First, you need to know what ICO is. Initial coin offering is, in fact, creating and selling your own currency. Anyone can issue their own money.
This money serves well for creating products that change people's future. Creating and selling your currency is a full-scale project that is going to require several months of hard work. The biggest problem most ICO teams have is they lack a step-by-step plan for marketing and selling their tokens. To cut a long story short, all those endless crypto conferences tell you the same thing: "marketing is important." But, where to start? At the end of the day, they never offer anything of value. It's high time we fixed this situation.
First of all, if you leave your marketing strategy for the last moment, you risk failing your ICO even if:
This problem leads to 6 critical mistakes that you need to avoid while running a campaign for issuing and selling tokens
Yes, there are successful examples where an ICO was launched without any advertising at all, but you must agree that the more people that know about your project, the more profits you will get.
You need to start advertising 6 months prior to launch. For instance, the project CRYPTOPAY.me was started like this. Although they are not our clients, we'll freely admit their marketing was as precise as a Swiss watch.
In fact, they did everything in a really clever way:
If you haven't accumulated YOUR base of subscribers in advance and rely on forums and partners only, your money will just burn.
Yes, you may get started through the existing communities of miners and crypto investors.
Take the well-known bitcointalk.org (or just BTT), which has 23,5 million visitors a month. You just have to be there, but you must also have a well-established reputation.
This forum will provide you with first discussions of your product -- but this is not enough.
Data sheets will not be enough either, as the competition there is over-the-top.
Yes, the most target-oriented clients are there, and they will give you the first evaluation of your idea and product at the PRE-CIO stage and will probably be your first buyers. As a rule, they are innovators. But they make only 2.5% of the society. Besides, "early adopters" hang out there too, but you want to attract a lot more people than that, don't you?
As of early 2018 (when this book is written), the ICO market is at the "early majority" stage and it means that even gas-station workers are already discussing cryptocurrencies and tokens.
Any market and any innovation goes through this S-curve, and that's why you have to keep up with all the trends and stages at the market. It will give you an understanding of what audience you should target with your main budget. That is why it is vital to gather a base of subscribers as early as possible. As soon as you get an idea for ICO, collect the email addresses of those who might be interested in participating. Even if your MVP (minimum viable product) is not ready yet, your page for collecting contacts must already exist. There is only one exception, and that is if you are planning to attract funds and big investors.
If this is the case, then you should use your personal contacts, for example:
That's when the web browser maker Brave raised $35 million from its ICO — and it did it in less than 30 seconds, too. For its sale, Brave created its own coin — The Basic Attention Token, or BAT — and sold one billion of them. That collection of BAT cost 156,250 ETH, which is just over $35 million.
There were only 130 buyers, 5 of which bought half of all the tokens.
How? There was a waiting list of the most promising and trustworthy investors.
It goes without saying that you must have a 3-6 minute video about your product explaining the way it's going to save the world and what profit it will bring to the participants of your ICO. Everybody uses this strategy. But it's not enough.
A promo-video can express the main idea in the best-case scenario.
To see an example of what we did for one project, go to http://crypterium.io/. On its main page, we created:
You uploaded it to your project's site. What's next?
A promotion video only creates initial trust in your product and team. But everybody does so, and this is already insufficient if you want to stand out. Let's look at it from the clients' perspective. There is a lot of hype around ICO, many obvious pyramids, and many more projects that are unlikely to rise and become profitable. And it is extremely difficult for a person to sort out all the offers if he is not a professional investor.
How should this person understand whom to trust with their money?
Should he read WHITE PAPER 10 more times?
What do the project advisors say?
A client is sure to want more information than a beautiful launch video can offer. He wants to see you. He wants to understand your vision of the future. It's not for nothing that all the leading incubators like YCOMBINATOR require informal videos about the company's founders before giving them money. And if we're talking about a bulk issue of tokens, you have thousands of investors. And of course they are eager to get more information about your company from the video before giving you their hard-earned money.
A well-made video helps a person to build a relationship with you. If you are not going to deceive people, then what's the point in hiding from them?
