ICO Marketing Guide
How should you market an ICO?
Initial coin offerings, or ICOs, have successfully and quickly evolved into a robust multibillion-dollar sector. This fact has made most crypto analysts confident about the ecosystem’s bright future. Also known as a token generation event (TGE), an ICO is used by a blockchain business to issue utility tokens; these TGEs provide startups with the opportunity to crowdfund a lot of development capital.
In 2017, on average, an ICO campaign closed successfully in only three days. However, there have been some unsuccessful ICOs that have failed to even touch their respective soft caps. As a result, it’s not as simple to launch an ICO as it was back in 2017. So, now, the crypto community is finally forgetting about the concept of “garage-styled ICOs”; instead, it’s seriously focusing on how this innovative crowdfunding can possibly restructure fundraising forever.
However, as the token economy is evolving and growing in unimaginable ways, blockchain startups can expect to face stiff competition when they launch their TGEs. That’s precisely why most TGE organizers have to deploy really effective, result-driven marketing campaigns if they want to attract a horde of token buyers. Which is why, in this guide, we will list all the important points that should be kept in mind before marketing a utility token.
It’s all about creating the most digitally disruptive buzz for ICOs
The interest in ICOs is growing with each passing day. As the ICO ecosystem is becoming more crowded, it’s expected that a lot of blockchain projects will go the ICO way to raise funds in the future. ICO marketers will therefore have to fight really hard in order to grab the attention of the fickle, hard-to-please token investors.
For that reason, these marketers use specialized techniques to make sure that every ICO campaign touches not only its soft cap, but also its hard cap. That’s a lot to ask, but it’ll be possible if the marketers know which strategy should be applied when. So, in this section, we’re giving you—the ICO marketer—the ultimate guide to different strategies that’ll let your ICO rise to fame.
Influencer marketers, use video channels to market ICOs like a pro
Investors, today, don’t trust an investment commodity from the word go. Nothing, in the world of investments, is taken at face value—and ICOs are certainly no different. Which is why investors want a credible team behind every TGE; this team should deliver believable blockchain-based business ideas to the masses. In such cases, an ICO using influencer marketing can definitely raise its project’s practicality and feasibility to a whole new level.
Influencers, in simple words, are the top thought leaders who are respected and celebrated for delivering expert opinions. And, these days, ICO influencers are being leveraged to improve a blockchain project’s reach. Generally, these talented crypto investors use leading video channels such as YouTube and Vimeo to build project buzz and trust among prospective investors.
So, by incentivizing these influencers properly, a business can expect its ICO to be closer a runaway success. An influential marketing campaign will kick in before the ICO’s launch—so with such a marketing strategy, an ICO campaign will cut through the indistinct crypto chatter and make a mark for itself.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the way through which influencer marketers use leading video channels, such as YouTube, to market an ICO.
Leveraging YouTube to market ICOs
Creating a YouTube channel and having a great influential marketer won’t deliver results until there’s a robust marketing strategy in place—a strategy that’ll use both of these elements. Which is why many influencers plan a roadmap for the promotion of an ICO on YouTube. For instance, many influential marketers release the first video explaining the use of the coin or token in the real world—the problem that it’ll be solving here and now. Afterwards, the following videos can cover how the tech behind the project works, other details related to the token sale, etc.
So, in a way, we can say that the power of an influential marketer quadruples with a rock-solid YouTube strategy.
Videos; Some information is best explained visually
We’ve seen many people who don’t really want to go through an in-depth article covering ICO specifics; well, for all those, a video can actually do the trick. Some of the most complex ICO–related details can be easily explained visually, and visual content is easier to remember as well. And that’s exactly where the value of YouTube comes into play. As a result, more and more influential marketers use YouTube to create hype for an ICO—and this hype won’t die down for quite some time.
