Learn about structuring your blockchain marketing strategy, straight from the experts.
You’re a startup founder looking to make a splash with your original idea. Or maybe you’re a marketing expert from a more traditional background, and suddenly you need to navigate the bizarre crypto world of apes, degens and “wen token”. Or maybe you’re just curious about how blockchain marketing works — either way, you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog post we will give you
The fundamentals of crypto marketing
Marketing in blockchain starts from the same basic principles of traditional marketing: define your audience, develop a concise message and value proposition, and then find ways to reach your target. Let’s tackle them one by one.
Who’s interested in crypto, anyway?
At a basic demographic level, crypto is mostly young men. According to Pew Research, 16% of all US adults traded or bought cryptocurrency. This proportion becomes 31% of all people aged 18-29, and a whopping 43% of males in the same age bracket.
Women are unfortunately not as likely to be involved in crypto, as well as people older than 50.
On a geographical level, interest in crypto is widespread, with strong communities in the native English-speaking world, the Spanish-speaking world, Europe and Asia.
A few outliers include Russia, Turkey and Argentina, which according to SimilarWeb are the three biggest sources of traffic to the largest crypto exchange, Binance. Other strong locales include China, South Korea, Indonesia (and South-East Asia in general), as well the US and Europe.
Locating your crypto marketing niche
Communities in crypto can often be differentiated by the social media where they hang out.
Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Telegram all have their own breed of crypto communities. These will be the primary channels that you will want to use to reach any crypto-native audience. Below we’ll explain which ones you should care about and why.
The Twitter community
Twitter is the “public square” of crypto.
Crypto Twitter includes most of the people who depend on crypto for their livelihood: employees and founders of crypto businesses, investors, as well as extremely passionate developers, traders and other enthusiasts.
In the past two years, Twitter has become one of the primary crypto community hangouts. It includes both rich crypto whales who can fill your volume/revenue-based KPIs in two transactions and regular enthusiasts who just enjoy crypto. Because of its value, Twitter is extremely competitive for blockchain marketing.
A good example of Twitter’s activity: a major VC discussing Proof of Stake with both Vitalik Buterin and average fans.
A successful Twitter strategy in blockchain marketing is the linchpin of any campaign for crypto-native or B2B products, while it’s not as valuable for mass market products.
The crypto section on Reddit is still one of the strongest communities out there, spread across multiple subreddits. Probably the biggest generalist sub is r/CryptoCurrency. Other good choices include r/CryptoMarkets and r/CryptoTechnology. Beyond this, most other subreddits are specific for each coin. r/Bitcoin, r/Monero are strong gathering points for the respective communities.
Redditors mostly discuss news about hot topics in crypto.
Reddit is not as popular as it used to be though. For example, you won’t find high quality communities dedicated to DeFi and NFTs, as many people moved to Twitter and Discord to stay in touch with these latest developments.
Overall, Reddit is a jack of all trades: it’s worth exploring for most types of projects, be they specialized DeFi or mass market NFT projects. But it’s unlikely to host the core community of newer crypto niches.
Discord & Telegram
Both of the instant messaging channels act as the gathering point for many project-centric communities. Discord has been especially important in the last couple of years, with most NFT and DeFi projects having their core community hanging around in Discord.
Users will often go to the project’s Discord to get support or report bugs.
It goes without saying that having a lively, well-organized community place can be very important for your project’s marketing. Discord and Telegram act more as the bottom of your blockchain marketing funnel: they offer strong retention and word of mouth effects, and are a bit less effective in generating raw awareness.
Still, it’s certainly possible to use both of these channels to drive new users and community members to your project. You’ll do this primarily by working with countless channels and groups, each usually holding a few thousand members.
These two channels are critical for any team that wants to release tokens and attract a community. More fintech-like or B2B projects might be able to avoid focusing on this niche.
Instagram, TikTok and others
More “traditional” channels such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have their own place in crypto as well. However, since they are more generalist, you won’t find particularly committed crypto enthusiasts there.
