Ever since Ripple and Ethereum’s successful Initial Coin Offering (ICO) campaigns back in 2013 and 2014 respectively, ICOs have become the de facto fundraising mechanism for blockchain companies around the world.
In 2017 alone there were 435 ICOs raising over £9 million each on average. That’s a total of close to £4 billion, a 5,600% increase on the total of £68.8 million raised in 2016.
It goes without saying that 2018 is going to be a big year for the ICO. But with so many flooding the market, how are you going to stand out from the crowd?
Let’s take a look at how to develop an ICO marketing strategy that will put your product in front of the right investors.
Start With Your Website
A modern website is at the core of any ICO marketing strategy. It’s where investors will go to verify that you are who you say you are, and to find out more information on your offering.
Google recently announced that website visitors will judge your website within the first 50 milliseconds of landing on your page. And in some cases the study found that some users formed opinion on certain design elements in 17 milliseconds.
Importantly, they found that websites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality (how representative the design is of the category of site) were the most appealing.
What does this mean?
Make your site simple and familiar. When a potential investor lands on your website they have an expectation of what a blockchain startup’s site will look like. So deliver what they’re expecting.
Make it easy to navigate and ensure the following features are visually appealing:
- The company’s logo. Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
- The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, users spend an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
- The search box, where users focused for just over 6 seconds.
- The site’s main image. Users’ eyes were fixed here for an average of 5.94 seconds.
- The site’s written content, where users spent about 5.59 seconds.
- The bottom of a website, where users spent about 5.25 seconds.
In addition an ICO’s website should also feature certain key elements:
- A link to download or view your ICO white paper.
- A roadmap for business and technology development.
- The team and advisors section outlining the expertise of your staff.
Any and all investors will expect these elements to be featured on your website, and without them your ICO marketing strategy will fail to get off the ground.
Calls To Action
Don’t let potential investors just visit your site and leave. Get them to complete an action whilst they’re there.
Whether that’s to sign up to pre-sale news, register an account or download a wallet, be sure that you’re generating leads to whom you can market your product.
ICO SEO Strategy
A solid SEO strategy is at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. And if you’re serious about creating an ICO marketing strategy, it should be the foundation of your game plan too, especially as you look from the short to the long term.
SEO Content Writing
From website creation to launch, to years down the line, you need to implement a clear content strategy based on keyword research from day one. Whether that’s creating landing pages optimised for service terms, or articles based on user searches.
Your pages will not shoot to Google’s top spots over night. It’s a long old slog to get there, but, as the saying goes,
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to start your SEO strategy is now.”
Google has fully confirmed that securing your website with an SSL certificate has become a ranking factor for SEO. Moreover, the Google chrome browser will begin, from July 2018, to show websites without an SSL certificate as ‘not secure’.
Imagine you create an incredible ICO marketing strategy, get tonnes of users on your site but as soon as they’re there they’re told the site is not secure. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Secure that site.
There is a huge amount of SEO factors that will affect your SERP, all of which we’re not going to get into here. But let’s take a look at one of the most importnat…
Still one of the most important ranking factors, Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to ensure SEOs can’t abuse backlinks. Whilst it used to be the case that the more links you had, the better, the thinking has changed now to:
Less links from more relevant sites.
Ensure you’re getting links from sites with high domain and page authorities. You can use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to check out potential linking partners.
A lack of an SEO strategy is a strong signal that your ICO’s focus is on the short-term. This is a big no-no.
Investors want to know that they’re going to get a return on their investment, and that means demonstrating future-thinking. A website invisible in search and not secured with SSL certificates will turn off potential investors. Or, worse yet, lead to accusations of fraudulence from the crypto community.
A strong ICO SEO strategy will only develop and blossom overtime, leading to greater and greater returns. So get it done right.
Read More: How To Write SEO Content That Actually Works
Media & PR
If you’ve followed the steps above you should now have a simple to use, visually appealing and search engine optimised website up and running. Now to the meat of your ICO marketing campaign – actually getting the word out there.
Ever since the inception of advertising, press releases have been the go-to operation for getting your news out there. The world of ICO marketing is no different.
Simply create a one-pager explaining your news, the key facts and figures and your contact details. But don’t do it dull. A press release should be written to get journalists excited and eager to write about your business. And write about it in a way that excites others too.
If you choose to use a PR agency, they will have a whole heap of press connections to spread your release to. However, if you decide to go it alone, here are a few sites to start with:
There are plenty of free and paid for services out there, but if you want to do PR properly (and you don’t have an experienced team in-house), we highly recommend hiring a PR agency.
There are many blogs and magazines out there that specialise in crypto news, and which will gladly accept guest post content. This is not only a great way to market your ICO, but generate quality backlinks from niche publications.
A lot of these sites will accept free submissions from independent contributors, but charge a rate for companies looking for publicity. Here are just a few sites that accept guest posts to kickstart your ICO marketing campaign:
Again, if you’re looking to submit guest posts, ensure it’s on a website that has a high domain authority for that extra SEO boost.
If you’ve nailed the CTAs on your website, you’ll be growing your mailing list minute by minute. Delivering you a direct channel to speak to your individual investor, use this opportunity to re-engage your fans, shout out about the latest news, and encourage investment.
The major trends for email campaigns in 2018:
- Personalisation and segmentation are absolutely crucial.
- Users want companies to adopt a more conversational tone.
- Interactive emails are on the rise, encouraging users to commit actions inside the email.
MailChimp does not allow ICO marketing campaigns to be run on their platform.
With GDPR coming in in Europe, make sure your mailing lists and email campaigns are compliant!
Perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of your whole ICO marketing strategy, your bounty program needs to be on point. But what sort of ICO bounty campaigns can you run?
Social Media Bounties
Use social media bounties to encourage participants to share your concept and content on social media. You can then reward users based on engagement levels such as retweets, shares, comments and clicks.
Content Writing Bounties
For those who have high-traffic blogs, or a large social following, a content writing bounty can be run to get reviews written on your offering or technology. Bounty should be rewarded based on unique page views, shares and other important content metrics.
Open to Bitcointalk Jr. Members and above, the participant posts an embedded bit of code in their signature. The bounty is then delivered to forum members who have the highest rank.
With the fundraising round completed, now you need to focus on improving your project. And there’s no better way of doing that than through community feedback. The following bounties become incredibly useful at this stage.
As the name implies, bounty is tendered based on translations of your content. This could include an ICO white paper, marketing collateral or website translation job.
Bug Report Bounties
Bug reporting is probably the best bounty of them all. It not only garners interest in your company, but also helps discover issues in your code that could be exploited. Win-win.
Note: make the bounty too small and no-one will be interested. Conversely, make it too big and people will think you’re up to something suspicious. Try and find the fine line.
With their popularity being what it is, you may be falling at the first step if you’re not running a bounty program as part of your ICO marketing campaign.
Across the globe, blockchain events are happening all the time and present a perfect opportunity to market your ICO campaign. Importantly, events give potential investors the chance to see your team (or some of them) face to face and delivers a sense of accountability. This is invaluable in an industry whose reputation isn’t the greatest to say the least.
Though the costs of running or attending such events may be high, the return you can expect is high too – as long as you are attracting the right attendees.
As interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency ramps up across the globe, the ICO market is set to boom. And with regulations and restriction on advertising being updated all the time, the emphasis is on creating an agile ICO marketing strategy that can be resilient to these changes.
Regardless, the main tenets of an effective ICO marketing strategy should be:
- Return and reward
Delivering these consistently across all of your marketing channels, and backed by strong technology, your ICO marketing campaign cannot fail.