How well-planned crypto PR campaigns improve an ICO’s reach
There have been really memorable ICO campaigns in the past. For example, Bancor raised funds worth USD153 million in the space of just three hours; likewise, Stox managed to raise the whopping amount of USD33 million in a matter of just 34 hours. So what did these ICOs (like Cryptoflix, Iryo, Cloudmoolah, Bunnytoken) do to successfully close their crowdfunding? Well, they never ignored the value of having a public relations strategy.
Just like YouTube, a PR strategy is another medium through which a business can generate awareness about its own ICO campaign. In this section, we’ll read about how an ICO can benefit from a result-driven PR campaign.
Today, marketers need to get the word out about their ICOs. Right on the top of a valuable, feasible product sits a completely well-coordinated marketing effort, a solid team, and earned media coverage. The last one can specifically boost a company’s chances to raise funds through a planned token sale.
No matter how common a PR strategy might sound, if it’s carried out incorrectly, it’ll easily torpedo an ICO’s PR efforts. This is why PR best practices should be known while promoting an ICO campaign.
Below we mention the top ways through which a PR campaign can boost an ICO’s reach.
The first steps toward creating a result-driven PR campaign for an ICO
Before promoting an ICO, a marketer should check how similar blockchain businesses have completed their token sales successfully. See what these businesses did to remain on the top of their game and know the amount at which their initial coin offering was set. Such analyses often hold the key to developing valuable, power-packed PR campaigns for your own ICO.
Furthermore, the marketers need to check the Telegram channels of all the businesses that have effectively closed their ICOs. While examining these channels, the marketing people should note the type and quantity of the content that the business shared when its ICO sale was live.
Afterwards, these people need to make sure that they understand what the consumers actually want. Once these desires are known, the PR guys need to create a publicity strategy that aligns well with the consumer expectation; besides, the PR team should know which form of publicity is either bad or good for the ICO. A PR strategy—or any marketing endeavor, for that matter—won’t deliver the best of results if marketers aren’t collaborating well with the project’s core development team.
Providing the best representation is all that matters
Generally, while looking for crackerjack PR people, a blockchain-powered business will want to rely on someone who’ll completely understand its field—be it B2C, B2B, or an entirely different setup. In short, the PR team will have to make sure that it understands an ICO–launching business’s products. Once that know-how is extracted, the team will have to determine how it’ll put the message across the market.
A good PR company will make sure that an ICO’s USP is highlighted no matter what. Apart from highlighting different value propositions, a PR team will do its best to position the ICO project uniquely and smartly. Besides submitting press releases, a killer PR campaign will hold conferences, conduct interviews, manage events, and showcase the awards already received by the ICO business.
So, all in all, we can say that behind the successfully promotion of an ICO campaign stands a sturdy PR strategy that’s well-executed.
Airdropping is the next trend redefining ICO marketing
Most successful marketing campaigns usually deliver freebies to prospective customers/investors. Well, crypto airdrops are built on a similar concept. In the ICO space, an airdrop happens whenever a blockchain-based startup delivers free tokens to its prospective customers. In the past, many businesses have successfully airdropped their tokens; some of the prominent airdrops are done by Aktie Social, Eligma, and BunnyToken.
The lowdown on most airdropped tokens is often conveyed to the targeted audiences via social media posts and popular forums such as bitcointalk.org. Airdropping is evolving as one of the niftiest ICO marketing moves of all time; this move will definitely create the next tokenized wave as everyone loves laying their hands on crypto freebies. Now, let’s get to know the top factors that motivate blockchain businesses to put free tokens up for grabs.
Why are blockchain businesses so interested in distributing giveaways?
With the unregulated crypto world rises a new trend
The ICO market, by and large, has remained unregulated; this may have given rise to a number of ICO scams as well. It turns out that these scams have made the ICO investors quite cautious. That’s why more and more investors are on the lookout for some free tokens and know about the best ICOs to invest. And that’s basically where the whole airdropping business comes into the picture. With airdropped tokens, a wary investor’s risk quotient goes to an all-time low since she/he doesn’t have to pay anything. So businesses generally play on an investor’s wariness by delivering free tokens and generating their project’s hype as a result.
