How to Market and Advertise an ICO
An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a great and unique way to garner financial support for your business venture. While most people think that having the technical side of the operation down means that the battle is mostly won, this is unfortunately not the case.
In fact, your ICO’s success depends largely on how well you’re able to drum up excitement and get other people engaged in your business venture. This is especially true now because of the exploding popularity of ICOs in general. With as many daily offerings as there are in the current market, it’s all too easy to become lost in the crowd and see your venture fail.
Below you’ll find several ICO marketing tips to follow that will give you the best possible chance of success. It’s important to give each step the appropriate amount of resources and time. Skipping over a step, rushing through something or neglecting a part of the plan that might seem trivial will make it that much more difficult to achieve your funding goals.
Crafting a Memorable White Paper
No ICO can truly be successful without a thorough, inspiring white paper. A white paper is an integral part of your marketing strategy even though it should not read directly as marketing copy.
The goal of a white paper is to tell the story of you your business while also outlining the technical aspects of the project, explaining why investors should care about it and any other potentially valuable insights you can offer. This is your most valuable PR and media tool.
No two of these reports will be exactly the same, but it would be helpful for you to read the white papers for other ICOs that were successful so that you have a better understanding of what your investors will want to know. If you have the budget for it, you might also consider hiring a professional writer who has experience with writing these types of documents.
Generally speaking, an ICO white paper should include the following topics:
- An introduction and industry overview
- Potential risk factors of your venture
- How you’ll overcome the outlined risks
- A timeline for token sales and distribution
- A list of your team members that includes relevant industry experience
- An overall schedule of project development
Remember that ICO investment is considered a high-risk endeavor, so you want to give your project as much credibility and gravitas as possible. This will help investors feel comfortable with and excited by your venture. Don’t gloss over potential problems. Investors like to see transparency, and if you can outline definite solutions, they tend to react more positively to your pitch.
One final point to keep in mind is this: Your investors may not all be tech-minded individuals. Your white paper should be professional, but it shouldn’t be filled with jargon. Make your points clear and simple, and include color graphs, charts, and images every few hundred words to summarize important information and keep the reader’s interest.
You should also create a brief explanatory video that hits the highlights of the information covered in your white paper. Videos are more easily shared and discussed than a full paper, so this should be considered another integral part of your media outreach strategy.
Building the Best ICO Website
Unlike your white paper, your website can have a more obvious sales format. The goal of your site is to aggregate all of the information about your ICO. This includes the white paper, presentations and any other marketing materials as well as news items, social media links and anything else your potential investors might want to know.
If you don’t already have a website, you need to get one up and running as soon as possible. You may not be able to get the ideal .com domain, but you can always branch out into .io, .co or .ly domains. This is usually preferable to obtaining a difficult-to-remember .com address.
For those who already have a website, you should make sure that your landing page is focused on the ICO sale. Make your social links easy to spot and click on, and include navigation links to all pertinent pages.
Your website should also showcase you and your team. Use real photos of all members, and add links to their professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn alongside their bios.
You should also consider adding a visual counter of how many people are already supporting your project. This demonstrates to potential investors that you already have an established base of interest.
Utilize ICO Listing Sites and Upcoming ICO Sites
ICO listing sites and websites that keep an updated schedule of upcoming ICOs are an invaluable asset to any startup venture. You should make sure to list your ICO with trusted, popular sites as early as possible.
Serious investors generally keep a close eye on popular sites like ICOspotters.com and others so that they can stay abreast of the hottest upcoming ICOs with the most potential for profit.
Social Media Campaigns Specific to ICOs
Despite the fact that some social media platforms like Facebook are putting a stranglehold on ICO paid advertising, you should still make sure that you have an active presence on all of the relevant social media sites.
This includes having accounts on platforms such as:
Sites like Reddit and Quora especially have a variety of forums that are potentially relevant to your ICO. In addition to the mainstream sites, you should advertise on ICO listing sites as well.
Don’t be afraid to use paid promotion, selective ad placement and guest posts as a part of your ICO marketing strategy too. A well-placed ad or guest blog in the right community can be incredibly effective. Selectively using the post promotion features on relevant platforms can considerably increase your reach as well.
Other traditional marketing strategies should not be overlooked either. Tactics like lead generation, email marketing, conversion rate optimization and data analytics can all serve your company well if used properly. Each of these avenues can give you valuable information about your demographics and the kind of reach your ICO advertising is getting.
Digital PR and Media Outreach
This can be a tricky aspect of marketing your ICO. For the most part, the public relations side of the industry is something that leaves a lot to be desired. As a result, if you can skillfully manage your startup’s reputation in the media, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
Experts and successful ICO founders recommend that you have a viable proof of concept before you even think about PR. Much of the negativity surrounding the public opinion of ICOs stems from the tendency for companies to make outrageous marketing claims in the hopes of generating “hype” without having the product or plan ready to back the claims up.
