Hello! My name is Anton Dzyatkovskiy, I am the co-founder of Platinum, the world’s leader in ICO and STO promotion services. Our huge team has listed more than 60 tokens on multiple exchanges and continues to work with more than half of our clients. This result speaks for itself: https://bit.ly/2V4odpW We launched ICOs and STOs, promoted them, made cool
Reintroduction to Marketing & PR
With the sudden growth of ICOs in 2017, hundreds of companies are following suit in 2018. But of course, many of these ICOs will not succeed. Some projects simply fail to raise sufficient funds, and some fail to even garner enough hype to actually execute the ICO. Research suggests that only 48% of 2017 ICOs were ultimately successful in raising funds. There are currently over 1,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation. It is a case of sink or swim for each new ICO trying to enter the market.
The success or failure of an ICO depends to a large extent on the efforts of its marketing team. Planning an effective marketing strategy is as important as the actual product itself. In this lesson, we will learn about the importance of marketing and PR in ICOs. It is important to remember, for ICO projects that are generally asking investors for money to fund an idea that has not yet actually been created, the narrative presented by the marketing team is a powerful motivation for investors.
“The success of an ICO depends on a range of factors, most of which the Marketing/PR team will ultimately influence more than anyone else. Marketing strategy has the potential to create a powerful image and narrative that propels an ICO to a phenomenally successful fundraising. ICOs can be marketed through various media channels, although the overwhelming majority of marketing will be digital.
2017 was a great year for ICO investors with a tremendous surge in the returns on invested funds. ICOs continue to attract more interest and further distinguish themselves from alternate means of raising capital. Marketing professionals have developed exciting ways of managing ICOs and engaging an audience of potential investors.
ICOs manage their audiences on platforms like Discord, Telegram, and Facebook, among others. Marketing strategy is designed not only to increase the number of individuals interested in a project, but also to foster a sense of community around the project. This community will hopefully be there to support you when new investors begin their due diligence, deciding whether or not to invest in your project.
The project itself must be able to stand on its own two feet. If the idea is poor, the blockchain use case is tenuous, or perhaps the team is unknown, those things can hamstring the marketing team’s best efforts. The marketing professional should create a personalized strategy showing all the strong points and value to be found in this particular project; and avoid any weaknesses as much as possible.
“The Importance of Marketing
Every system is made up of components that make it function properly as a whole. Just like the human body is made up of different organs working together, an ICO project is based on the coordination of various interrelated and interdependent components that constitute the overall ICO system.
Marketing is an integral part of an ICO. You might first think of the marketing function as being most like the human mouth because it is about communicating to people. But marketing is actually more like the function of the human ear. That is where we get our feedback. The information you receive from community members, from investors and potential investors, tells you how good or bad your marketing campaign is going.
If your marketing team dispenses too much info, or useless irrelevant info to investors, they will simply switch off, lose interest, and look elsewhere. While each marketing team will have their own particular style, remember that the information you are communicating is competing for attention with everything else in the investor’s mind.
Marketing is much more than simply communicating news or information. Marketing is the creation of a narrative that shapes the perception of your audience. As you learn more and more about marketing throughout this lesson and more advanced lessons too, keep in mind that it is both a passive and reactive activity. It can be used to sell investors on your project as well as a way to manage problems.”
“Key Channels for Communication
Certain metrics have to be carefully considered in the dissemination of information. The main goal is to capture the attention of potential partners or investors. Calculated and well-defined steps not only ensure that investors give you their undivided attention but eventually entice them to invest their money in your project. A clearly defined strategy will also help your team create and execute on your narrative. This might seem like a buzzword salad with a few goals mixed in, but these are all factors you need to constantly keep in mind with your marketing message.
To start with, the project website has to be immaculately designed to attract the attention of and satisfy your viewers. Your website will often be the first and primary source of information for new investors about your project. It needs to be functional, easy to use, and contain information tailored for your investor demographic.
It is a good idea is to create mailing lists and options for visitors to immediately join the Telegram channel of the project, from the website. This can be achieved by using attractive “funnels” on the website. Funnels come in different forms but the most common are promotional offers or click-able steps, for example to receive certain information, or benefit, etc.
At present, the most popular design principle is that of a minimalistic one-page website. The website should contain all of the pertinent information including your Whitepaper, Pitchdeck, and marketing materials. It should also contain information about your team, your road map and links to your blog and Telegram channel.
“Key Channels for Communication
Telegram is a popular instant messaging service launched in 2013, and is home to most all cryptocurrency projects. This messaging platform not only provides end-to-end encryption but also has the capacity to manage a large number of people in a single group.
