The world is moving towards decentralization as digital disruption continues its dominance across different facets of the globe. The most significant testimony to the increasing interest of the world toward decentralization is the rise of ICOs. An ICO is ‘Initial Coin Offering’, a great way employed by startups to crowdfund their project by trading their coin as a cryptocurrency in the cryptomarket.
The first ICO took place in 2013, held by Mastercoin where Ethereum raised 3700 BTCs in its first twelve hours equivalent to $2.3 million at that time. Since then ICOs have come a long way raising more than $20 billion as funds for different projects in 2018. Now, the question is, what do investors see in an ICO and what is it that hooks their interest?
The simple answer is ROI – Return on Investment. The returns on the initial investment on an ICO is pretty high. While the risk factor is high when it comes to investing in an ICO, it is very essential for the project owners to be clear about their goals and objectives. They need to be genuine for investors to believe in them. It is where the marketing strategy of an ICO comes into play. Unless you don’t market your ICO well and don’t paint a positive picture before the audience, you cannot expect to have a successful ICO.
Three key factors to focus before the launch of an ICO
ICO is not a fixed formula to success for every cryptocurrency or token that comes in the cryptomarket. It varies from project to project; if a Blockchain project aims to raise money through pre-sales token purchases, it goes through different levels.
Every level offers ample opportunities to add new value and tackle the risks involved. It also gives you a chance to let investors peak into your progress and get an insight into how the project is moving. It is essential to give your investors an experience that establishes your credibility, which can be done by focusing on three key factors:-
- Educating investors on how ICOs work
- Being transparent on what an investor can gain and what are the potential risks
- Giving them regular updates on the status of the project
Why marketing is important?
When you go for crowdfunding, people don’t put their money seeing the disruption value of the project or seeing how powerful is the resume of founding members. These things do matter, but what plays a pivotal role in making an ICO successful is how you market it. From the language, used on the website to the kind of design it has. Also, the tone and style of your social media posts to the way you communicate, and the first impression you make before a potential investor, all of it matters.
If you were an investor- who will you put your money on?
- Project A- An ICO that isn’t consistent with their messaging, a basic website that screams laziness, no clarity on goals and what they intend to do.
- Project B- An ICO that was a well-designed website, a powerful presence on social media, constant messaging, better visuals and regular updates.
Definitely, Project B as you are clear on what their goals are and what they intend to do. Their communication doesn’t confuse you or put you in the dark instead it clears whatever doubts you have in your mind.
What are the two major issues with ICO’s?
1. Credibility– The biggest problem with ICO’s is to establish their credibility before potential investors. Investors need to know where they are putting their money and the possible return on their investments. The project should be trustworthy and must comply with SEC regulations for an investor to feel confident about it.
2. Transparency– When people are investing their money in your vision, they are entitled to know how the money is being used. Sharing a roadmap with them is the first step toward building a transparent relationship with them. When you go public with the project development timeline and fund allocation, not only do you stay in sync with your goals, but your investors will also be on the same page with you.
These two issues can be solved considerably by having a marketing strategy that focuses on establishing the credibility of your ICO project keeping it transparent before the customers and potential investors.
How to market an ICO?
Public perception is crucial for the success of an ICO and marketing plays a vital role in it. At a time when the credibility of ICOs are being questioned, and more than 10% of the $3.8 bn raised in 2018 being lost, marketing becomes even more critical. Now, the question is how do you market your startup? We list down ten ways on how you can market your ICO.
1. Bring out a whitepaper– The first and foremost step is to come up with a whitepaper. The devil lies in the details, and a detailed approach is the best way to overcome initial hiccups. Ensure that you cover every detail of your project in the whitepaper. Give an elaborate description of your idea, the whole plan, the legal aspects, and every important detail that expresses your sincerity towards the project. It should make the investors optimistic regarding the returns they will get. Create your whitepaper around these five key aspects-
- The complete roadmap of the project that includes key milestones and significant developments.
- What happens after the ICO completion?
- The amount of investment needed to start the project.
- How will the token allowance be distributed?
- Who is the team behind this whole project?
2. Develop a lead generating Website– In the digital space, your website is the face of your business. Make sure it looks functional and attractive. Remember, the first impression is the last impression. Focus on the architecture and design of the website and make sure it is mobile friendly. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:-
- Have a home page, about us page, and contact us page
- Have a tab or section made to display the whitepaper of your project
- Include all the information regarding your tokens, investment return plans, team and the whole roadmap
Once your website is created, gear up to promote it socially in the online space.
3. Market yourself on social media– Social media plays a vital role in branding today. There are a lot of crypto communities, groups and pages spread across different social media channels. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Telegram, be a part of debates, live hours, and discussions. It gives you a platform to come in front of like-minded people and potential investors. Talk about your ICO in details, how your idea is different, the change it can bring and the disruptive value it has. Listed below are four platforms that can help you become a brand in the crypto community. They are as follows:-
- LinkedIn– LinkedIn is a social media platform that helps professionals showcase their skills in the niche they work. It makes it a great platform to put your project before these professionals and let them engage with it. Promote your ICO launch on the platform and keep updating your progress via short posts. When you do so, there are high chances that you will attract influencers to engage with you. There are a lot of bloggers and YouTubers who constantly create content in the crypto space. Get in touch with them and ask them if they could promote you via their channels. It is one of the best ways to get the right amount of exposure across the online space.
