Experience

The product has to work for people to stay so let’s assume the Dapp has found its MVP. So the next step is making the experience an excellent one.

From the moment the audience sets foot in a channel, to their first purchase, to engagement, to the part where they come back, each portion has to be meticulously crafted for optimal enjoyment. The portions include:

Acquisition > Activation > Retention > Revenue > Referral

It has to be fun, intriguing, memorable, and leaving both Audiences wanting much more. It can take the shape of a great UI, a powerful community, or simply an award winning MVP. Or all of those.

Best Practices for a great experience include:

  • Airtight community management: Building the foundations and operations of a tight community should precede marketing. The community has to be a comfortable spot for newcomers, as well as a fave for active users.
  • Make the newbie experience SIMPLE: Ensure that the basics of getting started are 1) Easy to find, and 2) Not too complex. Make it easy for them to know where to start, what they should do first, etc. Although hitting a crypto-newb with a 12-page whitepaper might seem like the right idea, it can easily backfire and totally turn them off.
  • Learn from the competition: How do similar Dapps create an awesome user experience? That’s a great place to look for inspiration, whether it’s a strong email intake or just a solid intro guide.

STEP 2: Weaponize The Referral Program

The growth hack referral is a staple of any successful startup and arguably just as important as the MVP.

Best practices are pretty simple: Keep the referral easy to find, and make sure it’s recurring part of your later-stage Customer Journey (more on that below).

And although I wish I had a magic idea or solution to offer, my only real point of advice here is to consider a Dropbox-style Two-sided referral program.

Most crypto product referrals seem to only benefit the referring member (so long as they use the right URL!). I find there is a huge missed opportunity here for rewarding the newcomer as well.

What can be offered? Well it depends on the product. A unique NFT, a raffle ticket, a unique coin…all things that could work to help the newcomer get started.

STEP 3: Chart the Customer Journey

It takes six to eight touch points to make a sale. And sorry blockchain products, you don’t get to skip this part.

The customer journey has many titles: you may know it as ‘Points of Inspiration’, ‘Selling Story’, or even ‘Path to Purchase’. Let’s stick with journey for now.

Creating a customer journey requires input from many team members. It’s best to start with a big picture thinking and then sprinkle in the smaller nuances. Here is a solid example of what the journey may look like. Start there and be honest with yourself.

Some best practices for you:

  • Basic First Touch points: If you can’t tell already, I’m a big fan of simplicity. Whether its social media ads, the website homepage, or even a founder giving a talk or appearing in a Q&A — the message and value prop should be very easy to understand upon those first few touches.
  • Do Not Negate Email: Email marketing is back, baby! Email is one of the most highly adopted and utilized marketing channels, and pretty much the crown jewel of great CRM. Considering the complexities and multiple product offerings of DeFi and NFTs, an automated email marketing flow is essential to any great customer journey (yet seems to hardly exist).

Email is the only place where a Dapp can personalize its communications on a mass scale. The importance of personalization, as crypto adopters go from newcomer to veteran, is massively undervalued in this space (IMO). Here’s a great and up to date list of platforms to consider.

  • Craft that Retention: Customer journeys don’t end at the subscription or first purchase; ideally they continue for years to come. But like other important marketing tools, the Lifetime Value of a Customer statistic seems to be an abstraction in crypto circles. Yet, these Dapps all plan for a DAO future where these same first customers become governors. So how are they getting them to stick around?

STEP 4: Make EXCELLENT Branded Content

Crypto content = Community made content.

But it needs to be more than that.

YouTube videos, community member-made guides, funny memes, etc. Might be for lack of budget or lack of priority (devs busy building). The community often has the reigns of content, and it’s just not sustainable.

Don’t get me wrong — the existence of this UGC is a great marker of advocacy. But it crypto it all feels a bit amateur and lacks the slick advertising finish that consumers are used to.

So let’s make room for both in the crypto world. Let’s get the community cranking out the UGC, while also working with marketing professionals to craft that brand image. The right balance will make for a far-reaching and highly adaptable brand message framework.

Best practices:

  • Make Slick Educational Content: Everyone wants an official explainer. Even though we like to figure it out alone sometimes, we all crave specific guidelines when discovering a new product. I’ve built about 12 Malm units from IKEA in my life, but I want those instructions every damn time. In crypto, the knowledge gap is enormous, so make those user guides pop!
  • Own SEO With A Strong Content Strategy: A good content strategy isn’t just about education and advertising; it’s also about owning a specific part of the conversation. For example, if the product is an NFT board game, why not own all conversations (and SEO traffic) around boardgames?
  • Create The Big-Time Content: More on the big ticket side of advertising, the big banner content (or simply, a big sexy splashy ad) can single-handedly reach far more people in one go than all other growth marketing efforts combined. Depending on your type of Dapp (and brand), this may require working with an agency.
  • Know Your Audiences’ Channels: This has likely been covered already in the Customer Journey, but it’s worth stating again: All marketing and growth efforts can quickly become futile on the wrong channel. In crypto, it’s pretty simple: Email, Web, Twitter, Discord, a little bit of Reddit, and Telegram if you’re feeling wild. Invest time and effort into that channel and build a strong presence over time.

