3 Keys To Building A Successful Marketing Plan For An ICO
As more and more technologists and financial institutions adopt implementations of blockchain technologies, we will likely see an increasing number of startups and enterprises turn to initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a mechanism for fundraising. ICOs, at a really high level, are crowdfunding instruments that leverage "crypto-tokens" as a means for distribution of wealth.
Effectively, they translate to low barrier-to-entry tools that small teams can use to rapidly raise funding for blockchain projects, provided they can prove to a community their viability and intended business case is large enough to warrant funding.
This is an extremely unique time not only for the fundraising space, but also for technology as a whole, as blockchains and decentralized systems enter into mass markets. While there are many "fraudsters" and abusers of the process, the haystack still has a few gems of legitimate, promising projects that will likely make waves over the coming years.
At their core, the most successful ICOs do one thing incredibly well: proving the viability and necessity of their product through marketing and branding early on.
Here are 3 ways to build a marketing plan to ensure the success of your ICO:
1. Create A Detailed And Technical White Paper
Your whitepaper is likely the first thing potential contributors will click on when they explore your new token sale. Your whitepaper details all of the commercial, technological, and financial details of the new coin offering.
Essentially, your goal is to boil down all of the technical jargon into bite-sized tidbits of information that your readers can understand. It should be everything they would really need to know before joining the community and making an investment. This is a crucial document that you will leverage to promote your product across a variety of channels, so it is useful to make the investment up front and make sure it looks premium and high quality.
Strong white papers also allow companies to convince and push the limits of what blockchain can do. A cool company that I recently read about doing this is REALISTO, a startup putting real estate investments on the blockchain. In reading the details of their whitepaper, you can see they do a great job making both a business case for their token offering and also a technical one.
A big mistake that many blockchain startups make when crafting their token offering is that they either make the whitepaper too generic and high level by leaving out most of the important details or too detailed and complicated language-wise, which may cause them to lose crucial potential investors. While no one wants to read through hundreds of complex algorithms and data tables, people do want to know that you are really invested in your product. Striking that careful balance will be super important as you try and reach a specific audience.
2. Build A Community
Due to their decentralized nature, successful ICOs tend to have extremely strong and active communities supporting their projects. There are many ways to approach community building. The first is that you can create an active forum, slack, or telegram group that you and your team manage. There, community members can ask questions about the upcoming ICO and share relevant news articles and information with each other.
Forums and community groups are a great way to provide value not only to new leads, but also to your existing group of supporters who want a place to host conversations. Since blockchain is "relatively" new, you will find that the early backers of many of these projects are extremely passionate about the use cases and technology, and more than willing to have conversations about the products and implementations.
You can also use this forum to collect feedback on your product and embed transparent ways of communication between you (your team) and the community. You can host "AMAs" (ask me anything) sessions with different members of your team so that the community can get to know all of you better. More than anything, being open with your community proves to them that your project is far more than transactional in nature; it is rather about building relationships with your supporters, which is far more powerful.
3. Create An Email List
Early on in your days of marketing for your ICO, one of the best things you can do is start an email capture list on your website. While not everyone who lands on your homepage is ready to become a token holder, there are people who are interested (not yet ready to pull the trigger) and want to stay up to date with important information.
You can use your email list in a variety of ways. The most common is to deliver important roadmap updates to your community, so that everyone is on the same page in regards to the state of the project. This way, when the token sale actually goes live, you already have a willing and primed community ready to invest in the project. Minimizing the amount of surprises will be a recurring theme for you and your team as the entire process can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Another great use case is to start a weekly newsletter that highlights a variety of industry insights and information about the ICO. Anything you can do to stay top of mind and relevant to your community is a big plus.