2018 was undoubtedly the biggest for the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market yet. In just the first quarter of 2018, ICOs raised more money than they did in the entire 2017. In 2017, ICOs raised a total of $5.6 billion with average ICO bringing in $12.7 million. If you compare that data with IPO (which raised $188.8 billion), it is quite humble. Cleary, there is still a long way ahead.
ICOs success rate is not that great either. In 2017, only 48% of these were successful enough. However, there is a shift happening now, and the new player is STO or Security Token Offering. Ever since it became easier to get funding from non-traditional sources, many dubious ICOs came up and ended up tarnishing the image of the industry. This is when Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stepped in.
Security Token Offerings, commonly known as STOs are considered as one of the best alternatives of ICOs that are more compliant with security regulations. When many ICOs fail to get approval from US Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC), STOs do easily.
STO is destined to be the next biggest thing in the cryptocurrency world. Some are even predicting the domination of STOs at $10 trillion by just 2020. STOs are a lot different from ICO. Regardless of whether you are taking the ICO route or STO, a solid marketing plan is the only way to success.
If you plan to launch STO, you need a foolproof STO marketing strategy that we will describe in this article. In this detailed article, you will learn about how to launch a successful STO and how to market your STO the right way, without even using expensive STO marketing services.
What is the Difference Between ICO and STO?
The main difference between ICO and STO comes down to regulations and the target audience. ICOs are usually crowd-funded through retail investors. A retail investor can virtually be anyone. They usually comprise of low-income individuals that do not have much financial knowledge or care about regulations or a business plan.
STOs do not necessarily work with retail investors. This is mainly because of regulatory limitations. For instance, if you are launching your STO in the US, only accredited investors can participate. This effectively changes the whole security token strategy from that of an ICO. The STO marketing strategy would be geared towards more sophisticated investors.
Who invests in security tokens? It is usually those with consistent high income or a lot of capital. Such investors are much more shrewd and diligent. They will not budge to a shiny website or big social media presence. Your STO marketing plan will need to be designed according to their persona.
STO Marketing Plan: How to Market Your STO?
As with any marketing or PR plan, you need to clearly define your marketing goals. This begins months before the actual marketing practices take place and the STO is launched. If you start without a clear, research-driven strategy, you will be throwing money at marketing STO without achieving the real underlying goal.
There are questions to be answered and legal steps to be taken, then comes the time to actually devise the marketing plan. In short, you should have four to five clearly defined goals that envelope everything you want to achieve with the security token offering.
A big question is who exactly you want to target. In the case of STO, it should not be too hard to put yourself in the shoes of the kind of investors buying the security tokens. Everything you do from this point onwards has to revolve around their persona. For instance, geographic location is one thing you may need to focus. Attitudes of investors can be different in different places.
Creating the Perfect Website
The most fundamental part of your security token marketing strategy is the website. Regardless of where the customary security token investor comes from, the website will be the first interaction with them. You can change many things in the long run of security token strategy, but if you mess up the first impression you are off to a failure.
The homepage is of crucial importance. It serves as the face of the STO. Think of it as an executive summary of the business plan. Creating a highly professional and informative homepage and a website is the first step of achieving the trust of your potential investors.
Here are some guidelines for the website:
- The website should answer all the questions investors may have in a clear fashion
- It should be rich in media (infographics, videos, etc.) as long as it is relevant
- It should be clean and well-structured
- A detailed, technical, and transparent whitepaper that is easily accessible
- You may feature a Press Release section to show that journalists and the general public are interested in the project
- The website should provide ample information about the people involved in the STO (also how to contact them)
Getting your website right is just the base. As it is common with anything you build, if the base is strong the rest of the structure has a better chance of surviving.
Complete All Legal Compliances
This is important not just for the very STO but also from a marketing aspect. As mentioned before, this is one area that distinguishes an STO from an ICO. Before launching the STO, it is imperative that you fulfill all the compliance requirements. You are looking at institutionalized investors. They will get into every little legal detail of the STO and have sound financial knowledge to break down everything. Unlike retail investors who lack such knowledge, these investors would be interested to know if you are compliant with all the rules set in your jurisdiction.
When you are clear that you are offering your tokens as security tokens and are complying with all the rules set out, you can use this as a marketing tactic. All legal documents should be readily available to potential investors. In all other marketing practices, you can sort of brag about this compliance.
You will need to consult with attorneys that have experience in security token businesses. They will guide you through all the requirements you need to meet. You can even mention the legal firms you have worked with on your website. Everything should be out in the open regarding compliance and legal structures surrounding the STO.
How to Launch a Successful STO: STO Content Strategy
Content is king, and the fact remains same for STO marketing. Your marketing content is going to act as your voice, and you want to get heard, don’t you? Content marketing will serve as a pillar of your overall strategy for two reasons.
First, it gives you a chance to introduce yourself and share your knowledge and story. Second, the kind of audience you are targeting wants to know more about you, your business background, and the road plan of the STO. They do so through the content you publish.
Create a Blog
The website needs to have an active blog. You need in-depth articles often with infographics and statistics to showcase why investing in your security token is worth it. It is one of the most effective STO marketing tips. People may need some convincing and your blog is your absolute best chance to make it happen.
Blog also allows you to develop yourself as an authority in the industry, by publishing in-depth high-quality blog posts on the relevant subjects.
Setting up a blog is just going to take a few minutes thanks to the tools available today. However, you will struggle in the beginning. It may take some time to attract some traffic to the blog. Remember, your blog will run with other marketing platforms in conjoint.
Although there is no thumb rule here, publishing two to three detailed articles on different topics is a good start. You may also want to guest post on other established blogs.
