A Token Sale Fundraising Blueprint for 2018
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token sales have changed the world of fundraising. In 2017, companies raised somewhere around $5.1 billion through ICOs — a 3,712% increase from the year before. In the first three months of 2018, ICOs have already raised $6.3 billion, which is 18% more than the whole of 2017. Both the size of the average funding round and the rate of project funding are higher than ever.
More people than ever before are interested in participating in ICOs, but launching an ICO now is difficult — companies have to be able to stand out in the crowd and get attention.
The importance of efficient ICO marketing increases every day. Your marketing campaign must promote your ICO through many different channels, and your marketing materials have to instill trust and inspiration among potential participants.
At ICOMarketing.net, we believe every ICO should have an experienced and successful marketing team like ours handling their marketing strategy so the core team can focus on the day to day business operations and the development of the underlying project, product, or service — but whether you’re handling marketing in-house or hiring a team like ours to handle your marketing, we’re going to show you how to create an ICO or token sale strategy that allows your project to reach your fundraising goals.
ICO Marketing Channels:
Before launching an ICO, it’s important to think about how you plan to attract your target audience. Equally important is considering how you’re going to budget the funds necessary to make for the marketing required to target them, and how much effort you’re going to put into doing so.
Thankfully, people who are interested in ICOs tend to be focused on a few specific channels, apps, websites, and networks.
Here we will break these “channels” down into free promotional opportunities and paid marketing:
Reddit has tons of subreddits for crypto enthusiasts, blockchain technology, and ICOs, although many of them tend to be small. IcoCrypto and EthTrader are some of the biggest communities.
Before you launch, spend some time on the various subreddits and see what posts tend to get the most upvotes and comments. Then, emulate that style when promoting your ICO.
Keep in mind that overly promotional posts are generally unwelcome on Reddit. Try to find a unique angle or schedule an AMA instead of just linking to the website. Putting in the time to interact with a community will get you much more traction than just shamelessly promoting your product.
Even though it’s mostly a business or team communications tool, Slack is the messaging platform of choice for some crypto communities.
One popular group is CoinFund — a group for users interested in blockchain technology. Many ICO investors are in the group, making it a great platform for companies launching an ICO. CoinFund will also often host Q&A sessions with ICOs.
There are tons of Telegram groups covering every aspect of cryptocurrency, making it a good platform for ICO marketing. A simple Google search for “Telegram ICO group” will give you a bunch of good leads.
ICO Listing Sites
Your ICO marketing strategy absolutely needs to include listing your ICO on the ICO listing sites and calendars that have the most traffic.
Start preparing your applications well before launching the ICO to ensure your website and legal assets are good to go. Keep in mind that new listings on many sites can take up to two business weeks to go live, so submit early to avoid a slow launch.
Your lead generating website should be in place and generating leads well before your ICO or pre-sale begins. By advertising this website early, you can generate a good lead base to pitch to early on. Send out emails early and often and keep your subscribers engaged. It’s especially important if you plan to run a whitelisting campaign. There are many solutions to automate the newsletter and subscriber process but it really helps if you have someone in charge of it who knows what they are doing.
Social Media and Forums
Social media and forum promotion is also extremely important and should be started as early in the process as possible. You want to have a solid follower base built up well before your pre-sale or ICO launches. Start with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, Bitcointalk, InvestFeed, and anywhere else your target audience congregates on the internet.
It’s important to already have your message and presentation well crafted before you put your project out there though. An amateur presentation will get an immediately negative response and can damage your brand. Be sure you’re working with a marketing consultant or team who can advise you on handling this properly.
Your Own Communities
Most companies nowadays also create their own communities to encourage discussion and answer questions about the ICO.
We highly recommend having at least one Slack group of your own. You may even want to have your normal Slack group for “regular” participants, one for VIP participants, then one for bounty participants (which we will explain more later).
Regardless of platform, managing your own communities give you a central place to connect with participants and people interested in your project. This helps your project look more legitimate and keeps people in the loop.
Paid ICO Marketing:
Crypto Ad Networks
Marketing is all about points of exposure — the more a potential participant sees or hears about your project, the more likely they are to develop interest in it. With that in mind, you should consider running ads on a crypto ad network. Through these, your ads show up on relevant websites without you needing to research and locate the best placements.
There are a lot of these popping up nowadays, so be sure to try to avoid shady websites.
BuySellAds’ Cryptobar is one option for ICO marketing at scale. These native ads appear on dozens of premium crypto websites and only show up once users engage with a page.
On average, Cryptobar units return click-through rates above 1%. Plus, you can build and launch campaigns by yourself through the self-serve platform. This means you get more clicks for your dollar… or for your BTC.
Some of the other good networks include BitMedia, CoinAds, CoinZilla, and others.
Premium Listings on ICO Listing Sites
Most ICO listing sites offer premium listings, where your ICO shows up on top of all the rest. Unfortunately, with the recent ICO boom, we now have what seems like 50,000 ICO listing sites and calendar sites flooding the market. Having an experienced marketing team who knows which listing sites are worth targeting, which are worth paying for premium listings on, and which are worth ignoring is important, otherwise you can easily spend ten hours per day for months on end trying to get listed on all of the sites out there.
This is an area a lot of projects ignore or simply don’t know about. The crypto community is very influence-oriented. This means there are core people with great reputations that other people listen closely to. Having influencers promoting your project without appearing like paid shills has a tremendously positive effect on your project’s exposure. It also helps build community trust. Having an experienced marketing team who knows who the influencers in your target audience are, and can bring them in and get them involved in your project, is a huge benefit.
