How to Grow a DeFi Project: Marketing Framework

12 min read
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At a time when hundreds of DeFi projects launch on the market every day, effective DeFi marketing strategies are not just beneficial; they are essential for survival and growth.

The DeFi market is experiencing a significant growth trajectory, with its revenue projected to hit an impressive US$16.9 billion in 2023. This burgeoning growth and potential in the DeFi market underscore the critical importance of having a robust marketing strategy for new DeFi projects. As the market expands, with revenue projected to reach US$34.7 million by 2027 and the user base set to hit 9.33 million, the competition among DeFi projects will intensify. In such a rapidly growing and evolving industry, a well-crafted marketing strategy becomes essential for any new project aiming to gain traction and capture a share of this lucrative market.

A successful marketing strategy should not only focus on highlighting the unique value proposition of a DeFi project but also on understanding and tapping into the evolving needs and behaviors of the market’s growing user base. With the average revenue per user standing at US$2,026 in 2023, there is a clear indication of the high value placed on effective DeFi solutions by users.

DeFi Project Marketing Growth Framework-1

In this context, this article delves into a comprehensive marketing framework specifically tailored for DeFi projects, offering insights into strategies that resonate with the unique dynamics of this sector. From understanding your target audience to collaborating with influential creators, we’ll guide you through actionable steps to elevate your DeFi project in this competitive space.

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DeFi Marketing Framework

  1. The Ultimate Strategy for Growing a DeFi Project
    • Research, Engage and Understand the DeFi Community
    • Create Original, Thought-Leading Content with Partner Creators
    • Aggregate Attention Long Term
    • Grow Community and Encourage UGC Content
    • Convert Fans into Users
  2. Identifying and Targeting the Right Market
  3. Collaborating with the Right Creators
  4. Execution of Content and Engagement Strategies
    • Diverse Content and Creators
    • Quality and Quantity
    • Narrative Creation
    • Soft-Selling Approach
    • Community Interaction
  5. Understanding DeFi User Conversion Funnel

1. The Ultimate Strategy for Growing a DeFi Project

20231027 DeFi Project Marketing Growth Framework
DeFi Marketing Growth Framework. Source: Pink Brains

To effectively grow a DeFi project, a comprehensive approach that combines research, community engagement, content creation, attention aggregation, and community growth is essential. Here’s an elaborate view of each of these strategies:

Research, Engage and Understand the DeFi Community

Understanding the DeFi community is foundational. The first step in marketing a DeFi project is to deeply understand the community you are about to sell your product. This involves researching current trends, active discussions, and common queries within the community. Engagement is key. By participating in forums, attending virtual meetups, and engaging in social media conversations, you gain valuable insights into what drives the community. This includes:

  1. In-Depth Research: Study current trends, popular platforms, and the evolving needs of DeFi users. Analyze competitors and identify gaps in the market. So many DeFi tools provide a wide range of free-to-use dashboards, analytics, and market research to help you have an overview of the DeFi landscape and market sentiment.
  2. Active Engagement: Participate in DeFi communities and social media platforms, and attend networking events. Engaging in conversations and listening to feedback is crucial. As the decentralized social (DeSoc) and SocialFi are getting more traction from native Web3 users, top SocialFi platforms are also a great playground to promote your products directly to the right user base, besides well-known social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
  3. Understanding Community Sentiment: Monitor discussions to gauge the community’s attitudes and concerns, which can inform your project’s development and marketing strategy. Most Web3 projects, even DeFi projects, usually have their own Twitter page for public announcements and user group chats on Telegram and Discord to monitor users’s feedback or host closed community events.

Create Original, Thought-Leading Content with Partner Creators

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Content is king in digital marketing, and in the DeFi space, it needs to be insightful and innovative. This is how to be successful in producing DeFi content.

  1. Collaboration with Experts: Partner with top influencers and thought leaders in the DeFi space to create content. Their expertise and authority can lend credibility to your project.
  2. Quality and Originality: Focus on producing high-quality, original content that addresses the interests and challenges of the DeFi community.
  3. Diverse Formats: Utilize a mix of content formats, such as blogs/newsletters, videos made by top DeFi Youtubers, podcasts, infographics, and social content by DeFi key opinion leaders—besides your own content—to cater to different preferences within your audience.

Aggregate Attention Long Term

Long-term engagement is key to building a sustainable community.

