Managing a stake pool is similar to managing a business. It's not enough to have a stake pool that functions flawlessly on the technical side; you also need to attract enough stake. The most fundamental rule of marketing is to develop a marketing strategy that focuses on your customers' needs rather than your primary product. When you operate a stake pool, you allow other users to earn incentives by participating in the Cardano protocol. You'll be able to execute transactions and create new blocks as a result of this. The main way to get people to join your stake pool is to increase its reliability, uptime, and staking reward percentage.
You won't have a high pledge or enough staking to run a high-performance pool when you first start running your stake pool (minting blocks every epoch). Your initial delegators will aid in the recruitment of further delegators. So, to start, notify your relatives and friends about your pool, and try to share and educate more people in your inner circle about Cardano. After you've attracted your first few delegators, they'll be driven to tell their friends and family about your pool, because having more delegators in the stake pool means higher prizes.
How to promote a stake pool
In actuality, most pools will generate nearly the same amount of profit over time. So having a complete vision and a clear mission statement on what your pool's value proposition is the most critical stage in promoting your stake pool and building your brand. Do you want to educate, donate, and/or build on Cardano, for example? Why should people choose your pool over another?
Note that you can check other related discussions such as How do stake pools do marketing?
This section outlines various strategies for promoting your stake pool and attracting more stake delegaters.
Implement a strong marketing strategy
As a stake pool operator, you must develop a marketing strategy that includes all necessary information, such as the pool's name and logo. Furthermore, you must know, or at the very least attempt to reach, your target audience. Delegators can be classified into the following categories:
- Delegators who want to get the most out of their staking payouts.
- Delegators who wish to build on Cardano and contribute to the ecosystem.
- Charity delegators who desire to assist others and be rewarded for it.
Keep your stake pool attractive
When you set up the stake pool, you can choose to pledge some or all of your ADA. This pledging mechanism can make your stake pool more appealing to delegators. This demonstrates that you believe in Cardano and have invested in it. In addition, with stake pool uptime and fees, ensure quality and affordability. If you want to charge a higher fee, you'll need to add more features to your pool, such as being more active on social media or accepting donations.
Create social media accounts
Create different social media accounts to interact with your community, such as Youtube, Twitter, Discord, Meetup Group, Clubhouse, and so on. This will keep the community and delegators up to date on the latest developments. It's best to provide your contact information on all of your accounts so that fresh potential delegators can contact you.
Now, let's go through some typical budget costs and some examples of how current stake pool operators employ various social marketing platforms to expand their audience.
Average budget costs
After analyzing current stake pools, you can expect the average cost from 900$ to 1600$ divided as the following:
- 100$ for advertisement tools such as Google SEO, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Coinzilla Ads, etc. This is a good strategy to get people to your website to learn more about Cardano and stake delegation
- 300$ to 500$ for setting up a stake pool with 2 to 3 relay nodes and a web server
- 500$ to 1000$ for a Youtube channel with all necessary professional equipment
Note that you can check some budget and costs discussions such as:
- Current operators actual cost to operate vs actual returns thoughts
- How much money will I get by running a stake pool?
- Realistic Cost to Operate Stake Pool?
- How much does it cost to power a stake pool?
Use the Meetup platform to host weekly or monthly online meetups to provide a Cardano update, a pool update, guest speakers, Q and A sessions. Your online calls and meetups strategy can be achieved by posting your Meetup schedule on social media and see if the Cardano Foundation will post it on their accounts or even becoming an ambassador. Guest speakers can be people that want to share more about their projects such as project catalyst and you can provide some payments in ada to motivate more people to join your meetups. With guest speakers, you can reach out to people that either work for IOHK or the Cardano Foundation at your current location. It is all about growing the size of the meetup and keeping people joining every meetup.
Instagram and Discord
Use Instagram and Discord to post Cardano updates and pool updates (epoch summary). You can think of Instagram as more geared towards reaching new delegators and Discord as the best way to inform current delegators.
Some successful stake pools create a YouTube channel to get a larger audience. For example, you can add some articles to your website, create full stake delegation instructions, and at the same time create related videos on YouTube. This approach builds backlinks to your website so people will find your stake pool more often when using Google search. Note that building a Youtube channel is time consuming, especially if you are not an editor, and can be expensive if you do not have necessary professional equipments.
Manage and maintain delegators
Keeping your current delegators informed and updated is the greatest way to keep them happy. For example, you can use your social media profiles to send your delegators a monthly newsletter and promptly respond to all of their inquiries. To keep your stake pool running, it should be available to your delegators 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or they will move to another stake pool.
Build a website
Create a Website that is consistent with the branding of your stake pool. Get a basic knowledge of SEO and check adapools where you can go through different pools to see how they have created their websites.
Follow CF and IO delegations announcements
You can check previous delegation announcements on the blog posts Our new delegation strategy – announcing the pools we’re supporting and Announcing new stake pools chosen for our delegation strategy. So try to follow the news for the next round of applications. You can check the previous call for delegation to support small pools.
One of the selection criteria is to validate your stake pool parameters such as pledge, stake delegated to the pool, and the size of pool saturation. This is to be sure that your stake pool will be effective, generate new blocks, and get enough rewards to the delegators.
Note that you can watch The evolution of the Cardano Foundation's delegation methodology video.
Select your promotional channels
Advertise your stake pool in different channels:
How current SPOs do marketing
Some stake pool operators put in more extra work than others, they ensure the following:
- Creating an informative website that includes block explorers for their generated blocks, why to choose their pool, guides for stake delegation, full contact information for each operator, video tutorials, social media accounts, and FAQ.
- Being a Cardano community member.
- Focusing on the delegators needs.
- Studying and analyzing other SPOs to be more creative.
- Using social media management systems for engagement, scheduling, and reporting.
- Using videos in their marketing campaigns along with email marketing.
- Creating a mobile-friendly marketing campaign.
- Creating an extra range of services for delegators such as minting native tokens.
- Running Reddit ads, posting on different forums, writing articles to get organic traffic to their pool’s website.
You can watch the following videos about the opinions of SPOs: