At its core, marketing an ICO is no different from marketing any other product: the basic principles of creating awareness, understand and trust amongst a broad, but relevant target audience all apply.
Of course, where you go to find your audience and the tactics that you need to deploy to engage it must be specific to the product and nowhere is this truer than in the new and rapidly growing market of blockchain and cryptocurrency investment. The watering holes of potential investors are very different to those we see elsewhere.
Here then, is our six-point plan for making your ICO a success.
- Generate personas
To start writing about how world-changing your blockchain product is going to be and then throw it into the wilderness in the hope that somebody will like it, is all too easy. Don’t do that. Take some time before you do anything else to really investigate who should have an interest in your ICO. Go into detail: what are their ages, the jobs, their family status, their hobbies, their political leanings, their challenges, their passions. Give them a name, so that you know who you’re talking to. It’s incredibly useful to know that you’re writing your next piece of explainer content for “Mark”, who happens to be 24, in a low-level tech job, living at home with a need to help change the world with the savings he’s been amassing.
You’ll probably find that you can create 3-5 detailed personas, all with different needs and wants which can be satisfied in varying ways by your product and it’s ICO.
- Create content that answers their questions
As you define your personas in step 1, it’ll become clear that each of these types of people have different challenges and levels of understanding. They also have different needs and wants, which will gravitate them towards different features and benefits of your products. As you gather this understanding, imagine the questions each of these people will have and begin to create a content plan to answer those queries. If you can manage to answer a question before it’s been asked, all the better!
Explainer content for a product ICO can be delivered in a myriad of ways: blogs, video, infographics and more. It is often possible for the same piece of content to be delivered across more than one of these channels, but it’s important to prioritise these depending on where the target market is most likely to be. How do you know that? Refer back to those personas!
- Outreach to investors
Now it’s time to start spreading the word! Getting some prominent investors on-board early can have a huge effect on the snowball, or otherwise, of investments that follow. Research who’s been investing in similar projects – those are the investors most likely to be interested in your offering. How? Look through the websites of previously funded projects similar to your own. Many will list prominent investors and advisors among their team. You can also scour the forums, Slack and Telegram channels for clues about who’s invested. If you don’t mind not knowing who you’re aiming at, you can also look at ‘airdropping’ tokens in the wallets of large investors in those similar projects.
- List on ICO listing sites
Get in front of those actively looking for new ICO investment opportunities by listing on those sites that provide a round-up of opportunities for visitors. Some are free, others take some investment on your part, and there are a LOT out there to choose from.
- Get social
Now that you know who you’re talking to (from step 1), have the content to answer their queries (from step 2), and have generated some early ‘buzz’ (from steps 3 and 4), it’s time to get social. Set-up a thread on BitcoinTalk.org, create a Slack channel, and another on Telegram. Set-up Facebook and Twitter accounts. But it’s not enough to set these platforms up, the most important action is to keep them alive – be present to any and all queries that come through on any and all of those channels. It’s incredibly important at this point to be transparent and honest in all communication with the public. The ICO investor community is full of massively passionate individuals and groups who are consistently urged to do their research when deciding to make a new investment – and they do. They will find any holes in your offering, and when they do my advice is to address the problem head-on and work with the community to fix it. Getting these early brand evangelists on board through great community management will have a massive impact on the success of your ICO.
- Outreach to content creators
Once you’ve got all your foundations in place, and a great community building passion for your project, the next action is to start to get your project in front of the audiences of other influencers. These could be bloggers, video creators, or social media pages who review, interview or recommend ICO opportunities. Once again, the aim here is to find the content creators who most align with the personas you created all the way back in step 1 – these content creators will be most likely to have covered similar projects in the past, and have an audience full of your target markets.
There is a perception that marketing an ICO is easy: create a whitepaper, build a website and then stand back and count the cash. There have been some stellar successes seemingly achieved with little more than this, but the more competitive the market becomes and the savvier the investors are, the harder it is going to be. Employing experienced marketers to develop and implement your marketing strategy could be the difference between success and failure.