1. Create an ICO Development Roadmap
An ICO development roadmap is used to validate the project’s viability, sustainability, and feasibility. It’s a detailed time-based development blueprint that contains clear and realistically achievable goals that are necessary to showcase the trajectory and evaluation of your project and convince investors that your project is legitimate, beneficial to the investors, and likely to become successful. The ICO development roadmap should be carefully worked out as ICO marketing success depends largely and directly on the quality of the document and your pitch.
2. Draft the Whitepaper
An all-inclusive and relatable whitepaper is the backbone of each and every ICO. It’s the primary reading material for investors and partners doing due diligence on your project. A whitepaper should look like a business plan that provides key information and answers all questions about the ICO development. Information published in the whitepaper, though not subject to any particular standards, should include the industry analysis, the project idea, the composition and competence of the team, the project roadmap and timeline, the blockchain technology, token details, and the commercial applications, future perspectives of your tokens, etc. This document should be both technically and marketing oriented, and the better your whitepaper looks, the better your project looks.
3. Build a Great Website
An intuitively designed website or landing page is crucial to the ICO launch success. The ICO content should be informative and include the team, the project’s targets, and the measures in place to ensure goal accomplishment and the protection of the investors’ interests. Website security is also of paramount importance to keeping hackers and cyber-thieves from accessing sensitive information of the platform, investors, and website visitors alike.
4. Private Sales or Presales
In the token presale, a percentage of the available tokens is released to the early investors. This is an important tactic projects use to test market acceptance and launch process before the ICO crowd sale. ICO tokens are usually sold at a heavy discount at this stage. A successful token presale usually creates a short burst of interest which investors see as social validation. The funds received from the presale are usually used to cover the expenses incurred by the actual ICO launch. ICO presale proves beneficial to the token creators and investors in that token creators receive the much-required funding to continue their projects while investors acquire a token that might be worth a fortune if everything works out well and the digital assets become a success.
5. Press Release & Media Outreach
Big media outlets/agencies, compared to the newer crypto publications, have a higher readership which translates to getting more eyeballs on your ICO project. Also, the press release on your ICO launch should be a newsworthy story about your brand and the project that the media would want to cover. It should provide all of the pertinent information a reporter or editor would need, as this is oftentimes the sole document on which some news outlets/agencies base their story when sharing the news. The key to doing a press release is to create good material that can easily become viral.
6. Search Engine Optimization
SEO is about improving the visibility of your website on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc, to help increase the organic traffic to your site. There are many things you can do to improve your search results, among them are adding a title tag with the name of your ICO project, using a descriptive meta tag for related keywords or phrases, or creating an About Us page on your website with a clear description of your project.
Airdrops are a popular promotional method used by token project creators to help bootstrap their ICO projects. Airdrops distribute free tokens in an attempt to get more participants involved in the projects. The ICO token airdrops can be organized in a number of ways. In some campaigns, tokens are randomly distributed while in others, criteria have to be fulfilled for participants to receive the free tokens. The main objective of running airdrops is to get more people trading in them when it lists on an exchange as an ICO.
8. Bounty Referral Programs
Bounty referral program is a well-known concept in the crypto world. It’s the distribution of crypto tokens as rewards to the participants for referrals invited through their referral links. Many crypto projects, in particular cryptocurrency exchanges, use this approach to widen their user base with unparalleled success.
It’s no secret that cryptocurrency popularity grew initially through word-of-mouth. It still relies heavily on this type of outreach approach today. The adoption of referral marketing for blockchain-based projects creates a mutually beneficial partnership in that blockchain technology has transformed referral marketing with rewards tokenization and unalterable on-chain data history, while the latter helps bring as much referral traffic as possible to increase the project’s community size. The benefits to the stakeholders are also multilateral in that the project gets new participants, the new participant gets access to the project and in some cases, receives crypto prizes, and the referring participant gets rewarded for bringing in new participants. The best part is your participants are rewarded directly for contributing to the project’s growth!
ReferralHero’s web3 referral program platform is a powerful tool you can use to scale your bounty referral program. ReferralHero helps you manage your referral program so you can easily track referrals, verify on-chain transactions, and reward referrers.
