Are you launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for your blockchain-cryptocurrency project? Remember that in 2017, out of 902 ICOs, only 435, or 48%, were successful. With popular Internet platforms like Google and Facebook banning ICO ads, 2018 will likely be harder for ICOs. How you market your ICO will make a crucial difference, hence I thought of sharing this ICO marketing checklist with you.
Prepare your ICO marketing strategy early:
You need to start marketing your ICO the moment you conceive the project idea, by creating your ICO marketing strategy. Your strategy should include the following list of marketing tasks:
- Plan for a really professional and elegant ICO website;
- The budget and resources for an original, well-researched, and professional ICO whitepaper;
- A good plan for PR and media outreach;
- Sufficient plans for community and social media management;
- A strategy for targeted advertising;
- A plan for bounty programs;
- The necessary budget for hosting and attending blockchain technology events.
Read more about creating your ICO marketing strategy in “Beginner’s Guide: How to create a great ICO marketing strategy“.
Build your ICO marketing content:
ICO marketing is completely digital, where a great content commands great value. Prepare your ICO marketing content as soon as you have an ICO marketing strategy, and take professional help. The following are crucial:
- ICO website: A professional, elegant, clean, and informative website is the first window for your investors into your project. Remember to prominently display your project team members’ social media profiles. Have a good video explaining your project, and position your ‘call-to-action’ (CTA) buttons prominently. Investors are wary about ICO scams, and will certainly look for your team members profiles in your website. Read its’ important for your investors in “Beginner’s Guide: How to spot ICO scams“.
- ICO whitepaper: Take professional help and create a great whitepaper. It should explain the project idea clearly without technical and marketing jargon. The whitepaper must explain why blockchain and token are needed. The document should make token distribution and token sale modalities clear to your investors. Above all, it must be 100% original. Read how closely your investors check your whitepaper in “Beginner’s Guide: How to check ICO whitepaper“.
- Social media profiles and Infographics: I recommend that you take professional help to build these.
- Sales pitches and similar presentations: You will need them when attending blockchain events and in private meetings with investors. Don’t compromise on quality!
- Blog posts: You must tailor them to your audience.
- Videos and podcasts: These have high engagement potential, hence take professional help to create these.
- Press releases: It may be tempting to do it yourself, but trust me, you will have your hands full with the project development. Get professional help.
ICO community management:
It’s a key component of your ICO marketing checklist and can make or break your ICO. Investors rely upon the opinion of crypto communities before they participate in ICOs. Crypto communities are incredibly knowledgeable and if you engage them well, you can build trust in your project.
I recommend you hire an ICO community management agency, to address the following:
- Post engaging content in chat apps like Telegram and Slack;
- Engage Reddit crypto communities;
- Manage engagement for your project on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn;
- Publicize your project in platforms like Quora, Steemit, and Medium;
- Post regular updates about your project in popular blockchain-crypto forums like BitcoinTalk.
This is a full-time, 24×7 job, with high workload during pre-ICO and post-ICO periods. Prepare well for this marketing task by reading “ICO community manager: the importance of the role in your ICO“.
The importance of ICO infrastructure in your ICO marketing checklist:
There were instances of hackers attacking ICO campaign, for e.g. the CoinDash ICO. You need to have a solid infrastructure ready and tested before you can launch your ICO.
You really need to ensure a secure website hosting with guaranteed uptime and support. Your investors attach great importance to your website when they participate in your ICO. Read more about it in “Beginner’s Guide: How to participate in an ICO“.
You also need secure and reliable email marketing infrastructure. Your social media management and blogging infrastructure are important, too.
Proactively communicate your ICO regulatory compliance:
As regulators world over are waking up to the unregulated nature of ICOs, scrutiny is increasing. Smart investors will increasingly want to know whether you are on the right side of the regulations.
Investors know that in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has subpoenaed over 80 blockchain-crypto projects. They have also served notices to ICOs. Read more about it in “Security token vs utility token: A comparison“.
Assuming you have done the legal groundwork and achieved regulatory clearances, proactively communicate your ICO regulatory compliance. Don’t leave anything to speculation.
ICO PR campaign: a key piece in the puzzle
After you have your ICO marketing content ready, work on the ICO PR campaign. This is a complex task, and I recommend that you engage professional PR agencies. They will need to address the following:
- Plan media coverage;
- Establish media relationships;
- Write very good press release copy;
- Publish the content in popular media outlets;
- Monitor the campaign and course-correct as needed.
You need to take a very important step at this point. Please list your ICO in popular websites that track ICOs, for e.g., ICO Rating, ICO Bench, and ICO Alert.
ICO ads and bounty campaigns:
Scams have given negative media coverage to ICOs, hence popular Internet platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have completely banned ICO ads. This makes your marketing harder.
You can still use ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) ads, using networks like Cointraffic and Coinad. Banner ads on popular crypto blogs and media outlets are your other options.
Restriction on ads makes bounty campaigns more important to you. Here you reward enthusiasts that attract investors to your ICO.
Airdropping, i.e. giving away some tokens for free, is a popular form of bounty campaign. However, you need use judgment, because if you give away too few tokens it defeats your purpose. On the other hand, if you give away too many then investors may think of your project as a scam.
ICO email marketing is a long-term component of your ICO marketing checklist:
Email marketing remains an important component of any digital marketing strategy, and your ICO isn’t an exception. However, in case of ICOs, the effect of email marketing is felt over a longer term.
ICO email marketing is now harder because MailChimp, one of the most popular vendor has banned it. You can still build your own email list and conduct email marketing, but you need to careful that you don’t send unsolicited emails. Take time to build your email list, and your project will reap the benefits over a long-term.
Attend blockchain events to market your ICO:
Every start-up needs to be present where their customers and potential investors are, and your ICO project isn’t an exception. An important component of your ICO marketing checklist is attending blockchain events.
Look to present your project in these events, also consider sponsoring or hosting such events. The value of networking face-to-face with your prospects is immense, hence prepare well with a good sales pitch! Find out about blockchain events here.
Note: If you are new to ICOs, I recommend that you understand the concept by reading “What is an ICO: An introduction to Initial Coin Offering“. You should also explore other avenues for raising fund for your project, for e.g. Venture Capital (VC) funds. Read how VCs compare with ICOs in “ICO vs VC: The Experience Matters“.