paint-brush
Why Web3 Projects Fail With Growth Marketing: 3 Fundamental Mistakesby@web3mops
1,357 reads
1,357 reads

Why Web3 Projects Fail With Growth Marketing: 3 Fundamental Mistakes

by Web3 MopsDecember 20th, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

A short-term, hype-driven marketing approach in the web3 projects’ DNA has naturally turned into a swamp where such business models are bogged down, without achieving significant traction and mass adoption. Now it's time to learn from the 3 fundamental marketing mistakes and start re-considering your growth-marketing strategy!
featured image - Why Web3 Projects Fail With Growth Marketing: 3 Fundamental Mistakes
Web3 Mops HackerNoon profile picture


There are two endless talking points in the web3 ecosystem: its potential and its problems slowing down mass adoption. There is no sense in trying to highlight all of them, but I want to go deep into one specific problem shared by most of the web3 projects: broken marketing.


While the crypto community is suffering from the bear market, exacerbated by epic collapses and bankruptcies (like Terra Luna or FTX), I believe crypto entrepreneurs should consider this a blessing. An opportunity to take a step back and learn from mistakes.


You’ll never get this chance during a hype season when everyone in web3 thinks of marketing in terms of “shilling, KOLs, AMAs, FOMO”, etc. (add what I missed here). Not when you have plenty of cheap and fast money flowing into web3 and crypto projects, and the main problem of founders and CMOs is “how to spend it to reach maximum hype within the next few months”.


Consequently, a short-term, hype-driven marketing approach in the web3 projects’ DNA has naturally turned into a swamp where such business models are bogged down, without achieving significant traction and mass adoption. And we clearly see its results in a bear market, looking at web3 projects failing one after another, or being stuck in fundraising/survival mode, not being able to gain traction without funding.


The three growth marketing mistakes in web3


Coming back to “learning from mistakes”, let’s see what the 3 fundamental strategies web3 projects are failing with and what they could do better from a growth-marketing perspective are:


1. Underestimating the web2 promotion channels and platforms

It’s a common belief that there are 3 main channels where you need to promote a web3 or crypto project: Twitter, telegram, and discord. I saw plenty of crypto startups that raised millions on a hype market, without having a presence anywhere except these three channels.


But do you know any successful business that exists and promotes only on Twitter or telegram? I doubt.


Linkedin, Quora, Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, Tik Tok: together they have a user base of well over a billion, without even mentioning other, smaller social media channels. It’s a silly decision to ignore them because your product is built on blockchain, and you believe that it will be easier and cheaper to hunt for crypto or web3 savvy audience on Twitter or telegram.


Same with listings and platforms for startups: Crunchbase, InnMind, Angel List, F6S, etc. Even if they all have a specific purpose (Crunchbase - database, InnMind - venture capital fundraising, Angel List - HR & syndicates, F6S - access to accelerators and events), they all can be additional FREE opportunities to promote your project, generate backlinks and mentions.


Another platform that is severely underestimated by web3 founders is Product Hunt, probably the most powerful tech product-discovery platform with over 4.5 million monthly users. Originally it was made for and used by web2 startups, but recently they launched a dedicated web3 & crypto topic, where you can submit your product and get community feedback, attract early adopters and build a user base.


And if you prepare and launch on PH in the right way, you can get significant traffic and marketing for your product without spending $$ on paid advertising. There are plenty of guides and articles on the web about how to launch your product on product hunt, but this is the only one I could find with a focus on web3 projects.


If you’re building a scalable business, and plan to stay here for the long term, you should think big and create maximum awareness for your project, listing it everywhere and utilizing all available channels.


2. Not using the existing #web3 infrastructure

After spreading your product info on web2 platforms and social media channels with a mass user base, approaching their audience, and testing the results, another experiment missed by many web3 projects is fishing in small springs with a super narrow audience.


I mean dedicated social channels with web3 and crypto-focused communities.


