ICO Cryptocurrencies has 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 eco-system 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 and this meteoric rise has paved the way for these initial coin offerings to generate an immense financial backing.
In many ways, this mass investment is motivated by incessant speculation, but at the same time, the infancy of blockchain and cryptocurrency is obvious. That is to say; this may seem like speculation, but the whitepapers for many of these ICOs are practical, realistic and probable. With that said, 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 business startup, but with so many companies entering the same 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.
Although, there is certainly a need for caution in the space, for 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 which continues to evolve.
But 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 was deemed unnecessary. However, there is competition, there is noise, and a sales funnel is most certainly necessary for an ICO strategy in the cryptocurrency market.
In case you might be asking yourself, the sales funnel is a marketing technique which guides investors through the buying process. When you consider a real-life funnel, investors arrive with interest at the rim of the funnel, and once they step inside, the purpose of the funnel is to guide them toward a decision to invest. That being said, there is much more to this process than tipping investors into a funnel, but in general, this should be the financial objective of an ICO – to gain interest and compel people to invest.
In fact, the sales funnel is merely one aspect of an overall strategy and 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 and a good marketing strategy is still the root of success for most enterprises.
Takeaway Point – Marketing strategy is essential.
Defining and Establishing a Niche
Needless to say, there must be an actual use for an ICO and a very realistic reason as to why customers will find value in the offering. Until now, speculation has produced billions of capital for hundreds of alt coins, but in time, this trend is sure to subside. That is unless ICOs can prove their worth in the medium to long term, no amount of capital will have any meaning or value.
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 certain 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.
Creating the Whitepaper
You should be familiar that whitepapers are mandatory for an ICO company. In fact, this is the very first thing any investor should want to see as the whitepaper outlines every piece of technical and theoretical detail about the ICO.
While an ICO company is likely to have a reasonable idea about the contents, this is often a job for a marketing agency who can 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 one which explains the benefits of the coin to new investors. As you might expect, the more impressive this whitepaper appears, the more likely this will compel people to invest and have belief in the overall project.
It must also be noted how 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, but a recent downtrend has prompted investors to take a closer look at their investments. Similarly, future investors are increasingly likely to seek out whitepapers and 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, and 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, and as speculation subsides, the focus will eventually move to the utility. As a rule, this transition is widely expected but 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, we can see that while this hype has started to fade, 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 which results in a sudden spike in the price.
With this in mind, ICOs need to think about the utility of their token and 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 and every other platform, you will find scandals, rumors, and criticism at every turn. In some cases, we have already witnessed major scams, Ponzi schemes, and frauds but nobody is safe from the possibility of accusations or false claims.
Unfortunately, this is also something which ICOs need to keep in mind, for negative media relations has already proven the downfall of several coins. With that being said, we can also see the very opposite with some coins, most of which are managed by stable leaders with solids reputations.
Vitalik Buterin and Charlie Lee, of Ethereum and Litecoin, are perfect examples of well-respected characters who have managed to overcome any obstacles of criticism in their way. While the utility of their respective coins is important, it must also be recognized that both of these leaders are well respected as blockchain experts.
What does this mean? Well, leadership and experience are important so 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 previously mentioned Bitconnect was a scam, the sense of togetherness in this particular community was always notable.
In fact, this was the underlying reason as to 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 which 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 which is always encouraging for potential investors.
Takeaway Point – Community alleviates concerns for potential investors.
Presence on Platforms and Social Media
ICOs and Cryptocurrencies are using 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 and 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 with serious consequences for when things go wrong. An example of this can be seen when John McAfee began tweeting about the security cryptocurrency Verge. When 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 which make them great platforms to publish news, while Twitter and smart SEO techniques are easily applied 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, 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. Regarding marketing for ICOs, this can be considered adoption and 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 goal posts have moved somewhat with Bitcoin recognized more and more as a storage of wealth but 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 which 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, for the potential of peer to peer marketing is arguably the most powerful form of marketing on the planet. If you have any doubt in this regard, 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.
Education in the Crypto Space
Some 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 is thought to be invested in cryptocurrency, and brief discussion among common friends should confirm this statistic. The truth is, this market is still within a transition from infancy to awareness, and most people are entirely unaware of cryptocurrency, not to mention ICOs and the meaning of a token.
For this reason, ICOs should assume responsibility and be fully aware that investors need educating. 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 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 Steam Dollars which 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.
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 but 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, for their ability to connect emotionally with investors is the true catalyst which 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 but with so many time-consuming tasks to manage, this is also a job which is best to be outsourced to a marketing expert 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 and providing 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 and one which will warrant the extravagant numbers we are currently witnessing in the cryptocurrency markets.
Takeaway Point – Focus on the product, not price, and certainly not hype.
How Marketing Firms Can Assist ICO Startups
When an ICO company enters the market, the main objective is to raise funding for the project. Most often, investors are invited to purchase coin offerings using Bitcoin or Ethereum and receive tokens in return for this monetary investment. However, while all of this is going on, the ICO is obviously required to work on the project itself and seek to produce 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 not to mention implementing the plan. As with any conventional business, this is where marketing companies are important, for they have both the time and expertise to take care of the marketing, sales, and promotion of ICO tokens. From media release and guest post articles to interview, speaking engagements and social media; 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 business but as mentioned, time is usually the problem. With this in mind, marketing companies are 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 get it done.
Conclusion – Marketing and Growth for ICOs
While fear, uncertainty, and doubt often loom over the short term price, there is 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 more requirement 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 can be 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.
Do you need help building a PR strategy for your cryptocurrency brand or your ICO? The team of PR experts at Pressfarm has experience working with brands in your industry to help them stand out from the crowd. From writing winning press releases to designing creative media kits and writing feature stories that will make a memorable impression for your brand, Pressfarm has got all your content creation needs covered. In addition, you can use our media database to connect with journalists in the cryptocurrency industry. Reach out today and let us help you generate the publicity your brand deserves.