If your project can have mass appeal, especially if it’s an NFT project, these social media sites are definitely worth considering — but if you’re a DeFi project, it might be more difficult to find users in these generalized channels (it’s also much harder to get your DeFi ads approved).
A good idea of the kind of crypto content you’ll find on Instagram
Not many projects compete for attention here, as you will be mostly attracting relative newbies in crypto. The danger is that they may be blown away like a dandelion by any kind of market turbulence!
Earned media: publications, podcasts, Youtube & more
Owned media channels such as publications, podcasts, newsletters, YouTube channels etc. can all be effective marketing tools for crypto projects.
Usually, each of these channels will focus on one of the niches we mentioned before. For example, most crypto publications like CoinDesk, Cointelegraph have good overlap with the Reddit communities (they target an intermediate crypto audience).
Good example of your average crypto news feed
Publications like TheBlock and most podcasts are more focused on industry professionals (the kinds you’d find on Twitter). Newsletters may sit somewhere between these two levels of depth.
Finally, YouTube channels and most “crypto influencers” target users in the lower-mid range of crypto familiarity, and often focus on educational content.
Developing your messaging and narrative
With the previous section you’ve hopefully managed to identify what kind of crypto communities you should be targeting. That choice also defines the kind of messaging you want to develop, and how to convey your value proposition to your audience.
The general rules of marketing always apply: explain in simple terms, focus on one or two great hooks, and don’t bore your prospective users.
There are three broad categories of users you may want to target, and hence three broad categories of messaging. As we’ve hinted earlier, they mostly differ by how committed to crypto they are. We define the categories as professionals, enthusiasts, and newcomers.
Messaging for the professionals
Crypto professionals — people whose livelihood entirely depends on crypto — can be a fairly diverse bunch.
They’ve been around the block, so they will usually be turned away by boasting. “We’re the fastest blockchain on the planet” is a good example of a message that won’t fly with most of these guys and girls. An easy-to-understand USP is very important, but it should be believable and invite the prospective user to learn more.
If your product is very specialized for crypto-natives, especially if it’s B2B, your messaging will need to be confident, but transparent. Produce a lot of content to explain your value proposition and technology. Don’t be too afraid to use specialized jargon if it saves on long-winded explanations of a single concept, but don’t overuse it.
The key to successfully selling to professionals is the “payoff”. A great hook might lure them in, but if the rest of your content is difficult to understand or trust, it will be for naught.
Nansen is doing a great content campaign to highlight its professional-tailored products: “fun” but still very matter-of-fact communication.
Convincing the enthusiasts
Enthusiasts form the vast majority of the crypto community. Usually they will be traders, or just people who like to buy and potentially use crypto products.
You can find enthusiasts in most social media channels and crypto media. They will of course use media like Instagram and TikTok, but it may be significantly harder to reach them in these channels, as they’re rarely the enthusiast’s primary source of crypto information.
Enthusiasts are often specialized into specific personas, e.g. the NFT trader/collector, the DeFi yield farmer, the Binance trader etc.
You will want to identify which persona your product fits most, understand your audience, and craft a message that would resonate with that group of people.
Each group has their own chords to strike. For example, NFT holders are often attracted to the sense of community and status of owning a popular NFT collection. Leveraging ideas such as exclusivity, or belonging to a particular community are key to making successful NFT collections.
Azuki is a great example of capitalizing on subcultures. They recognized that many crypto enthusiasts love anime, and built an NFT collection to leverage that community.
Each community and sub-group is unique. You will need to study your audience to understand what they care about, and refine your message over time to find the right recipe to attract users.
Finding a consistent brand voice is also important for gaining trust. Too “corporate” tones rarely work in crypto. Using crypto native language (wagmi, gm etc.) can be a good way to cement your presence, but the line between “likable” and “cringe” is very thin. You don’t want to embody the Steve Buscemi meme.
