Marketing for Initial Coin Offerings: Here are tips to market an ICO successfully
As cryptocurrency becomes increasingly popular among startups and established companies, alike, we’ll be seeing more companies positioning themselves for Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. An ICO is essentially a fundraising process for startups building cryptocurrency businesses.
Through a crowdsale early supporters receive a percentage of the startup’s crypto-currency. Often, the currency used to facilitate an ICO is bitcoin.
Similar to Initial Public Offerings, successfully marketing an ICO can be as complicated as it is rewarding. Although ICOs are relatively new, many startups and technologists believe they will become increasingly prevalent in the near future as more burgeoning startups explore application and implementation of cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, Blockchain, and cryptocurrency have been a hot topic for the past few years and this is a new frontier for the Internet of Things, smart apps, and high-tech gadgets.
The innovations in this industry offer solutions to the problems occurring at the commercial standards of technology advance (Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, High-Speed Travel). ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) are one of those innovations.
Marketing campaigns for ICO’s are mostly divided in different stages. The first phase is mainly focused on the tokensale. This means, during this period, there is a lot of investment in marketing, aimed to reach potential investors.
During this phase of the campaign, there will be held a variety of marketing actions in different channels. Big part of these marketing actions are performance based advertising. This means that you will get measurable results and that you will be paying per click and/or per 1000 impressions for the achieved results. When you create an effective and well segmented campaign, you will be able to reduce the prices of your clicks and have a major click through rate.
One way to drive return of investment through higher up your CTR (click through rate) for – relatively – low costs per click is by implementing remarketing campaigns. Remarketing – also called retargeting – is a clever way to connect with people that already have visited your website but are not converted to lead.
Building an ICO marketing strategy
The marketing strategy for your ICO should focus on three elements:
- Introduce potential investors to your team
- Community Building
- “Get out of the Building” and meet potential investors
Introduce potential investors to members of your team
Nothing shouts ‘scam’ than a project with an anonymous team. If you built something, put your name to it. Typically, ICOs list several layers of associates; team members, advisors, partners, sponsors. Are you launching across multiple countries? – do you have a team who speaks the required languages?
Your advisors should be genuinely interested and even invested in your success. Ideally, they would have run their own ICO rounds.
Partners should be genuine – don’t slap the CoinDesk logo everywhere if they’ve never heard of you, work to build the names who support you. Use influencers networks to boost your credibility and standing in the news feed.
Build a community around your project
Brand awareness and community building are the most important aspects of being transparent and will combat any fear or uncertainty potential investors may have. It’s important to do some things that don’t scale, like replying to potential customers directly at the beginning, so that you’ll have the growth and champions to propel your launch to success.
Shake hands with potential investors
With an ICO raise, it’s important to be in touch with your target market and understand your customer–so get out of the building (literally!). There are plenty of crypto meetups, conferences, and seminars around the country. By going to these events, you’ll learn how to test your idea by asking cryptocurrency enthusiasts if they would use your solution, or at the very least if the problem you’re solving is something they struggle with.
Executing an ICO Marketing Strategy
Crypto and blockchain is a niche market and an expanding industry. There are many tactics that can be applied which are unconventional for typical SaaS models. The focus on any marketing activity should be getting results from tests and moving incrementally towards a goal; then compounding results by keeping what works and cutting what doesn’t. Here’s how to do it.
SEO-Optimize Your Website Build
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important in this unregulated industry. There’ve been cases where an ICO brand and website has been cloned or spoofed with a small change to the URL. For instance, etherdelta.com was spoofed to “etherdellta.com” and “etherdelta.one”. Sending potential investors to the wrong website is a nightmare for security and your project’s reputation. The best solution is to get your website ranking higher in Google or Bing search results. If you find a spoofed website infringing on your brand, you can report those sites to Google.
Write a detailed technical White Paper
A white paper is the backbone of any crypto-tech proposal. It’s what investors will look at first to see if your idea has what it takes. In this document, you should layout your business plan and details of the technology you intend to use. After reading your white paper, an investor should understand why an ICO suits your project and how a token will help end users get the most value out of your solution.
Create a brief explainer video
If you think a picture says a thousand words, a short explainer video can literally say thousands more. Consider creating a brief explainer video to explain your solution and give investors and end users an idea of what they can expect.
Pay for banner ads on relevant publications
To build awareness around your brand and to put your project on the radar of potential investors, consider paying for banner ads on forums, blogs, new publications, or other online platforms that cater to readers interested in bitcoin, digital currencies, and the blockchain industry. Banner ads are commonly managed by a display network, but you may also need to go directly to the source website and ask the admins to quote you on price and metrics. Keep in mind that crypto-news networks are taking advantage of the surge of ICOs and you should look for packaged deals for monthly ads and content releases.
