As we explained in our last article, the primary goal of marketing a cryptocurrency project is growth, which entails attracting new investors and keeping existing ones informed. We illustrated many of the hurdles — an easy job — but now we want to address the hard part: overcoming the marketing challenges of a cryptocurrency project. Our approach to crypto & blockchain follows our lessons from ample startup and tech marketing in the past. Blockchain projects are similar but nuanced, so we’ll outline where the efforts are specialized.
Choose a Target Audience for the Cryptocurrency Project
Pick one. We bristle at a local casino whose TV ads say they’re for everyone. No product is for everyone. You need to plan on addressing one audience at a time. Walmart doesn’t sell to everyone. Apple, arguably the best organization who markets anything, doesn’t target everyone. For a crypto project, your audience is already niche, but to be even more impactful, you need to think about who your platform appeals to. Is it institutional investors or individual investors (in the early days, probably the latter, and with maturity, the former). Can you serve merchants well? Is there an audience of developers who could build games or dApps that would work well? Over time, you can appeal to a greater market, but your best marketing spend will tackle one tier at a time.
Decide on the Unique Value Proposition
With so much market saturation, your platform has to differentiate from others somehow. Your project could be faster, more flexible, more secure, or lower cost. It could be well suited as a currency (or like Bitcoin, a simple store of value). Your solution could also be cool for games or decentralized apps. You need to find a way that addresses your target audience and communicates the benefit of it. Ripple (XRP) does an average job: “Fast and green, the digital asset XRP was built to be the most practical cryptocurrency for applications across the financial services space.” Contrast that with a more effective message from Polygon: “Polygon is a decentralized Ethereum scaling platform that enables developers to build scalable user-friendly dApps with low transaction fees without ever sacrificing on security.” Can you see the difference in specificity???
Develop Your Hypothesis
Putting audience and message together becomes your project’s hypothesis. You’re making an educated guess as to what will work. But guess what – you may be wrong! Your hypothesis, which you will test, addresses three questions. First, is this audience interested? Second, does the message (value proposition) resonate? And third, what kind of offer works to get them moving (e.g., download your white paper or prospectus, buy some coins, or build an app using your platform). You may have to adapt your marketing approach more than once…
Focus on Establishing a Beachhead
As we alluded to with the target audience, go narrow. Focus on one beachhead audience. Your beachhead is the place where you gain a dominant market share. It could initially be game developers, Argentinian bodegas, New York bankers — whatever your hypothesis appeals to. Later you can segue to adjacent spaces.
Consistent messaging within your project is essential. The downside of “multiplicity” — when you make a copy of a copy — is that the copy isn’t quite as sharp as the original. A single strongly-branded message travels much further.
Decide How to Measure Success
We’re huge fans of metrics. A dashboard showing your important key performance indicators (KPIs) tells the story of your project. We’re not talking vanity metrics — we’re measuring the things that matter. Yes, you need to build site visitors, social media followers, engagement (likes/shares/messages), and awareness. But your real metrics with blockchain may be different: Market Cap, Current Price, All Time High Price, Volume (24h), Active Addresses. You may not have much impact on these day-to-day, and there are always cycles (like crypto winter). Marketing a cryptocurrency is a marathon, not a sprint. Choose a wide range of KPIs and focus on the ones that matter long-term.
Design & Run Experiments
You don’t know what you don’t know, so you have to experiment to learn. Build a backlog of ideas to try: different audiences, messages, channels, and offers. Run a limited set of experiments, measure their efficacy, and adjust accordingly. You’ll want to double down on winners — let winning campaigns run — and kill losers quickly.
Don’t Just Preach to the Choir
Growth requires two tracks. You need to find new investors, merchants, and developers to expand. But you also need to retain existing ones. These messages are different. Someone new to your cryptocurrency hasn’t imbibed the Kool-Aid. And those already invested don’t need the same kind of persuasion. It’s a trap to spend all your resources on retention. An existing investor won’t care much about your shiny new marketing offer for a download, and an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) with your project technology expert isn’t as compelling to a noob. You have to invest in feeding both tracks. Some material works on both, but much does not.
As you gain traction, your audience can amplify your message. Ideally your hypothesis (or a subsequent iteration) lead to a good beachhead landing. Then your beachhead audience can echo that message. Word-of-mouth has always been the most persuasive marketing channel because we trust friends, colleagues, influencers, and experts more than we trust marketers. Before you let things get out of hand, though, it’s helpful to think in terms of a “style guide” — if you can provide shareable resources (e.g., images, articles, posts, etc.), it’s your original message being repeated, not an interpretation (perhaps incorrect). Unified messages are louder; they resonate.
Marketing Challenges of a Cryptocurrency Project
Cryptocurrency project is growth entails attracting new investors and keeping existing ones informed. With researched, tested, consistent messaging delivered using experiments with audiences, channels, and offers, the odds improve. Over time, message amplification helps reach a wider audience, but you need “quality control” to keep the messaging sharp and focused. With a little luck…GET LAMBO!