How we restrained Alameda Research by doing marketing?

September 6, 2022

15 min read

Author: Vlad Zghurskiy

Author: Vlad Zghurskiy

The client

Vires.finance – AAVE/Compound style decentralized landing and borrowing protocol on the Waves Blockchain with liquidity over 1,3 billion dollars. Unlike conservative landing/borrowing protocols, Vires offers uniquely high % of APY.

The Audience

Win the battle with Alameda Research

Build brand awareness around Vires Finance from scratch

Boost liquidity from 400k to 100KK

Overcome banner blindness and become a part of the crypto community

Persuade the NON crypto audience enter the crypto with Vires Finance

Reclaim trust in the platform after the rapid fake “ liquidit drop”

Solutions

Twitter long time KOLs campaign

Telegram long term campaign

Orchestration of marketing tools

Youtube one-time and long-term campaigns with KOLs

Google / Facebook / Banners ads campaign

Alameda antidots

Results

How we did it?

How to win the trust of the crypto community if you have a few hundred users yet?

Every founder or contributor that just stepped into this path inevitably faces the question. At the beginning of this collaboration we weren’t an exception. We started working with Vires.finance when the liquidity they have was only 400 mln, so the fight for the trust was waiting to happen.

They didn’t have any user attraction tool before we started the collaboration. All the users were dedicated fans of Waves ecosystem that somehow learned about the launch of this project.

So, it is clear: before we started our collaboration Vires.finance was a bit of a dark horse.

But everything changed after we started cooperation

How to turn a dark horse to Angelina Jolie on minimum

Double value. After researching the marketing activities of primary and secondary competitors we learned a thing that at a time was merely a hypothesis, but now it is the truth we don't dare to doubt. Here it is: marketing activities can be effective if only they provide a double value. What is this double value?

Today is not enough just to launch a great product. Only a small percentage of crypto-researchers could understand the worth of your product. So the value should be in the content you’re making with the ads, as, naturally, in the product itself. Double.

The value of a product was doubtless – Vires.finance offered 80% APY on stables. The first part of the value equation was already there. The second part – make marketing activities full of value to the crypto community – was ahead of us.

And we nailed it

Instead of wring clickbait style posts and promise extremely high profit in a few minutes, we go another way and educate crypto community with guides, insights, tutorials, etc.

One marketing tool isn't enough. Make your peace with the fact that one marketing tool will not bring you any considerable results. The ICO era has gone - you can't work with one blogger now and expect to get a billion of liquidity. Considering that we started with Vires.finance from scratch, it was important to test different variables - certain types of content, the audiences, triggers, activators, etc. But once we had this data, our decision was to build a comprehensive system. 


Hypotheses. We shaped hypotheses that later became a basis for all of our marketing activities. What are these hypotheses?

Apy hacking – in a series of publications we positioned Vires.finance as one of the components for a scheme that can bring 3000%+ APY This contained a real value, and the scheme become extremely popular, going from one user to another, so vires.finance received enough organic traffic

The comparison of landing platforms – here we had a very simple rule: is the post we wrote clear enough so non-crypto users want to repost it? We should emphasize the advantages of Vires.finance, but we often provide useful, profound, and meaningful information that very quickly would scatter over the crypto community.

Translating the dynamics of income in Vires.finance – in the market where the level of untrust is quite high, nothing can assure better than your favourite blogger, highlighting how has changed the amount of investing in a certain product.

Situational and info-caused content – the crypto space is too dynamic for planning 10 hypotheses and simply following this plan without changing anything. Our task always was to react immediately to any sort of event – whether it was about the competitors’ drop of apy or some vital news from the Vires.finance itself. For such things we had our fabulous tool called “the ambassador board”.

Finally, the last hypothesis brought by Alameda research, but you have to read further to learn what it was:)

How to find real people that reflect your ideal customer?

After spending long hours brainstorming and describing all behavioral and demographical characteristics, it’s time to use it in practice.

We are about to create a detailed guide on creating lead databases. Stay tuned 🙂

After going through all the data parsing, validation and enrichment stuff we received more than 5000 buyer persons from more than 600 companies that ideally represents the previously created description

How to optimize the budget for KOLS

Let us say it one more time (do you count it, by the way?) - build long-term relationship KOLs.

Influencers are usually ready to make discounts for publications if you ask for the whole pack of it. Typical market relationship at its best: wholesale generates discount.
Thus you’ll get way more than just a cheaper price: you’ll have an influencer immersed in your product, and, therefore, better integration as an outcome.
Yeah, the number of new users will decrease with each publication on the same channel, but the value will be going up constantly. Why? Because it is your product that is growing needs now.

To build trust you have to work with trusted people. Of course, we want to find the most effective, ROI-driven ways of collaboration, but it is impossible to ignore influencers with big audiences and remember the basic rules of the crypto market.

