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.
Tips to market your ICO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Media outreach and public relations
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
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.