Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Struggling to get traction with your blockchain-based business? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Blockchain marketing is a tough nut to crack. Audiences are savvy to eye-catching tactics from the web 2.0 world and no one, absolutely no one, likes being spammed with ads. So what to do?
The secret is to seek out the places your audience already congregates and to engage their interest in a genuine and thoughtful way. But don't take our word for it, we went out and spoke to startups who have found success using the below 35 blockchain marketing tactics.
Use Telegram to communicate directly
Crypto loves Telegram, thanks to its enhanced privacy and app features. One of the most popular features used by startups is discussion channels: Where anyone can join your group via a public link. Failing that, there are a number of crypto groups you can try out to see how some of the pros do it. CoinGape has a good list of places to start. But be warned, you will need admins to control the mass of comments and keep the discussion on point. Alternatively, if you're light on resources, create an announcement channel where only you can post, in order to keep your followers up to date.
Use adverts on the right platforms
A staple in many industries, ads are harder to create in the crypto industry, thanks to Google, Facebook and Twitter's on/off again relationship with allowing them onto their platforms. However, there are other places you can go to place ads. Bitcoin Talk, Quora, Slack, and of course, Telegram are all places where you can still promote crypto companies, and there are communities willing to see them.
Connect with journalists
If you want to get your news out, you’re going to need to work at it. Unless you're a major company in the space with a huge piece of news, journalists aren’t going to naturally pick up on it. There are two paths you can take: go broad or go deep. If it's the first, there are a whole host of press release distribution services that will fire your press release into the inboxes of everyone in the industry.
A few we've found useful are Press Releases Jet, CryptoRadar and PR Newswire. If it's deep you're after, you want journalists with a track history of reporting on the subject areas your startup works in. ShapeShift has a great list of journalists on Twitter worth knowing. Reach out to journalists–Twitter is often best–and work out if they'd be willing to hear more about what you're up to. Emailing a journalist and then hounding them for a response is the quickest way to getting blocked, so be nice.
Run your own event to supercharge your blockchain marketing
If you’re ready to make a statement, the best way to connect that statement with an audience is to invite them to come and listen to what you've got to say. Easier said than done I hear you cry? Well, that depends on what you had in mind. Head on over to Meetup, and take a look at what events are being run currently. These are often just a space, a time slot and a few people running through a few ideas or inviting discussion. The cost is minimal and you get a prime opportunity to do a bit of informal market research/user testing. Win. Win.
Get a stall at an event
Or you can start smaller again. Getting a stall at a crypto event can usually set you back a couple of thousand dollars but it can be worth it. These events will be full of crypto heads and give you a chance to speak to the right kind of people and get feedback from them. But be warned, events tend to create a bit of a meat market for startups and it might be hard to get anyone to come on over to your stand. A smarter strategy would be to see if there are any industry-specific events in your area where the audience is more suited to your product. Crypto Calendar is a great place to start.
Do a keynote speech at an event
Another feather in your blockchain marketing bow is speaking as an expert on whatever specific field you work in. If you can bag a keynote speech, that gives you the chance to speak interrupted to the audience but sometimes you will have to pay. Otherwise panel discussions can be a good way to engage with other well-known crypto leaders on stage. How do you find these? Familiarise yourself with events in your area. Crypto Calendar above is geographically searchable, Meetup and EventBrite are great places to find event listings that you can pitch to be part of. Once you're in, be sure to include links to your social pages and encourage people to reach out!
Create a more professional website
It’s common knowledge that one of the first things a potential investor or buyer will look at is your website. So, make sure they get a great experience when they do. You want it to be simple, informative and easy to read. It’s worth spending on this. There are a number of ways to getting a good website, some requiring more cash than others:
- DIY: Head to WordPress, buy a theme and get to work.
- Hire someone: Sites like Upwork are full of designers that can help you get there.
- Hire someone (that's already been vetted): Sites like TopTal do the hard work of making sure designers are legit and will work with you to find the right person for the job.
- Agencies - similar to TopTal but they have their own in house talent.
Whichever route you choose, this is an iterative process and you'll need to tweak and change to make the site fit your company, so plan ahead when it comes to cost.
