ICO Cryptocurrencies have endured a volatile existence since Satoshi first delivered the framework for Bitcoin, the current digital gold standard. While the price moved skyward over the past year, regulation and general uncertainty seeped into the ecosystem while the dominance of Bitcoin reduced drastically with the emergence of Altcoins and initial coin offerings (ICOs). However, global awareness of cryptocurrency continues to increase at an exponential rate. This meteoric rise has paved the way for these initial coin offerings to generate immense financial backing.
In many ways, this mass investment is motivated by incessant speculation. However, at the same time, the infancy of blockchain and cryptocurrency is obvious. This may seem like speculation, but the whitepapers for many of these ICOs are practical, realistic, and probable. Having said that, ICOs are gaining an enormous amount of traction right now and whether this relates to speculation or not, the time is right for ICOs to stake their claim.
Here we will take a look at the most important factors for establishing, growing, and marketing a successful ICO or cryptocurrency.
Intro to Marketing ICOs and Cryptocurrencies
Naturally, the purpose of an ICO is to raise funds for a particular crypto startup. Even so, with so many companies entering the crypto market, this is an increasingly challenging task. For this reason, ICO marketing services use proven strategies, smart techniques, and specific resources to promote and sell cryptocurrency coins for their ICO clients.
While there is certainly a need for caution in the space, even the best-laid plans can fall flat in the face of a highly critical audience. Indeed, in a time when Mt. Gox and the failure of Bitconnect are still fresh in the mind, investors are increasingly aware and skeptical in a market that continues to evolve.
What does all of this really mean for an ICO? Simply put, while the utility of a token is essential, savvy marketing is essential for online visibility in a particularly crowded market.
Establishing a Marketing Strategy
In an ideal world, there would be so little competition and noise that a sales process would be unnecessary. However, there is competition, there is noise, and a sales funnel is most certainly necessary for an ICO strategy in the cryptocurrency market.
The sales funnel is a marketing technique that guides investors through the buying process. When you consider a real-life funnel, investors arrive with interest at the rim of the funnel. Once they step inside, the purpose of the funnel is to guide them toward a decision to invest. Even so, there is much more to this process than tipping investors into a funnel. In general, this should be the financial objective of an ICO – to gain interest and compel people to invest.
However, in reality, the sales funnel is merely one aspect of an overall strategy. These marketing principles have changed very little throughout centuries of business. While certain changes need to reflect the ever-changing online world, the theory is still largely the same. IN other words, a good marketing strategy is still the root of success for most enterprises.
Takeaway Point – A well-thought-out marketing strategy is essential for a successful ICO.
Defining and Establishing a Niche
Needless to say, your ICO must serve a particular purpose. In other words, you need a very real reason as to why customers will find value in the offering. Until now, speculation has produced billions of capital for hundreds of altcoins. Nevertheless, in time, this trend is sure to subside. That is, unless ICOs can prove their worth in the medium to long term.
For this reason, ICOs need to think long and hard about the use case of their token. As with any good product or service, this should start with questions such as “What does the customer want?” and “Is the token a solution to a common issue?”
In this sense, ICOs can establish a niche within a wider market, and there are many benefits to niching. For example, smaller markets mean less competition while targeting a very defined market is likely to result in more authority in that sector for the ICO.
Takeaway Point – Choosing a niche is more effective than aiming to please everyone.
Creating the Whitepaper
You should know that whitepapers are mandatory for an ICO company. In fact, this is the very first thing any investor should want to see. This is because the whitepaper outlines every piece of technical and theoretical detail about the ICO.
The company launching the ICO is likely to have a reasonable idea about the contents of their whitepaper. Nevertheless, this is often a job for a marketing agency. A good marketing agency should be able to craft the information in such a way as to stimulate interest from potential investors. Furthermore, the purpose and plans for the coin need to be illustrated in an understandable manner, and this is something that a marketing expert is familiar with. A good whitepaper should explain the benefits of the coin to new investors. The more impressive this whitepaper appears, the more likely it is to compel people to invest and believe in the overall project.
Whitepapers will inevitably become more important as time goes on. For example, the market was mostly fueled and driven by speculation over the past year. However, a recent downtrend has prompted investors to take a closer look at their investments. Similarly, future investors are increasingly likely to seek out whitepapers so that they can examine these plans to ensure they know as much as possible about the project in question.
Once again, education is critical in the ICO space. The whitepaper is an opportunity to get this stage of the process right from the very beginning.
Takeaway Point – In time, the importance of whitepapers will increase.
Providing True Value
As already mentioned, every token needs to have a very precise use case. After all, as speculation subsides, the focus will eventually move to the utility. As a rule, this transition is expected. Even so, shifting from speculation should also be fully embraced by an ICO with genuine potential and value.
In this sense, ICOs need to concentrate on providing true value and use-case to potential users of the token which will inevitably provide monetary value to the investor.
Take payment coins for example. Until now, much of the investment in payment coins was solely dependent on hype in the cryptocurrency market. In spite of the recent downtrend, tangible news regarding the utility of payment coins has increased the value of some coins. In other words, as online merchants begin to adopt these payment coins and tokens, investors perceive more value in the coins. This results in a sudden spike in the price.
