🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

ICO Marketing Guide - How To Run A Successful ICO

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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.

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: Bitcointalk.org 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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📊‍ Infographics Stavros Georgiadis

The Top Rate ICO Industries in 2018

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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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⭐ Features Eric Eissler

5 Worst ICO Promotions

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The PR teams behind these coins failed the companies, and by failing, so did the coin and the MVPs, not by a little, but by a lot
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What is worse than being a failure is being a failure with poor marketing and advertising. The following are some of the biggest failures, due to poor marketing practices, for 2018.  

Centra Coin

Floyd Mayweather was a celebrity endorser of Centra Tech, along with DJ Khaled, but the endorsements did little to promote the coin when one of the co-founders, Raymond Trapani was arrested on April 20, 2018 and charged with securities and wire fraud for more than $25 mln associated with the company’s ICO. After that, there has not been much more news. Oh, and they claimed they entered a deal with Visa, which even Visa denies. How low can you go?

Narrative Network

While the assonance is on the “N” the Narrative Network has done very little in creating a story worth reading. It was named the next Steem but failed to deliver on any of the promises it made. To top it off 50 percent of the ICO, $7 mln of the $14 mln raised went to the team and to development, leaving the token severely undervalued. While the name has a ring to it, it is rather dull and does not suggest robust writing but non-descript nonsense.

Bee Token

If you got stung by the bee, you are not alone. What was thought of as the decentralized Airbnb of the cryptoworld, got rave reviews of course, but it was not until right up to the end that the problems emerged. There was a planned scam that diverted funds out of the company and into the hands of the founders? Most likely, but after a strong ICO, the bee sting was suicidal as the token price never got off the ground and ended being another worthless ICO in the ending up in the rubbish bin.

RentBerry

Berrys are small and sweet, but RentBerry is small and sour because from it’s initial value, it has only lost money for its token holders. Crashing down about 900 percent of what it was worth, essentially rotten on the vine. The premise of the rotten RentBerry was to use security deposits as a form of investment. This investment scheme is something more akin to what a slum landlord might try to do with your security deposit when you are not looking and then try to blame you things being broken, which were broken to begin with when you moved in. Not cool in anyone’s book and investing in the security deposits of hard-working tenants isn’t cool either.  

Iungo

While Iungo is very ambitious and surely garnered much attention, there is no roadmap on the site, and the news and company blog is filled more with marketing stories rather than any pertinent information about how the company is doing or what they are doing to achieve their goals. Based on the public financial information, it is safe to say that progress has stalled and the fact that the company does not directly address this issue is another sign that there is a problem. On top of that, the marketing behind the project, Iungo (Is that an “I” or an “L” in the name, oh an “I”? Easy for you to say) This naming convention has caused a lot of confusion and with confusion comes failure. If customers don’t know the name, they won’t buy into the game.

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Past-ICO Review: Exchange-Based Tokens Are a Safe Bet During Times Of Trouble

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Exchange-based coins can weather the storm better than traditional ICO assets. Combined with international recognition and use cases can propel profits even higher
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Huobi Token is not the first exchange issuing its own token. There are many competitors out there:  Binance (BNB), Bibox (BIX), KuCoin (KCS) and Coss (COSS) have all issued their own tokens as well. All four of these exchange tokens have seen success, with the Binance token reaching nearly $1.5 bln in market cap, while KuCoin has a market cap of $300 mln and Bibox has seen its token rise to $75 mln in market cap. COSS is valued at just $10 mln.

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Marketing outside of Asia

Huobi has one additional chance to increase its token value, and that’s through its marketing efforts. As a South Korean exchange, most of its efforts have been directed towards marketing in Asia, and many Europeans and those in North and South America are unaware that Huobi even has a token. If it increases its marketing efforts to a global scale, it could see adoption levels close to those of the Binance token.

Financials

Huobi Token had a token sale from Jan. 24 to Feb. 28, 2018, and raised $300 mln during that period. During the sale, the rate to purchase a token was $1.52. The current trading price for one Huobi Token is $1.72. While that is a nice boost for investors, due to the general tanking market trend, this current price was higher before. Looking back to June 5th, we can see that Huobi hit its all-time high at $5.86- a 285 percent increase from the token sale price! That would have been music to token holder's ears if they had sold at the high. Unlike many of the other tokens that we reviewed here, which just straight down the tubes, Huobi has had some pretty good staying power despite the major market declines. However, there are some conflicting numbers on market cap, CoinMarketCap is reporting Huobi’s market cap to be at $85 mln, while other online publications are citing that it has raised up to $1.5 bln! The latter number appears to be unverifiable. Is this just number padding in a down market?

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Team

While the team is not listed on the website, they are not present in LinkedIn either. These names and titles were pulled from a third party and could not be verified.  

Jun Du - Founder & CEO

Zhang Jian - CTO

Jiawei Zhu - COO

Benefits of investing in exchange-based tokens

When you consider that the value of Huobi Token is largely tied to the profits of the exchange, which continue growing with trade volumes no matter if cryptocurrencies are rising or falling, it appears to be a good investment.