Appear on a podcast, the bigger the better
Sometimes things are a little too complicated to explain in 260 characters on Twitter. Luckily, the crypto community's podcast game is strong: and they have a big focus on helping demystify the space for listeners. Two of the biggest are a case in point: Anthony Pompliano or Laura Shin both spend a significant amount of time explaining ideas and concepts. Here's a list of 25 others you should familiarize yourself with.
Start a podcast if you have the time
Even better, get on every podcast—that is, by making your own. It enables you to put your own brand front and center while showing that you are integrated closely with the crypto community. John Levy over on Forbes has a good primer on what you need to get started.
Start a viral campaign, or try to
It’s always hard to craft something to go viral but some people are experts at it. Make sure to learn from the best and get creative. Look at tweets and posts that have insane amounts of shares and ask yourself why it worked. Then replicate. Don’t be afraid to try things that are weird and wacky. But make sure not to damage your brand. Some of the most successful campaigns are giveaways, but there are lots of other ways to gain traction. Here are a couple of good resources as a starter for 10.
We want to hear from you! Waves Labs is launching a 1,000 WAVES competition to encourage developers to share their projects. Tell us about your projects implemented on Waves, using the #BuildOnWaves tag, and gain exposure and a chance to win some WAVES https://t.co/bY9nsBYAwg
— Waves Labs (@waveslabs) February 18, 2019
Become a blockchain marketing powerhouse on Twitter
There’s nothing like having something to say and nobody to say it to. So, you need to build up your following in order to maximize your reach. As the crypto industry moves so fast, Twitter is an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with news, which means it’s important for you to become a powerful influencer on it. Increase your following by tweeting regularly, day and night (use staff/freelancers in other countries) and make sure to engage with other leaders in the space. You might even learn a thing or two.
Play the John McAfee wild card
We definitely don’t recommend you do this, but if you have exhausted all the options it may be worth giving it a shot. Walking leather emporium John McAfee brought the internet’s attention to a small crypto startup—the Bitfi wallet—by claiming it was unhackable. Now, this drew scorn and suspicion from tons of Opsec researchers and general IT knowhows. But, McAfee said it over and over again until the furor reached boiling point. In the end, he admitted the whole thing was just a viral marketing technique. But, as marketing goes, it was wildly successful. Just be careful, you don’t want to tarnish your reputation. Use sparingly, if at all.
Start a bug bounty program
A bounty program can be a good way of engaging with computer experts and others in your target market. It also allows you to put a nice big number on a blog post when you announce your $30,000 bug bounty program. And when bugs are found, it can be a good bit of PR as well.
Create a Medium blog for announcements
You should probably already have a blog, but if—shocker—you don’t, then it’s high time to set one up. A blog is the place for major announcements, roadmap updates, and more technical pieces. Most off the shelf websites have this functionality built in, but if you're starting from scratch, it may not be a big traffic draw. So, instead why not try Medium, it's a far quicker way of establishing yourself as you get to publish into specific categories with millions of followers in each. What to write about? Well, take a look at Medium's top 100 posts and blogs to see what really gets people clapping.
Submit guest posts for news sites
Due to the way a lot of crypto news sites work, this can be quite hard to do. But there are some sites that accept guest posts, such as Cryptoslate. Don’t be surprised if many of them turn around and ask for funding. Sponsored content is a major source of funding for crypto news sites, so if you have the budget and you're able to string together a coherent argument - try to keep it below 1,500 words, 900 is about right - this could be a useful way to help position yourself as an authority on certain subjects.
Don't bother with Facebook
The days of organic growth on Facebook for businesses is over. That means the alternative is to pay your way to an audience. We'd argue the quality of that audience is fairly low–there's a good expose on the whole thing by Veritasium–and your money will be better spent on some of the other options on this list.
Start posting regularly on Reddit
Many people in the western world get into crypto just be reading about it on Reddit. It’s a popular forum for all things internet-based and has a huge cryptocurrency following. The Bitcoin subreddit has one million subscribers and the cryptocurrency subreddit has 833,000. How to make it work to your blockchain marketing advantage? The trick is to build up your karma by taking part in the communities you want to join. Upvote, comment, and share articles–not just your own–to show that you're a valid part of the community. Once you've done that, you can create a sub-Reddit for your product specifically and invite your new found fellow Redditors to discuss and explore your content.