Surprisingly, many cryptocurrency and ICO projects refuse to spend much money on PR. Unsurprisingly, those same projects then wonder why they aren’t getting the media coverage they expected. Good PR rarely happens by accident. It requires a well-crafted public relations plan, led by an experienced PR team, who knows how to get your press releases distributed to as many journalists and media outlets as possible. It’s also important that this PR team understands the importance of PR follow up. Many journalists and editors are overwhelmed with the number of press releases they receive on any given day, so having someone who has a relationship with these people and can call them up and talk to them directly, encouraging them to review and publish your news, is one of the most important aspects of good PR management.
Additionally, a good PR team should be able to secure unique articles written by established writers who can get their articles published in Forbes, TGDaily, TechBullion, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Influencive, and other influential outlets, as well as crypto-specific news sites.
Overall, your PR goal should be keeping your project in the news, but without overwhelming your audience and appearing “spammy” in any way.
When you hit the market with an ICO or pre-sale, you’re going to be flooded with thousands upon thousands of emails offering to sell you advertising on various websites, ad networks, blogs, newsletters, magazines, YouTube channels, and more. An experienced marketing team knows which advertising opportunities are worth pursuing and which are not. Many ICO projects feel like they don’t need paid advertising, but we strongly disagree. The key is identifying and focusing on the right advertising.
Just promoting your project on social media isn’t enough. You also need to have a team in place to monitor, moderate, and manage your social media channels, Telegram groups, bounty campaigns, forum posts, and more. Trying to have your core team handle this can easily overwhelm them and become a full time job. An experienced ICO marketing team is already well aware of this and should have people in place to take over these tasks for you.
Crypto Conferences and In-Person Events
Much like ICO listing sites, there’s a ton of cryptocurrency, blockchain, and ICO-themed conferences and events popping up left and right. It seems like every day there’s a new conference or meet-up that wants to convince you to buy a booth and pitch your offering. Meeting potential contributors face to face and taking the right pitch opportunities is important, but having a good team or consultant who can advise you on which ones are actually worth attending or participating in is critical.
Video Content and Marketing
The number of people searching for ICO-related videos on YouTube and Vimeo may surprise you. Having good video content, and paying content creators to promote your project can work wonders.
Here’s a good example of a good ‘explainer’ video, from the SMARTRealty project:
Marketing Best Practices:
Free and paid ICO marketing is only as effective as the content surrounding it and the team handling it.
What people see when they click your links is important, so make sure your landing pages and website tell the story you want them to. Here are four best practices to keep in mind:
Demonstrate Your Project’s Potential
People rarely participate in ICOs out of the kindness of their hearts. Especially not for strangers on the internet. Your website needs to tell a story. Specifically, it should tell potential participants why right now is the best opportunity to get involved in your project.
Make Your Business Case
A successful ICO marketing strategy grows from a solid business plan. That’s why the ICO whitepaper is your most critical asset. It should explain what your company does, what its goals are, and how it plans on making them a reality. The whitepaper is where you can dive deep into the technical information you may not want to mention in marketing materials, since it can overwhelm the average marketing target. You might also consider a one-pager for quick sharing and a website FAQ for people who aren’t quite convinced to download the PDFs.
Think of the one-pager and whitepaper as your first impression with investors. The content should be jargon-free and well written, and it’s definitely worth hiring a designer to make the PDFs look as professional as possible.
Keep it simple
What big problem does your company solve, and how will that impact people and generate profit over the long term?
The answer to this question is your mission statement, and it should be the focus of your website and marketing materials. The simpler you can make it, while reaching the widest audience possible, the better.
Don’t just stop at your whitepaper. Take your mission statement and create useful content about it on Medium, Steemit, Twitter, or guest blogs. This widens your audience and connects people with your company on a lot of different levels.
The small percentage of scammers and shady companies launching ICOs discredits the many companies using the fundraising method for legitimate innovation.
When considering your ICO marketing strategy and brainstorming, you should consider how you can establish your company’s legitimacy everywhere possible. There are a few things that help tremendously. These include:
-Team headshots on the landing page with name and title information
-LinkedIn account links for individual team members
-A video with your founder and other team members
-Photos and social account links for advisors and major investors
-Current user and revenue or fundraising numbers (if possible)
All of these help transform your company from an unknown venture to a promising up and coming project.
Invest in Marketing:
Your fundraising goals can only be reached if your ICO marketing identifies, targets, and engages the right people, creating interest in your company’s vision. You also need the right team managing your marketing efforts and making sure your marketing message is communicated to as many people as possible within your target audience and beyond.
Organic channels including Reddit, Telegram, and Forums can help you reach new audiences and create community around your ICO. Paid channels can take your reach to the next level.
Analyze and Make Adjustments:
None of the above mentioned strategies can be handled on a “set it and forget it” basis. These efforts require having an experienced and competent marketing team who can analyze the strategy, review the results, run A/B testing where needed, and make adjustments on the fly to maximize positive results without breaking the bank or wasting money.
ICO marketing momentum builds like a snowball rolling down a hill. You want that snowball to turn into an avalanche, not run into a rock and come to a stop. Your core team should be focusing on development and day to day business operations, not trying to become experts in marketing overnight. Having the right marketing team on your side is critical to the success of your ICO or token sale project.
If you need an experienced ICO marketing team, consider ICOMarketing.net. Our team has helped our clients raise over $175,000,000 in the last year alone, and we’d love to review your project and see how we can be of assistance. Reach out to us anytime and we’d be happy to see if a mutually beneficial relationship makes sense.