ICO Marketing Guide - How To Run A Successful ICO

  • Eric Eissler
    🕵️‍ ICO Watch

    Planning an ICO just isn’t about the launch, it’s about branding and building trust

ICO Marketing Guide - How To Run A Successful ICO
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Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were one of the hottest topics of 2017, as crypto literally exploded onto the mainstream with increasingly more media outlets covering ICOs and companies which were offering Blockchain-based services and token sales. Looking back, more than $5.6 bln was raised via ICOs in 2017, and in the first two months of 2018, there were some 50 ICOs which successfully raised more than $1 bln. This year proves to be another important year for ICOs despite some of the advertising bans in place by Facebook and Google.

Due to lack of regulation, many scammers and fraudsters have been able to manipulate ICOs to steal money from honest investors. Many of these fraud stories have been appearing in headlines and in the news. Furthermore, they have been a point of negative leverage for individuals who are against crypto and want to see it disappear. While that is not the case, crypto is here to stay, these individuals have been able to leverage this “bad press” to cut off advertising channels that had served ICOs, namely Facebook and Google. With more advertising avenues closing and the general bad press against ICOs, some are asking what the best way is to market a legitimate ICO.

The hot bath principle

Not every ICO is a success. In 2017, the 10 largest ICOs accounted for more than 25 percent of the money raised and only 48 percent of ICOs were considered successful. Competition is steep, with more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation.

Some ICOs are hot and they raise massive capital investments, but then something happens internally, or they took a wrong turn with their product or most importantly marketing approach. Then,  just like that, someone poured a bucket of ice into the hot bath water. Now that ICO is just not so hot anymore, and potential investors have their sights set elsewhere. Your ICO is over and so is the company.

The difference between success and failure in an ICO is, more often than not, in the marketing. Planning a strategy to market your ICO project from day one is absolutely essential, probably more important than the actual product itself. Remember, your product may change, but the perception of your team and your project rarely survives a bad first impression.

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Tips to market your ICO

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Media outreach and public relations

  • Press releases

  • Well-written articles

  • Coin listings

Marketing your ICO

Marketing your ICO does not have to be a nightmare, it can be just like marketing so many other companies and products, just with a few key differences. The cornerstone of your ICO-marketing-launch foundation should be your website.


A professional, up-to-date website is going to be the face of your operation and your token. It is wise to invest in a professional developer to design a website that gets noticed and most importantly respected. The look, design and feel of your site is going to represent your company, and if it looks like it was made in 1995 or has poor grammar and spelling mistakes, your company will quickly lose credibility.

Additionally, there should be a white paper which focuses on the technological aspects of your Blockchain-based business and tokenized assets. A short professionally made video that can sum up your company and your product will do wonders for your credibility. Make sure to list all the members of your team on the website with LinkedIn links to improve transparency and trustability.

Finally, don’t forget to have your website SEO optimized. When marketing ICOs you will want to use all of the above to demonstrate a high-level of trust with your potential investors. An ICO marketing agency will be able to help you further develop your brand should you chose outside help.

Five points to make your ICO a success

  1. Have an engaging story to tell

    You have a product or a service and you need to tell the world about it and get your name out there. Make your ICO story interesting, engaging and understandable in a way that will inspire potential investors to understand your vision, so that it excites them enough to invest.

  2. Know your audience

    Despite its increasing global popularity, a successful ICO marketing strategy still needs to be focused on the right market segments to produce the best and most cost-effective results. Ask who is going to be your target end users? What kinds of industry will my product be effective in? What ancillary markets might I want to target?

  3. Transparency

    If your company is not transparent, it could well act as a repellent towards potential investors. People want to know exactly what they are buying into and the people behind it. A lack of transparency will reduce interest and negatively affect the amount of money you are able to raise. If something looks sketchy would you want to buy into it or invest your money? Most likely, no you wouldn’t. So why would someone else do it?

  4. Compliance

    Compliance is an area that is becoming increasingly important for ICOs in 2018 and will remain a major issue for the future. Regulations and rules are being put in place which will need to be followed. While crypto and ICOs are considered a gray area in many countries, the SEC has some hardline rules that require ICOs to be listed as securities. If you are not following these rules, then you are locking yourself out of the US market.

    While this might not seem like much of an issue now, it will be later on as more countries adopt laws and policies around the use of ICOs and who is allowed to participate legally. When looking at an ICO website you may find there is a list of excluded countries, and the US is nearly on all of them now. Not a good place to be if you want to be part of many investment revolutions.