Focus on community building
Most people from the early days of crypto started on forums, like bitcointalk.org and Reddit, discussing what works and what’s new in the crypto-currency world. It’s important for your team to participate in these conversations and generate a presence. However, keep in mind that there’s a careful balance between participation and added-value vs. overt advertising and corporate shills.
Build an email list
You should be building an email list from Day 1. This is the holy grail for marketers and a format of communication which has lasted over 20 years (compared to myspace and other platforms which have been long forgotten). An email list will allow you to deliver updates and content to your user base and create ambassadors for your brand; these are the people who will make your next version release or product launch 10x easier.
Utilize social media
Social media cannot be understated, if you think your product is so good that it should sell itself – this is how people spread the word. There are so many good uses and so much good data to be found on the plethora of platforms and all the tools can be used to promote your launch; events, groups, messenger, stories, shares, likes etc.
Tap into influencer networks
If you want immediate and large-scale attention, tap into an influencer’s network to promote your product. It’s important that the person you’re going to partner with actually believes in your solution and believes their audience will love it too.
Here are 6 great tips to market an ICO successfully.
1. Figure Out Your Market
ICOs are not for every company. Although the concept is new and exciting, not every industry is embracing the implementation of cryptocurrency. Many cryptocurrency supporters believe blockchain systems can and will impact every major industry, for the better. However, this impact likely won’t happen overnight.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself if you’re toying with the idea of an ICO is how you will integrate digital tokens into your business model. If the inclusion of digital currency won’t inherently add value to your product or service offering, then the IPO route may be more suitable for your venture. ICOs are still largely relegated to the blockchain world, but that doesn’t mean that more verticals won’t soon test the water.
2. Learn The Rules
For years, cryptocurrency was seen as the Wild West in the startup investment world. But as it becomes more mainstream, it is actually becoming more regulated. In July 2017, the SEC ruled that some digital coins are actually securities. Securities law is thick and complicated, but you need to make sure you at least know the basics. You should definitely have an attorney for the more advanced rules and regulations, but a basic knowledge of the rules will you make sure your company is ready to be in full compliance with the law from the start. This first ruling is largely viewed as a sign of what’s to come: the SEC will not let ICOs fly under the radar. If you want to position your company for a successful ICO, you have to educate yourself on the SEC’s criteria for what constitutes a security in the digital coin landscape.
3. Know Your Audience
The cryptocurrency world is still largely shrouded in confusion and misunderstanding. As you approach your ICO, you will most likely be speaking to two distinctive audiences: those with a breadth of digital currency knowledge, and those who really don’t understand the difference between Bitcoin and blockchain. This second group likely understands the growing status of cryptocurrency, but they may not understand the technicalities.
It is your responsibility to create marketing and PR materials that speak to both sides of the spectrum. Through thought leadership, social media, and more traditional PR hits, you have to carefully define and tailor your messaging to support the experiences and interests of your target audience. For example, if you have the opportunity to provide a statement to a fintech centered outlet you have the freedom to offer deeper analysis and insights into how you’re leveraging digital tokens, because the audience of this outlet is (likely) already well versed in the topic.
4. Tell Your Story
In addition to offering unique insights towards your marketing strategy, offer your insights to your potential investors. Come up with a sincere story about your company’s purpose in order to compel a desire to support your cause. A recent example of this is UTRUST, who has recently gotten notoriety for its socially responsible goal of boosting emerging economies through an easy-to-use, secure, and accessible banking system.
You want to give investors a reason to give your company money and you can do this by providing them with the story behind your mission statement.69% of Millennials want businesses to better facilitate customers getting involved in social issues, and many investors do, as well.
5. Update Your Website
In addition to social media, make sure your website is up to date and current with all of your company’s latest news. As CEO, you’re going to get pulled in many directions during your ICO so it’s important to have a central source of updates for potential investors who want to research your company. Communication, even digital communication, is considered today’s most important skill.
6. Offer Your Data
Data is important; there are 2.7 zettabytes of data out there today. Trends and statistics are crucial components of demonstrating the value of an investment in your company. Investors want evidence — and by offering your data to analysts throughout your offering, you’re giving them concrete proof that your business will excel. Moreover, you’ll gain additional exposure simply by the fact that your company will be reported on regularly as long as you’re offering your data to reporters and analysts.
Executing a successful ICO is no easy task. A lot of preparation and coordination goes into making sure a newly public company can secure as many investments as possible.