This worked so well that Current was able to generate 636,000 email subscribers and raise $36 million during their ICO using ReferralHero. Perhaps even more interesting is that 91% of all investors were referred! A well-designed referral program is a complete game changer for many blockchain projects.
9. Blockchain Advertising Networks
Blockchain ad networks, similar to Google Ads, are ad networks that specifically support crypto-related projects. Through their all-in-one solutions, these platforms allow publishers and crypto advertisers to work together to promote crypto sites, apps, news, and partnered content using advanced AI algorithms to remove paid traffic, bots, and fraud impressions and provide only high-quality legit traffic to access their ads. Here is a list of the most established ad network platforms that you can try: Bitmedia.io, Ad Ex Network, Coinverti, Ad Dragon, CoinZilla, Adshares, Cointraffic, A-ADS, Coin.Network and Push.House.
10. Email Marketing
This is a form of direct marketing. It involves sending targeted marketing emails to prospective investors about your new coin and alerting them of upcoming events. There are many email marketing tools available in the market, but not all support crypto businesses. For example, Mailchimp updated its policy stating that it will no longer support email services for certain crypto businesses. Start with the right tool by researching which email service providers offer the features and functionality you need for your ICO project. Example ESPs that provide fully functional services to support crypto business are Drip, SendX, and AWeber.
11. Content Marketing
This is a thought-driven marketing tactic that is focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and engage an audience that shares a common interest with your project. Content marketing needs to have the right balance of information and keywords. It is a strategy you should focus on to ensure your site traffic grows over time.
a. Blogging: you can help your project get more traffic and increase engagement rate through the use of high-quality, educational and curated content on your website. Writing articles with images and graphics of the actual product, not only communicate the core messages and concept about your ICO project but also emphasize your project’s uniqueness and innovativeness. Make certain that the content is descriptive and informative so that your audience is well-educated about the investment process.
b. Guest posting: websites that accept guest posts with quality content for better user experience usually allow authors to link back to their own content. Guest posts and other credible, well-established backlink sources in websites with a good audience base are a great marketing tool you can use to boost your project’s outreach and visibility over time. These backlinks will raise the value of your blog and improve your SEO performance by proving to the search engines that other websites are willing to back your authority.
c. Explainer videos: storytelling moves people and many crypto companies these days use stories instead of facts to get prospective investors to take action. Good explainer videos use storytelling with emotional hooks incorporated to inform and entertain. Emotional hooks are what will attract people’s attention more than anything else. Besides, make sure the video also outlines the fine points, explains the concept well, and is simple enough for non crypto people to understand and gain confidence in your project.
12. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has expanded its roots and become a standard marketing technique for many businesses. As the ICO market gets more and more competitive, working with the right influencers with a high number of subscribers and excellent conversion rates in the crypto industry helps you get more awareness for your budding ICO campaign. These well-known personalities on social media sites help spread your brand’s message quickly and enhance the demand for your ICO tokens.
13. Community Building
Community is everything in crypto. One noticeable characteristic of a successful ICO is there is a strong community behind it that believes in and supports the project wholeheartedly. A highly-engaged community is undoubtedly a great way to drive engagement and increase brand awareness for your project. Make sure there is constant communication with your investors and audience at all stages of your ICO project in a variety of popular communication channels.
a. Discord is a superior platform with numerous useful features that make promoting an ICO through the platform extremely efficient. It also gives a more crypto-feel user experience. For example, Discord uses two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your account to make sure that only you have the ability to log in; Discord also provides a native way for servers to preemptively detect and block harmful messages and spam.
b. Telegram is a very popular platform among crypto projects since the very advent of bitcoin. The trend continues these days with over 500 million users, direct feedback, and one-on-one interactions. Almost every single crypto project has a group on Telegram. This is a channel that should not be overlooked.
c. Webinars held through platforms such as Zoom provide value to your audience through direct engagement for various discussions with the presenters in a chat box. Companies utilizing webinars as an engagement tool not only yield a real-time audience but hundreds of new emails for upcoming project-related events.
d. Forums are perhaps one of the most underestimated channels of promotion. There is an abundance of blockchain-related forums that you can use to build engagement because the number of users and investors actively engaging in forums is enormous. The activities that you should gradually get involved in are commenting and engaging in conversations, posting and sharing good content, and starting announcements and opinion posts.
e. Quora is a relatively young but promising advertising platform. It offers low competition and high audience engagement by choosing the best responses to questions based on views and likes. Quora hence gives you the opportunity to show your expertise in the crypto industry and make yourself, and the project, known to a relatively small circle of audience interested in the topic.
