With ICO marketing – as with any kind of marketing, really – every little thing matters. Since the number of ICOs that manage to complete is hovering somewhere around 50%, it’s becoming clearer by the month that there is no easy path forward. Some were even preparing to hail the death of ICOs – but all too early, as the soaring investment figures for Q2 are proving. It appears that, as the number of unsuccessful ICOs grows, so does the funding attracted by the successful ones.
How, then, do you leverage a market that is reaching adulthood? If you have decided on an ICO, you probably know quite a bit about the problem you’re working to solve and the solution you’re putting forth. But do you know anything about ICO marketing? Because, beyond any technicalities, this is where your project might sink or swim. To help you out, here are the most important do’s and don’ts of launching an ICO.
Do your white paper right
Not exactly part of ICO marketing as such, but this is the cornerstone of your entire project. All your ICO marketing efforts will send investors to this document, so make sure it’s good. Bear in mind that everything matters, from the topics to the presentation. Here’s a quick white paper checklist:
Project outline. Explain what problem you are trying to solve, what general solution you are proposing and how you know it is both a solution and a good market fit.
Technical solution. Detail the technical solution for those investors who are blockchain-savvy or interested enough to send their scouts out. Explain why a blockchain solution is necessary or helpful.
Project Team. This is an immensely helpful element of your presentation. Make sure you only deal in truthful statements – the internet does not forget or forgive – and show them in the best possible light. Previous experience is key. Show how they are reachable.
Legal Compliance. Since this is already a very fraught topic, make sure you let everyone know your project is legal. Not just the company itself – though it is important to explain where it is registered and what its legal status is – but the Initial Coin Offering, too.
Sustainability. Show your potential investors that this is not a one-off stage appearance for your company. How are you planning to make money with your project beyond the ICO?
Token Distribution. For the investors who have taken the trouble to read this far, explain the incentivization process. What percentage goes to the founders and for how long, how are you incentivizing bug bounty, development, design, and marketing efforts, what benefits do investors get during the ICO?
Design your document just right. Make sure you use a proper white paper formatting software – even a Word document is perfectly fine, as long as you use a pro to set it up and design it for you. Improve your presentation with graphics and images. It bears repeating: Do not be lazy with your white paper. Hire someone, spend money, do whatever it takes to get it right.
Design a sound webpage
A “sound” webpage is not a shiny, sparkly, colorful webpage. It is a business-like presentation of your project. Do it right – hire a company with a proven record of creating the kind of webpage you would be proud of: optimized at every tiny layer, mobile-friendly (since more than half of all searches are now mobile), clean. Choose your domain wisely, too. *Quick tip: If you get a good web design company, their questions might help figure out a lot of your business details.
Do social media
The key phrase here is “engage and respond”. You need a social media account for your project – but not just a cardboard setup. You need a living, breathing person operating it, engaging followers, moderating, and replying to comments. The more team members are involved in replying and engaging, the better.
Engage the crypto communities
The same principle applies: engage and respond. This time, the playing field is represented by the platforms that crypto fans prefer: Telegram, Reddit, Medium, Twitter. All your marketing efforts should be directed toward finding your crypto-savvy audience and convincing it your project is worth their money. This is where that audience lives – talk to it.
List on ICO Calendars & ICO websites
No one does ICO marketing better than ICO websites. They can lift or bury your project by giving it top real estate, by showcasing its merits, by simply placing it in a calendar that is essential for anyone interested in tokens. Most of your traffic will initially come from these websites. Token hunters go there to see what’s potentially hot, what it’s about, when it’s launching etc.; make sure you meet them when they come.
Do “traditional” digital marketing
All the efforts we’ve mentioned before are part of ICO marketing, in the sense that they help market your project. You should, however, use every conventional digital marketing channel available. Other than organic keywords, social media marketing and expert SEO techniques, do use pay-per-click and display advertising, and, by all means, do use email marketing. Emails will keep your community in the loop and show you are, as they say, gold.
Outsource writing the white paper
It’s tempting, but don’t do it. Whenever you feel like saying “Oh, I’ll just focus on the technical aspects and leave the writing and ICO marketing to someone else”, remember no one knows your project better than you. It doesn’t mean you should be writing every word in the white paper – but don’t use Fiverr to hire a writer for it. You can delegate to someone who is familiar with the blockchain space, who has access to the key elements of your project – business plan, executive summary etc. – but make sure you read every letter on every page.
Fluff up the presentation
Don’t fluff up your website. For instance, do not use a WordPress template and slap sprinkles on it – cheap websites don’t look trustworthy, so don’t be stingy here. But, most of all, don’t fluff up your presentation. It’s very tempting, especially if you are not 100% sure about certain parts of your project, to fill in the blanks with fluff: “No, I’m not sure how to monetize the product two years from now, but hey – is that a pink unicorn that just crossed my screen?” These attempts at misdirection hardly ever work.
It’s becoming quite clear that hiring celebrities is trending down – to put it mildly. With a few poised to get time, or at least severe penalties, for their involvement in ICO marketing scams, people have lost faith in this strategy. However trustworthy you want your project to appear, a USA Today celebrity might have the opposite effect. You can, on the other hand, ask for endorsement from blockchain personalities – as long as they are not too divisive.
That being said, your ICO marketing team needs a big helping hand from you, the brains behind the project. Spend time and money on putting together every little detail of the plan and overseeing the execution, because a tiny glitch may undeservedly kill off a good idea. It happens – just make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
And hey – good luck!