Email marketing might sound like an old-school strategy that today's blockchain startups and DAOs wouldn't be fans of, but email remains an integral channel to the blockchain marketing mix.
In this article, we'll explore a few email marketing tools and strategies the leading blockchain companies and blockchain marketing agencies are using to grow, educate, and activate their audience
Email Marketing with Substack
Email newsletters feel like an old-school marketing strategy, but today's crypto investment funds, retail investors, blockchain developers, and business users are a diverse community of people.
When it comes to free, scalable, and easy-to-use newsletter platforms that can directly be monetized the first email marketing tool that comes to mind is Substack.
What is Substack?
Where Medium prioritizes discoverability with their hashtags, curated newsletters, and publications, Substack focuses on helping writers build and monetize their fanbase.
How to use Substack for blockchain marketing?
If you're using Substack as your startup's blog and newsletter, you'll want to include just about every major update to your project and upcoming opportunity.
During DeFi Summer and the current bull run, it seems like crypto projects are publishing multiple announcements every day. This "proof of progress," instills trust in your community, shows that the core team is improving the product, expanding the ecosystem, and working hard to be the next blue chip.
Because tweets are restrained and difficult to search, you'll want a permanent place for these updates to live, and an easy way to distribute them to your most important and broadest audience.
Substack Email Marketing Topics
When you're in the middle of a bull run and it feels like the whole world is FOMOing into projects, the types of email marketing content that your marketing team should focus on get blurry.
Here are a few topics that we believe are the most important updates to be publishing on Substack and emailing to your subscribers with regularity:
New product features
New core hires
Ecosystem partnerships and investments
Development roadmap milestone achievements
Product tutorials (written or video)
Press releases and earned media placements
Podcast appearances and interviews
New code updates and documentation for developers
UI or UX improvements
Sneak peeks of upcoming product changes
Protocol Improvement Proposals
Governance voting deadlines and results
Upcoming events and contests
Discord conversations and updates
Memes and user-generated content
Popular tweets from the community
Standout community contributors
That's a long list.
Your marketing team, like your core developers, should always be creating content.
The unfortunate reality of crypto marketing, and new products in general, is that hype doesn't last.
To win stalwart supporters, users, and developers your marketing team should prioritize growing your audience (e.g. viral content, memes, infographics), educating (e.g. video tutorials, documentation, feature explanations), and activating (e.g. sneak peeks, contests, user-generated content).
Substack Email Marketing Example
If you’re a serious crypto trader or if you just need reassurance when the market is in flux, the best daily crypto trading newsletter is made by Ben Lilly of Jarvis Labs, an on-chain analytics platform.
Jarvis Labs looks at how assets are moving on blockchains to get a macroscopic picture of the market's health and what market movers are preparing for. Things like exchange inflows and outflows, funding rates, and technical analysis help inform traders of positions they need to enter or exit.
These daily reads are a staple of many trader’s morning rituals. Maybe that’s why it’s called espresso?
Jarvis Labs' paid service gives traders an incredible array of original research, charts, and trends to make more profitable trades. Because their product is rich with content, they use their alpha (original research) as a loss leader to build their audience and win die-hard fans.
This is the definition of content marketing: giving away value in exchange for customers and advocates.
Be like Ben Lilly and Jarvis Labs, and you'll earn a dedicated fanbase of advocates and high-value clients.
We can't cover everything about Substack in one article, so we curated some additional resources for you to check out if you're in the market for a new email marketing tool.
Migrate to Substack from Medium, Ghost, Mailchimp, WordPress, and more platforms in minutes
Learn how to use Substack, grow your audience, and discover ideas from popular publications
Compare Substack vs. Patreon
Compare Substack vs. Ghost
Email Marketing with Medium
Engineering resources are scarce, and time is of the essence for blockchain startups.
As we know from 2017, bull runs don't last forever, and it's important to capitalize on the free-flowing capital when the entire market is on a mission to the moon.
Unlike traditional startups that might belabor overbuilding vertical-specific landing pages, product pages, and blogs, it is not a top-of-mind priority for crypto startups.
Because teams need to move fast and publish marketing content as their project evolves, startups need a blog and email marketing solution they can launch and manage with relative ease.
