The Definitive Guide (2019)
This is the most comprehensive guide to ICO/STO marketing out there.
Why we created it?
Since we got into the crypto world, we noticed the lousy reputation which the ICO/STO received because of low-quality content and lack of marketing strategies. We want to help ICO/STO all over the globe to Improve their content quality.
In short: If you’re from an ICO/STO, Blockchain Project, or care about marketing, This guide is for you!
First things first:
In this guide, I’m going to show you the exact steps, and growth hacks which I used to help our clients to reach that exposure and create a successful ICO/STO.
In fact, I’ve used the strategies from this guide in our ICO/STO marketing agency to get our clients more than 100 million dollars in the last 5 months and get millions of crypto traders & investors to watch my content.
ICO/STO Marketing Checklist: The Complete Essential List
There are so many things that a company need to do in order to make a successful ICO/STO.
I tried to summarize everything I learned from working with more than 30 ICO/STO in the past few months in this ICO/STO marketing guide.
Here we go:
I will split this list into 4 sections:
It details everything you need to know about the currency before making up your mind if you want to invest, purchase or use it.
This includes commercial, technological and financial details of a new coin in language that can be understood by someone who is not an expert in the space. This tutorial will help you to write an excellent whitepaper for your ICO/STO.
Https show your visitors that your website is secure, it’s also important for SEO, and for your potential investor’s confidence. You can use Cloudflare, their basic package is free.
Simplify Your Idea –
Try to explain your idea to one of your non-technical friends.
Did they get it?
If the answer is NO, work on it until it becomes YES
In your website, you will need to make people understand your idea in a manner of seconds.
It doesn’t matter how technical your project & idea are. Make it easy for everyone to understand.
I recommend you to have a designer on your team, and get inspiration from the top ICO/STO design on bechance. In case you don’t have a designer and need some help, You can always PM me and I will try to connect you to the right professionals.
A blog will help you to get organic traffic to your website, improve your branding, and give value to the crypto community’s personal touch for the crypto community by you.
I recommend creating a Medium publication.
Try to make yourself some content writing discipline so once or twice per week you will have a new article release.
Try to think about the content that people want to read and not content that only speaks about how awesome your project is and how you are going to change the world with your idea.
ICO/STO marketing should be about quality, not quantity. Brainstorm with your team, try to figure out how you deliver your message in a better
Blog VS Medium
The good thing about Medium is that it has a high page rank and your content is much more likely to get higher places in search engines than a blog on your Company website. The only problem is that it’s not that easy to convert the traffic to your Medium blog into people that get into your website.
Try to create a blog on your website with different content than your medium blog. Try to think about a niche content in the latter.
For example, Fysical is doing something great, instead of blog they created a case study section in their website, and that’s how they give value to the community, gain credibility, and drive traffic to their website.
ICO/STO marketing can come in many different forms, creating a real case studies is one of them.
In this example, Liberdy is using an amazing small trick that helped them get a lot of direct traffic from Medium blog to their official website.
They added their publication description in their website URL, and this small thing really shows a spike in the traffic they received from Medium to their website!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
It’s also one of the most important things that most of the ICO/STO never even heard about.
After you will understand the importance of SEO, it will be an important part of your ICO/STO marketing efforts.
By doing a professional SEO research and implementing the insights you find in your website and future content, you:
1. Increase the chance of getting a high rank on search engines
2. you are ensuring a cost-effective long-term source of targeted and interested traffic.
3. You significantly improve your branding.
4. Let the crypto community and potential investors know that you are here for the long run and not an ICO that simply wants to raise money and disappear.
You’re now in one of the hardest moments of your ICO/STO.
You built your website, created some content, and now you need to figure out how to connect all the dots, to become a company.
ICO PR and Media Outreach:
PR (Press Release) and Media outreach will help you to spread the word about your ICO/STO to the world…
There are 2 ways to create the article content:
1. You write an article and pay for the PR website to release it.
2. You pay the website to write and release the article
You can get your content listed in 2 ways:
1. Free websites.
2. You pay for a crypto news website to feature your article.
In case you want to be featured by top websites, be prepared to pay a lot of money.
Article on a premium website (Cointelegraph, Inc, investing . com etc… ) can cost a fortune (around 1 BTC).
The exposure on this websites is high but not as high as 2 years ago.
When hundreds of ICO/STO pay these websites for articles it kind of loses the effect and the impact of the article and create inflation in how respected this article is by the eyes of the investors and traders community.
