As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular among established companies as well as startups, more and more companies are preparing themselves for Initial Coin Offerings, in short - ICOs. An ICO is basically a fundraising process for startups building cryptocurrency-related businesses.
Similar to other crowdfunding projects, successfully marketing an ICO can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Here are nine key tips for successful ICO marketing:
ICOs are not the best option for every company. Although the concept is fairly new and exciting, not every industry is ready for the implementation of Blockchain. Many digital currency enthusiasts believe blockchain technology can impact every major industry. However, this impact is not likely to happen overnight.
One of the first questions anyone should answer before considering an ICO is how to integrate digital tokens into the business model. If the inclusion of cryptocurrency won’t inherently add value to the product or service offered, then the classic Initial Public Offering (IPO) may be a better way of gathering funds for the project. ICOs still largely rely on the blockchain world, but that doesn't mean more vertical options won’t soon hit the market.
For years, digital currencies were seen as the Wild West in the startup investment world. But as they become more established, they are also becoming regulated. In July 2017, so-called SEC (The Securities and Exchange Commision) ruled that some crypto coins are actually securities.
Securities are heavily regulated, and laws can be complicated, but you need to get acquainted with the basics at least. Of course, you should have an attorney for the more advanced regulations, but having a basic knowledge of the rules will you make sure your company is fully compliant with the law from the beginning.
The world of digital currencies is still causing confusion and misunderstanding among the people. As you start your ICO, you will most likely have to reach to two distinctive audiences: those who are well familiar with the digital currency world, and those who have probably heard about Bitcoin, but that is all. This second group likely understands the potential of cryptocurrencies, but they may not understand the technical details.
It is really important to create marketing and PR materials that speak to both audiences. Through social media and other marketing tools, you have to carefully tailor your message to speak to the interests and experiences of your target audience. For example, if you have the opportunity to introduce your ICO to a fintech centered outlet you can freely offer more in-depth analysis and insights into the project because the fintech audience is (likely) already well versed in the topic.
In addition to offering information about the ICO, provide insights about the company to your potential investors. Come up with a real story about your company’s purpose in order to reach the audience and get it to support your cause. You want to give investors a reason to invest in your business, and nothing does this better than providing them with the honest story behind your mission statement.
Besides social media, it is vital to keep your website up to date and current with all of latest news related to the ICO. With so many things to do, you’re going to get pulled in many directions during the ICO, so it is a good idea to have a central source of updates for potential investors who want to do a bit of research about your company. Communication is one of the fundamental marketing skills, and for a good reason.
Nothing shouts ‘scam’ more than a project with an anonymous team. If you are building something good, then why not put your name on it? Generally, ICOs list several layers of associates; besides team members, there are advisors, partners, and sponsors. And if your ICO is launched in some specific countries or markets, it would be wise to have a team who speaks the required language.
Your advisory board should be genuinely interested and even invested in the ICO success. Ideally, they would have plenty of experience with ICOs.
Likewise, partners should be genuine – putting the CoinDesk logo is not going to do much for the ICO if they do not even know who you are. Building the list of names who support you is a tough process, but it can give credibility to the project. It can provide the influencers networks to boost standing in the news feed.
Brand awareness and community building are two most important aspects of being transparent. Transparency is crucial, as it helps combat any fear or uncertainty potential investors may have. It is wise to do some things from the beginning, like replying to potential investors directly, no matter how small they may be. By doing so, you will ensure the growth and champions to propel your launch to success.
When it comes to ICOs, you should always aim to be in touch with your target market and understand it. That is why is so important to be seen in the industry-related events. There are plenty of crypto meetups, seminars and conferences out there. By going to these events, you will get the opportunity to attract new investors or at least hear the opinions about your project by asking cryptocurrency supporters if they would use your solution.
Information was always valuable. Statistics and trends are crucial components of showing the value of an investment in your ICO. Investors want evidence — and by offering the data for analysis, you are giving them concrete and compelling proof that your project will excel. Moreover, you will gain additional exposure simply by considering that your company will be talked about regularly as long as you are offering interesting data and statistics to reporters and analysts.
Executing a successful ICO has never been an easy task. A lot of preparation and coordination is needed for making sure that a startup company can secure the required amount investments.
ICOs are still an unregulated space, and you must make sure your KYC (Know Your Customer) is done well. It is vital to learn the basic laws enforced by the regulators such as the SEC. Building a brand and a community around it are the best way to promote your ICO. In the end, good governance remains probably the best guarantee for investors to ensure the profitability and the increase in the value of the marketed tokens.
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