From a seemingly small trend to a billion-dollar business model, IEOs and ICOs have changed the way startups approach funding. In 2017, which was a breakthrough year for Blockchain startups, ICOs raised $5.6 billion, and then in the first quarter of 2018, this amount increased to $6.3 billion.
After this bullish trend, the ICO market is entering the bearish stage, but that doesn’t mean this business model is any less promising. However, as the market is beginning to mature and investors are looking past the hype and buzzwords, your strategy must reflect reliability and professionalism. And be based on a killer idea, of course. Here’s how you can accomplish this and more in 2021:
Establish a presence before launching your ICO/IEO
One of the biggest challenges of marketing an ICO these days is standing out from a sea of other startups that, like you, are trying to change the world. For investors, the sheer number of ICOs can be very confusing and even if you worked hard on your idea, the launch campaign can miss its mark.
How can you get investors more excited then? Try to create a small community before launching your ICO/IEO. Go to industry events, give interviews, get featured in industry publications and get a handful of supporters to back you up. Investors want to get in on a good opportunity and the buzz you generate in advance will create a network effect and work as a vote of confidence.
According to a RAD Lending Inc. study, community support is vital when raising funding for startups. On average, the most successful ICOs have a median of 6,510 backlinks, between 4,000 and 5,500 followers on social media.
In addition to being present on Twitter and Facebook, they also engage with the community on Reddit, Telegram, and Quora. By doing so, not only do you create a network for yourself and help the word get out faster but you also show that you’re transparent and o people. It might not seem like much, but this can be the detail that sets you apart on an oversaturated market.
Be more selective with your content marketing strategy
One might imagine that possibilities are endless when promoting an ICO/IEO online, but content distribution options are pretty limited because of the saturation we discussed in the beginning.
Although it might be tempting to push your venture on just about any guest blog and online magazine, investors have become skeptical of all this spam. To convince them that you’re not another ICO that will flop right after funding, you need to consolidate your online reputation and promote yourself only through reliable channels, which is where marketing firms come in.
Quality is more important than quantity. Even if it sounds counterintuitive, limit yourself to your company blog, well-established online tech communities, and major business publications.
Intensive marketing was one of the reasons why so many investors poured money into projects that sounded fancy but did not fully understand. Then, they grew skeptical, and now they have a more information-based approach. This is why, when developing your content marketing strategy, you have to answer all the questions that investors may have, clarify what makes your business model effective, and what sets you apart from the many other ventures that are out there.
You can’t afford to be careless when promoting crypto offerings. Many of the marketing tactics that worked well in 2017 are actually to blame for the collapse of the token market, so you don’t want to make the same mistakes:
Focus on straightforward marketing, not FOMO
Back in the day, people invested in ICOs, not knowing what they did but hoping to be part of the next big thing because it sounded cool and futuristic. When many of these ventures didn’t work out, people lost their trust, so you’ll need more than buzzwords in the post-hype era. Don’t try to impress. Try to inform and explain. If your project is good, it will be able to stand out on its own feet.
Your product matters most, not Blockchain
Today, investors apply the same scrutiny with ICOs as they do with IPOs. The simple fact that your product is based on Blockchain is no longer enough, so don’t focus your entire marketing on it. Blockchain is just a means to an end and you should instead highlight the strength of your products.
Earn investors’ trust with a thorough business plan
As an ICO founder, you’ve probably heard that the success of your venture depends on how compelling your whitepaper is. And, to this day, the whitepaper remains a must-have document. However, the portrait of the target Blockchain investor has changed a lot from 2017.
The minimal designs and the fancy buzzwords of the typical ICO won’t cut it anymore because this time, you’re not dealing with impressionable crypto enthusiasts. You’re dealing with experienced, cautious investors who can see past the buzzwords and want hard, actionable data. Granted, the info about your founders and mission statement in the whitepaper plays a role too. Still, to make a convincing case and gain the investors’ trust, you need a detailed business plan that touches on things like a product roadmap, financials, and market analysis.
When deciding whether or not to invest in a venture, investors ask themselves these questions, and you should try and answer them as clearly as possible, giving clear, actionable examples:
- Who is the team behind the project? What did they do before this and how are they qualified?
- What’s the aim of your project? What exactly do you want to achieve?
- Is your goal realistic? Will people actually want to use your product/service? Do you have some data to back up your claims?
- Who already supports your project? Can you give specific names of bloggers who mentioned you or investors who already backed you up?
Last but not least, don’t neglect regulation. According to Statis Group research, a whopping 80% of all ICOs in 2017 were scams. While these scams didn’t attract the majority of the funding, they did generate a lot of skepticism among investors, so the wave of token launches coming in 2020 will have to be overwhelmingly legitimate to make up for the lack of trust. Getting regulated before launch is an extra step that can protect you from investigations and boost investor sentiment, so don’t underestimate it.
In the post-hype ICO/IEO era, marketers may have to work twice as hard to back up their claims and generate interest, but this is an unavoidable aspect of any maturing market. Your business needs to be prepared for it. New crypto investors are more risk-averse, but if you take the time to build a community around your product and have a straightforward marketing campaign, your project will stay relevant.
Faizan Raza started Outreach-Media.com as a way to create a community of writers, both published and seeking publication. He is passionate about partnering with authors to bring worthwhile content to publication.
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