  5. Crypto ICO marking company

    If you want to compete with the best, you are going to have to spend money to hire the pros to help you get there. If you are successful at fundraising with the ICO you will be able to pay the high-priced bill your ICO marketing budget demands.

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Media and public relations

When you are building your brand awareness, you will want to reach out to an ICO marketing company to help you with the finer details of your communications needs. ICO marketing agencies can offer ICO marketing and PR service. ICO marketing firms will be able to assist with refining your press releases and distributing them to the right target audience.

Social media relations

Social media has changed the marketing and public relations sector for the better. There are many more genuine ways to reach out to your potential investors without all the fluff and wonderment that many ICO celebrity marketing firms do. Below is a list of many ways to interact and get the word out on social media channels:


  • Reddit: The Reddit community is a well-informed and unforgiving audience. Win over the trust of the Redditors and you can go a long way to making your ICO a success. Creating subreddits and/or commenting on existing threads can generate a high level of exposure. But be very careful not to advertise or you will be banned!

  • Facebook groups: There’s no ICO advertising allowed on Facebook’s ad, but there are plenty of popular groups with interest in all things ICO.

  • Twitter: Like Facebook in that there’s no advertising, Twitter is still a very popular platform for the crypto community, and influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers can be targeted for ICO marketing.

  • Telegram: The fastest-growing social media platform and an outlet that must be marketed to, Telegram was very lovingly embraced by the crypto community from its inception, and the popularity keeps on growing.

  • Specialized Forums: and some other specialized forums are widely read by the crypto community and carry a fair degree of influence.

  • LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn groups have thousands of members, are free, and tap into a very targeted and knowledgeable audience.

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The Top Rate ICO Industries in 2018

  • Stavros Georgiadis
    📊‍ Infographics

    Investing in ICOs requires due diligence and analysis of potential risks and returns.

The Top Rate ICO Industries in 2018
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Investing in ICOs requires due diligence and analysis of potential risks and returns. CoinDesk is its article named “The Seven Pillars of ICO Investing” has listed the most important pillars to consider before deciding to invest or not on any specific ICO project.

These 7 Pillars are the following:

  1. Team
  2. Idea
  3. Execution
  4. Legal/Regulatory Framework
  5. Tokenization
  6. ICO Structure
  7. Price Divers

What is interesting and should not be surprising though in the ICO investing is the fact that business models and marketing, promotional channels differ significantly in the amount of fundraising, as some business categories have in general twice the median funding compared to the smaller ones. The following statistic may be useful to investors as it represents the ICO categories with highest median funding. A higher amount of funding may be justified by future business prospects about what investors believe are the most promising trends that could be deliver desired returns on investments given the risks taken.

Categories with highest median funding in 2018:

  1. Blockchain Infrastructure
  2. Internet & Telecommunications
  3. Computing & Data Storage
  4. Data Analytics
  5. Asset Management
  6. Legal Services
  7. Social Media & Communication
  8. Supply & Logistics
  9. IT
  10. Identity & Reputation

These business categories are referenced not in random order, but from highest to lowest order of median funds raised. The Blockchain Infrastructure category has the highest median funds raised at $ 7,012,289, while the Identity & Reputation category has the lowest median funds raised in 2018 at $ 3,750,000. The first and last business categories have a significant difference between them in terms of median funds raised as the Blockchain Infrastructure category is 87% larger than the Identity & Reputation category.

Another key interesting statistic in ICO investing is the geographical distribution of projects fundraising in the third quarter of 2018. The following infographic shows that there are again very large differences within continents. Europe and specifically Russia with $ 182.9 Million was the largest market, Israel with $19.6 Million was the smallest market, while South Korea witnessed a significant drop in fundraising as according to ICORating, in Q3 2018, 17 projects with South Korean origins raised USD 68 million, compared with 16 projects and USD 301 million in Q2 2018.

Geographical distribution of projects based on origin of the project team, Q3 2018

Geographical distribution of projects based on origin of the project team, Q3 2018

Country of origin means a country in which more than 50% of team members were living at the time of an ICO.

Another point worth mentioning is that in Q3 2018 USA had the largest number of projects compared to all mentioned countries in the above infographic, still Russia with a smaller number of projects, 63 was as mentioned the largest market.

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