How to Promote Your ICO: Marketing Guide

20.10.2022 09:59 (Updated 21.10.2022 09:10)
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by Maksym Prykhodko
12 min read

In 2017 alone, blockchain initial coin offerings (ICOs) raised more than $4 billion.

The more people realized the fabulous risk-reward ratio of ICOs, the higher the amount of money was raised. That’s why ICOs raised more than $14 billion in 2019 and over $21 billion in 2021.

From the 2022 perspective, the ICO industry is still very profitable and it’s still possible to raise millions or billions of funds. However, there’s one thing that you have to absolutely nail if you want the ICO to reach the target market.

It’s not about navigating cryptocurrency regulations or creating a smart contract; it’s about ICO marketing. 

Indeed, successfully launching an ICO is quite complex, but if you don’t know how to drive demand, convince investors, and keep ahead of your competitors, all other tactics you are using will be in vain.

To be able to raise funds, you have to find a way to stand out, and this guide is all about that – teaching you about the best ICO marketing strategies (we pulled from a plethora of ICO marketing resources) that can help you generate buzz around your ICO and turn it into a massive income stream.

ICO Marketing Strategy

In order to generate interest in your project, pitch your business idea to private and institutional investors, and ensure a smooth ICO launch and token sale, you need to work on many pieces of the puzzle:

  • Technical models, 
  • Regulatory requirements,
  • Token pricing, 
  • Marketing.

And guess what! ICO marketing strategy is definitely one of the most important pieces of this puzzle and it usually involves:

  • Content marketing, 
  • Social media marketing, 
  • Influencer marketing, 
  • Partner marketing, 
  • PR marketing,
  • Email marketing,
  • and event marketing just to name a few.

You should go for tried and tested traffic and buzz-generating techniques (search engine optimization and content marketing as well as social media and influencer marketing) and tweak them a bit to appear more genuine, stand out from the rest in this highly competitive field, and establish a strong brand presence. 

And then, once you roll out your digital marketing strategy and get to work, you’ll be slowly gaining insights and tracking performance (number of website visitors, followers, forms submitted, etc) so that you can adapt tactics and improve results while keeping costs under control.

Yes, all this may sound daunting at first but it’s devise a fab marketing strategy and worth the effort. If you come up with a fab marketing strategy and stick with it, you’ll make waves on the market and reach your ICO fundraising goals.

Sure thing, hiring an ICO marketing agency that provides ICO marketing services is always an option but, if you stick to a myriad of tips and tricks we’re about to unselfishly present in this guide, you’ll be good on your own and you’ll make much better use of your marketing budget. 

Develop a Website

You get just one chance to make a first impression so, when trying to connect with investors, make sure to make a good first impression by building an amazing, easy-to-navigate, and mobile-friendly website. 

Not only will you need a perfect website layout but you’ll need attention-grabbing visuals and killer copy, too. 

Point out some of your main selling points right away and build a conversion funnel. The entire user experience on the website should serve either of these goals:

  • Making potential investors submit the lead capture form,
  • Make potential investors who are thirsty for more information about your ICO, which you should provide in a whitepaper, click that “get whitelisted” or “invest in the presale” button. 

To increase the chances of getting discovered on search engines:

  • Create an SEO-optimized high-performing landing page,
  • Publish fresh, high-quality, and engaging content in form of blog posts,
  • Do guest posts, and press releases on some of the prominent crypto and blockchain marketing websites or news sites. 

Announce Transparent Info About the Project

You need to build trust first before expecting anyone to put their money into your project. Thus, it is essential to make information easily accessible and give as many details as possible about what you are trying to build, how, by when, and so on.

People will also want to know how you plan to make use of the funds collected in the process, your plans for the post-launch, etc.

Whitepaper

Make sure to put your best foot forward when crafting an ICO whitepaper.

Think of it as a business plan that should be professionally written, detailed, focused, and results-driven, but also well-designed, sprinkled with some visual elements, and spelling and grammar errors-free. 

This is your chance to shine, create hype, and sell the story behind the ICO to potential investors. Thus, you should use both technical and non-technical language (make sure not to use jargon) and pack it with all of the relevant information. 

If we’re speaking details, then include the following information in your ICO whitepaper:

  • The main idea behind the project (ideally, this should be an inspiring story about pain or a problem that you plan to solve), 
  • Project roadmap and timeline,
  • The capital you need to make the project go to the moon,
  • Return on investment for investors, 
  • Information about the team, 
  • Token distribution plan,
  • Legal aspects and strategies to detect and prevent illegal activities. 

