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10 Things Euro Digital Partners learned from marketing ICOs in 2018

14 March 2018 06:20:24

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Euro Digital Partners
has had an overwhelming response to the current initial coin offering explosion. We started thinking about the world of blockchain/cryptocurrency marketing. As you might expect when a new type of investment becomes available, the topic on most investors’ minds in 2018 is still the initial coin offering (ICOs), which really went from near-zero interest to multi-billions in investments over the course of the last year. Euro Digital Partners has provided advisory services for multiple ICOs, and we have found a few strategies that work well, and a couple that do not. Be sure to check out our special page for ICOs on the EDP website.

 

Here is the Euro Digital Partners 10-step checklist for marketing ICOs:

 

1. Find an early-stage investor who can get you through the ICO process. Marketing an ICO and managing the distribution of tokens is cheaper than doing an IPO (we’ve also helped with Reg. A + IPO situations), but it is not free. You will incur legal consultation expenses, white paper creation expenses, expenses for handling the marketing, and expenses related to the distribution of tokens and acceptance of funds –  and that is all before you receive a single dollar!
 
2. Investors want to see your product in action. Finish your product to the extent possible – usually, an alpha-level product is enough to demonstrate competency. Part of what investors want is the confidence that you can see your project through, and then market it properly. We think that having a working product is a necessary step to earning confidence from investors. Even better is if your company has already started earning customers.
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3. Create a high quality white paper. A high quality white paper should not just look good, but give potential investors the tools to make an informed decision about your project. Knowing who is working on the project, what you hope to accomplish, and how you hope to get people using your product is just the first step in developing a great white paper.
 
4. Develop a referral/affiliate program. There’s a great trend to emphasize referral/affiliate marketing in ICOs. Many ICOs are offering affiliates lucrative incentives to help promote the ICO. Incentives range from 2.5% to 25% bonuses, and other ICOs have even offered eye-catching bonuses like Ferraris for top affiliate marketers. As these marketers control a large portion of online advertising in the types of channels that ICO marketers are seeking, it is generally a good idea to get them on board.

4. Community Management. The moment you announce your intentions to begin the ICO process, your firm will be inundated with messages from people all over the world, most of whom are not serious token buyers. But some of them may be, weeding out the VIPs from passively interested individuals is useful. Part of the art of the sale involves proficiency in the relevant social media channels. So, we are talking about management of Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, and various other ICO forums in which you will want to be actively engaged.
 
6. Videos/interviews. Nothing illustrates great ideas to the public better than great videos. Plan to create videos, both live and animated, at various steps along the journey. Pre-sale, crowdsale, and the last-minute push are good times to publish videos.

7. Ratings. In the world of ICOs, ratings are like most opinions: important to those people who are more inclined to agree, and useless to those who are not. Still, most investors want to see some sort of analysis (usually free to them) before they invest. More shrewd investors will do their own due diligence. Identifying the websites that rate ICOs and then influencing them to provide a high rating is an often-overlooked step in ICO marketing.
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8. PR. ICO marketers should plan to get the ICO mentioned in at least 100 media publications. Strategically selecting which ones to target and plan accordingly is key. Obviously, the best option for your firm is to develop a genuinely novel technology that will get free coverage by the tier-one global publications. That is ideal because it will trickle down to small trade publications that ICO investors will also be reading.
 
9. Paid advertising. To some, it might seem strange to plan a web advertising campaign since it is not how most fundraising occurs, even crowd-sourced fundraising. Direct buys of advertising on select sites may be the best way to go for an ICO having identified the sites that likely token buyers are likely to frequent. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will also play a role. SEM does include onsite SEO, but PPC will likely be the focus of your SEM efforts due to its more short-term effectiveness. Spending a lot in this area will be key as will choosing the right keywords and writing the best ads. Conversion on your ICO site will be useful as well. Programmatic buying can also be of some use, but we do not find this type of advertising sufficient on its own, cheap though it may be.
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10. Influencers/Thought Leaders. This step starts long before you even think about an ICO. The best ICOs are done by those who are recognized as leaders in their fields. For that, it’s important to write thought leadership papers (and publish them), and get influencers to talk about your product as well. Now there is a whole field of marketing dedicated to influencers, and it’s largely happening online. Finding the right people to talk about your ICO will be key not just for raising awareness, but providing a basis for which investors can feel confident in your leadership abilities.
 
11. Email marketing. Email marketing gets a bad rap these days. Done poorly, it’s a complete waste of time. Click-through rates are notoriously low, and in a world where people are barely reading more than the first five words of your subject line, it is useless. The one area it might be useful is if you can obtain a verified list of investors in a similar ICO to yours. Of course, designing a good email and following up is a tricky second step.

 

Looking at this list, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the complexity and the scope of the ICO marketing space. Rest assured, firms like Euro Digital Partners understand this area and can engage your firm in varying levels of advisory. Be sure to check out our ICO page for more information as we make it available. Good luck!

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