The Ultimate Web3 Marketing Playbook (Simplified)
Vlad here, bringing you the only data-backed Web3 marketing playbook you’ll ever need.
From Sommelier.Finance to Binance, OKX, NEAR, and even Gala Games, our team have been involved and have run over 100+ successful paid marketing campaigns for Web3 companies.
Since all the high profile marketers, the professionals from McKinsey and Bain & Company don’t find this industry stable enough to get their hands on, and until they do I will have to layout all the learnings.
Now, I'm breaking down their successful strategies in a simplified Web3 marketing playbook so you can apply them for yourself.
⚠️ But fair warning:
Traditional marketing tactics and metrics you know from Web2 won't always work here.
Web3 is a new ballgame; you’ll see why in this guide.
I'll break down step-by-step what actually works RIGHT NOW to cut through the noise and give you a clear picture of where your Web3 marketing game is right now.
Then let's do this.
The Difference between Web2 and Web3 Industry
Here are the key differences between Web2 and Web3 brands:
There are 4 core pillars that your marketing strategy should cover.
1. Branding and Positioning
(web3 in brands & brands in web3)
Your branding is how you shape your company's identity and image. Solid branding establishes credibility and appeal.
Here are key Branding Strategies for Web3:
Have some sort of product. You position your brand immediately ahead of others. You're not a “project,” but actually have something tangible.
Example 1: Binance hadn't raised money when they started operations. They had the product first.
Example 2: ChainGPT launched their product first, which was a suite of AI tools for Web3 builders. It helped skyrocket their IDO to over3000%
Everyone is looking at the team. Can they pull it through? Are they legit? Is there a face and a name behind this hype?
Example: Even the infamous FTX was built on the tricky mind of SBF and his team's ability to think outside the box.
Show connections to respected brands, VCs, advisors, etc. Piggyback on their reputation. Add VC's logos, advisors' images, and potential partners. The KEY here is the BRAND and the weight it brings.
Here's an example from Carbon Browser:
TIP: Do your best to find someone who can connect you with those big names and get them involved in some way. Even if sometimes it's just a PR stunt, get their logos and their endorsement on your website and socials.
Presence in known crypto publications. For example, even the “As seen on...” badge on your website will do wonders.
* Note: There are Web3 projects that are solely succeeding based on anonymity and exclusivity. But that is an exception now rather than the rule as it was in 2017.
*Remember Daniele Sestagalli from Wonderland Money?, during the last DeFi summer they offered 100000000% APY, and no matter how ridiculous and unrealistic it was, people have the same comment: Danniele….look at him! he really wants to help people. :) The brand Failed.
B. Social Proof
Social proof means everything
- Daily activity is crucial for validation. .
- In web3 - even 10 days old posts and tweets, will make the typical crypto bro pass on your project. (imagine even regular dudes have a due diligence process now :).
“Your customer is in and out of your socials. You don't seem legit?…, you are not active? = you lose business” 🚩🚩🚩
Some of the the top peeps in the space are maintaining a strong social presence even during market downturns:
* Polygon founder - Sandeep (regularly engaged in Twitter Spaces and AMAs).
* Cosmos founder - Zaki Manian (actively building credibility and social presence)
How to start?
Incentives for User Acquisition
Use incentives to get the initial user base started
* When CryptoKitties launched in 2017, they gave away free CryptoKitties NFTs to early users to drive adoption.
“Partner up” with other web3 brands/projects for cross-promotions and leverage each other's audience
* In 2023, EstateX got a partnership with Microsoft and was a key part of their strategy to show social proof
Read More: EstateX case study
C. Brand Identity/value
Leverage your established brand | Create a new Unique one | Copy the best
Depending on the target audience (ideal target persona) brand identity should be crafted.
Leverage your established brand
When big brands with well-established identities enter the web3 space, they leverage their own brand.
Now, this is a sword with a two-sided blade.
- Successful story: Starbucks, Nike, NBA
- Not-so-successful story: Porsche
Create a new Unique one
Differentiate yourself from competitors. Why are YOU different and exciting?
Find your niche and make sure your brand resonates with your audience:
💡Axie Infinity - it's a silly-looking game (from my perspective); it's a kid's brand!
BUT, I am not a gamer, so...who am I to say?
That is the best-known brand that literally kick-started the play to earn economy, and it's one of the few still generating revenue in this bear market.
Copy the best
Study successful brands in web3 and outside of web3. What makes them stand out? What is their tone of voice? How do they position themselves?
💡 NakaMigos - copied the CryptoPunks pixel art style but made it their own
Then adapt those strategies to your own brand identity and target audience. Do not completely copy—just take inspiration.
The table below summarizes tips for effective Web3 Branding and Positioning:
2. Narrative (Messaging)
No one cares how good “you think” your product, offer, or feature is.
What matters is “what your ideal customers think and feel.”
A. Know Your Target Audience
The First question is:
Who is this for? Who is my IDEAL CUSTOMER PERSONA?
A differentiation have to be made here;
- Your ideal customer is not necessarily your ideal investor.
This is a huge misconception that has been causing problems left right and center in the crypto world.
So for example the ideal customer of your RWA (a Tokenized Real Estate like EstateX platform or tokenized EV company like TukTuk) are addressing a different audience (have different ICP) when they are looking for market fit, customers, and when they are doing a token pre-sale or IDO.
Or, crypto traders are a completely different Audience than a NFT holder fleeper or even a DeFi degen, despite the fact that they are all web3 natives.
There are 4 main types of web3/crypto personas:
The messaging have to resonate with the ICP that you are addressing:
So the big question is:
How do you communicate all that you have in your head in a few simple sentences and on one page of your website?
B. Keep Messaging Simple
Assume your audience knows nothing about your complex product or service
- Explain it in a few simple sentences using plain language
- Avoid jargon and technical terms unless necessary
- Focus on explaining the key benefits
- Use the KISS principle (I learned this the hard way😅):
⚠️ PS: From our own experience, it is never, ever simple enough. There will still be this portion of people who can never connect the dots.
And that’s fine. We are not after them.
C. Tell a Story Through Your Brand
Don't just sell features, sell meaning, values, dreams, and aspirations
Use storytelling techniques:
- Heroes, villains, plot, conflict, resolution
Communicate dreams, reliability, prestige, etc.
- Nike sells athletic dreams, freedom, achievement
- Toyota sells reliability, safety, peace of mind
- BAYC sells exclusivity, prestige, community
So, how do you communicate different messages and offers to people at different levels of their "journey?”
That’s why you need a proper 👇
3. Build a Marketing FUNNEL - Like a Tunnel but with an “F” 🙂
The goal of the funnel is to:
- Create awareness: Get your brand in front of people
- Engage: Encourage/Invite those people to interact with your brand properties (website/socials/community)
- Convert: Provide an offer with a value high enough that they will convert visitors/prospects into customers.
That is what we call a funnel:
Push people down the tunnel, and those who come out at the other end are customers.
Make sure you have the right offering and value conveyed in a way they understand - messaging.
This applies across all industries and all verticals.
Successful projects that have a proper funnel:
To have customers coming out of the end of the Tunnel with an F :) you need enough people ACTUALLY GO IN. How???
4. Marketing Channels
To get your brand in front of people (awareness) and fill the Top Of the Funnel, you have to use all the channels that are available.
These are the platforms/ways/options that are available to reach as many people as possible.
They are all complementing each other and never excluding one another.
Now let's break it down by vertical:
PART 2... to be continued