It’s difficult to argue against early adoption as the single most vital characteristic of sustainable blockchain business. Without pioneers using your new technology before it becomes mainstream, there won’t be any initial use case findings, no origin stories, and no beginnings of word-of-mouth awareness.
To find early adopters and get them to invest in your project, we must first understand them and the adoption life-cycle. The adoption life-cycle consists of 5 categories: innovators, early adopters, the early majority, the late majority, and laggards. The innovators and early adopters are the risk-takers; they recognize the opportunity before it catches on. The early majority is more conventional but still open to new ideas. The late majority will join in only if it’s proven and, finally, laggards will join in last, most likely due to lack of any other option or because they’re forced to.
With blockchain technology, using Bitcoin as the most studied example, it started with innovators discussing it on forums and early adopters joining in.
Some experts insist that blockchain is still in the early adopters’ stage but with more countries now recognizing Bitcoin as a legal payment method, there is a strong case for Bitcoin as having reached the stage of the early majority, opening the doors for the late majority to go along with it, and be accepted as a mainstream industry — thus becoming widely adopted.
Who Are Early Adopters and Why Do You Need Them?
In blockchain business, early adopters can be individuals or a company looking to diversify their funds, monetize their investment in the future, gain a competitive edge, or simply support the project they favor.
Early adopters can be a good push in the back for an NFT project or a young blockchain startup to get the funds necessary for the project to run. They can also test your product in the early stages, provide the material for case studies and give you constructive feedback on what is working well and what is not. Early adopters can be relied on for reviews and testimonials, setting up the terrain for the early majority to start flocking in.
Early adopters and innovators have different expectations and motivations from others. Apart from strong motivators such as seeking solutions to their problems or the profit potential from an early investment, there can be other powerful motivations for innovators and early adopters. An example is the desire to be part of a community or to form a new one — early adopters are motivated for a project to succeed and are ready to actively participate in the process, give advice, as it gives them satisfaction to take personal credit for the success of the project. Unlike the early majority, they understand that not all the projects they invest in are going to succeed but if they see the potential, they are willing to take the risk.
How to Attract Early Adopters and What’s Important to Them?
Spread the word about your project on news sites through feature articles and press releases. Start discussions in communities on Discord, Twitter, Reddit, participate in events. Be a sponsor, use paid ads.
Look for specific companies and individuals who previously supported another project from the same niche. Get to know what kind of projects they invested in in the past and target the ones where your product could benefit them.
Prepare the team, long-term plans, and vision behind the project. Potential investors will scrutinize these things. If the team is not devoted enough to the project or if the project doesn’t have a clear vision for the future, potential investors will see right through them and decide they’re not worth the risk.
Show immediate value. Early adopters do think forward and can recognize the potential of a project but you can’t attract them based on promises and plans for the future. To get them on board you need to have the project ready for testing.
Build a strong community of users. The power of community and the atmosphere building up around the project is a strong signal to early adopters that things are going in the right direction. Mind you, a smaller yet active community of actual project users is worth significantly more than an army of vociferous token buyers who’re only loud because they’re gambling on token price. Remember, we’re talking about early adopters, not early speculators.
Finding the right kind of people to invest in your project can be crucial for your success. Revolutionary blockchain projects like Compound (responsible for the yield farming craze), CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties (popularizing NFTs) wouldn’t have succeeded without early adopters willing to test these new technologies.
So invest your time into finding this kind of support at an early stage and you will save yourself a lot of effort and cost, paving the way for early and late majority users en route to mass adoption.