This large capacity group function is something that its closest competitor WhatsApp seriously lacks. Telegram supports file sharing and other messaging functions. Your project’s Telegram channel will be the primary forum for investors to discuss the project as well as for your team to release breaking news directly to your investors. In the traditional investment space this kind of news would be typically released through announcements on stock exchanges or to other media outlets. The creation and operation of the Telegram channel for your project is one of the single most important and innovative developments in the ICO marketing space.
Telegram has proven to be a great tool for the entire blockchain industry by uniting individuals from different countries under one project umbrella. Telegram also lets developers and marketers link their announcement channels to supergroups so that they get first-hand information in the blink of an eye.
“Key Channels for Communication
This San Francisco startup has proven itself in the market and grown to be a crucial forum for many ICOs and the blockchain industry overall. Medium is a web-only publication that lets virtually anyone publish anything online, somewhat like conventional blogging.
Rather than trying to develop a new community of interested public, solely with your own website, Medium enables you to post your info and develop your project narrative into a community of active users. It allows you to start posting about your company in the same space as other related blogs, etc. This free platform gives you an invaluable way to promote your ICO and it also helps legitimize your business venture in the eyes of investors.
Over the years, Medium has been the platform most responsible for providing illuminating articles about every successful ICO. As a result, it is now considered essential to an ICO, same as a Telegram channel. Many cryptocurrency investors rely on Medium because it has established a long track record of providing the most relevant and reliable industry news. ICOs can use Medium to promote their project with the assurance that they are not just marketing into thin air.
Other popular channels of communication include Slack, G-suite, Discord, and Hubspot.”
“Key Figures in the ICO Marketing Space
In every channel of communication, there are certain people who have greater influence than others. They are specialists in delivering quality content in their chosen niches; thereby becoming an influential and iconic individual in a very fast and noisy industry. These individuals are commonly known as Influencers in the crypto space. But there are actually not so many popular individual marketers in the cryptocurrency space. Consistently successful campaigns are typically managed by agencies with a collection of highly talented individuals working as a team.
Blockchain App Factory
The primary focus of this agency is on blockchain development. They provide their clients with custom blockchain based solutions catering to applications in various industries. Some of these include strategically designed ICOs, smart contracts, smart wallets and Hyperledgers.
They became rather popular after helping propel the ICO of Dashcoin, which has become one of the top cryptocurrencies. While they are not a marketing agency themselves, the quality of their past work and their selectivity in choosing clients ensures that investors will closely follow who the firm is working with. Investors in the blockchain industry are well aware that a project is only likely to be successful if there is a strong team behind the project.
” Key Figures in the ICO Marketing Space
This ex-IBM analyst has become a major force in the cryptocurrency space. If Ian approves of a token, one can rest assured he will share it with millions of people who follow him on social media. He is a very popular Influencer.
His followers make trades based on his judgement. He operates a YouTube channel where he hosts videos discussing why an ICO seems promising or poor. He is also available on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Crypto Lark
The man behind Crypto Lark is an entertaining cryptocurrency enthusiast. He uses comedic videos to explain complex cryptocurrency terms as well as review ICOs and cryptocurrencies. He is famous on popular social media channels, especially YouTube. He is a primary example of another Influencer who operates on a range of platforms providing his analysis on upcoming ICOs.
Patrick Wieland is a financial analyst. A lot of people follow him on social media and trust his analysis, especially on less popular ICOs, which he refers to as “diamonds in the rough”. He uses his background in traditional stock market investing and technical analysis to investigate and evaluate ICO investments.
This is a UK based outfit that specializes in marketing and providing ICO insights. They have a large following of crypto enthusiasts.
The truth is, there are quite a lot of actors and organizations out there that have mastered the art of marketing and growing an audience for new projects. There is no reason for you to excessively streamline your marketing strategy. You should not underestimate the significance of the marketing campaign on your project. The best marketing campaigns are usually integrated solutions that employ the services of specialist companies, websites, and blogs, as well as individual influencers who make sure to spread the word in every way possible.
Notable ICO Campaign Examples
There have been tremendous success stories and shocking failures as well, in the parade of ICOs seen so far. Good plans and sound strategy are at the bottom of every success story. By now, you understand the basics of an effective ICO strategy. Multiple avenues of communication, a powerful and convincing narrative, an active community, positive interaction with investors, as well using individual influencers, are all factors that coalesce into a success story for you and your project.
We will examine a selection of ICOs to see how they executed their marketing strategies.
“Successful Marketing Campaigns
What makes for a successful ICO campaign?
Some analysts argue that it may just be the amount raised by the project, but other people say it is the utility of the coin.
Both are technically correct, but these two benchmarks should not be the only factors you consider. It is of paramount importance that your ICO project sets goals, and that you go on to achieve them. Only then can you say an ICO project is successful or not.
Falling a little short of a goal does not mean total failure, but it does give you something to examine and try to learn from. First, we will study the why and how of some successful ICO projects.