Just in case you’re not a legal expert, you can have a professional lawyer review the whitepaper to ensure there is nothing about it that can make you lose credibility. 

You can also create a lite paper – a shorter, more to-the-point version of your whitepaper that can spark interest in your ICO and make potential investors read the full version of the whitepaper.

Whitepaper typically takes 20 to 30 pages while 4 to 5 pages will certainly do for a lite paper.

Roadmap

A roadmap is, as you can tell by the name, a list of actionable steps that you plan to take in the future to help your ICO take off and bring investors significant profits. 

It should briefly explain what you are trying to achieve post-launch and prove that you are capable of strategic planning and converting your ideas into solutions that drive revenue. 

At the same time, roadmaps should be detailed and rather realistic than overly ambitious. Instead of listing a dozen of initiatives, stick to 3 to 5 maximum and absolutely crush them.

Team

Present everyone on the team, their roles, and backgrounds. Everyone from the team should be doxxed (their identity should be revealed), otherwise, you’ll make potential investors question your legitimacy. 

The typical team structure goes something like this:

  1. Founder/co-founder/CEO,
  2. Technical founder,
  3. Devs,
  4. Legal experts, 
  5. Advisors,
  6. PR and marketing people,
  7. Community, social media, and collab managers. 

Utility and mission

Nowadays, competition is fierce and thus, the idea behind your ICO project should be everything but dull.

Your token should serve a great mission and solve problems that neither of the other tokens is solving or fails to solve – that’s its utility.

At the same time, you should make your brand proposition value crystal clear (when we talk about Bitcoin, it’s a global currency, Ethereum is a smart contract platform, and so on) and promote them every step of the way.

Airdrop Campaigns

“I don’t want any free tokens” – said no one ever.

Airdrops fall into the top 5 most effective promotion tactics when it comes to anything Web3 related – tokens, NFTs, etc.

Airdrop campaigns are meant for increasing awareness and inviting new people to learn about the yet-to-be-launched or newly-launched project that may be the next big thing in the space.

Hosting giveaways and airdropping some tokens to some of your biggest fans’ wallets can actually help with promoting your ICO marketing campaign across several channels.

You can, although not necessarily, include several requirements people interested in the airdrop should meet (following you on social media, publishing a post about you, filling out a form, etc). 

Conferences

Showing up online won’t necessarily make launching your ICO a success.

You also need to be out and about and show up at important events since, although the entire world has gone digital, nothing can beat the power of face-to-face communication.

Attend crypto and blockchain conferences your potential investors may attend, network, spread the word about your project, and establish a good reputation.

The costs of attending events and conferences can easily add up, especially if there’s travel involved.

However, the ROI you can get is unbelievable since you can really get a chance to communicate your message to people who are already interested in cryptocurrencies.

Influencer & Ambassador Partnership

Partner with ICO influencers who are genuinely interested in your project and tap into their audiences of crypto-enthusiasts.

Still, when coming up with an influencer marketing strategy, be picky about the people you are cooperating with. A single wrong partnership can steer your entire ICO campaign in the wrong direction, and make you either lose money, or credibility, or both.

Check on the content they produce and their follower-to-engagement ratio. Just because someone has tens of thousands of followers doesn’t mean they’ll get you in front of the right audience.

Partner with crypto influencers only and rather go for micro-influencers since, in 92% of cases, people tend to trust them more than they trust influencers with 100,000+ followers or celebrities. 

It goes without saying that you should, if possible, partner with renowned companies and financial institutions, too, to build trust and raise awareness. 

Community

Community building is among the most delightful, yet, most challenging tasks when it comes to ICO marketing.

Showing up on the right social media platforms and posting strategically can excite the audience and contribute to your success, big time.

Other than that, social media makes it easy to connect with like-minded individuals, other ICO projects, coin creators, and investors.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Telegram, and Discord are some of the leading social media platforms when it comes to blockchain marketing and, at the same time, the most effective ICO promotion tools.

Twitter is a Web3 native platform. This is where most people, investors included, interested in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies hang out.

If you set the tone right and create a Twitter social media marketing strategy that will get you in front of your target audience, you’ll be able to get plenty of eyeballs on the project and maybe even close deals right on the platform. 