Marketing restrictions bring a fresh ICO trend
Nowadays, all the marketing restrictions associated with ICOs are so much more real and painful. The companies that are launching ICOs can’t use Google or Facebook to market their blockchain-based wares. That’s where blockchain businesses, which are looking forward to creating lasting exposure and hype, will conveniently resort to the airdropping strategy. By implementing the airdropping strategy, businesses will create the buzz about their project in no time. And if airdropping is done properly, the created buzz will most likely be more effective than the ones developed by any campaign on Google, Facebook, and the like.
Taking mass adoption to the next level
Crypto enthusiasts are continuously letting the world know how big blockchain tech really is and how it’s reimagining the way the commercial world works. However, in spite of the growing interest in digital currencies, their adoption has been quite slow. At press time, cryptocoins are owned by just a fraction of the global population. Nevertheless, with airdropped tokens, this challenge won’t be a bother. Most of the leading blockchain startups believe that giving tokens for free is a sophisticated way of opening the crypto space to brand-new investors. And that’s precisely why airdropping these digital assets will not only market the project well but also push the crypto space’s market cap to a new high.
Let your ICO campaign go social via robust communities
A token sale won’t ever be successful until the prospective investor knows about it. That’s exactly why a business needs to create the right buzz across the entire crypto community. Put simply, ICO marketers should create hype around their blockchain-based offerings with the help of a community. So, having a community and managing it are important to make an ICO–enabled product launch successful.
This hype should create a community where the members are absolutely interested in a project’s offerings. So, with the help of a fully-formed community, the marketers will make the product/service sell like hot cakes without any hassles whatsoever. Now, the work involving the development of a community from scratch is often the most difficult one. That’s exactly why more and more savvy marketers build a community by engaging with the audiences on a variety of marketing channels comprising social media.
Below is a list of all the social media channels that should be used for marketing an ICO to the right, targeted audiences.
Forums: There are a lot of specialized forums, including bitcointalk.org, that are designed to promote different ICO projects. On these forums, an investor gets to read the lowdown on all the popular projects that belong to the ICO space. The reviews on these forums can be either negative or positive. All in all, if an investor goes through these reviews, she/he will know a thing or two about specific upcoming ICO sales.
Reddit:Most ICO marketers create an individual Reddit channel for a crypto project. The best part of Reddit is that the marketers can even create thematic Sub-Reddits for a crypto project. On these Sub-Reddits, the targeted audiences can find engaging, positive content about an ICO. So, all in all, if an ICO is present on Reddit, then it may easily improve its reach by a wide margin.
Telegram and Slack: When marketers are designing a communication strategy for an ICO, they have to factor in Telegram and Slack. Having accounts on both of these channels is absolutely a must for any ICO project to improve its visibility in the crowded crypto landscape. By being visible on these two platforms, an ICO will have the golden opportunity to have one-to-one communication with all the potential investors. In short, these channels bridge the gap between the project founders and the potential investors.
ICO calendars: Often, users search about ICOs using different keywords such as “Top ICOs,” “ICO Calendar,” “ICO Token News,” “Top Ten ICOs,” and “Trending ICOs.” So you should make sure that your ICOs are listed on all the top websites listing different crypto projects. By doing so, an ICO marketer will be actually delivering the most relevant project details to different investors whenever needed.
Quora: A digital marketer should build an open Quora discussion about an ICO project and this discussion should be open to all users without any restrictions. While discussing an ICO on open platforms such as Quora, ICO marketers should ensure that any and every negative comment about the project should be resolved then and there. If, however, there’s too much negativity in any forum discussion that’s happening on Quora, then the ICO business should hire specialized social media experts. These specialists will use a variety of tactics to make sure that the negative content can be converted into a positive one.