Disappointing Marketing Campaigns
We said before that the measure of ICO success is somewhat relative, whereas meeting a stated set of goals is a more objective indication of a successful effort. In this section, we will analyze some campaigns that were successful in some ways, but disappointing overall.
There are certain steps that tend to ensure success, and there are other steps that tend to lead a team to failure. The two most troublesome problems are poor planning and unrealistic expectations.
“Successful Marketing Campaigns
Ethereum had a successful ICO that serves as a model for many other projects. Ethereum has gone on to establish itself as the second most important cryptocurrency in the world. Many analysts attribute the success of the Ethereum ICO to the brilliance of its founder, Vitalik Buterin.
But there is more to the story than just the brilliance of the founder. The technology Ethereum brought to the market was desperately needed at the time of the ICO. A lot of crypto miners had been complaining about the bitcoin hashing rate (the time it takes a transaction to complete within a block and the amount of power this process consumes).
Vitalik produced a great product, not necessarily to replace bitcoin, but certainly to compete with it. Ethereum is a ledger technology that can be used to build decentralized apps using smart contracts.
Before the Ethereum launch, the project used pre-ICO marketing campaigns and mentions on notable blogs. This is an exact mirror of the marketing strategies employed by traditional companies like Nike or Coca Cola. This provoked a positive and enthusiastic response because the idea of a blockchain with more capabilities than that of bitcoin was a very good idea!
The ICO would go on to generate over $45million, peaking at an all-time ROI of 152,500%! For the investors who bought early, it took less than a year to receive over 5000% in returns on their initial investment.
“Successful Marketing Campaigns
NEO, also known as Antshares, was developed by Dan Hongfei. This is a Chinese open source blockchain that crypto enthusiasts cannot seem to get enough of. NEO is sometimes regarded as the Ethereum of China. Let’s take a look why this project was a successful ICO with outstanding marketing plans.
First, the project had some major sponsors. They had the support of the Chinese government and Microsoft. This alone was enough to send the crypto community into a frenzy. Everyone wanted to be a part of something this big. When investors see who developed a product, or who is backing it, that can be a real boost to their enthusiasm and confidence for the project.
Maybe the prime example of our age is Apple Computers and their extremely loyal fan base. So many people like and trust Apple, they are comfortable and secure with the Apple brand. NEO appealed to the same kind of fan loyalty to generate massive publicity for their project.
Just like other ICOs with a concrete plan in action, NEO had a roadmap for its own plans as well. There were announcements on major blogs like Medium, and a host of others. They used paid advertising on Google AdWords, YouTube, Facebook and alternate cryptocurrency blogs. The promotional efforts were all coordinated to rapidly disperse information about the project.
“Successful Marketing Campaigns
The powerful EOS blockchain is an interesting project designed by Daniel Larimer, who also developed Bitshares and Steem. News broke out that Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, had a part in the development of the EOS blockchain. Community interest grew more intense. We saw again how much the founders’ or backers’ popularity will affect how a project is viewed.
Over time, EOS has proven that the technology underpinning the platform is the primary driver of the project as opposed to just the initial fame of the founders. According to some cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the tech behind NEO is amazing, almost unbelievable. It looks to solve some longtime bitcoin problems while running on its own EOS blockchain. EOS also wants to develop a commercially friendly environment where decentralized applications can be built on the platform. This technology could possibly bring an end to the longtime problem of scalability and high transaction fees that have plagued the crypto space.
As Daniel Larimer puts it, EOS is a blockchain for the future. At first, the project got publicity because of the developer and CTO. But they also employed traditional means of marketing, posting on popular cryptocurrency blogs, as well as running sponsored ads on crypto related websites. This combination of strong narrative, well known founders, and boundless potential of technology allowed the marketing team to create an incredibly successful campaign.
“Failed Marketing Campaigns
Just as some teams put in work to achieve success, other teams fail to properly plan and check all loopholes before launching their ICO. We will discuss three key failures and how the marketing campaigns could have done better.
This project set out to develop a scheme of instant interest-free payments, but it was largely regarded as a scam all along. Swisscoin did not publish a whitepaper or any information about its developers. That is a huge red flag to ICO investors.
The team (if there was one) did a bad job at marketing, even though this coin did raise around $500,000. There were a number of red flags and other problematic issues dogging the project. Surprisingly, despite all those problems, the coin was still able to raise that much money. The marketing team focused on specific investors looking for high risk investments. Targeted marketing can be incredibly effective! You should create a message with the power to motivate a specific demographic of investor.
The inability of the team to deal with basic red flags is a big marketing failure. If you are part of a project that does not adequately deal with red flags, does not publish a whitepaper, etc., it is strongly advised you walk away from the project because the team has no serious ambitions.