- Facebook– Though you cannot advertise your ICO on Facebook you can always discuss your idea and the merits of your project there. The most significant advantage of Facebook is its massive user base and promoting your project there will help you market it to a broader audience. Many people log in to Facebook and scroll through their news feed for hours. When you have such an audience, the engagement rate is higher which increases the number of queries you get. It makes it an interesting platform to strike a conversation with your audience and make them aware of the project.
- Twitter– You cannot advertise your ICO on Twitter, but like Facebook, you can surely promote the idea of the project here. Twitter is the second most popular social networking site and its 280 characters limit per tweet makes it an ideal platform to post quick updates and short posts. Moreover, Twitter has emerged as a great ICO marketing platform. It boasts of a highly active crypto community that consists of a lot of Blockchain influencers and enthusiasts which makes Twitter the best platform to do influencer marketing for your ICO, you need to engage with them and once they do, ask them to retweet your content which will expose you to their followers who will happily engage with you.
- Instagram– The seventh most popular social networking platform, Instagram is all about better visuals. You can promote your project creating impacting visuals and informative infographics which will generate better engagement from the audience as they will understand your concept better. It is also a great platform to retarget your ads to the target audience and decrease the buyer dissonance.
TokenAsia Pro-tip- The best way to market yourself on social media is to create content pieces based on your idea. Use text analytics smartly and make no reference to Blockchain, ICO, or any term specifically related to trading. This will keep you safe from getting banned on these platforms. Once the content is prepared, populate them across all social media channels and promote them through paid mediums and organically. Once you do that, build a community across those content pieces.
4. Building a community and managing it– For an ICO to be successful, it needs to have a good support system. To create a good support system, you need to emphasise strongly on building a community around your project. There are a lot of developers, investors, and Blockchain supporters across the online space. You need to reach out to them through your content, engage with them, and make them a part of your vision. That’s how you nurture a community; we list down four channels where you can talk, promote, discuss Blockchain and can develop a community as well.
- BitcoinTalk– BitcoinTalk is the oldest websites in the crypto space. It is the first and foremost place where an ICO should reveal the primary details. The power of BitcoinTalk lies in the fact that it has a knowledgeable crypto community. Ideas around ICOs are discussed openly, and the community discards things that seem fishy.
- Telegram– Surprisingly, Telegram is one of the most important platforms to talk about your ICO and market it. It is one of the most reliable channels to promote Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency today.
- Quora– Quora is a Q&A platform where people ask questions on different topics and get their answers from various experts and writers. You can follow different topics on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency on Quora, answer questions, get into discussions with fellow Quorans gaining some good exposure through it.
- Reddit– Reddit is a similar platform like Quora, but more extreme and straightforward in its approach. It has several popular crypto channels, make sure to join them and engage with other users.
5. Make your website SEO friendly– If you have a good website, but it isn’t too visible on search engines, you are losing a large chunk of the audience here. When a user searches ICO on the search bar, your website should come on top of the search results. SEO is the best way to get good organic reach across the web. Your SEO strategy determines the level of exposure you get on search engines. It involves both on-page and off-page activities; you can either do it yourself or hire an SEO agency to do it for you.
6. Email marketing– Email marketing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of marketing in the digital marketing world. It is an extremely useful channel when it comes to investor acquisition. When you engage with investors via action based emails sharing a new offer or the launch date of your token, it prompts them to take action.
To do email marketing efficiently, create an email list first. You can do that by asking visitors on your website to subscribe entering their email id. Once you generate an email list, create a newsletter that includes all important updates about your ICO and send it to all your subscribers.
7. Press releases– Press release is an age old tried and tested method of sending a message via traditional mediums. The press releases should be written with thorough professional expertise and must be promoted through channels that matter. There are a lot of free websites that can publish a press release for free, but if you want your press release to have an effective impact. Either hire a marketing agency or pay a premium to a high profile media outlet.
8. Guest posting– Guest posting is a great way to build a brand name across the Internet. When you publish a well written informative article on authoritative websites, it is read by a large number of people. If the article reaches potential investors, it is an added advantage.There are a lot of websites on the Internet that allow you to guest post either for free or a particular price. You can get in touch with some good ICO marketing firms to know the right places to publish and the right contacts to get your written piece published.
9. Coin Listings– Listing your ICO on specialised websites is a vital part of ICO marketing. It is a great way to generate credibility for your project before the actual launch. Not only that, it generates a good amount of visibility as well. Top tier websites have premium prices, so you always need to keep a portion of your marketing budget allotted for these websites.
Things for ICOs have changed a lot since 2017. Marketing an ICO in 2018 is way more challenging than it was in 2017. New regulations against ICOs being brought by different Governments across the globe and ban on ICO ads on three primary social media channels .i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have made marketing even more difficult. If you want to make your ICO successful in current times, you need to have a 360-degree approach towards marketing.
Bring an out of the box innovative outlook towards marketing. In-house marketing will not be enough in the current scenario, the competition is tough, and the obstacles have piled up more. People are quite cautious now because of the recent ICO scams, and with recent Government regulations, investors have become very cautious. Today, you need to have the utmost clarity on why you are doing what you are doing. Your first impression will play a vital role in deciding if your ICO would be a success or a failure. So, it is all up to you how you leverage the available channels and marketing tactics to brand your ICO. If you do it right, you will reap a good harvest in terms of revenue and goodwill in the near future.