Community engagement is difficult.
It’s even more difficult in the midst of a bear market, where the power of speculation and potential profits doesn’t have the same hold on your users as before.
In a world where user acquisition is central to the marketing focus of many decentralized protocols and platforms, many fall prey to the idea that money is the sole motivator for users to participate in your community; simultaneously, one may also be fooled that once a user reaches the bottom of a sales funnel and takes a core action, they’ll stay for beyond just the money.
When web3 players fail to see the user retention and growth they want, they default to the low-hanging fruit that’s easily available to them—create a POAP, do a giveaway, partner with a potentially larger community, AMAs, and NFT rewards.
Despite the high user turnout sometimes associated with these tactics, they tend to mask a larger symptom: We’ve run out of creative ways to market to users within web3.
As the head of Product Marketing at Layer3, I grew our Twitter following from 18k to 43k in a couple of months, more than doubled our Discord from 3k to 8.4k+ members, and held creative community events that emphasized user experience and word-of-mouth marketing.
In this article, I share a few tips on highly effective and creative marketing techniques that anyone can manage in web3.
I see so many—too many, in fact—reputable ecosystem projects announcing one-off AMAs and/or Twitter Spaces as a way to engage and retain users.
As a new entrant into the web3 space, you’d probably assume that the appetite for AMAs is beyond the charts. Beyond the facade and nice numbers, however, you’ll also notice that AMAs are often incentivized by POAPs.
Proof-of-attendance-protocol is a great idea for some communities: Attend an event and receive a NFT credential that certifies your attendance! In practice, however, credential-farming and participating for the sake of credentialing is real, and often creates skewed incentives for users who may not be interested in your product or ecosystem in the first place.
At Layer3, we’ve stopped using POAPs to incentivize AMAs, Twitter Spaces, and team panels. Recently, we held a quarterly community call in Discord with completely organic traffic, using Discord as the only channel to promote the call. From targeting just Discord users alone, we had over 400+ attendees—all of whom asked questions related to their use of our product and platform.
This success was achieved with intentional timing and planning: We hadn’t had a community call in months, and we conducted the call as part of a broader launch of our quarterly report, which included some huge feature updates we had shipped in the past few months. These features brought in organic user growth, many of whom were hungry for a chance to ask the team some questions.
If we had a community call just a month ago, it wouldn’t have been the same. And at any point in time, 5 engaged users are better than 100 uninterested ones.
In web3 (and in general), you sometimes have to capitulate to the momentum of your product. Catch and ride the wave instead of forcing your users to create it for you.
We’re starting to realize this more and more at Layer3, where we’re helping users discover and (re)discover the magic of crypto through Bounties. Gamification in web3 is a powerful tool—and it’s not only accomplished with GameFi.
But gamification also shouldn’t be limited to an airdrop, raffle or a giveaway. For the communities that don’t focus solely on reward mechanisms, create mini-games for users that are inherently rewarding, instead of mindless actions (e.g. allowlist grinding) with no cohesive goal. Just last week, we launched a campaign where users could participate in “Crypto Bingo,” a way for them to track both their progress on Layer3 and share their accomplishments with the world.
We combined this with a raffle where users could win 50 USDC for completing the Bingo and sharing it on Twitter under the hashtag #Layer3Bingo—an added element of share-ability on top of a basic financial incentive.
Another similar campaign we launched was a shareable crossword puzzle, which users could complete and share to Twitter for a potential 5 USDT raffle prize.
Our users loved these campaigns. Why? They’re just more fun! Grinding for an allowlist spot with no end in sight is so last year. And it treats your users or audience as disposable, rather than as humans with their own needs for recognition, play, and sociality. Games are not fun if the player feels no sense of completion when they’re finished.
You don’t have to create a complex puzzle for your community to solve every time, but you should think intentionally about the path that you actually want your users to take. Even gamified memes work!
A B2B SaaS company hosting an entirely digital, 5-day marketing extravaganza will probably seem a bit strange.
Within the terminally online world of web3, however, users are constantly looking for new ways to engage with and contribute to their favorite protocols and ecosystems. When we were thinking of how to launch our Projects feature, we wanted users to emulate the experience that the feature would actually bring them—so we launched a 5-day marketing campaign where users could do just that.
As participants in the campaign, users would follow the typical “lifecycle” of a community contributor, where they would start at the top of the sales funnel by saying “GM” in the Discord, and end by providing valuable feedback and direction for the future of the product.
We also incorporated elements of learning, building in public, and consistency that would appeal to a large cohort of users within web3. For example, users could share an article with the rest of the community on the second day, a familiar action that many new users take in order to learn about web3.
By making #5DaysOfLayer3 a structured campaign with a cohesive goal, and including meaningful actions with an expected outcome, we ensured that users wouldn’t feel like their efforts were leading nowhere. We also rewarded every user who completed the five-day task with a commemorative NFT, airdropped directly to their wallets.
In the process, we also learned about our users’ experiences with web3, and compiled valuable feedback from our most engaged community members. A win-win!
When it comes to hosting community-centric events or campaigns, we always make sure that members of the community are actually involved.
A typical user can do a lot on Layer3. From discovering new protocols and ecosystems via Bounties, to applying for longer-term work with Projects, we’ve amassed a few superstar contributors who are deeply invested and have gained a lot from using our product. For many web3 communities, there are heated debates about how to reward your earliest supporters and users. Wen token? Wen airdrop?
While many airdrops are done well and bring great value to crypto-based ecosystems as a whole, retrospective airdrops aren’t the only way to demonstrate that you care about your early users! In order to build rapport with this cohort, we did several things:
In web3, marketing isn’t just attempting to convert users to take a core action on your platform, or selling your product to a user—it’s also enabling them to contribute and find their own way in web3. We’ll know we succeeded when every user on our platform becomes a contributor.
At Layer3, we want to solve performance marketing for web3, and enable simple discovery for both users and communities. Every marketing campaign we’ve launched has been done in conjunction with Layer3’s “suite” of products that supercharge web3 marketing, including Bounties, Contests, and Projects. Just last week, we launched our quarterly report on Mirror as a mintable, 500-edition NFT collection, along with an accompanying bounty for collectors to earn in-platform XP. In just under an hour, the entire collection minted out!
As our co-founder Dariya recaps in this thread, our Bounty Builder makes rewarding communities easy, creating an entirely new framework for “cost-per-action” (CPA) advertising spend in web3.
by Sarah from Layer3