HomeOpinionICO’sHow blockchain companies can build communities and e-mail campaigns

How blockchain companies can build communities and e-mail campaigns

Stand out, use what makes you unique in the space to build a community.

The first step towards achieving success in this marvelous world of decentralization is to build a community for your company, coin, or service. While spending lots of money on advertisements can get you a lot of attention, your attempts will mostly attract speculators who play the pump and dump game. And if you legitimately plan to make a change in the space, you’re going to look a lot less credible if you suffer sudden increases which are quickly followed by gloomy losses.

Furthermore, if you want your project to be truly decentralized, then you need people to set up mining rigs and/or nodes and ensure a certain degree of factionalism under your early whitepaper-legitimized benevolent dictatorship. You’re not going to be credible to any investor if you present yourself as a company which uses a blockchain, but chooses to centralize all the operations (well, not unless they’re ruthless speculators who only care about shady money-making schemes).

So where do you begin with this essential community-building step? Well, you must search amongst the tech enthusiasts who might find potential in your implementation of the blockchain technology. If you’re offering something new that no other competitor on the market provides, then you already have a great advantage and you can simply package your vision into a comprehensive narrative which brings people on board.

Are you using an interesting mix of Proof of Stake and Proof of Work which guarantees security and immutability? Turn that into your selling point and argue that you’re basically presenting an environmentally-friendly and inexpensive alternative. Did you develop a special algorithm which ensures a fairer distribution of coins by preventing greedy accumulation via mining? Then you will definitely find support amongst the left-wing blockchain crowd.

Are you developing a brilliant stablecoin which can disrupt everything from Tether to Bitcoin by smartly removing speculation and potentially bringing mass adoption? Focus on that! Sometimes even personal qualities or the team’s professional background can make a difference, so make sure you’re taking into account all factors.

Discover what makes you special and why you’re different from the competition, focus on building a narrative.

All products, regardless of their field, require a story which makes it appealing to the masses. The average enthusiast won’t care much that you offer faster block creation times than Ethereum and a better mining algorithm which resists ASICs unless you package it in a compelling and practical way. Turn your coin into something which people need and desire through your marketing, and make sure you trigger so much more than the speculative FOMO of people. Use simple parallels to PayPal or Mastercard, explain the difference in security, processing times, and transaction costs, and ultimately make sure that you come on top with a greater product. Then take some of the most popular blockchain implementations and let everyone know in an honest and direct way why they’re obsolete and how you can make it all better.

Given the great financial incentives of mining Bitcoin or Ethereum, it’s very unlikely that you will ever beat them with any project. However, innovations deserve a chance and fixing design flaws within a new product is one of the best ways to push for improvements, creativity, and originality. We’re at a very early stage of implementing blockchain, we still haven’t discovered or even thought about all of its potential use cases, and there are unlimited ways in which it can be improved. If you come up with just one way, then it’s more than enough to start interesting debates and bring enthusiasts on board.

At this stage, it’s important to never dilute your presence by making unnecessary comparisons which dissimilar products that are just popular in the space, and it’s always a good idea to point out to the elements which make you unique. As you stand out from the crowd, more people will get interested in your project, see its potential to bring some paradigm shifts, and ultimately join your community.

The hardest part isn’t to make people join your community, but to keep them.

Here’s a little piece of advice: be honest and open from the very beginning, so that people can like you and understand when you’re making mistakes (because this is a new space and the likeliness of messing up are pretty high). Take yourself too seriously and act as if you’re flawless, and you will disappoint. Be reckless and rarely ever take your project and mission seriously, and you will draw people away. You better find that honest middle ground which makes you human, likable, and a charismatic figure in the space, or else any mistake that you’re making can potentially destroy your project.

Just look at Justin, the lead developer of Verge: his coin has been attacked multiple times and lots of money has been stolen, but he’s managed to keep people on board because he remained a consistent charismatic figure who communicates well. Clearly, he isn’t an example to follow, but you can’t deny his leadership skills which kept the community together during some of the darkest days. While other coins would have been buried forever if their mining algorithms got exploited, Verge has dodged quite a few otherwise fatal bullets.

The secret to this type of charisma cannot be taught or explained, but its very essence is honesty in relation to the community. If you manage to get their trust, then they will follow through the darkest days and still find reasons to believe in the project. This is anathema to the entire ethos of decentralization and trustless governance (which lay at the foundation of Bitcoin), but you need to build a community of enthusiasts before you can become truly decentralized.

Communication strategies for e-mail campaigns and newsletters.

Newsletters can be the greatest mean to send official texts to the community and maintain sympathy and trust. While CryptoTwitter and Reddit can spread lots of speculations and make quite a buzz about everything, what really matters is how you react to it and how honest, positive, and hard-working you are in relation to the community.

As a person who’s read a lot of bad newsletters which don’t serve a real informative purpose, as well as a guy who’s written some, here’s a piece of advice that’s guaranteed to work: make sure that the newsletter features community-generated content. If your enthusiasts write articles and analyses about their experience, post memes, or provide clear proof that your project serves a real practical purpose, make sure you promote all of that.

Not only that community members are very likely to share their own content and brag about their work to their friends, family, and co-workers (which is free publicity), but involving them as volunteers and getting to know them personally creates a unique kind of bonding which keeps them on board for a longer time. These people are less likely to dump their bags during the first bull run and carry on trading the next cheap hot altcoin. They’re ready to ride the wave of success with you, or even watch the ship sinking, knowing that they’ve actually contributed to something and mattered.

Now here are some notes on your strategy and content: try to emphasize on what’s new about your project, what the latest events are, but also point out how far the development has come in relation to the promised roadmap. It’s important to prove to everyone that you’re doing the job you’ve promised and committed to. Otherwise, members of the community will start asking questions and you will see in-fighting, departures, and all sorts of events that are toxic for your reputation and credibility.

Also, stay away from big promises that are unlikely to be fulfilled, don’t use buzzwords and don’t be a Justin Sun or John McAfee in terms of hyping. Maybe that overstating the importance of an event or making unsound price predictions works for them, but if you want to be around for a longer time and build something worthwhile, then it’s better to be open and honest. In a market that’s filled with shills, scammers, and speculators, be a nice guy whom people can trust.

Ultimately, the sum of efforts will build a blockchain project which proves itself in the space, has some reliability, and presents a solid use case which community members support. That’s a lot more than plenty of current companies can claim, and it’s time-consuming to achieve this level. However, if you’re serious about your role in this market and you want to bring innovation to the blockchain field, then you better do what is right and try to be better than your competition. This is a marathon where longevity brings esteem and a good reputation, not a cash-grabbing sprint.

Written by

Vlad is a political science graduate who got a little tired and disillusioned with the old highly-hierarchical and centralized world and decided to give this anarchistic blockchain invention a little try. He found out about Bitcoin in 2014, had to do a presentation about it at Sciences Po Paris in 2015, but was too foolish to buy any. Now that he’ll never be a crypto millionaire and hasn’t acquired his golden ticket to lifelong financial independence, he’ll just write op-eds on various topics.

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