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Exchanges, in general, are the one area that is not overly worried about the success or failure of any one coin. As long as cryptocurrencies remain a traded asset, the cryptocurrency exchanges will continue to see profits. Case and point, Coinbase, which in 2017 had more than $1 bln in revenue.

Next moves

Based on what was covered here, it can be safe to assume that if Huobi token can enter into European and North American markets through marketing strategies focused on these regions, then it will have the opportunity to grow larger and increase its profits and holdings dramatically.

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Riding the crypto wave, a mobile pawnshop brands itself as an innovative crypto-based credit solution for the underbanked
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Underbanked, underserved. This phrase sums up Southeast Asia where only a meager 20 percent of the population have bank accounts and few people have access to proper credit lines. Hero Token wants to play hero and rescue these unfortunate victims of the big banks. While that sounds nice and all, upon further inspection it appears that Hero Token is not as inventive as the other credit-offering cryptos on the market. No, not at all. As it turns out, Hero Token is just the Uber of pawnshops, where a so-called trooper comes to a home and collects the item in up for a pawn offer. After pick up, the trooper takes the item for appraisal and should the item be genuine, then a credit is offered through the app. There is nothing really mind-blowing about that; a Blockchain is not even required to transact at this level.

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Run the numbers anyways…

It comes as no surprise that the token price tanked shortly after entering the public market. Starting at $0.35 May 22, the token had one spike to an all-time high of $0.76 on May 30. It then subsequently fell down to $0.05 at the time of writing. The token sale raised $36 mln, which, at that amount garnered attention, but not for very long. No, no, no. Here we have another coin without a market cap and the lowest daily trade volume, this analyst has ever seen: $14- most likely someone wising up and selling their share, knowing that, that $14 could be spent better elsewhere. CoinMarketCap has it ranked at 1891, coming in towards the very bottom of the totem pole.

Who is on the team- good question!

No team on the site, nor were they able to be found on a third-party site. A very bad sign indeed. When the team is unlisted and there appears to be no way to directly contact them, then those are signs to turn in the opposite direction and high-tail it outta there. To remain competitive fintech companies attempt to be as transparent and professional as possible, if not then red flags fly high!

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PawnHero is the real company

PawnHero started back in 2015 to provide a better service for the underbanked in the Philippines. It was more recent that Hero Token grew out of PawnHero and became, basically a cash injection for the company by jumping on the crypto-buzz-word bandwagon. They said so themselves:

Since 2015, through our subsidiary company PawnHero, we have been disrupting the current financial system that excludes two bln people from the banking system by leveraging technology to create a more inclusive, transparent, and efficient system that allows people to access financial services in Southeast Asia.

Is this really going to happen? Well, it’s already happening. The team behind the Hero Token also started the first fully licensed online pawnshop PawnHero in Southeast Asia. PawnHero essentially turns every mobile phone into a pawnshop. Because it uses technology, the interest rates are half of what traditional pawnshops charge.

As previously mentioned, this is a mobile pawnshop and Blockchain and crypto only supports their marketing to raise capital. A tanked token and no market cap, obviously took the cash and injected into the pawnshop.  

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Stable coins are a sign of the crypto sphere competing with fiat currency. We all very well know that crypto prices swing wildly and what might be profit one day, is a loss the next day or even a few hours later! With stable coins, crypto users can move their fiat currency to the digital and be able to sleep at night knowing that they will not wake up to a gut-wrenching red. Having funds in stable coins means it is easier to buy other cryptos when the time is right, without having to wait for the cash to clear the physical to digital divide.

How the stable coin works

Havven, like well-known stable coin Tether offers a haven for users to store value without it fluctuating wildly. There are two tokens Havvens and Nomins. When a user transacts and buys Havvens, 20 percent of it is issued in Nomins, which are a hedge against price fluctuations. According to the website, “Havven solves the scaling problem with the same approach used by closed-loop payment networks, which involves charging fees on transactions as well as hedging fees for idle balances. These fees are paid to users who collateralize the network and provide stability.” The rate for Nomin tokens is regulated by the system through the stimulation of either the release of new tokens or reverse buy-back and the burning of tokens to reduce the volume of available tokens and to push the growth rate to the value of one Nomin equals $1.

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Meet the team

Kain Warwick– Founder/CEO

In 2014, Warwick founded the Blueshyft network, one of Australia's main platforms for making crypto transactions. In addition, the platform provides a number of other services, including "over the counter" Bitcoin purchases, deposit management on digital wallets and even logistics solutions. This organization is also a member of the Australian Digital Commerce Association, whose members are companies that are helping develop the national digital economy via Blockchain technology.

Justin Moses- CTO

Moses has more than 25 years of experience in the field of IT  and has worked as CTO on various projects since 2009 with Warwick.

Tim Bass- Project Lead

Bass is the co-founder and CEO of the BLOCK8 project, as well as co-founder and director of the myStake platform. Both companies are engaged in the development of Blockchain technology in the financial sector. Bass has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Solutions Architecture for large companies in Australia.

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Finance

The ICO raised some $30 mln in funding proceeds. While this is a stable coin the rate is relatively fixed however upon further inspection there are some interesting price details. When it debuted on March 14, 2018 the token piece was $0.45. On May 20 the price reached an all-time high of $0.75. Now, the current token price is at $0.08… a far cry from being stable.

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