Decentralized finance (DeFi) is currently on a path to disrupt financial transactions in a major way. As self-made billionaire Mark Cuban recently put it, DeFi is “not going anywhere,” and the market capitalization of DeFi projects keep rising as more value is realized.
Since September 2017, the total value locked up in DeFi contracts has exploded from US$2.1 million to US$44 billion. DeFi projects have also seen their value rise by three or four times in a year – and some considerably more within that period. The popularity of DeFi is continuing to grow exponentially, and the niche has yet to be filled with new startups and projects.
If you’re a startup looking to enter the DeFi space, this guide to DeFi marketing will help you learn the best strategy to use to promote your project to the community.
What is DeFi?
Decentralized finance, or DeFi, refers to smart-contract-based applications that aim to recreate traditional financial instruments without the need for intermediaries like banks or central authorities. Take Defo lending as an example. With DeFi, users can loan or borrow cryptocurrency, as you could with fiat currency at a bank, and earn interest as a lender. Interest fluctuates depending on demand and borrowers must provide collateral (with other crypto-assets). Moreover, there is no that lenders and borrowers know one another’s identities—everything is about mutual trust and preserving privacy.
Unlike with a traditional bank, borrowers using DeFi apps cannot be held accountable with physical assets if unable to effectively pay back a loan.
Bitcoin and Ethereum are the original DeFi applications. Both are controlled by large networks of computers, not central authorities. However, there are other apps, mostly built on the Ethereum blockchain network, that are dominating the scene. For example, the DeFi lending space is currently dominated by Maker, Compound, and Aave. Maker (DAI) aims to be a global currency untouchable by central banks while Compound and Aave are crypto versions of a money market fund, letting users earn interest.
Other DeFi services allow users to:
- Bet on the outcome of events (e.g. Augur).
- Create and exchange derivatives of real-world assets such as currencies or precious metals (e.g. Synthetix).
- Take part in a no-loss lottery (e.g. PoolTogether).
- Buy stablecoins such as DAI and USDC that are both pegged to the US dollar.
DeFi Marketing Strategy
In an industry that is now fully saturated with both established and emerging many crypto companies, DeFi projects need to adopt strategies and tactics that can help make the most of their overall marketing.
SEO and Content Marketing
There is much to gain from online exposure and DeFi projects are not an exception. If you have any long-term plans, optimizing your website, and publishing engaging content about your project is a must. Otherwise, you will not rank highly enough on search engines to gain visibility. To have your articles reach the top pages in organic searches, we advise our clients to publish 8–12 articles every month. The main focus is establishing authority and providing enough resources for investors to be educated and make informed decision about your project. You should constantly check and understand the analytics so that you can identify which keywords and topics are top of mind among your target audience. That way, you can understand how to communicate the project’s USP (unique selling point) efficiently with keywords to reach broader audience.
Social Media Engagement
The key to effective social media engagement is to build an outstanding community that allows for social exchange, engagement and support. Social media also allows you to share quick updates and provide additional information to community members. Simply sharing “how to” articles on your social media pages won’t cut it. You need to create an excellent communication strategy, generate memes, and share content that your audience will enjoy.
One channel where the engagement, activity, and interest in DeFi among the crypto users is high is Twitter. The main focus on Twitter is to increase organically the number of your followers and level of engagement around the project. If your aim is to get a large number of followers, then don’t spend money on Twitter Ads – a well-executed Airdrop will attract people to your account for almost free and many times more. Make sure you have a team constantly managing Twitter, Telegram, Discord, Facebook, and Reddit pages and you can also experiment with other social media sites with lower competition for the crypto audience, such as TikTok.
There is nothing wrong with inserting your marketing videos among the TikTok dance challenges and funny pranks. If you do it the right way, users will show their interest in your project, allowing you to gain new and active followers. Community management has also changed and it is no longer enough to just create a thread and share company news. Be sure to provide round-the-clock monitoring of comments and timely answer all questions and concerns in an AMA manner.
Influencer Marketing for DeFi
DeFi projects can benefit from increased traffic and brand awareness by engaging influencers in their marketing or promotion efforts. By using influencers who already have an audience that is interested in blockchain and cryptocurrency, DeFi projects can reach a larger targeted audience. However, the number of scammers who add bots to their channels is very high, and when working with influencers, you should be highly attentive. Ideally, you want to work with someone who is an expert in crypto marketing. You might also need to consider the personal brand of your influencer, and whether or not it’s a match with your company values. The influencer gets to talk about something interesting which boosts engagement with their audience. On the other hand, your project will gain some valuable exposure.
Many consumers are becoming savvier at spotting paid influencer campaigns and can easily ignore a brand or influencer that proves to be inauthentic. Pay attention to campaign success data so you can track which influencers resonate most with your target audience. For example, on Telegram
DeFi Trackers, Ratings and Listings
Another marketing strategy for DeFi projects involves getting mentions in sites dedicated to DeFi projects, including trackers, calendars, listings, and ratings. The most popular trackers are:
When creating a company profile, is makes sense to provide the details that may interest your target audience (e.g. links to GitHub code, technical documentation, press portraits of team leaders, project mission, partners, etc).
In addition, brand mentions on top media sites may also significantly boost SEO and traffic to your project page. The idea is that you get mentioned in media articles that rank in the first pages of a Google Search (e.g. top 10 DeFi companies, best DeFi tokens, top-yield farming projects, etc).
PR Marketing for DeFi
The best strategy for getting your articles published on tier 1 and tier 2 media without being marked as “sponsored” is to collaborate with a reputable agency that has a long partnership established with the media organizations. Crypto marketing agencies take away the stress of creating quality content and building a memorable brand by offering DeFi projects professional help with an understanding of the industry. So it always makes sense to outsource the responsibility for creating content to an agency so that they can focus on other aspects of running a company
Once you submit an article to a large media outlet, make sure it is of good quality and has some value for the reader. That means the story itself should be devoted to the resolution of some issues with detailed market research rather than simply directing readers to your company and its goals. Positive media engagement can position your project as credible without spending an insane amount of money on advertising.
Promo, Giveaways and Airdrops
All are important marketing strategies. Although costly, airdrops are hugely popular with investors and a great way to get people interested in the project. Uniswap, for example, set the record for crypto giveaway ever and achieved remarkable success with its airdrop. Simply put, for the “price” of issuing a number of free tokens to investors, a DeFi project can also increase the presence of this token in the real world.
However, promo campaigns are not limited to giveaways and airdrops. You can do inspirational special projects, develop contests and games, and engage your existing audience, among other activities.
To capture the opportunity presented by DeFi, companies should be ready to utilize various strategies for promoting DeFi projects. Invest time and resources in devising not only a great website, strong crypto community, and media mentions, but more importantly, an effective DeFi marketing strategy that is actionable and measurable. It is also essential to engage a DeFi marketing company to assist you with certain aspects of the marketing process for quick results. Above all, any strategy you choose to promote your DeFi project should be suitable to the overall objectives of your marketing campaign.
As a premier IEO marketing firm, TokenMinds is dedicated to providing the best DeFi marketing services for blockchain startups. Tell us about your project today and we’ll help you reach your project funding goals.