Many founders agree that outreach to traditional media outlets can be extremely helpful, especially with how limited the ability to advertise on social media has become. Participating in radio interviews, podcasts, expos and popular news outlets can all be excellent avenues for generating noise around your ICO.
You should also remember that, in the end, this is still just PR. Your campaign should follow some of the important principles of conventional media outreach such as:
- Providing accessible education about your ICO
- Presenting a problem and your solution in a relatable way
- Making emotional connections with your audience
These basics absolutely must be covered, or your outreach is going to go nowhere.
ICO Creative and Marketing Materials
Your main priority in regards to the community being built around your venture should be to keep investors and potential investors well-informed. While there are some regulations in place to ensure a certain level of financial security for people who invest in ICOs, you have to remember that there are a lot of horror stories floating around the internet regarding ICOs that earned significant backing before essentially scamming people out of their money.
To stay ahead of any sort of nervousness on the part of your investors, you should make communication an integral part of your development schedule. Building this type of reliable communication may be the single most important part of your overall strategy because word of mouth recommendations count for a lot, and it can be a cornerstone of how you present yourself in your advertising campaigns.
Outside of that, keep in mind that the best marketing is often the simplest. People like digestible bits of information that can be easily recalled and shared. The easiest way to do this is by creating eye-catching digital posters and infographics that can be readily saved and shared by your target audience. In addition to this, crafting a series of clean, enticing display ads for relevant blogs, news sites and forums can generate significant interest.
Don’t be afraid to utilize the explainer video you created for your website in other marketing materials. You should also consider creating other short videos that can be disseminated in popular forums and via email. These can be videos of the product, short “behind-the-scenes” interviews with your team or even just a simple facility tour.
In all aspects of your outreach and marketing, however, it’s absolutely essential that you remain transparent and conservative in your promises. Honesty and transparency are the two best ICO marketing tools you have.
Token Sale Email Marketing Campaigns
Before you begin any email marketing campaigns, be sure to familiarize yourself with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, guidelines.
Email can be a difficult sort of direct marketing due to spam filters and email management clients. However, generating an email list will allow you to send out newsletters that highlight new developments, encourage engagement with your investors and highlight promotions like affiliate and refer-a-friend programs.
You can create an email list initially by setting up an exclusive whitelist for interested investors, or you can opt to pay an agency for a list of people with interest in ICO investment for a broader approach. The former will have a lower quantity with a higher response rate, and the latter will have a higher quantity with a lower response rate, so a mix of both can be a good approach as well.
Affiliate, Bounty and Refer-a-friend Programs
Creating affiliate partnerships is a great way to expand your reach and influence. Affiliate programs work by partnering with individuals or other businesses that will send traffic to your website in exchange for a small commission fee. Professional affiliates are often able to tap into their more extensive networks of connections to help you gain exposure.
Offering bonuses for users that invite their friends can also be powerful technique. Simply add a page or section within the users dashboard that offers them their personal referral link along with the details of the program and watch your number of users start to multiply! Common bonuses range between 2-15% so be sure to choose a bonus structure that fits your business plan but is also attractive to affiliates and users.
Another way to foster loyalty and excitement around your startup is by offering rewards called ICO bounties. They’re essentially free coins given out by an ICO startup to registered users who complete certain tasks, such as sharing promotional posts on social media, referring friends, blogging about the company or finding and reporting bugs within the site.
Networking at Crypto Events
Taking part in face-to-face crypto networking events can give your ICO a serious boost as well. They’re an excellent opportunity to meet and chat with industry leaders and influencers as well as possible investors. These events can not only give you more exposure but help you to learn newer, better ways to increase your reach and improve your product.
Some events are more exclusive than others, but in general, they are intended for those involved in the industry and those who are serious about seeking out ICO investment opportunities, so it’s wise to make an appearance and make some new connections.
Final Thoughts on ICO Marketing
The best way to ensure success is to carefully map out as much of your ICO advertising strategy as possible before you launch into digital media outreach and real-life networking. Once your ICO is in the public eye, you will have a limited amount of time to initially capture the eye of investors and make an impactful first impression.
The key takeaways from this guide should be:
- Utilize popular, trusted ICO listing websites
- Develop an attention-grabbing home website
- Deliver a thorough, inspiring white paper
- Establish a positive media presence
- Keep your investors informed, excited and engaged
- Take advantage of networking opportunities whenever possible
Combining a solid idea with the most advantageous avenues of exposure and a well-planned marketing strategy will help you to stand out and succeed in today’s ICO market.