With this in mind, crypto developers launching ICOs need to think about the utility of their tokens. It’s important to examine what steps are necessary to illustrate this value to potential investors.
Takeaway Point – Utility will trump any amount of speculation.
Demonstrating Sound Leadership
Cryptocurrency is also extremely volatile in terms of the social environment. From Twitter and YouTube to Medium as well as other platforms, you will find scandals, rumors, and criticism at every turn. In some cases, we have already witnessed major scams, Ponzi schemes, and frauds. Nobody is safe from the possibility of accusations or false claims.
Unfortunately, this is also something that those launching ICOs need to keep in mind. After all, negative media relations have already led to the downfall of several coins. Having said that, we can also see the very opposite with some coins – most of which are managed by stable leaders with solid reputations.
Vitalik Buterin and Charlie Lee, of Ethereum and Litecoin, are perfect examples of well-respected characters. They’ve both managed to overcome any obstacles and criticism that stood in their way. While the utility of their respective coins is important, both of these leaders are well respected as blockchain experts.
What does this mean? For starters, leadership and experience are important. While the utility of tokens is critical, investors are just as interested in the level of trust and authority behind these tokens.
Takeaway Point – The need for sound leadership should not be underestimated.
Creating Trust and Community
Building a community is another critical ingredient in the marketing of an ICO. Although Bitconnect was a scam, the sense of togetherness in this particular community was always notable.
In fact, this was the underlying reason why the scam was able to grow at such an incredible rate. Morals aside, the marketing tactics were extremely smart. People truly believed in Bitconnect, and this created a great sense of momentum online which helped the community expand rapidly.
On a more ethical note, you can see how many of the most prominent ICOs with respected leaders have managed to nurture a similar sense of community. In the case of Litecoin, Charlie Lee continues to compel his investors to help with the adoption process. This has clearly impacted positively on the realms of social media. In the face of adversity, these investors are also a great support to the ICO and a sign of strength. This is always encouraging for potential investors.
Takeaway Point – Community alleviates concerns for potential investors.
Developing an Online Presence
ICOs and cryptocurrency projects use a host of online platforms and social media outreach to plug and promote their respective projects. While Facebook has restricted the use of cryptocurrency in advertisements, an online strategy is still the way forward. In fact, it’s the best chance of going viral.
Sponsored posts are possible on many of the most prominent websites including Coindesk and Cointelegraph. Moreover, many online influencers are more than happy to help promote certain projects in return for a monetary fee. However, the latter is a rather risky prospect that poses serious consequences when things go wrong. An example of this can be seen when John McAfee began tweeting about the security cryptocurrency Verge. Soon after that, reports were published that McAfee had received payment for these tweets. The news resulted in a massive sell-off and quite a bit of damage to the reputation of this cryptocurrency. While Verge recovered from the sell-off quite quickly, the event shows how linking up with external influencers or websites is not always a good idea.
On the other hand, guerrilla marketing tactics are proving to be extremely efficient and affordable. In fact, they cost absolutely nothing and are often the subject of viral content. Reddit and Steemit are reliable sources of hot topics. This makes them great platforms to publish news, while Twitter and smart SEO techniques are effective ways to gain traffic.
Takeaway Point – Social media is the most affordable marketing strategy on the planet.
Nurturing Growth and Adoption
While the utility of an end product is undoubtedly the most sensible objective, growth and adoption are central to the marketing strategy of an ICO. After all, without customers or investors, there is no future for an ICO.
Simply put, the utility of an ICO needs to be promoted and adopted by a wider audience in order to get ahead. In a typical sales funnel, this process begins with attracting the interest of investors with the features and benefits of a coin before demonstrating true value. In the end, the true value is best demonstrated when the investors can see this value in motion or – even better – if they can test or use the end product.
As with any coin, product, or service of any value, customers and investors feel compelled to endorse their user experience. When doing marketing for ICOs, adoption is one of the most powerful formulas for creating awareness and establishing momentum.
Takeaway Point – Adoption is the key to growth.
Understanding the Importance of Peer to Peer
In case you forgot, the initial objective of Bitcoin was to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions. Yes, the goalposts have moved somewhat. Bitcoin has gained recognition more and more as a storage of wealth. Nevertheless, the concept of “peer-to-peer” is still key, especially when marketing an ICO.
After all, peer-to-peer is an incredibly powerful marketing concept that relies on word of mouth to create mass interest. In fact, peer-to-peer marketing is arguably the backbone of cryptocurrency and the decentralized nature of blockchain.
With limited support in the mainstream and a host of negative media attention. This is also the only reliable means through which an ICO can hope to capture the attention of a target market.
At the same time, this is not such a bad thing, since peer-to-peer marketing is arguably the most powerful form of marketing on the planet. If you have any doubt about this, you should note how most viral content is not related to major brands, businesses, or mainstream media.
Takeaway Point – It is not a coincidence that cryptocurrency was designed to be peer-to-peer.