Medium vs. Substack
Today's crypto startups leverage Medium’s free blogging platform to publish news, features, roadmaps, PIPs, events, collaborations, and general updates to keep communities and investors interested.
While Medium offers a Newsletter feature, and companies do use it, the main differentiating factor we find between Medium and Substack is discoverability.
1. Content Discovery
Medium has a captive audience that of daily readers and newsletter subscribers that new companies inherit when they write on Medium.
Unlike self-hosted blogs or Substack publications that require promotion through other channels to grow their subscribers, Medium offers publications organic exposure through tagging, syndications, publications, and content discovery.
While blockchain projects still need to cross-promote their articles on social media and other marketing channels, by using Medium they receive the added benefit of getting found online by an existing user base.
Medium also offers monetization for writers who get published in Medium publications, however, it is much less direct than Substack's paid subscription model.
While there are no paid subscriptions on Medium except to ones readers pay to Medium to get access to all of the website's content, readers can follow writers to receive new articles in their app's daily feed and through email.
Still unsure whether you want to write on Substack or Medium? Check out this article that compares Substack and Medium.
Medium Marketing Examples
If you’re looking to use Medium for your crypto startup, a good place to find inspiration is Serum, a decentralized central limit order book built on Solana by Sam Bankman-Friend and his engineering team.
Serum has a massive company vision: they want to support 1 billion users on a decentralized version of Nasdaq.
Not only has Serum used Medium to publish their vision statement, but they continue to publish their newsletters, update followers on trading volume, report on buy and burns (SRM tokens paid in fees that are removed from circulation), ecosystem updates, and progress on their product roadmap.
We were all new to crypto at one point, and have all likely felt the same way: staying up to date with everything that is going on is overwhelming.
Platforms like Medium give users and prospective investors space to slow down, digest content, and make an informed decision, instead of reading a single Twitter thread and aping into (investing without doing your own research) a speculative investment.
Building an Email Newsletter with Revue
Announced in June by Mashable, Twitter is adding a subscribe button to Twitter profiles that allow users to directly integrate their Revue newsletter.
Acquired by Twitter in January 2021, Revue is an email newsletter platform much like Substack that allows independent writers and publications to distribute their writing and monetize their newsletter with paid subscriptions.
Because Crypto Twitter (CT) is such a massive part of the social media marketing mix for blockchain startups, this integration will surely find support in the CT community.
The Wolf Den Newsletter
Scott also runs "The Wolf Den," an email marketing newsletter built on Revue with over 24,000 subscribers and over 250 issues to date.
Complete with charts and technical analysis, Scott's newsletter provides tremendous value to his growing community. Check out his latest free post, "The Parable Of The Ox Revisited."
At $15 per month, Scott's member-only newsletter is easily justifiable for investors looking to make better trades, while giving the crypto content creator a reliable and scalable income stream outside his popular podcast.
Alternative Email Platforms for Crypto Users
It's not just the email marketing and blogging tools that blockchain startups are using that are different from traditional marketing stacks, it's also the email platforms they use to subscribe, send, and receive email.
Similar to messaging platforms, crypto users prefer open-source, free, and private channels for email. Below are three email platforms that are popular today:
EthMail - Send and receive emails using your public Ethereum blockchain address
ProtonMail - Get the highest levels of security and encryption with this free email tool
UnstoppableDomains - Buy a .crypto or .zil domain name, build a censorship-resistant website on Ethereum, send and receive emails, and even create a private chat room similar to Slack
Blockchain Email Marketing: In Summary
Companies choose to write email newsletters and blogs on platforms like Substack, Medium, and Ghost because they are free, scalable, easy to use, can be monetized, and most importantly they don’t require vital product engineering resources.
In an industry that doesn't sleep and moves as fast as crypto, blockchain marketing departments have their work cut out for them.
From content creation to publishing and community management, the skills, tools, strategies, and style of communication are unlike any other industry.
If your blockchain company is looking to scale your email marketing operations like Circle, or implement marketing technology to accelerate growth, contact our sales team to start a project with a blockchain marketing firm that understands crypto.