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We are now witnessing the early days of the so-called Web3, a new generation of the Internet that is currently represented by a cutting-edge NFT and DeFi project ecosystem. As it grows, countless teams strive to define their target audiences and the best ways to target them. And the task is not so easy.
Today, we are constantly exposed to marketing efforts: every street we walk, every train we pass, every website we visit, we inevitably face companies that sell us their products and services. Saturation is high and actual fatigue.
Web3 enters the scene with the promise of a decentralized, fair and trust-based world, where communities, not businesses, take center stage. Can you expect the same marketing techniques to work if what is offered is so different? In fact, thousands of “traditional” technology vendors entering the Web3 space quickly realize that their usual sets of tools and techniques just don’t work. In this article, we’ll take a look at what works for NFT and other Web3 projects and what doesn’t.
Related: Web 3.0 is coming and this is what it really means to you
What do we even do marketing?
The main promise of blockchain technology, and NFT in particular, revolves around direct and unmediated ownership. In this context, what you market is a particular asset that your prospective buyer may have and enjoy. Sounds pretty simple. I would say, though, that this is exactly where the common misconception lies, and that’s why we’ve seen so many unsuccessful attempts to enter the NFT space of “traditional” players.
The value of an NFT does not lie in the scarcity of a specific JPEG, but in access to a community. In an increasingly digital world, people are being called upon to partner with a wider group that shares their ideals, goals, and aesthetics. Some of the top rated NFT collections, such as World of Women and Proof Collective, prove it, offering their owners an exclusive member club feel.
In this sense, the main promise of NFTs is membership, more than property. And that’s why the marketing approach is radically different from traditional products.
Therefore, when it comes to NFT projects, what is marketed is community membership. A product in itself and its benefits are secondary. How is a large Web3 community defined? It is a group of like-minded individuals, who vocally advocate for the project on public channels and are actively recruiting new members of the community. In this sense, the goal of Web3 marketing becomes to empower these communities and help them grow organically.
Related: 3 types of content that creators can use to market their NFT projects
What works in web marketing3: best practices
The best performing Web3 marketing is presented as a combination of organic social strategy, community management and guerrilla marketing. If I had to define the general rule, it would be “organic first.” Below are some of the best practices that have proven to be efficient.
Focus on adding value:
A good question to ask when planning marketing for an NFT project is “What value do I bring to the table?” Normally, people would rarely commit to a project in the early stages, unless they are REALLY enthusiastic about the concept or see a very specific benefit in it.
Providing tangible value for NFT holders is crucial to maintaining a healthy interest and commitment in each growth cycle. It can take shape as access to valuable information, opportunity to vote on community treasury allocation, events and merchandising for holders, and more. People want to feel that they belong, to feel heard and to be able to make a difference.
Cheer up, but not too much:
Recruiting early followers in exchange for specific benefits, free checks, access to permission lists, etc., has proven to be very efficient in the early stages. But it is crucial not to rely only on gifts and similar tactics to avoid superficiality. If the hype and promise of quick profit is the only thing that attracts your audience, it won’t last.
Focus on retaining active community members:
In Web3, NFTs are the digital identities of people. An active member of the community who shows their identity associated with your project is your best seller. Therefore, the impact of losing an active community member on Web3 is much more significant than on Web2.
It is extremely important to identify and encourage active community members at every stage of the project. Establishing personal contact with them and finding ways to encourage them regularly is crucial, as they are the most efficient gateway to the wider community.
Related: How to create a strong NFT community
What doesn’t work in Web3 marketing
Not knowing your target audience:
Surprisingly, the common question that many newcomers to Web3 don’t answer is “Who is your target audience?” Many computers entering the NFT space appear to be targeting the “NFT community” or “cryptography holders”. It is understandable that it feels like an attractive generic group with some money to spend, but at this stage, the market has already matured and become really diverse. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all size, if it ever was. Going to the market with a very clear understanding of the portrait of future community members and their incentives is crucial.
Focusing on paid marketing:
When people say that traditional marketing doesn’t work on Web3, it usually means that payment techniques aren’t usually efficient. Web3 audiences are very sensitive to becoming a target for “cash capture,” so when they feel like something is being actively sold to them, it can get ugly.
If an influencer is being paid to “shell” an NFT project, the potential negative feedback from the audience is much worse than in the case of traditional product placements. Even if advertising manages to drive traffic to the project website and social media, if the audience doesn’t see organic community and active engagement, it will be wasted.
Experimenting is key
Web3 is still in its infancy, which means there is no playbook for success. The best performing NFT projects always bring something new to the table in terms of brand offerings and marketing techniques. And that’s exactly what makes this space so cool and exciting – an opportunity to experiment!
Web3 communities are already becoming diverse and radically different from each other. Working closely with your community, encouraging them and giving them a voice is key to Web3 marketing.
There is a long way to go, but I firmly believe that a community-focused approach can make marketing much healthier and more sustainable on Web3. There are still so many tools and practices to discover, making it the best space for innovation. Let’s use it wisely!