  1. Consistent Engagement: Regular updates, interactive sessions, and community events keep the audience engaged over time.
  2. Building a Brand Narrative: Craft a compelling story around your project that resonates with the community’s values and aspirations.
  3. Leveraging Social Media: Use social media platforms strategically to maintain visibility and ongoing interaction with the community.

Grow Community and Encourage UGC Content

A vibrant community is a sign of a healthy DeFi project.

  1. Encourage User-Generated Content (UGC): Motivate your users to share their experiences, testimonials, and creative content related to your project through AMAs, community talks, mini-events, contests, Web3 quests and more.
  2. Community Empowerment: Create platforms where community members can contribute ideas, give feedback, and feel a sense of ownership in the project.
  3. Rewards and Recognition: Implement reward systems for active community members to encourage participation and content creation.

Convert Fans into Users

The ultimate goal is to turn interested followers into active users of your DeFi project.

  1. Showcasing Practical Utility: Demonstrate how your project solves real problems or offers unique opportunities in the DeFi space.
  2. Incentivization: Offer incentives for early adoption or participation, such as limited-time offers, bonuses, or access to exclusive features.
  3. Simplifying Onboarding: Ensure that the process of becoming a user is as straightforward as possible. Clear instructions, user-friendly interfaces, and support systems are crucial.

2. Identifying and Targeting the Right Market

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DeFi projects often appeal to a niche but growing segment of the market. Understanding where these individuals spend their time and what motivates them is crucial to crafting targeted marketing strategies.

  1. DeFi, Crypto, and Web3 Natives: These individuals are deeply versed in the DeFi world and look for advanced, innovative features in DeFi projects, which are usually known as “narratives”. Engaging this group requires sophisticated, in-depth content highlighting transparency and technological robustness. Since the top DeFi trends may shift rapidly over the years due to the ever-evolving blockchain technology and macro news, DeFi projects should have a diverse marketing plan for short-term, mid-term, and long-term periods to ride on the right market sentiment.
  2. Sophisticated Buyers and Early Adopters: This type of user is always in search of new products whose innovations solve DeFi problems and have a potential impact on the market. Marketing to them involves emphasizing the unique selling points and future potential of your DeFi project. For instance, since the bloom of Telegram trading bots, early projects in the field like Unibot gained a significant advantage over their rivals in terms of population by targeting sophisticated traders on Uniswap and early DeFi adopters from the first step.
  3. Speculative Traders: Focused on short-term financial gain, these traders are interested in market trends and investment potential. Attracting them involves providing detailed market analyses, risk assessments, and information on tokenomics, trading volume, and on-chain insights.
  4. Platform-Specific Users: Active on platforms like Twitter and Substack, these users rely on timely updates and influencer opinions. Engage them with a strong presence on these platforms, leveraging influencers and creating regular, platform-specific content.
  5. Security-Conscious Users: With a heightened awareness of cybersecurity risks, this segment prioritizes safety. Marketing efforts should focus on the security features of your DeFi project, including details about security protocols, audits, and compliance measures.

3. Collaborating with the Right Creators

Top DeFi Influencers by Followers
Top DeFi influencers by followers. Source: Thuan Trang

Success in the DeFi space also hinges on collaborating with creators who have a high engagement rate on platforms like Twitter and Substack. These creators should have proven expertise in DeFi and a track record of high-quality content. Their credibility and large following can significantly amplify your project’s reach. Key attributes to look for in potential collaborators include:

  1. High Engagement: Choose creators with a strong following and active engagement on platforms like Twitter, Substack, Youtube or TikTok. These influencers can amplify your message and reach a wider audience effectively. However, please remember that having a high number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean a high conversion rate. That’s why it is important to look out for other criteria before choosing suitable content creators.
  2. Expertise in DeFi: Partner with individuals who are well-respected experts in the DeFi space. Their insights and understanding of complex concepts like on-chain analytics can lend credibility and depth to your marketing content.
  3. Community Trust: Work with top crypto KOLs who have earned the community’s trust by consistently providing reliable and valuable information. Their endorsement can significantly boost your project’s credibility and appeal.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Balance quality with affordability by exploring opportunities for price arbitrage in creator pricing. This approach ensures a high ROI on your marketing investments.

Selecting the right creators based on these criteria can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your DeFi project’s marketing efforts.