Yearn Finance is an interesting case of a very divisive brand tone. While its “sexy Anime girls” messaging is certainly unique, many criticize it for being too much. Each type of product has a messaging that fits it best — do you think Yearn made the right choice?
Attracting the “normies”
Marketing for people who are just starting their crypto journey is not easy, and often relies on certain stars to line up and open a specific window of opportunity.
Very few projects in crypto manage to “crack the nut” of attracting mainstream audiences, and most of them are centralized exchanges or verticals experiencing a wave of massive hype (such as NFTs in late 2021).
If your product uses crypto to provide a tangible benefit that a person can understand in “real world” terms, you’re in luck. You could avoid most mentions of crypto, in the same way as you wouldn’t talk about your AWS and NodeJS stack for a regular startup.
At that point, marketing your product becomes a classic exercise in ad optimization, engaging social media content, email marketing etc.
If your project’s purpose is exposing people to crypto, it gets more nuanced. Most successful examples of “normie funnels” focus on the simplest concepts in crypto: Bitcoin and the digital gold thesis, Web3, crypto trading, or earning high yields.
You will want to develop simple narratives (Web 3.0 is one such example), focus on educating users to crypto, and leverage what they might have already heard about crypto.
One interesting example of mainstream public marketing is Bored Ape NFTs. Much of their success can be traced to partnerships with very well known public figures, spearheaded by MoonPay. The company would buy the NFT for the celebrity, they’d make a post with the ape as a profile picture, and instantly explain and validate NFTs in their fans’ minds.
What if you don’t have millions to give away to celebrities? In these cases, marketing to mainstream audiences is often only feasible at the peaks of crypto bull markets.
It can be easier than marketing to crypto-natives, as they’ll be more receptive to fantastic claims and oversimplified messaging. But the window of opportunity for these techniques is limited.
Reaching your crypto audience: PR, PPC, SEO, Content Marketing & More
We’ve identified what kind of audiences exist in crypto, and give you a few tips on who you should target and how to structure your value proposition.
The final part is figuring out the most effective tools you can use to reach your target.
The cheapest and most effective marketing tool is virality and word of mouth. But how can you become viral?
Thankfully, crypto gives a “cheap” way to generate virality: token incentives. Many NFT projects use whitelists to get the ball rolling: retweet, invite friends in exchange for being the first in line to obtain the NFT when it launches.
Here the whitelisted members became “sheikhs” but the idea is the same.
For DeFi projects, the same can be done with liquidity mining rewards, airdrops and other token distribution concepts.
Giving away tokens is “cheap” in that you’re not paying hard cash right now. But you should take time in designing effective incentives that don’t end up costing the project millions in tokens given to the wrong people.
Mercenary capital, bots and “professional” token hunters are your biggest challenges when using tokens for marketing. You may think you’re attracting an organic community, but it might easily happen that they dump their gift for money and never look back.
Like in any marketing initiative, it is a numbers game where you shouldn’t expect double-digit conversion rates. If you have, or plan to have a token, it can be a very effective tactic to consider. But be careful to minimize your effective CAC as much as possible.
Great public relations (PR) can be the initial spark that sets your project up for success.
Reaching out to news outlets, podcasts and newsletters with your project’s updates can bring tens of thousands of views in one pop. For special campaigns and events, a few well-placed timbers can ignite a massive fire for your project.
FTX adopted one of the most successful PR strategies in recent crypto years, centered around its founder Sam Bankman-Fried. It began with “stunts” like temporarily taking stewardship of SushiSwap, riding the DeFi trend with Serum and backing the wider Solana ecosystem.
Everyone wrote about SBF during the DeFi hype, propelling him to mass popularity.
Later on, FTX cemented its influence on the mainstream with high-profile sponsorships like FTX Arena and buying TSM, one of the most popular eSport brands. The success on the crypto PR front fed into user acquisition, social media popularity and every other marketing initiative.