Delivering Education in the Crypto Space
A few years from now, investing in cryptocurrency and ICOs is likely to be a straightforward process. With ample tutorials and clear instructions, even those who are completely new to investing will have little to think about on the way to their first investment. However, for now, this is certainly not the case.
At this time, less than one percent of the world thought to invest in cryptocurrency, and a brief discussion among common friends should confirm this statistic. The truth is, this market is still in transition from infancy to awareness. Most people have heard of cryptocurrency, ICOs and tokens, but few people really understand how it all works.
For this reason, ICOs should assume responsibility and be fully aware that investors need education. Aside from purchasing the actual tokens, this awareness should concentrate on the precise nature of the tokens. Simply put, if investors can use the tokens, they need to be informed, and if there are certain benefits to these same tokens, they need to be told about them.
An example of this is found with Steem, the cryptocurrency established by the popular platform Steemit. When investors purchase Steem tokens, they have the option of holding the cryptocurrency in anticipation of appreciating value or they can choose to buy Steem Dollars that can be utilized on the Steemit platform. For this reason, Steem is an excellent example of a cryptocurrency with utility, for the platform is already highly successful.
Takeaway Point – Never assume, for you have a responsibility to educate.
Understanding the Importance of Marketing for ICOs and Cryptocurrency
Although a great deal of technical analysis and understanding is crucial for cryptocurrency marketing, emotional intelligence is just as important. When it comes to transmitting the right message to investors, the marketer needs an exceptional understanding of the ICO but then also the ability to connect investors with this particular message.
True, there needs to be a specific value to the ICO, but savvy marketing is necessary to attract attention and convey the core values of the ICO. Without effective marketing, there is no strategy or roadmap for the project to follow. More importantly, there is nobody taking responsibility for the direction of the ICO.
In most circumstances, tokens or concepts are complex creations by incredibly talented individuals. Furthermore, we can often see that these same individuals are certainly capable of explaining the purpose and objective of these creations. However, more often than not, marketing experts are far more adept and suitable when it comes to conveying this purpose. This is because their ability to connect emotionally with investors is the true catalyst that enables them to believe in the project.
As always, this is not true in every case, for some creators have a natural flair for getting the message across. However, with so many time-consuming tasks to manage, this job is best outsourced to a marketing expert. This should be someone who can also fully understand and talk about the project with the same passion.
Takeaway Point – Marketing strategy is extremely important.
Building Cryptocurrency without the Hype
As you might have noticed, the building blocks of a successful ICO or cryptocurrency rely heavily on a solid foundation. Sure, speculation and hype are likely to produce an influx of capital. But without a sound product, the longevity of this investment is certain to dissipate. Furthermore, the only way to establish trust, community, or belief in a product is by fulfilling the needs of customers. You should also aim to provide a solution that people will actually want to use.
Contrary to recent price movements in the market, this focus on hype is also certain to change with investors calling for demonstrations of the value being promoted. Either way, the main objective of an ICO should be to provide a valuable product. You need a product that will warrant the extravagant numbers we are currently witnessing in the cryptocurrency markets.
Takeaway Point – Focus on the product, not the price, and certainly not the hype.
How Marketing Firms can Help ICO Startups
When an ICO company enters the market, the main objective is to raise funding for the project. Most often, investors who are invited to purchase coin offerings using Bitcoin or Ethereum receive tokens in return for this monetary investment. However, while all of this is going on, the ICO team obviously needs to work on the project itself. This team should work towards producing the best version of what investors will find in the press release and whitepaper.
Naturally, this leaves very little time for creating a marketing strategy and implementing the plan. As with any conventional business, this is where marketing companies shine. They have both the time and expertise to take care of the marketing, sales, and promotion of ICO tokens. The experts at these companies specialise in media releases and guest post articles to interviews, speaking engagements, and social media strategy. For this reason, marketing companies are hugely influential in terms of making progress with every aspect of ICO promotion.
In many cases, members of an ICO will often have relevant experience to take care of the marketing side of the business. Nevertheless, as mentioned, time is usually the problem. With this in mind, partnering with marketing companies is the most sensible option and solution to help ICOs and cryptocurrencies get ahead of the competition.
Takeaway Point – You might know what to do, but marketing companies actually get it done.
Conclusion – Marketing and Growth for ICOs
In the wake of an economic downturn, fear, uncertainty, and doubt are plaguing the crypto space. Nevertheless, we have every reason to believe in the future of cryptocurrencies and ICOs. After all, Congress in the United States has recently sought to protect investors rather than regulate the market out of existence. At the same time, congress was still quick to raise concerns over ICOs and committed to shortening the reigns somewhat in the near future.
When you consider the extent of coverage the market is now receiving, there is certainly a greater need for ICOs and cryptocurrencies to maintain a moral objective. However, there is no way for potential investors to know about this objective or the benefits of a particular project unless the ICO seeks to market, promote and sell the potential of the project.
In this regard, marketing ICOs and cryptocurrencies not only requires a great understanding of what the customer values but also the knowledge which we used to integrate this value into the actual token. At this point, the objective should be clear. Focus on the utility and get started on marketing this value to the investors.
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