Facebook: There are a few specialized Facebook groups that always hold in-depth discussions on different ICOs, crypto marketers, altcoins, Bitcoins, digital currencies, ICO ratings, crowdfunding, blockchain, etc. All the wise ICO marketers will need to subscribe to such groups to have their finger on the pulse. That’s basically how a marketer can make sure to create the most positive buzz about the blockchain-enabled products or services they’re marketing.
LinkedIn: This is the ultimate social network for professionals allowing them to link with other like-minded specialists. For a crypto marketer, it makes perfect sense to create an ICO account on LinkedIn. That way, the marketer will simply distribute lots of chunks of crucial information to a number of crypto experts who’re interested in cryptocurrencies, blockchain, multichain, token generation, ICOs, SEC, digital assets, and the like.
Influencers: The lack of investor trust is one of the biggest roadblocks to an ICO’s success. Ideally, the investors should always trust the team behind an ICO. They should trust that it’ll deliver on its promises and will meet all the set milestones within the defined time frame. But creating that trust is often easier said than done. In that case, the ICO’s team should put its faith in influencers. Today, there’ve been talented crypto influencers who can simply turn the tide for your business—and quite seamlessly. Influencer marketing will help the ICO team convey its ideas and prospects and will let it create positive hype about its business. (For more information, you can check out our separate section about influencer marketers and why they’re fond of YouTube.)
Media attention: An ICO team will have to make sure that it maintains excellent public relations across the entire crypto-verse. That’s because good public relations will eventually improve a business’s credibility and its position in the competitive ICO space. This is why we’ve dedicated an entire section of this guide on how a great PR strategy can let ICO businesses achieve success.
So, overall, by leveraging each of these social media channels, an ICO’s online reputation can reach new heights.
Affiliate marketing is taking the ICO landscape by storm
First off, let’s get to know what affiliate marketing is all about. Basically, this form of marketing includes performance-based programs where an external partner will be given a commission if it delivers a specific result to an advertiser or a merchant. Now, the result is almost always a valid sale—but it can even be a new user becoming registered, a fully completed lead form, or even a fresh newsletter subscription. These days, this form of marketing has become all the rage in digital advertising.
Now, we’ll focus on the role that affiliate marketing plays in promoting an ICO. Since Facebook and Google have banned ICO–related advertising, the role of affiliate marketing in the crypto space is evolving and becoming more mature.
ICOs are formed, marketed, and sold in an ecosystem where even short-lived attention can become a sale. So, in such scenarios, affiliate marketing can be leveraged to make sure that no opportunity to get a lead is missed. On closely analyzing the ICO landscape, anyone can be aware of ICO bounties—they’re generally given to someone who promotes your ICO or generates hype about your project. An affiliate program will be the same thing; it’s just that it will only give rewards for generating a sale and not hype—it’s always the metric that matters.
Benefits for affiliate marketing for the crypto-verse
With affiliate marketing, an ICO project can reap the following benefits.
Bringing down the overall marketing costs
Affiliate marketing has helped many ICOs contain their spiraling marketing costs. This form of marketing has actually let crypto projects lower their marketing budget and, instead, invest the saved capital in developing or refining the final product. Basically, with this form of marketing, the ICO’s marketing team pays only for clicks and conversions—and that’s what brings down the overall marketing budget.
A transparent form of marketing
It’s undoubtedly true that affiliate marketing is often chosen and admired for the level of transparency it’s bringing to the crypto landscape. The ICOs who sign up for such a marketing program will pay when there’s a click or lead or sale, and typically it’s sale, and that’s what make it more transparent than before.
With these two key benefits, affiliate marketing is becoming the go-to strategy for most of the crypto projects that are planning to launch their TGEs.
Email marketing still rules the crypto world
Email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies to market an ICO. Most ICO sales don’t focus on creating an email-marketing strategy with a personal touch. Also, there’s a huge gap when it concerns internal database segmentation—because of that, many ICOs end up sending fairly generic marketing emails.