4. Execution of Content and Engagement Strategies

To effectively market a DeFi project, a nuanced and comprehensive content strategy is essential. This involves diversifying the types of content and creators, focusing on the quality and quantity of content, creating a compelling narrative, adopting a soft-selling approach, and actively interacting with the community.

Diverse Content and Creators

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The Endgame for BNB Chain: AMA with the Core Development Team. Ignas DeFi Research article.

Expanding beyond a single content type or creator archetype is crucial. This diversity allows for a broader appeal and the ability to resonate with various segments of your audience. Consider incorporating a mix of content formats:

  1. Social content: It’s important for DeFi projects to build a detailed content plan to increase your coverage on popular social media for DeFi users, such as Twitter, Telegram communities, Youtube, and new DeSoc platforms.
  2. Articles: Deep-dive pieces that provide detailed insights into specific aspects of DeFi. PR articles on specific press outlets like Cointelegraph, Coindesk, The Block, etc. to spread major announcements.
  3. Infographics: Visually engaging content that simplifies complex data or concepts. Collaborating with DeFi agencies and communities for paid infographics can also be a great option to widely spread your product to a new user base.
  4. Podcasts: Discussions with thought leaders and experts that can be consumed on the go.
  5. Videos: Engaging visual content ranging from explanatory videos to interviews with key figures in the DeFi space.

In a nutshell, working with a range of creators, from well-known influencers to niche experts in DeFi content marketing, will help broaden your reach and bring diverse perspectives to your content.

Quality and Quantity

The balance between the volume of content and its quality is delicate but crucial. While it’s important to maintain a steady stream of content to stay relevant.

  1. Prioritize Quality: Ensure that each piece of content is well-researched, informative, and adds value to the conversation around DeFi. DeFi-seasoned users are usually attracted to trending narratives, alphas, potential gains, and fundamental research from trusted sources.
  2. Original Research: Incorporate unique insights or data that your team has gathered, offering something new to your audience.
  3. Thought-Provoking Discussions: Create content that challenges conventional wisdom or explores emerging trends in DeFi.

Narrative Creation

Position your project as a narrative maker in the DeFi space. Educate the community, not just about your project, but about DeFi as a whole. This establishes credibility and positions you as a knowledgeable player in the field. Some tactics you can apply to successfully execute this strategy are:

  1. Educational Content: Provide comprehensive information not just about your project but about DeFi as a whole, to educate your audience. You can collaborate with top thought leaders, or the leading media outlets to leverage important content angles from a third-person standpoint.
  2. Storytelling: Craft a compelling story about your project’s origins, mission, and vision that includes deep dives, valuable insights, data, and technical proofs. This helps in creating an emotional and reliable connection with your audience.
  3. Thought Leadership: Position your project as a source of innovative ideas and perspectives in the DeFi space. It’s important to catch up on the newest DeFi narratives so as you will not fall behind the market.

Soft-Selling Approach

Your content should feel genuine and not just like a sales pitch to build trust and long-term relationships with your audience.

  1. Authenticity: Ensure that your content feels genuine and provides real value to the reader. It’s essential to write content from a specific DeFi user’s perspective to understand their pain points before sharing your solutions to address them.
  2. Trust Building: Use content to build a relationship with your audience, rather than just pushing for immediate conversions. The history proves that shilling content will not retain your users as long as expected.
  3. Subtle Promotion: Weave in mentions of your product or service naturally within the content.

Community Interaction

Engaging directly with your community can significantly enhance loyalty and trust. Actively engage with your audience. Respond to comments, participate in discussions, and show that you value their input and feedback. This helps in building a strong, engaged community. This is how you can do so:

  1. Active Participation: Regularly participate in discussions on social media, groups, and other platforms where your users and audience are present.
  2. Feedback Incorporation: Show that you value the community’s input by incorporating their feedback into your project and content.
  3. Regular Communication: Keep the community updated with the latest developments and involve them in the journey of your project regularly by leaving your comments intentionally, tagging related people, or simply reacting to related posts. As social platforms’ algorithms usually tend to distribute highly engaged content to more viewers, the more you create your footprints online, the higher the chance of your content going viral.

By elaborating on these strategies, your DeFi project can effectively engage with its target audience, build a strong community, and position itself as a leader in the DeFi space.

