At the end of September, the Everstake team was invited to hold a workshop for validators created by our friends from the Solana Foundation – Validator Relations Lead Tim Garcia and Product Manager Ella Kuzmenko.
The workshop was based on questions from 20+ solo validators and novice teams from Ukraine who were eager to upscale their staking opportunities. It consisted of three sessions on marketing, technical questions, and liquid staking pools.
The event resulted in a massive and thorough three-and-a-half hour workshop with 37 participants, at which we discussed just as many questions.
Today, we’re happy to share a recap of the first session about marketing specifications for validators that was hosted by Vlad Likhuta, Head of Growth at Everstake. Recaps from the technical and staking pool sections will be published in the coming weeks.
How Everstake Engaged Delegators
Everstake began its journey as a validator on the EOS chain in 2018. At that time, the market offered much more opportunities and lower competition among validators, which allowed us to gain delegators quickly.
Still, we have always been a self-funded business, which means we have to do everything on our own, as there is no multi-million-dollar marketing budget at our disposal.
Over the years, we have tested a few approaches and found the ones that work best.
At the same time, we always covered all basic user requirements. Our DevOps team managed dozens of bare metal servers to ensure 99.9% uptime so that users got their rewards at all times.
Joining New Protocols
To engage delegators, our team did user research and concluded that users would not stake only one asset with Everstake. This meant that we needed to provide delegators with as many staking opportunities as possible, allowing them to take advantage of all their assets.
Such a multichain approach and consistency in adding new chains enabled us to grow the community fast and create a viral loop.
Currently, we validate over 70 chains. The other 100+ chains are at the R&D stage now, meaning that we are assessing them and choosing the ones that would fit our company and users best.
Entering Partnerships With Wallets
As we started joining more protocols, we realized that delegators would mainly choose a validator that would offer the easiest way to stake. This made us start looking to join forces with the most reliable wallets in the market.
For instance, Exodus users can easily stake Solana right in the app. Since we are partners, every time users open Exodus and press the Stake button, they stake with Everstake.
Building Communities on Every Chain
In addition to constantly integrating new chains, Everstake started building a strong community on each of them from the very first day.
On every chain that we validate, we have a Blockchain Manager who creates all useful and exclusive material like staking guides, polls, Q&A sessions, and much more. This person is the voice of Everstake in the community. They help us maintain our reputation, answer questions, and build connections. Moreover, the BM communicates with the internal team.
Aside from the Blockchain Manager, every supported blockchain on Everstake has its own DevOps and R&D specialists focused on ensuring nearly 100% uptime. Having a separate team fully dedicated to a particular blockchain ensures that we can bring more value to the community, and it pays off.
Finally, we were heavily involved in creating useful products for the communities, such as blockchain explorers or staking pools, and we massively contributed to the open-source development.
The Current State of Affairs
The situation in the validators market is getting more complex. Even though there are more users, the number of validators is growing as well, creating much higher competition. So how do you keep up?
As we started building a marketing team in 2022, we first asked ourselves who our target audience was. We wanted to understand why, how and when delegators chose Everstake and what their staking path looked like to build a correct delegator profile, key messages, and marketing strategies. That is why we decided to start with customer research.
Here’s what we did step by step:
The aim of the JTBD framework was to find out the inner, hidden motives of the interviewees, so we could analyze their answers and get the true results. That framework was chosen to help us understand what people aspired to achieve through our services, what kind of results they expected to get, and what they felt in the process.
In the end, we grouped everyone into the major profiles described below.
on community building and Twitter
Passive-Income Delegator Profile
These people stake to get passive income and stop working at a job they hate or get more funds for vacationing or lifestyle choices. We can find them anywhere in the world and not in a very comfortable financial situation.
They want to feel special. Most of them are not newcomers to crypto and have BTC, ETH, and other crypto. They are likely to have tried trading and yield farming, believe that value will accrue at Layer 1, and see blockchain as a promising tech.
At the very least, they read relevant magazines, watch YouTube channels on crypto, and appreciate simple guides on staking that offer a ready opinion on financial matters. They value brand affiliation and often participate in AirDrops. They chose Everstake because the name rings a bell and we offer a wide variety of blockchains available for staking. Finally, they see staking as a safe option without intermediaries that allows them to retain control over their private keys.
Blue Chip Delegator Profile
The high-expectation customer, or HXC, are those who, thanks to the expertise and experience they have, can fully acknowledge and understand your product, and eventually spread the word.
In our case, those who stake to get more tokens for a long-term strategy believing that in the future more operations will be on-chain and wishing to accrue more value at early phases, that’s why we call them Blue Chip Delegator Profile. They are most likely from the US or UK. These delegators are well-educated entrepreneurs or high-grade employees in tech/philosophy or other industries. Many of them are early adopters of crypto dating back to the dawn of Bitcoin in 2009. All of them have survived at least one crypto winter, they don’t chase after passive income since they already have it. They are experienced in crypto and have tried mining, yield farming, and even could be validators themselves. They value the community sentiment and tend to use many media channels to make a decision on which provider to stake with. They often form their own opinion on things. They care about tech stats, uptime, team, votes, airdrops, KOLs, tech content, and tend to choose providers who have a strong track record in those regards. Eventually, they chose Everstake because they know the brand as a top validator with strong tech stats and uptime. They are called blue-chip after blue-chip stocks since both are most valuable and high-performing.
What’s Our Delegator Profiles Have in Common?
Both groups believe in crypto and understand that staking ensures control over private keys, offers an easy way to earn more, and represents the future of technology. Both groups watch YouTube, listen to podcasts, and heed community sentiment and values.
Based on those profiles, we created key messages for each of them to use for our site, blog posts, social media communications, etc. The key messages relied on the quotes from the interviews and used wording familiar to our audience, which allowed us to sound more personal and up-to-the-point during our campaigns. We make our product and marketing decisions keeping in mind the profiles of our target audience.
on Everstake’s delegator profiles
As we proved that our intuitive strategy from day one was correct, we are in the process of building upon this success.
Our Advice to Newcomer Validators
There is no universal recipe or one-fits-all approach in marketing. It is always about researching, experimenting, and learning to extract the maximum of valuable information from limited data. While our approach proved to be successful, you should understand that you might actually be looking for something completely different.
Still, if we were to launch Everstake today, here’s what we would do:
What’s most important, however, is to always prioritize your delegators, community, and partners and think how you can help them. Being useful is paramount for succeeding in decentralized communities.
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