Replicating this success isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate PR. Above all, successful PR is about being interesting and doing interesting things.
Is your project doing something truly innovative? Do you have interesting things to say about the industry and the world? Then you have a good chance of attracting attention.
To set up your campaign, unless you have great contacts with journalists and publications, it’s usually best to rely on an agency like MarketAcross. Agencies have all the contacts and the knowledge to present your story from the best possible angle, maximizing your chances of success.
Social media & content marketing
Running effective pages on platforms like Twitter, Medium, Instagram and others can make or break your blockchain marketing strategy.
Using these platforms to organically reach an audience is hard, and requires months of slow growth. But the upside is that you can get loyal followers and reach millions of impressions without paying a cent.
Like in most other social media growth strategies, when forming your blockchain marketing strategy, you need to start with the basic question: why should the reader care about you?
In many cases they might simply be interested in keeping in touch and hearing updates from you. If you present a compelling page and target the right communities, this may often be enough.
Uniswap mostly tweets updates, or some irreverent posts like “gm”
You might want to spice things up and offer educational content or share general industry news. But this should be done with taste, as filling your feeds with mostly irrelevant news doesn’t win you any favors. The worst reason for publishing “random” content is because you’re out of ideas and need to fill some daily quota.
Balancer posts some general trivia and relevant information for their fans, such as info on the ETH Merge
The best content outside of project news is educational material regarding your product. Explaining how to use it, tips and tricks, showcasing its utility, or maybe diving deep into the problems you’re solving — all are great ways to keep your audience growing and engaged. Quality in social media vastly trumps quantity.
Growth hacking tricks like follow-unfollow, or incentivizing replies and likes can be valuable, especially in the initial phases. But they can become a double-edged sword later on, as these techniques often fail to scale and leave a bad impression on newcomers.
Whether to prioritize SEO depends heavily on your type of product. For example, people rarely look for new DeFi/NFT projects on search engines. While the popular keywords like “bitcoin” or “buy bitcoin” are extremely competitive.
If you can think of keywords that may fit your product and have at least some volume on Google (Keyword Planner is your best friend), then the strategy is fairly standard: create content with those keywords, and then build domain authority.
Besides effective PR, domain authority in crypto can be bootstrapped with various aggregators. For example, if you have a token you should get listed on sites like CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko. If you’re a DeFi project, you definitely should build an adapter and get listed on DefiLlama.
Every project on every chain gets good exposure and a free do-follow link.
Beware of paying for placing press releases or blog posts on some major website. The packages rarely include “do follow” links, making them useless for the SEO portion of your blockchain marketing strategy.
PPC Ads in crypto
After the ICO wave in 2017, most ad platforms had banned any ads related to crypto. Over time these bans were lifted, though getting approved is still very difficult for many types of crypto projects and creatives.
PPC ads are absolutely viable in crypto, though crafting an adequate message may be difficult. You can use the “classics” like Facebook, Google and Instagram, but you’ll need to do a lot of work to build the right audience.
Platforms like Reddit or crypto-native Brave Browser can be valuable alternatives, since targeting crypto enthusiasts is usually easier over there. You might also consider PPC ads in crypto media publications, explorers like CoinMarketCap, Etherscan and many others.
The messaging is about as simple as it gets: earn stupendous money while you sleep on this centralized exchange.
PPC can be very powerful, but not every project is fit for this kind of marketing. There is a strong bias against ads in some enthusiast communities, and you may be driving away more users than you’re bringing in.
Ready to build your blockchain marketing strategy?
We wanted to make this guide as tangible and practical as possible, but realistically there are entire books you could write on this topic.
Hopefully we’ve given enough to start exploring each aspect more in-depth and begin your own learning process for each.
Let’s be honest though: sometimes you don’t have the time to muscle through many attempts of crafting a blockchain marketing strategy.
If you need some expert assistance, we are always available via email.