Show your team's work, how your ICO is going, and how persuasive you are talking about your idea. We usually make three warm-up videos with scripts we prepare for you to say in front of the camera because, in most cases, our clients are not experienced public speakers and are very afraid of the camera.
So, there's no trust without a video, and where there's no trust, there's no money. If you want to attract more consumers, you will have to show your face.
If you're interested, I've got ready-made scenarios for these videos. Feel free to ask.
This happens when you are too obsessed with your idea but clients are absolutely reluctant to pay.
This is why test sales are important. This is your additional trump card which helps you boost your performance. People see that your product is cool and in demand. Risks of investing in your company decrease.
In all businesses, we began with sales, not with looking for investments. Money comes more easily when you don't need it.
For example, when Ilya Churakov and I set up our service for webinars, EXPERTSYSTEM, we did it using our own money. We hired programmers and created a purchase funnel ourselves. As a promotion trick we also invited top business coaches to host their webinars using our platform, helped them to gather 12,012 people, and even set a Guinness world record in 2012. Investors and funds started calling us themselves and offering money. As a result, during the seed-round a business angel invested $500,000. ICO didn't exist at the time but this scheme is still workable.
It's the same as with women, the more you need her, the less likely you are to get her. But if you are more concentrated on your business and enjoy it and if you don't stress the importance of your date, your girlfriend will show more interest in you. If you just get busy with your business, the rest appears on its own.
The moral is simple: get busy with product sales and only then think about its development.
This delusion is especially typical for the company founders that have a technical mentality. Yes, you guys are really able to create a cool product.
But this is not enough these days. It must be cool in the default mode.
Not long ago I was at a meet-up in San Francisco and talked to a very strong team of developers. The guys have been working on a project for 3 years now and they've got a really cool idea, but when I asked them about the sales rate they just mumbled "weeeell, we need an investor, then we will hire marketing managers and salesmen and they will sell everything for us."
But without a purchase funnel at the start of a project, your chances to fail are close to 100%.
Think for yourselves:
And at the same time you work on your product. Moreover, you can make the product after you have gained the money for its development. Why use your own money on its production?
All the marketing experts wrote about it 20 years ago. But still you read WHITE PAPERS and see "an active business audience aged 18-60" in almost every project description.
So, people mean both students and seniors when these are two different generations -- to say nothing about the differences in incomes and moreover different mindsets and different strategies in making decisions.
It seems obvious, but you and your target manager must have a detailed description of your clients' "avatars" to be able to adjust your campaign in direct. For those who don't know, an "avatar" is not a blue creature but an image of a core client in your audience.
There can be several of them. For instance, the wide-spread ones are usually described on 1-2 pages as a separate category and then we just label them as: "miners, "angels", "hypers"
For every avatar there is its special group of advertisements, banners and even adapted white paper. You must use the language that is understandable for the audience.
You can do it only if you are Vitaliy Buterin and have already launched successful ICOs or if you already have investors who are simply attacking you with their money offers.
If you are not ready to invest 1 dollar in order to make 2 (or 10) dollars, you should stay away from this business. Yes, partisan methods can work out if you just need to start a coffee shop or a seminar. But if it's a big game-- you need a budget for advertising.
For example, in cryptrerium.io we raised $52,000,000+ with a hard cap of 49 million just because founders spent $100,000 a day (!) on advertising.
BOUNTY bonuses can boost the effect but you cannot fully rely on them. Do not overestimate people. Most people are passive by nature, but this is also why they invest in your company. They expect you to do everything for them and believe there's only one thing they need to do and that is to give you the money. To gain 10 million dollars you will have to spend at least $300 000 on advertising, and this money will get you 100,000 emails from people interested in your ICO.
Attention! These contacts must be on your list at the PRE-ICO stage!
They must be warmed-up to buy with videos so that, by the time you launch the product, 10% of your audience buy the tokens.
An average check during ICO is about $1000. Multiply this by 10,000 participants, and here is your $10 million. We can already judge how successful you are going to be at the moment of the bulk sale of your tokens by the number of people on your list.
To tell you the truth, we are factoring in a lot for the rainy day. Here are the real figures for a project launch https://crypterium.io/
What works well:
Original Book: startupmanagement.org/2017/09/11/safe-ico-practices-sip/