14. Social Media Promotion
Social media management is an integral part of any successful ICO campaign. Having a strong social media presence is a necessity today that lets you forge a strong brand that your audience will remember for your project. Create and promote your ICO profiles on all the leading social media platforms to boost visibility, reach, and engagement. Here are some of the most relevant social media platforms for your ICO campaign.
a. ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions are one of the most popular social media trends right now. It’s a type of informal interview in which the interviewee is open to questions from the public. Through the crypto-dedicated AMA sessions, crypto companies share their project’s details, and influencers, celebrities, and other prominent figures candidly answer questions submitted by followers in the community. You can leverage this trend as a culture-building activity.
b. Facebook is one of the most active platforms. There are many Facebook groups and pages that discuss blockchain and ICO. Build a strong following on Facebook and publish high-quality content regularly to give timely responses to your audience.
c. Reddit is a great platform to market your ICO in that Subreddits normally show up on top of search results because they are SEO rich. Reddit is a great platform for creating a brand personality and engaging with crypto enthusiasts on a more personal level. It’s also a very popular platform to reach the younger population.
d. LinkedIn is a platform most favored by professionals and business people. Announce your ICO on LinkedIn and connect with prospective investors by taking them through your project’s unique journey.
e. Twitter is the most influential mainstream social platform partly thanks to the easy approachability of crypto thought leaders like Anthony Pompliano, Coin Center’s Neeraj Agrawal, Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal, and hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz. The sheer number of crypto fans on this platform enables you to easily build a huge following.
15. Paid Promotions and Advertising
Online noise and distractions, declining organic reach on social media, and ongoing shifts in search trends all have an adverse impact on getting your brand and content seen and clicked. Paid ads, which can be used to complement your SEO strategy for terms where the search engine results are very competitive, are often required in order for brands to see more immediate results. Paid advertising channels such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, and LinkedIn Ads, can get you a lot more leads and traffic for your ICO project. Because your ads will be displayed at the top of search engine results, you will likely reach a more targeted audience with greater potential to buy into your token offerings.
16. Blockchain Events
Face-to-face communication still enjoys clout and is one of the best ways to promote and sell your idea. Scores of crypto events, e.g. expo, exhibitions, conferences, and trade shows, frequented by venture capitalists, investors and industry folks are happening throughout the year. They provide a great venue for networking to generate interest in your ICO project.
17. ICO Calendars
Calendars are an efficient tool investors use to track blockchain activities. A good solution to attract the attention of investors is to list and publish major events on as many reputable ICO calendars as possible. Some of the best calendars are CoinGecko, CoinSchedule, Coincodex, ICOdrops, and ICOCalendar.Today. Requisite information for listing on these sites is usually the project name, token details, website, and contact information.
18. ICO Listings
The best marketing channel to promote your ICO with a real target audience is perhaps the ICO listing. This is where you can find people who are really interested in crypto investing and desire to be part of the crypto economy. The ICO token launch ecosystem is a growing niche in which new innovative listing approaches are continuously introduced by platforms. There are several top-tier ICO listing sites that provide high exposure and coverage to your ICO. While some of these sites present a free posting, the most popular ones charge a premium to be listed. When choosing sites, also pay attention to the target audience. While the lion’s share of users of the top listing sites are in the United States, if other non-English speaking countries such as South Korea or China prevail in your chosen sites and you do not have language localization for these regions, the result of your listing will be deplorable. It’s therefore crucial that thorough research and review are done about a particular platform to list your ICO project.
We hope you have found this checklist helpful!
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