Do an Ask-Me-Anything on Reddit or Twitter
Once you have built up a following, it’s great to communicate as directly as possible with them. One of the best techniques is doing an ask-me-anything session where you let your users, well, ask you anything they like. This can be done by having a live video session or simply replying to all questions asked in the comments section. This is a lot more meaningful than many other types of engagement as it allows you to really listen to what your community is thinking. And plus, you might get some good feedback out of it too.
Use social influencers to gain a bigger following
Gah, social influencers. What would we do without them? Well, we would be less successful for a start. By having their own highly curated following, social influencers represent a great way to directly access a certain target audience. There are dozens of crypto influencers now using different platforms and mediums to promote their wares. The tricky thing is in finding which social influencer has created a target market that matches yours, and more importantly, how effective their campaigns have been. Instagram has some of the most sophisticated tools for measuring the success of an influencer, here's a decent list. and here's an easy way for you to work out an influencer's score for yourself.
Create a competition
Nothing sparks people’s emotions like a competition. Make sure it’s something that’s accessible to everyone and the reward is big enough to attract attention but not too big. Then the key focus is on promoting it and getting as many people as possible to enter—and engage with your brand. Aim to break even and benefit from the exposure.
Give out airdrops, but not too many
A unique aspect to crypto is that you can give out tokens—in a way it can be at little cost to yourself. These can be a great way of rewarding your community, either for doing actions or just by holding your coins. If you have regular airdrops, it encourages people to hold their funds in your cryptocurrency instead of another. This can be combined with a coin burn to put upwards pressure on the price.
Do an airdrop and make a show and dance out of it
Now this isn’t just any airdrop. This is a global, showcase airdrop. One of the best examples of this mega form of airdrop was privacy platform Mainframe which did multiple events around the world—each within a few days of each other—where participants would turn up, hear a speech about Mainframe and receive free tokens. How were they distributed? By having hundreds of token-filled balloons fall from the ceiling. Think, what could you do instead?
Hire a PR team for tactical marketing
Sometimes you need to try something traditional when it comes to your blockchain marketing. But make sure the PR firm you choose knows the crypto space. Media Shower has a list of the top blockchain PR agencies. The biggest piece of advice is to work out what your company is and what it is trying to promote before heading out to an agency. You'll burn through cash if you're key selling points are a bit woolly.
Engage with artists who use tech
What better way to share your project than by turning it into a work of art? One example of art blurring with crypto is from Trevor Jones who uses augmented reality to project videos onto his crypto-themed art. There are also other online art-crypto combos that you could partner with. Forbes has done a good round-up of some of the biggest. This can be a really good way of letting your audience find out what you do in an interactive way. Who said blockchain marketing needed to be dull?
Give out free gifts, get creative
Airdrops are not the only things you can give out for free. If you like your branding enough, make sure to get it printed out on hoodies, mugs or even on hardware wallets and send it to your most loyal fans. Social media scheduling company Buffer has its own community delight team that specializes in sending merch out to people. You can read how they do it here.
Wear your own swag—all the time
We’re not suggesting branded underwear but yes, branded underwear. While Ben wrote the Decrypt Daily Debrief, he always wore the Decrypt Briefs. But we digress. If you're attending events, giving presentations, or mingling with like-minded people in crypto land, wearing your company's colors with pride is an easy way to get your company noticed. If you need some inspiration, CryptoSwag has a weird and wonderful range.
Tattoo your logo on John McAfee’s back
Okay, you don’t want to get a tattoo, fine. But instead, why don’t you pay John McAfee to get your logo tattooed on his back? It worked for SkyCoin. It's blockchain marketing, gonzo style.
Partner with another company in the crypto space
IBM and Stellar, Litecoin and TokenPay, Binance and the Malta Stock Exchange. These are just a few examples of partnerships in 2018. Joining forces with other companies in your space can help your blockchain marketing strategy big time. As Daniel Popa, Anchor CEO said to us recently, "in the decentralized space, even your competitors are your greatest collaborators." Make a list of companies you have an affinity with and look to see if there's an opportunity to work on a project together is a smart way to drive interest in your company up.