And please don’t leave channels empty. Few things are worse than a completely dead Discord.

STEP 5: Compound The Hype

My favourite part of this entire piece.

Compounding the hype, a.k.a. launching a brilliant campaign, is so undervalued in crypto — and yet, so key to bringing new and returning people to the space.

The best hype cycles occur when Dapps can release multiple news-worthy items in succession and time them with growth campaigns. The goal here is to make it feel like the Dapp is the big news of the day, as often as possible. This way it will become synonymous with the space.

Best practices for the ultimate hype cycle:

  • Make a Media Plan: Again, something that a marketing planner or ad agency can help with. A great media plan will help maximize eyeballs and avoid any oversights.
  • Diversify The Hype: Avoid the same type of hype. Rather, try to compound a broad variety. Partnerships, new investments, changes to a protocol or marketplace, new user numbers…these are all solid pieces of hype that together can give a Dapp an omniscience over the space.
  • Assemble Your Crew: Find a fantastic PR person. Develop a strong influencer strategy and keep them all in the loop. Hire that Paid Specialist.

When its time to launch, you will want all hands on deck. The greater their collective power, the bigger the hype will be.

STEP 6: Data Game Strong

It’s almost 2021. We have every single analytics tools ever imagined at our disposal, most of them providing real-time analytics, especially in marketing. There is no excuse.

All growth marketing comes back to: “find what works and repeat it to death”. With all the tactics I’ve mentioned above, including the customer journey, a crypto product can find what works and then double down on efforts.

Pro tip: both Discord and Telegram have analytics you can access! Although for Telegram you will need a third party app.

But we’re talking marketing here, so start by thinking of what KPIs matter most. Yes, Daily Active Users is the absolutely vital number, but it may not give an accurate report on your marketing’s ROI. Some examples of what to track in digital:

  • Web traffic sources
  • Cost per lead
  • Website traffic leads
  • Returning visitors
  • Online conversion rates
  • Lead conversion rates
  • Click thru rate

And for the more traditional marketing approach:

  • Marketing Qualified Leads
  • Funnel Conversion Rates
  • Brand awareness
  • Customer engagement
  • Marketing spend per customer
  • Lifetime value of a customer
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Customer retention

This second list seems advanced for the crypto space. But if we’re going to teleport the masses into the daily user zone, these metrics will have to matter.

STEP 7: Hire The Pros To Do The Paid Media

Paid media is a tricky beast. The platforms change constantly and dealing with tracking pixels, social media, and email integration is no gift.

This is a job for a paid specialist. No best practices here — just hire one!

They’ll ask about KPIs (pick from the list in STEP 6). If the Dapp is at an early stage, the desired success marker may simply be a high email signup conversion, or just website hits.

However, if a Dapp’s marketing is to truly transcend the Sea of Uncertainty, perhaps it could consider more traditional advertising, like print, display, and dare I say, TV!

It’s a good time to be in crypto and it won’t be long until the general public gets involved. It took computers over 20 years to become a household item, and another 20 to spawn truly life changing products in web 2.0.

Although that may seem like forever ago, the lessons from marketing those products still hold true today. And if anything, the tools are more accessible than ever.

Here’s a quick TL;DR of the whole piece.

  • All marketers and marketers-to-be in the crypto space, but written with DeFi, NFTs, Gaming in mind.
  • Audience A: Marginal Adopters. They do a bit of crypto and want more.
  • Audience B: Direct to Blockchain (Mass Market). We must airdrop them from the mass market into the daily user zone.
  1. Daily Active Users
  2. Passive Users
  3. Active Followers
  4. Crypto Community
  5. Sea of Uncertainty
  6. Mass Market
  • Acquisition > Activation > Retention > Revenue > Referral
  • Lock down your community management
  • Make the newbie experience SIMPLE
  • Learn from the competition
  • Two-sided referral program
  • Make sure the newcomer sees value
  • Find the balance of UGC/Community Content and Branded Content
  • Make Slick Educational Content
  • Own SEO With A Strong Content Strategy
  • Create The Big-Time Content
  • Know Your Audiences’ Channels
  • Make a Media Plan
  • Diversify The Hype
  • Assemble Your Crew
  • Become Synonymous
  • Find what works and repeat it to death
  • Discord and Telegram have analytics
  • Digital metrics to think about: Web traffic source, Cost per lead, Lead Conversion, Click Through Rate
  • Traditional metrics: MQL, Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer retention
  • Do it!

Send me your thoughts by tweeting me.

Vancouver, BC

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