For this reason, it makes better sense to hire an ICO marketer who completely understands the investor pool or the targeted audience. With that in mind, these marketers can easily create email messages pitching the details about token sales and product/services in the most sellable way. Below, we provide some tips that’ll help ICO marketers make the most of their email-marketing campaign.
Know the audience
While designing email-marketing collateral, the marketer should know the audience well. The crypto-verse is still shrouded in misunderstanding and confusion. As the ICO sale approaches, the marketer should know that most probably the email will be read by two sets of audiences—the first one will have a wide range of knowledge on cryptocurrencies and blockchain while the second one will have a hard time differentiating Bitcoins from blockchain. That’s why it’s the responsibility of email marketers to create collateral that can fluently speak to both audiences.
Create an email list
It’ll be so much better if the marketers have a list of all the prospective token buyers at the ready; this list can be used while sending email. In any form of marketing, it’s best if the message reaches the right people at the right time. This can often make a lot of difference. Now, the question is How should marketers get access to such an email list? In fact, this will happen once an ICO marketer allows the visitors to submit their respective email addresses in case they wish to stay updated on what’s happening with the project.
With all these marketing strategies, ICO marketers should know which of the channels will optimize the project’s visibility and growth. The marketers, along with the core development team, should work really hard to create the right match mix with a blend of these strategies.
Making the ICO legit
The legal aspects of launching an ICO vary from country to country, and you need to exercise due diligence to comply with their respective laws and regulations. To avoid trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), your ICO need to be legitimate, and you need to take formal legal opinion about this. You need to provide a formal legal description of the token and what the investors could actually gain from purchasing it. There are some reputed law firms such as Cooley, and K&L Gates that specialize in completing legalities for an ICO launch. Cooley, in particular, has worked out an open-source legal framework for the sale of tokens. Remember that when you deal with the money of investors, you need to be legally safe and covered.
It is important to integrate the digital tokens into your business model. The digital currency of the startup should inherently add value to the service or product offered by the company.
Know the basic rules
As cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, they are steadily becoming more regulated too. In fact, the SEC has already ruled that some cryptocurrencies are securities. You should have an attorney to guide you through the details of the dense and complicated securities’ law. It is also advisable to educate yourself on the basics of the law so that you are in full compliance of the law from the very beginning. To thrive in the crypto markets, you need to be clear of the SEC’s criteria for what constitutes securities, as far as digital coins are concerned.
Target the audience with resourceful material
To market your ICO, you need to speak to two distinct groups of the target audience – those with an understanding of the crypto markets and those who don’t have the necessary knowledge to understand the technicalities of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
So, you need to develop ICO planning, marketing and PR material that is accessible to both groups. By leveraging social media channels and by creating thought leadership in your niche market, your marketing efforts should support the experiences and interest of your target investor groups. For the audience that is already well versed in the concept of ICO and crypto markets, you need to provide deeper analysis and insights on how your ICO promises to be the right pick for them.
Keep your website updated and SEO-friendly
Your website should serve as a resource for authentic information about your ICO. The potential investors will visit your website to get the latest and most authoritative updates. So, make sure that it is updated with the current news of your project and company. Also, keep your website SEO-friendly; have a SEO and technical audit done so that it will rank high in search engine result pages. You can also prefer ICO planning guide from our website which helps you to implement the perfect and systematic strategy to know how to invest in ICOs.
Tell a story to your audience
You should come up with a sincere story for the investors to encourage them to invest money in your project. Your marketers need to offer unique insights to potential investors about your marketing strategy and offer them good reasons to invest in your initial coin offering.
ICOs are the new seed funding and we will see more businesses testing the waters in the years to come. As this happens, digital currencies will become further embedded, penetrating into mainstream financial transactions. While shakeouts and fluctuations in the markets are common, ICOs offer an egalitarian model of fundraising for startups. We offer a wide range of marketing and advertising services to ICOs. If you are interested in any of following services please do not hesitate to contact us!