Raise funds to make a statement
This may sound like an odd choice to have in a list on blockchain marketing, but stick with us. Funding rounds are bread and butter for the press. While the ICO continues to muddle through the ongoing regulatory uncertainty, there are now a whole host of new ways to raise money for your startups. We covered everything you need to know. One of the most interesting new types of funding is tokenized venture funds, like SPiCE. Get to know your funding mechanisms and use them to push your startup under the noses of journalists.
Join groups on LinkedIn
While most of the attention goes on Facebook, Twitter and Telegram for marketing channels, many often overlook LinkedIn. But its 65 million users pack a punch: nearly 50 percent of LinkedIn members have decision making authority for their companies. When executives were asked about the top places to find relevant, high-quality content, 91 percent cited LinkedIn, while only 29 percent said Twitter, and 27 percent said Facebook. We'll skip the advice that says open your own LinkedIn profile, and head straight to groups. There are a number of big crypto groups with high profile individuals you should be courting in your blockchain marketing campaign. Quora has a list to get you started.
Create referral links to spread your business
A referral program is a deliberate, systematic way of getting people to make referrals to your business. If you operate a crypto exchange or another business where you can give a discount link, or some other incentive to share your hard work, it gives you an opportunity to share out your good will, but also to be able to see where your website is being used. People are twice as likely to pay attention to referrals from a friend. Plus, referrals get some of the best new customers you can get, with higher brand loyalty and profit margins. Here's a substantial list of great examples of referral programs by some of the world's most successful companies.
Answers questions on Quora as an expert
Use that blockchain knowledge you’ve built up and head to Quora, the Q&A hub that has seen every tech entrepreneur, and occasional billionaire CEO and former President answer questions for the curious public. Why? Because answering questions for people on all matters blockchain gives you an opportunity to include links to resources, you've found useful, and even your website! It's a smart tool for blockchain marketing that many other industries have overlooked. But be warned, this isn't spam. Quora answers are upvoted, so if you use it as a shameless PR channel, you won't get very far.
Boost your website using SEO
Another no brainer, but one we see sites time and again overlook when it comes to creating their blockchain marketing campaign. SEO, while always changing, goes like this: a site specializes in producing certain types of content about certain subjects. A site produces pages, articles, and other media around the subject, that same site then ensures every single page is interwoven with each other to ensure web crawlers don't hit dead ends and discount pages. Rinse and repeat and rise up the rankings. Simple, right? Yes and no. Good SEO takes time, and ranking for certain terms can feel endless, especially if you're competing for terms that everyone wants to rank for, like Bitcoin. Doing an audit on what terms you currently rank for and what you'd like to rank for is a great place to start. Here are six free resources to help get you started.
Provide quotes for HARO to get backlinks
SEO is how many projects live and die when it comes to blockchain marketing. But how do you climb the rankings? One of the key ways is by receiving backlinks from sites with a higher reputation. How do you do that? Help a reporter out, otherwise known as HARO. This is a service used by journalists the world over to get access to experts on issues they're writing about. Startups are full of people with expertise in all kinds of different stuff. So if you spend time offering your services to journalists, chances are they'll link back to your project as a courtesy and you'll have a juicy backlink.
Get everyone speaking the same language
The good thing about crypto is there are projects and hubs all over the world. The bad news is the lingua franca of blockchain is English, meaning all this wonderful diversity has to be pushed through the English-speaking funnel to attract a bigger audience. What does that mean? You'll need to be a stickler when it comes to spelling, grammar and a shaky grasp of the language. Luckily, there are services like Grammarly, that can help do more than just spell check. If you're looking for something more sophisticated, we'd recommend translation services like Babylon, One Planet and Straker Translations that can get your white paper into any language you like.
Okay you got us, not all of these were independently proven as surefire ways to increase your reach. But, if John McAfee can get 900,000 followers with his rambling tweets, it’s time to throw the rulebook out the window and get creative. Now share this article or a unicorn dies.