Moreover, long-term relationships with influencers will open up the possibility of reacting to potential Alameda research.

The examples of content made within long-term collaboration with the influencers.

Saved funds : 25% less comparing to the price of 3 separate videos
Saved funds : 25% less comparing to the price of 3 separate videos
Saved funds : 25% less comparing to the price of 3 separate videos

Put together PPC marketing with YouTube, and you'll be shocked to see how down CPM will be.

Anyone who has ever asked a YouTube influencer the price for a video probably has been thinking about becoming a YouTube influencer himself or herself. Why? Because the prices are extremely high. For a new product that does not have an army of followers, it is critical to make such integrations. Anyone who’ll learn about your product could use YouTube to find a step-by-step guide on that product.

We made such integrations, quite pricey ones, and launched google traffic. We attracted a new audience to that YouTube influencer’s channel. Due to that, he has made the price even cheaper for us. So CPM was like Barbra Streisand.

Typical YouTube video CPM - 200$+

Typical Google PPC CPM - 1,2$

YouTube video + Google PPC - Magic

Make your bloggers repost each other.

Might sound absurd. But it is actually very simple: if one of the influencers doesn’t have a YouTube channel, and can’t elaborate to the audience in the details on how to use Vires.finance, ask him to repost videos of the other bloggers. This will also help to decrease CPM.

If you couldn't bring mass adoption to the whole crypto, bring mass adoption to your project

While launching your marketing activities, beware of the next thing: your target audience is limited, because in crypto right now 35 million people that are probably already using big platforms anyway. However, the earth’s population is even bigger;) So, the trick for any project that wants to be more than another crypto startup is to attract the audience that is not yet the crypto audience and offer them transparent, detailed and clear ways of entering the sphere.

This is the way to get a critically loyal audience. Since these people will immerse into the crypto thanks to your project, you have the space and possibilities to achieve incredible numbers at LTV, ROI and other metrics.

What we managed to achieve?

  • 1,5KK of TVL reached
  • 10K users attracted
  • Ambassador board with ~20 KOLs
  • Boosted brand recognition

“How to evaluate the growth of brand recognition”you will ask

“If Alameda Research will pay attention to your project, you could be sure that the goal is achieved”we will answer

What to do if Alameda Research is coming to your house?

Friday spring evening
WAVES token has shown extreme growth
Nothing foresaw trouble
Apart from.. 10 messages from Vires Finance ambassadors that were a littlebit embarrassed with the FUD campaign that is about to start

“Come on, it’s Friday evening, maybe, it is some kind of illusions after hard working week” – we thought.

Saturday evening.
Nope, that wasn’t either illusions, or mistake.
That was our reality.
Alameda Rearch decided to hide its manipulation by launching FUD campaign

If you don’t understand what exactly happened, here’s a little footnote: because of Alameda’s research market maker activities USDT were decoupled from the 1 dollar, Waves dropped in price, and so on Vires.finance a user couldn’t withdraw the assets.

Even though one never prepared for such things, we were prepared (without preparing). At the point we had the ambassador board – this is another reason why we would always say that you’ve got to make the ambassador board (!!!) – also, as a marketing team, we were on the same page with the community, and deeply felt the product. Besides, we had this powerful connection with the team of Vires.finance. So we had a background that helped to overcome this situation, and not to be trapped in the circumstances as Tera appeared to be.
Who knows what would happen if Tera worked with Solus.b.

At the time any marketing activities weren’t relevant. As a marketing team that felt responsible for the user we brought, we dedicate our weekends to the communication with bloggers and the community to explain what happened, and to manage the expectations.

Today it is easy to see that people trust Vires.finance again, even though we’re going to need some time to restore it fully. Not one person lost the money during this storm. Well, except for Alameda’s research.

How to make data work for you?

While launching an Account-Based Marketing campaign every single lead matters. That is why data should become the center around which your entire campaign revolves.

Type of companies: Crypto HR Agencies
Buyer Persons: C-level representatives
Scripts:
Invite message: N/A

Results:

Connected to contacted: 7.2%
Replied to Connected: 52,7%
Reply to MQL: 32,9%

Type of companies: Crypto HR Agencies
Buyer Persons: HR managers
Scripts:
Invite message: N/A

Results:

Connected to contacted: 6%
Replied to Connected: 72,7%
Reply to MQL: 8,9%

Hopefully, all maker makers’ attacks will omit you. However, always be prepared for such a thing, so you can optimize the situation to your benefit.
As the old saying goes: “It is better to walk our path of Vires.finance than the one Tera went”.

Testimonials

“We supposed that it’s grueling to establish contact with our target audience. Our opinion has not changed 🙂 But this fact did not become a problem for the Solus team

You can check out full review from Waves exchange on Clutch

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