LinkedIn is a place where all great minds, professionals, and businessmen meet. Users of this platform seem to be highly receptive to new ideas, open to making new connections, and willing to help. 

Influencers, investors, and everyone else interested in crypto-related stuff is on Telegram, too, so make sure not to fade Telegram channels when trying to promote your ICO.

Finally, you’ll want to create a Discord server for your project since it works like a charm when it comes to community building.

Discord covers various types of media – text, image, voice, and video, and allows a lot of creativity in creating your loyal tribe. 

It allows you to:

  • Develop personalized channels, 
  • Plan community events such as game nights or AMAs, 
  • collaborate with other relevant communities and present your project to their audiences, 
  • Post special announcements about progress and keep everyone in the loop.

Plus, it can truly give you in-depth insights into your crowd. Based on community response, you can get to know where they are from, what type of content they engage the most, whether they have already invested in other ICOs, which ones, etc.

You can give paid advertising on social media a try, too, however, you’ll probably come across multiple problems here.

Google and Facebook paid ads are not an option since these platforms are very restrictive about blockchain-based projects. Twitter seems to be less restrictive but still not entirely open to promoting digital currencies. 

Yet, you can still get the most out of every post, entirely organically, as long as you don’t come across as too pushy while promoting your ICO.

Use the power of storytelling to stir curiosity, publish educational and interesting info about cryptocurrencies, use attention-grabbing graphics, and always aim to provide value.

This can get you wider exposure without requiring you to pump thousands of dollars into an ICO marketing company.

Audit

Having your smart contract audited by Certik, Hacken, or another reputable blockchain security company is an absolute must if you want to make potential buyers fully confident about investing in your tokens.

Not only will you prove to the world that you are accountable but you will also identify any code errors within the contract and have them sorted out right on time. Smart contract audit also involves evaluation of the logical soundness.

Smart contract auditing involves several lines of inspection, one of which is vulnerability inspection which further involves formal verification (which is an automated process) and manual review.

It is highly advisable to resolve any smart contract vulnerabilities prior to launch just leaving these risks unaddressed. Even seemingly insignificant code errors can result in major financial losses for investors in the first place.

Listing your ICO

To gain maximum exposure, list your ICO on some of the ICO calendars and directories investors like to check regularly. Some of these websites also offer different ICO marketing packages.

For instance, try to get posted on ICO listing sites that generate hundreds of thousands of monthly visits, such as Cointelegraph’s ICO Calendar, ICOCalendar.Today, CoinGecko, Coincodex, or CoinSchedule and, eventually, get to know what their ICO marketing packages can offer.

To get featured on some of these and similar websites, you should provide details such as the ICO project name, website, token details, and contact details.

Final thoughts

Launching an ICO is still one of the most lucrative ways to raise capital, however, to make it a reliable source of income, you have to come up with a well-thought-out marketing strategy for both the pre-sale and post ICO marketing strategy. 

Your main to-do is to convince investors that they will get an amazing ROI by supporting your idea. Every step of the way, from building a website to making a whitepaper, crafting a social media marketing strategy, to showing up at crypto events severs this exact purpose.

To really make your project a success, focus on the marketing part rather than anything else, stay engaged with the community after you’ve raised the capital, and deliver the things that you have promised in your roadmap.

Disclaimer: All information contained here should not, under any circumstances, be construed as financial advice, investment recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions in cryptocurrencies.

Authors

  • Maksym has denied the existence of crypto as an asset for 3 years when he was working with standard financial instruments. Became Head of Treasury. Won the best bank employee award and left the bank for cryptocurrency exchange the next day. Got a second university degree, but that didn’t stop him from studying finance yet. Combines fiat and crypto experience to be as objective as possible in general matters. His dream is to be interviewed by Bloomberg.

  • Danijela is a political science major turned copywriter. She is passionate about all things blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs included. In addition to content writing, Danijela has a knack for SEO and social media management.

  • After 6+ years in Digital Marketing & Product Management of B2C relationships, I’ve moved onto the B2B world. Now I’m CEO at Scale Final Content, creating remarkable experiences for every business we work with. We Make UX Content That Ranks 🚀 We are a team of industry leading experts with 6+ years of writing experience, accomplishing the latest SEO trends. I'm a crypto enthusiast, NFT lover and marketer. Obsessed about coffee, UX design and UX content. Live in heart of crypto events, Lisbon, full of sun, ocean and music.

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