They haven't reached millions of users yet. But many of them have multiple thousands of users that already understand the value of crypto and web3 and can be easily converted into your first users or community supporters.


For example, I can recommend Torum (a crypto alternative to Facebook); Mirror (a crypto alternative to Medium), Galxe, and Crew3 (both cool alternatives to gleam.io). Many others appear regularly on the market, so do your own research and start experimenting with using these channels to reach your target audience.


3. Community building without customer development

This is probably the most ridiculous error in the marketing approach by web3 and crypto projects. Everyone is so crazy about community building, that they simply forget WHY they need a community and WHAT the community is for.


I feel sick of founders measuring the size of their telegram or discord communities, and having no clue of what is the number of active users of their product amongst them. Organizing public AMA sessions, but never having time to jump on a call with a single customer to go through his feedback…


At the end of the day: why do you need a community around your project?


Let’s be honest, there are 2 main reasons: convert them into customers, or convert them into investors (token holders). From a business perspective, the first one is the core, since token holders who don’t use your product are speculators that don’t add much value.


But the users (customers) - are your project's blood and soul! And this should be reflected in your community management strategy, which can’t ignore customer research and customer development activities.


What does a random crypto project do with the community?


  • Growing quantity versus quality, buying subscribers, adding bots, etc.

  • Chaotic efforts to provoke engagement for engagement: memes, contests, giveaways, random news, random AMAs, etc.

  • Community managers are just group admins who care mostly about keeping it clean from ads, links, and negative threads.

  • Founders are usually too busy to answer questions and interact with the community directly (except AMA sessions). So all the questions are forwarded to support admins who usually know just the basic information about the project and don’t have insights and strategic view.

  • Partnered events, AMAs and cross-marketing with as many partners as possible, hoping that it will help to increase the size of the community and not caring about the needs and interests of the existing subscribers

  • Posting “sterilized” announcements with only positive news, being afraid of showing weaknesses or mistakes.


This is how DALL-E AI imagines a "telegram community manager, overwhelmed by replying to multiple messages and moderating online community"


What is missing for healthy community development and conversion into users?


  • Approaching the community as potential users and customers. Understanding your target audience, sacrificing quantity for quality, and focusing on community members that match the target audience.
  • Listening to the community, asking for their feedback.
  • Exposing the core team and roles. Making it simple and clear on how to use your product and contact the team for problem-solving.
  • Making personalized AMAs and “office hours”, where you’re not just sharing the updates with your community, but answering their questions, talking to them directly, and listening to suggestions on improvements.
  • Make one-to-one interviews with your active community members to understand why they follow your project, what they like or dislike, how they think about your company and product, etc.
  • Prioritizing working with negative feedback instead of banning or ignoring it.
  • Sharing user stories, real testimonials, useful tips, exclusive deals, etc.
  • Partner with value-added companies that complement your product and bring extra benefits to your community and users. Extend your partnerships to special deals and perks for your community instead of just doing cross-marketing.
  • Being humans. People buy from people, and they always appreciate it if you show the human side behind the brand. Tell about your challenges and mistakes, ask for advice, and apologize for mistakes and f*ckups.

Conclusion:

If you’re following your favorite web3 project or building your own, tell me in the comments: how many of these fundamental marketing mistakes did you count while analyzing its growth marketing strategy?


Let’s be straight: I didn’t invent the wheel here. All described above is being implemented by the majority of successful tech startups from outside the blockchain world. But this is where I see the crucial problem: once we see a promising web3 or crypto startup, it will most probably ignore the “traditional” growth marketing logic, sacrificing it for commonly used crypto marketing tactics. It can even work well in the short term and in a hype market.


Fundamentally, in a long run, it only widens the gap between the project and the mass audience and doesn’t let web3 products expand over the close circle of crypto believers, and a bigger circle of crypto speculators and enter the real-world traction. Maybe it’s time now to understand it and start fixing these gaps.