Hackernoon logoDeFi Marketing from A to Z: The Most Efficient Instruments by@ilyshka

DeFi Marketing from A to Z: The Most Efficient Instruments

Elay Romanov Hacker Noon profile picture

@ilyshkaElay Romanov

Inspired by blockchain & AR. Entrepreneur. Founder of marketing agencies Crypterius.com & ARzilla.io

Market overview

As of September 30, 2020, the total market capitalization of DeFi tokens has reached over $16 bln, which represents one-third of the total Bitcoin capitalization. According to Google Trends, the popularity of DeFi is continuing to grow exponentially, and the niche has yet to be filled with new startups and projects. Nevertheless, any crypto project in an emerging and rapidly growing market with high competition needs a very well-thought-out and weighted marketing strategy that will draw attention to the project and its token. 

Considering the existing advertising limitations on Google and many social media platforms, DeFi promotion may seem like a nightmare, though the devil is not as black as he is painted. Crypterius has developed a thorough guide to DeFi marketing designed to serve as a helping hand for entrepreneurs and marketers who have yet to enter the scene.



Run-up: USP, hypotheses, and A/B testing

Before you launch any product and start raising funds, make sure the product solves some of your audience’s problem. Though these things are extremely basic, many companies have forgotten about testing product hypotheses before they start development and promotion. 

A minimum viable product (MVP) is what startups target when they test a concept and try to determine its promotion price. It doesn’t need to be neat, beautiful, and well designed. As long as your MVP solves some of your audience’s problems and has a good UX, it will be in high demand. Tokenomics, USP, narrative, communication approach – all these things are evaluated during the MVP testing phase as well as the user acquisition cost (UAC) numbers.

Note that MVP UAC should never exceed the actual product UAC.

If you have several key hypotheses to test (monetization scenarios, USPs, UX), A/B testing can be a helping hand in determining the right development direction. 500–1000 new users acquired from media buying, social media advertising, or just networking will help you better understand your website’s performance as well as assess the key conversion rate (CR) and UAC metrics.

Furthermore, it has become increasingly important to have your smart contract audited. Both investors and the crypto community pay significant attention to it, and if the contract has some bugs, it will not raise investments or draw users.

Last but not least, before you launch any ad campaign, make sure that you have Google Analytics as well as Google Tag Manager set up correctly so that you can calculate the return on marketing investment (ROMI) and choose the most efficient ad instruments.

SEO and content marketing

SEO is often underestimated by startups and young companies, but if you have any long-term plans, optimizing your website, and creating commercial and informational pages is a must. If you have a closer look at the cryptocurrency exchange sphere, which has been highly competitive over the last two years, you realize that all industry leaders have their websites and blogs SEO-optimized.

That said, it’s never enough just to have your content optimized according to the semantic kernel. Arm up with statistics, surveys, insights, and infographics to get readers interested in what you do and constantly track your progress. To have your articles reach the top pages in organic searches, you need to publish 8–12 articles on a monthly basis, and you’ll soon start to see results.

In content marketing, it’s also important to have all the content proofread by a native-speaking editor who understands the industry terms and can make the articles easy to read for both experts and newbie audiences. Even a very well-tailored advertising campaign can fail if your content is barely readable. Over the last year, Crypterius has submitted and proofread over 120 articles, many of them featured on Forbes.com, Bloomberg.com, Entrepreneur.com, Businessinsider.com, and more.

Brand mentions and link mass

Website mentions on external resources matter significantly for SEO and brand awareness, and if you take the right approach, it can serve two purposes: generating traffic and creating external link mass. The idea is that you get mentioned in mass media that have their articles in the first pages of a Google search: top 10 DeFi companies, best DeFi tokens, top-yield farming projects, etc. Mentions in media that may not be very popular themselves will cost less than mentions in tier 1 or tier 2 media, but they will better generate traffic in the long run.


Source: Google Search

Never forget to add utm links to any mentions in such media so you can always track the efficiency of your advertising activity. 

DeFi trackers, ratings, calendars, and listings

Mentions in DeFi-oriented trackers and calendars also provide companies with mostly free organic traffic and generate link mass. As of today, there are around 30 different DeFi calendars worldwide. When creating a company profile, provide the details that may interest your target audience: links to GitHub code, technical documentation, press portraits of team leaders, project mission, partners, etc. Analyze other DeFi companies and do your best to stand out among the competitors on such listing platforms.

The most popular trackers include:


Source: https://defiscore.io

Targeted and search advertising

Promoting your company in Google searches is possible but cumbersome: According to the Financial Services Policy, advertising cryptocurrency, exchanges, and related content are restricted, and thus cloaking and buffer websites are the only chance for many companies. Even if you succeed in launching an ad campaign directly to a website, the Google Ads accounts will generally be banned, and the website may ultimately be blacklisted. 

It’s less cumbersome with targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram (Twitter is a no-go zone for crypto-related advertising as well). Crypto ad creatives may still be banned on Facebook and Instagram from time to time, though. If you drop words like “income,” “profit,” “earnings,” and the names of top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, BTC, Ethereum, ETH, etc., such cases will be rare. According to our statistics, the lowest CPC for crypto-related advertising is in Latin America, French-speaking Africa, and South-East Asia. Thus, for emerging projects eager to attract their first customers, this may be a good option, although in such cases, you’ll have to localize your website and ad materials.