Use Other Content Publishing Platforms like Medium
In the cryptocurrency world, the Medium is the number one choice for that. It is quite professional and has a diverse following. There is another particularly popular in the blockchain spheres, Steemit. Again, even this decision depends on who you are targeting.
We have talked at length about articles but do you know which medium gets the most engagement? The video is now considered the most engaging and the fastest growing media on the internet.
You may want to feature original video content alongside your blog article. Alternately, you can start a YouTube channel with monthly video postings. This can be a way to reach out to younger investors who prefer interactive media over the rest.
Reach Out to STO Experts or Hire STO Marketing Services
Even if you see yourself and your STO as a trailblazer, there are so many obstacles you are bound to face. STO experts may come in very handy in avoiding such obstacles. Another thing you need to keep in mind is competition. That should be your lesson from the yesteryear ICOs. There were just too many. Who is to say that would not be the case with a security token business?
You have three areas where you need help from the experts: legal, technical, and marketing. Any advisor with a strong knowledge of the market and its challenges will bring a lot of new things to the table that you may never be able to get otherwise.
However, the best part is the connections. Such individuals can give you the right connections in the industry to set up your network. This is instrumental to the STO marketing, eventual launch and, of course, its success.
Seeking support from STO experts is not going to be easy. You will first need to hunt down who they are. You need to find influencers, editors, and activists. Twitter and LinkedIn may prove beneficial in reaching out to them and grabbing their attention. Also, you should consider attending security token events. There you can meet them in person and pick their brains about your venture.
Start a Newsletter
At this point, you know your STO marketing strategy basis. Most of the times people just focus on marketing as a way to attract investors in the context of STO. However, the marketing phase is a recurring one and involves retaining those potential investors. You need to ensure that those investors who have shown interest stay hooked.
When it comes to retaining clients current or potential, Email marketing is considered a strong tool. You need to start a weekly or monthly newsletter to keep the potential investors in the loop. It is going to prove instrumental in retaining investors and growing your network.
You must have heard about E-mail marketing being a bust with a high bounce rate. That is not going to be the case with the newsletter. The reason for that is that it is sort of personal in that the reader chose to sign up and is interested in reading the material.
Newsletters can be used to update the potential investors about what you have achieved so far. It can be a way to inform them about the roadmap being implemented on time. It also emphasizes your transparency making the STO more promising.
Whatever articles you publish on the blog can be featured in the newsletter. You can share your knowledge with the readers in order to inspire them to be a part of it. If you consider yourself a strong leader with an opinion, you can use the voice to comment on recent industry events and the market trends.
Use Social Media to Your Full Advantage
Social media is now an essential platform for any business and STO would be no exception. We have seen ICOs using social media to its full potential. However, considering STO is different from a conventional ICO, the use of social media would be a bit different too.
First of all, you need a presence on all professional social media outlets. These primarily include LinkedIn and Twitter. You would also want to cash in on the biggest social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. The latter is of course reserved for all your video content including any interviews you give.
There are other platforms like Reddit. However, they do not really have the same impact as the others. Also, your target audience might not even exist on such chat or discussion forums. So that basically leaves Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Twitter and Facebook will serve as a means to communicate with the general public and potential investors. You can used these platforms to share all the content you create to market the STO. A large following on such platforms can also serve to increase reinforce your credibility. Finally, LinkedIn will primarily serve as a way to network and create professional links with industry bigwigs.
STO Marketing Tips
The regulations surrounding an STO bar it from using certain mediums to direct market the securities. However, that does not make it impossible to market it directly. In fact, your security token marketing strategy should revolve around mediums you can still use legally.
Here are some helpful STO marketing tips:
Utilize Proxy Marketing:
Since you cannot directly market the tokens, you have to come up with different mediums to use for proxy marketing. There are online publications, magazines, and blogs that can make that happen for you. It is just a matter of identifying them.
This should come in handy at every stage of the STO. As numbers indicate, STO will take over ICO in a short period of time. That means a lot of competition to take care of. Proper competitor analysis will also aid your marketing plan and keep you prepared for any curveballs.
Create a Library of Potential Investors:
Targeting the right audience is the key to achieving success with the STO. You need to take into account every potential investor and buyer. Having this data can be of enormous benefit when sending out emails, newsletters, etc.
Keep Regulation D in Mind:
STO marketing is a bit complicated as to what may be allowed. If you are in the US, Regulation D Sec 506(c) bars you from advertising on television, newspapers, magazine, radio, public seminars, and on the internet. You do not want a whole lot of legal trouble at this early stage.
Attend Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conferences:
Such conferences can provide you a means to personally meet other blockchain company owners and cryptocurrency enthusiast. Think of it as a platform to both marketing your STO and creating a network. Do some research about such individuals before going to the conference or convention.
STO Marketing Services
By now you must have realized that STO marketing is no job for the faint heart. It is going to take a huge chunk of your time and resources. You will need the absolute best people for the job. However, not everyone might be in the position to oversee all that. This is where you might need the help of professional STO marketing services.
They will take care of everything on your behalf. All the information you just read in this article can help you choose the right agency. Any company that guarantees implementation of a strong marketing strategy, one that has been described here, should make the cut.
This STO marketing guide is for those who understand the importance of marketing for the security token success. It is going to be a long ride, one with a lot of bumps. However, the benefit of having a solid marketing strategy and plan is that you can mitigate any unforeseen risks.
Your ultimate goal is to attract the right audience, earn their trust, and finally convert. If you ensure these goals are addressed in everything you undertake as part of your security token marketing, you can go on to be a part of this next big and lucrative trend in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.