5. Understanding DeFi User Conversion Funnel

Defi Marketing Growth Framework-2

Understanding a well-structured user conversion funnel is vital for the growth and sustainability of any DeFi project. Here’s an in-depth look at each stage of the funnel and strategies for navigating them effectively:

Awareness: Capturing Maximum Impressions

At this stage, the goal is to create widespread awareness of your DeFi project. This involves:

  1. High-Impact Content: Develop content that captures attention and makes a strong first impression. Utilize a mix of media, including social media posts, videos, and banners.
  2. Broad Reach Strategies: Leverage SEO, social media advertising, and influencer collaborations to maximize visibility.

Interest: Engaging with Original Research and Thought Leadership

Once you’ve captured attention, the next step is to cultivate interest. Below are some tactics to take advantage of during this phase:

  1. Original Research: Share unique insights or data that set your project apart in the DeFi space.
  2. Thought Leadership: Publish articles, whitepapers, and blog posts that position your project as a leader in the DeFi industry.
  3. Community Education: Create educational content that helps your audience understand DeFi concepts and the value proposition of your project.

Consideration: Strengthening Brand Messaging

In the consideration phase, potential users are weighing their options:

  1. Brand Messaging: Clearly articulate what makes your DeFi project unique and why it’s a superior choice.
  2. Problem and Solution Highlighting: Address common issues in the DeFi space and demonstrate how your project effectively solves them.

Evaluation: Facilitating Comparative Analysis

Users in this stage are closely evaluating your project against others. This is where organic content, and KOLs’ content show their convincing strength.

  1. Comparative Analysis: Offer clear, objective comparisons with other projects, highlighting your strengths.
  2. Safety Considerations: Emphasize the security measures and safety protocols your project employs.
  3. User Reviews and Testimonials: Share positive experiences and reviews from existing users, especially sophisticated thought leaders to build credibility.

Decision: Implementing Effective Sales Tactics

This stage is crucial as users are on the brink of conversion:

  1. Special Offers and Promotions: Provide incentives such as limited-time offers and bonuses on referral links to encourage sign-ups.
  2. Engaging Sales Content: Use persuasive content that focuses on the benefits and unique features of your project.

Purchase: Streamlining the User Onboarding

Making the purchase process as seamless as possible is essential.

  1. Easy Log-in Process: Ensure that the log-in process is straightforward, quick, and user-friendly. Normally, DeFi users will access your protocols through crypto wallets. Therefore, make sure your protocols integrate as many popular Web3 wallets as possible to support various blockchain users.
  2. User-friendly UI: Making your protocol UI seamless and intuitive is very important to impress users at first sight. From the dark mode/white mode option to the click-through flow, the more user-friendly your protocol is, the more time users will spend on your app.

Retention: Fostering a Strong Community

Retaining users involves continuous engagement and improvement.

  1. Community Development: Build and nurture an active community through forums, social media groups, and regular updates.
  2. Loyalty Programs: Implement reward systems for active and long-term users.
  3. Quality After-Service: Provide excellent customer support and regularly update your services based on user feedback.

Advocacy: Encouraging Brand Evangelism

Turning users into advocates is the final stage.

  1. Involvement in Product Development: Involve users in beta testing and feedback sessions for new features or products. Since early adopters are also a target user type for DeFi projects, as mentioned above, it is helpful to increase brand awareness through incentivized testnet campaigns, or bug bounty campaigns.
  2. Token Holder Benefits: Offer benefits or incentives to token holders to encourage long-term investment and loyalty. This may include trading fee discounts, voting rights, private chatrooms, and more privileges.
  3. Leveraging User-Generated Content: Encourage and showcase content created by users, such as reviews, tutorials, and testimonials, minigames, quizzes, community contests, etc.
  4. Endorsements: Utilize endorsements from well-known figures in the industry to further build trust and credibility.

Each stage of this funnel requires targeted strategies and a deep understanding of user behavior. By effectively navigating through these stages, a DeFi project can not only attract but also retain a loyal user base, ultimately leading to sustained growth and success in the competitive DeFi landscape.

Conclusion

In conclusion, growing a DeFi project requires a well-thought-out marketing framework that focuses on understanding and engaging the community, creating high-quality content, collaborating with influential creators, and strategically guiding users through the conversion funnel.

By understanding your audience, collaborating with the right creators, and executing a well-rounded marketing strategy, your project can gain the visibility and engagement it needs to succeed. And please bear in mind that, in the world of DeFi, staying adaptable and responsive to community feedback is key.

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