Note that your website should be ready for any ad campaign. A good option to boost the number of registrations is to create a separate landing page that describes the problem and solution for a single target audience (TA) segment. If the traffic is attracted to the main page, the CR is likely to be lower (3% normally) than on landing pages (10–15%).

Media advertising

Many brands strive to get mentions in tier 1 or tier 2 media to increase their brand loyalty, credibility, and awareness. Nevertheless, such mentions are usually costly and marked as “sponsored,” if companies contact the media themselves. Thus, collaborating with agencies that have a long partnership established with the largest media is a great solution that helps decrease the publication price and get mentioned without a “sponsored” mark. 

Once you submit an article to a large media outlet, make sure it 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. No one should understand that the article is a paid placement until they read it all the way through.

For decentralized exchanges, a great opportunity is banner advertising on data aggregators, trading forums, and other exchange-related resources. For example, TradingView banners’ CPM varies from $4 to $15, depending on the country, with a predicted ad CR of 0.55%. That means the CPC will vary from $0.73 to $2.18. Even if the website CR is pretty low (2%), one registry will cost you between $36.36 to $136.36. 

Before you launch any media-buying campaigns, be it influence marketing or banner placements, calculate the predicted ROMI. All that you need to take into account is the CR at all stages, the CPM, or the number of views and the cost of the ad.

Influence marketing

Collaborating with top influencers in the sphere of crypto grants not only brand awareness but also traffic. Nowadays, people are more loyal to recommendations from real people rather than to general searches, banners, and targeted advertising. Nevertheless, in the crypto industry, the number of scammers who add bots to their channels is very high, and when working with influencers, you should be highly attentive.

Most influence marketing platforms, such as GetBlogger, EpicStarz, and others, do not cover channels associated with the crypto industry, and it’s impossible to contact influencers before you subscribe to their service. Thus, companies have to collect the list of KOL manually, which is very time-consuming.

Many business people who are not overly familiar with the KOL industry prefer to delegate influence marketing to agencies that already have experience in this area and can then choose the most ROMI-efficient channels, possibly reducing the advertising price. If you decide to do influencer marketing yourself on YouTube, for example, arm up with analytical resources such as https://socialblade.com. Furthermore, you should pay attention not only to the number of views but also to engagement: the type and number of comments and the number of likes. Many crypto influencers buy comments as well as views and likes, so if you see dozens of praise-filled commentaries under each video, it’s likely to be a scam.


Source: https://socialblade.com

On Telegram, luckily, the infrastructure is better thanks to the existence of analytical platforms Telemetr and Tgstat. Both cover mostly Russian-speaking audiences and can provide key metrics on audience quality, engagement rates, and ROMI. Based on our experience, the average ad CR on Telegram, provided the creatives are very good, is 0.75%, which is higher than banner advertising but still pretty low, considering that many channels charge $350 for a single ad.

Social media marketing, forums, and community management

Nowadays, traditional SMM when you share company news and brand mentions is bygone. The key aim that content and SMM marketers should focus on now is making their community and social media pages outstanding places for social exchange and fun and valuable information. The “What is Bitcoin” stuff does not inspire anyone any longer, so you need to create an excellent communication strategy, generate memes, and share content that your audience will enjoy.

Twitter has now become the key social media platform for discussing crypto and blockchain-related issues. The engagement, activity, and interest in DeFi among the Twitter audience is much higher than on other social media sites. For beginners, we suggest having a company Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, and Reddit constantly managed and filled with news. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to experiment with other social media sites with lower competition for the crypto audience, such as TikTok. Underestimated by many, TikTok is a youngster’s heaven, and if you have a well-thought-out communication strategy, you may become beloved and praised by the new and active community.

In terms of community management, the focus has shifted from the traditional and crypto-friendly Slack and Telegram to Discord. Make sure you have a few community managers who can not only provide users with the details they need but also initiate discussions and draw attention to important issues. 

The same goes for forums like Bitcointalk, Cryptotalk, Cryptointalk, and others. It’s not enough to create a thread and share company news: you need to be responsive and initiate activity to engage the forum community. Get ready to face negative comments, bullying, and critics: crypto people consider every new project a scam, and you have to assure them that your product is different. 


Source: Chainlink thread on https://cryptotalk.org/

Giveaways and promo campaigns

Costly, but effective — this is a great description of giveaways, which have become pretty popular in the crypto sphere. A great example is Uniswap, which surprised users with an airdrop of their token UNI. Currently valued at $97,000,000, this was easily the biggest crypto giveaway ever and has already attracted many new customers to Uniswap. 

Practically speaking, promo campaigns are not limited to giveaways and airdrops. Do inspirational special projects, develop contests and games, engage your existing audience, and never limit yourself to what others are doing. Be creative, and the results will exceed your expectations.


Whatever instruments you choose to promote your DeFi company, just make sure that it suits your strategy. Tailored by experts, a marketing strategy is not just about planning a campaign and calculating a budget. It includes setting goals, portraying your target audience, choosing the right communication approach, and conducting constant analytics and optimization. There’s no secret strategy guaranteed to lead any DeFi project to success. There’s a set of different instruments that you can test and evaluate the results. 

At Crypterius, we have assisted many startups, emerging companies, and blockchain projects in reaching their goals through digital marketing. We have gone through this process of constant tests and campaign optimization multiple times and in many niches. Thus, if you need professional assistance, drop me an email at [email protected] or reach me at Telegram @ilyshka, and my team and I will be glad to help you enter the scene of the best DeFi companies worldwide.


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