ICO Marketing Strategy – The Definitive Guide 2018


May 17, 2018

ico marketing strategy

ICO Marketing Strategy Tips

Marketing strategy can mean all the difference between life and death of the ICO. Not all digital marketing managers have a clear understanding how to promote an ICO. Especially with the trends of shortening attention span for the average person and the gradual shift to mobile and voice search, ICO marketing simply doesn’t have the time for traditional steps, for example, search engine optimization will not show results during an ICO campaign. Instead, ICO marketing specialists focus on nurturing an ICO community of followers who follow the project and create the trust which is vital for reaching token sale goals. ICO marketers recommend that the best time to develop the strategic ICO marketing plan needs to be ready at least three months before launching a token sale.

Step 1: Create a Whitepaper

white paper

This is the crucial step in the successful marketing strategy for the initial coin offering. The white paper outlines the idea of the product or a solution, explains why it’s anticipated on the market, which problem it solves and how actually acute the problem is, and what is the target audience or it is difficult to define a marketing niche for the product. Any white papers also need to contain a timeline of the project, including the start and finish date (not exactly, could be rounded by a quarter) as well as important milestones that the team plans to achieve. The white paper also should contain information on the team and advisors, their credentials, and any important investors who are backing the project already.

The white paper creation is a lengthy process and it comes at the cost for the marketers. Ideally, it should be written by a native English speaking copywriter with rich experience in finance and IT copywriting and journalism. For potential investors white paper presents the value of the project, so no expense should be saved on proper writing and formatting. Sometimes whitepapers are outsourced to freelancers which cannot always guarantee quality.

As you work on the white paper, the whole concept of your ICO can change. You may suddenly realize that your project doesn’t need a blockchain and can run perfectly well without issuing a cryptocurrency. This means that you can go the traditional route of raising investment, presenting to investors and doing roadshows.

Step 2. Design an Attractive ICO Website

website design

You can start with one-pager website and grow it incrementally as your project grows. Some startups invest in a .com domain and hold the token sale on a separate domain with less popular extension such as .io or .ly, while the main website is reserved for customers and clients. Some of the most important elements of the website to promote an ICO are:

An attractive CTA section that encourages investors to join the whitelist or take part in a pre-sale.

– Social media and community information with links to all social media accounts and industry-specific communities. Make sure that social media accounts are updated regularly and communities are alive. Are they updated at least once a day? Launching an ICO with dead social media accounts will lead to a failure. A social media marketing manager will be a helpful addition to the marketing team.

– White paper, presentations and slide shows that describe the project in full detail in a clear way to be understood by the regular community.

– Features list of the project with clear and detailed explanation what these features are necessary for. Make sure you explain the social value of the project, for example, bringing the blockchain potential to the masses. Always try to present it in such way that people don’t perceive your ICO to be a money-making machine, so focus on social global goals. Let investors see that you care about big issues.

  • Token sale information: price, amount of token supply, payment methods, token distribution.
  • Timeline details including detailed information about the pre-sale.
  • Full legal disclaimer explaining all legal details. This section must be created in collaboration with a specialized lawyer who will look at the fine print for you.
  • Team members will the photos and credentials, starting with the CEO of the company. Always use real-life photos even if they are unprofessional. Provide links to team’s social media accounts and LinkedIn pages.
  • Partners and advisors with their full credentials to showcase those industry experts and the cryptocurrency community are supporting your project. Make sure your advisor team includes at least one blockchain expert. This helps to bring a whole new perspective on the project.
  • Media: demonstrate media mentions and articles with media outlet’s logos to build trust in your project.

Step 3. Pre-Sale

This form of pre-ICO helps allocate funds that will be powering the main event which can be very demanding on resources. You will need money for development of smart contracts, lead generation, marketing, paid content placement, community building, and maintenance, as well as recruiting more teams and hosting and attending cryptocurrency-related events for the ICO community. Some of the trusted methods for launching a successful pre-sale are PPC ads and social media advertising, although keep in mind that you cannot use words “ICO” and “token” in Facebook ads.