The coin was later discovered by the Ukrainian government to be a scam.
“Evaluating ICO Rating Websites
Since the inception of the ICO as a fund raising technique, there has been a surge in the quantity of ICOs. The cryptocurrency market has become so flooded that performing due diligence has turned into a somewhat Herculean task.
There was an urgent need for a solution, something that can streamline the evaluation of ICOs based upon certain metrics. That is where ICO rating websites and services came to the rescue. We will discuss these websites and the metrics they use for rating ICOs, and see how they have influenced the overall community of cryptocurrency investors.
The Need for ICO Rating Websites
ICO rating websites are fast becoming an essential tool in the cryptocurrency space. But of course, we do not simply believe everything we find on the internet. There are a range of legitimate ICO rating websites, but there are also consistently new ICO rating websites seeking to trick investors into investing in scam or poor ICOs.
Investors are now faced with the problem of deciding which ICOs to invest in, bearing in mind the risk profile of this asset class overall. Websites provide updates on the latest ICO news, and analysts break down the complex ICO structures involved. Investors depend on these analytical services to decide where to invest their money.
“The Need for ICO Rating Websites
Two of the most popular ICO rating websites are:
ICObench is a user-friendly social ICO rating platform supported by their very own bot that they call ‘Benchy’. To register on this site, you simply need to fill out some personal information and apply as an expert. Once approved, you will be able to publicly rate ICOs based on three factors: team, vision, and product.
ICORating is one of the first ICO rating platforms. This website evaluates ICOs based on two factors that are especially important for short-term investments: hype and risk.
It is also good to know that many of the ICO rating websites, including ICORating, charge projects for their ICO to be listed on their website.
A common theme is how projects are scored by experts on primarily three factors. The ICO experts build a reputation on accuracy established by previous advice on ICOs. The rating websites focus on your project, your vision and your ability to deliver the product. We always see why a strong team is mandatory for an ICO to succeed. Also note that a third of your ICO rating is based on your team’s ability to market and sell the project’s narrative vision for the future.
“Metrics and Meaning
The metrics defined by ICO rating websites provide information regarding the potential of an ICO project and an educated estimate of its ultimate influence in the market. Let us look at some of these metrics.
This metric focuses upon the possibility of the project being an actual scam. Defining the risk score is quite important before committing funds to a project. The risk is determined based on the information available for an ICO project. Information about the team and developers is also required to formulate this score. Other information required includes the whitepaper, legal counsel, smart contract, partners and advisors on the project.
The higher the risk score, the higher the possibility of the project being a scam. The risk score can generally be grouped into five levels ranging from very low to very high. The lower the parameter, the lower the eventuality of fraud. As such, it is critically important as part of your marketing strategy that you do not get a bad score for risk! Provide all of the relevant information required or requested by the ICO websites.
“Metrics and Meaning
This is one of the major ratings investors look for when analyzing a potential investment. This is aimed at relating a project specifically to the industry for which it was developed. Investment ratings give information on the following:
The accuracy of the stated information on the project. This includes the current state of the project, the team, the market, and the degree of development of the technological component.
The credibility of the team to implement their product or service taking into consideration the stated set of developments, the competency of the team, the business model, the current market development, and the competitive environment.
The hype score shows the level of investor interest in a project. The parameters considered for this include the following:
-The social media following of the project and its staff.
-The number of mentions, retweets, likes, etc.
-Mentions in popular technology, media and finance publications.
-The amount of search engine feedback that relates to your business.
-Traffic on the main website.
Social media that are usually analyzed for this review include Medium, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, and Bitcointalk.
“Scoring Well on ICO Review Websites
Having gone through the last section, you have learned about certain metrics that dictate the rating score being used by these ICO rating websites. Scoring well requires you to have a solid team, preferably with one or two specialists with successful track records.
Posting on popular blogs and publications will deliver a strong score on all rating websites. The technology behind the project can also help you earn great scores.
These are the crucial elements to remember:
Team Structure and Competence
Having a solid team made up of professionals with solid track records will go a long way in establishing a good ICO rating score.
The ICO Whitepaper Review
The whitepaper should be thorough and detailed, with every aspect of the project included. Vital information should not be skipped over lightly. Potential problems should not be avoided. Things like that are nothing but red flags to potential investors.
The Feasibility of the Project
The project, if not solving a current problem, should have the potential of breaking barriers and solving a significant problem in the near future. It should be something you can talk to investors about, and convince them beyond a reasonable doubt this is a project in which they need to invest.
The Investors in the Project
You should endeavor to get notable backers and sponsors for your project. This way you can win the trust of the investors. Having an individual, or a group or company that is well-regarded by the
How to understand and interpret the rating systems of ICO rating websites? Find out after reading our full article:
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