Step 4. Social Media Profiles

social profiles

A trustworthy ICO marketing campaign is impossible without being present on all main social media channels. Your potential investors should see that you are open to communication and answer questions quickly. This helps reassure investors that you are not a bogus and also helps build a community, or “tribe”, that will build brand recognition for you for free or a small fee. Make sure to join not just Facebook and Twitter, but also industry-specific forums as an opportunity to build a community around your project.

Step 5. Whitelist Building

This is essentially an email marketing campaign targeting people who are interested in your project and may even join a pre-sale. To collect their email addresses in the right way you should design an attractive form on your website and list benefits of them joining in. The main benefit is that they will be the early investors with signing bonuses. Usually, whitelist members get the biggest bonus in the schedule. Sometimes an ICO would build a whitelist in a hierarchical form using Proof of Work, for people making the most contributions to the project obtaining top spots in the list. These contributions could include referrals to the project, social media activity, forum participation and commenting ICO mentions and reviews, and guest posts about the ICO on other resources.

Step 6. Get Included in ICO Calendars

ico calendars

The benefit of joining ICO calendars is the increased visibility and community awareness. These services provide a list all ICOs as they happen or added to the list. This helps make the community aware of your project and generate traffic. You don’t need a lot of content to join these calendars, only the main details: your project name, website address, and a brief description. If your project is interesting to the community, chances are, it will be added automatically. Often reaching out to website owners does the trick.

Step 7. Join Crypto Communities

Being active in cryptocurrency communities is very important for the success of any ICO. The reputation of the project is essential for building trust among the early supporters and reinforces the value to the investors. There are many free communities online including websites and forums. Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook are absolutely a must. You should also run a channel on Telegram and Slack. Your community manager will respond to questions and post updates on your project growth.

Try to get your advisors involved and host several live sessions where your “tribe” of supporters can ask questions about your project. A dedicated ICO community management expert will be helpful at this point. The regular community manager may not have any relevant experience and therefore not have the ability to deal with queries.

Step 8. Content Marketing

content marketing

This is a very effective form of marketing. Don’t expect journalists to queue for your interview or a quote unless you have Mark Zuckerberg as your backer. Instead, be realistic and publish a lot of useful and relevant content including daily news, press releases, interviews with advisors, and infographics about your industry. Don’t try to focus on profits at this point, try to be useful to your followers and provide them relevant, fresh information that can be put into action. Affiliate marketing is a good addition to your content marketing efforts.

Step 9. Paid Content Placement

How much should you spend on paid promotion? Depends on your budget. You can simply “boost” your content on social media which is a great way to increase visibility. Today it’s impossible to gain any social media visibility if you do not pay for promoting your content. It’s a very cost-efficient way of marketing and allows to greatly expand your reach. You should research your audience well and target the people that may be interested in your ICO. You can hire a PR manager in your team or get the help of a PR agency.

Google Adwords and cryptocurrency ad networks are both good options for ICO marketing. Both approaches help generate leads as well as increase overall brand recognition.

Step 10. Launch a Bounty Campaign

Bounties are free tokens which supporters receive as a reward for doing various services for the project. For example, they can report errors, promote the project in social media or in forums, share news about the ICO, or even guest blogging. The aim of the bounty campaign is to generate public awareness and support to the blockchain project. Issuing tokens are also much more cost-effective than paying for similar services in fiat money.

What if despite all efforts your ICO project fails? First of all, this is not uncommon. Not many ICOs hit the desired goal from the first attempt. Some of the reasons could be the lack of quality writing in the white paper, low community awareness, low token price, or, worst of all, no public belief in the value of the project.

Some of these issues can be solved, for example, you can rewrite the white paper and hire a more talented writer and graphic designer. You can hire a community manager to work with the tribe dedicatedly. Most companies let their social media manager to manage communities as well. You should be more active in social media and increase paid exposure expenses. Spend more time analyzing social media reports and see what works and what doesn’t.

On the website, you can rethink the funnel for the investors and whitelist members to encourage them to sign up and participate in the pre-sale.

Building a successful ICO marketing strategy is very time-consuming but is also very rewarding. One way is to hire a marketing agency to deal with PR and media or even develop an AI powered marketing strategy, but again you have to understand what you want and how the campaign should be structured.