Don’t get me wrong, You should be listed on a few websites, But don’t get crazy with the number of websites you’re listing your articles.
ICO listing websites will help ICO investors to find about your project in a much easy way.
The challenge will be to make investors see you in a few ICO listing websites and in their social media.
You can also check The Complete 118+ Free ICO Listing and Rating Sites 2018.
That’s why the remarking is an important aspect of every ICO/STO marketing campaign.
Here are the 10 biggest ICO listing websites for your ICO with a link to their similar web so you can see the amount of traffic each website gets:
TOP 10 Free ICO listing websites
The most important
SOCIAL MEDIA – ICO MARKETING
- Twitter: One of the best platforms to update your community (that you are going to build) and interact with crypto influencers & brands.
Greatplatform for announcements within the crypto community
– You can leverage Twitter by communicating with companies in your niche, retweet their tweets and interact with them.
- Bitcointalk: You will have to create a profile (Or buy high reputation profile). ICO’s are using Bitcointalk forum to find bounty hunters and to create a highly detailed announcement post for the community (known as ANN Post).
— One of the best places to find bounty hunters for your ICO.
— One of the earlier things you should do in your ICO marketing is to make an ANN post (Announcement) On Bitcointalk.
– Compare to Reddit and Steemit, the exposure that a post can get is extremely low.
— The website lost its glory in the last two years. The core bitcoin community moved from Bitcointalk to Reddit.
- Reddit: is without any doubt one of the most important websites for your ICO/STO marketing efforts. Many people don’t know about it, but you can create your company a subreddit with a few easy steps. You should look at your Subreddit like your Facebook page. Post your content there, update your community and try to get feedback from your followers.
– One of the most popular websites in the world.
— Can drive an INSANE amount of traffic!
— Helps to enhance your branding and credibility
— The core of the crypto community is there. Once a post becomes popular, it will get exposed to dozens of other trading groups/related websites.
— Promoting on Reddit will force you to create a high-quality content that will ensure real value to the community and not only mention how great your ICO/STO is (a common mistake that most of the ICO/STO are doing).
— Lousy content won’t help you get any exposure. Reddit upvote & downvote system makes it almost impossible for low-quality content to get to the front page.
- Telegram: The bread and butter of the crypto community is Telegram. Every ICO/STO project must have an active group with at least one admin that keeps an eye out for new members.
– Great way to build a community around your ICO/STO.
— You can reward users for helping you out to spread the word around your ICO/STO
– Most of the ICO/STO can’t resist and buy thousands of fake telegram members.
- Steemit: is one of the best platforms to run content competitions for your ICO/STO. You can ask the community to write articles about your ICO/STO and offer a convenient price for the best writer.You might be
surp risedby the amount of buzz and attention these competitions can create.
- Discord: one of the most popular platforms for gamers to communicate with each other. Due to this, many ICO/STO
areusing it to get exposure to more traders and crypto enthusiasts.
- Quora: With more than 560 million views per month, Quora is the most popular Q&A website in the world. Even though most of the ICO/STO are not using it, I strongly feel that Quora can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
- Facebook: Create a page for your company.
I highly recommend to update it often with information about your process.
To learn more about the most important social media for any ICO/STO marketing campaign, I made a detailed post about the 7 Most Important Social Media Platforms for your ICO/STO
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Official post is something that ICO’s and blockchain projects are doing since the beginning of our market.
The announcement posts make the community know that you’re here.
The announcement post will need to look like a high-quality infographic that summarizes everything about your ICO and give the community a sense of your idea.
- BitcoinTalk – You will need to make an ANN(Announcement) post.
Here is an example of high-quality ANN post on Bitcointalk that you can learn from.
- Steemit – even duo it’s less popular than Bitcointalk, I do recommend to post your announcement post also at Steemit. Check this example.
You can show your investors and followers that you are here to stay. Use these 2 networks to gain more credibility:
- Linkedin – Open a company page on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to maintain your company members’ LinkedIn profile and make it look professional.
- CrunchBase – One gets a Crunchbase profile by writing it oneself. CrunchBase is an open wiki.Open a profile for your company members, and update on crunchable about any business and technological development which company has.
You can also list your company on AngelList.Here is an example of a great blockchain company profile on AngeList.
You already have everything set: website, content, community, social channels, ICO listings and more…
Now it’s time to make your ICO/STO stand out from the crowd:
- Youtubers – By getting a crypto youtuber with thousands of subscribers make a video about your ICO/STO you can get an insane exposure. As much as I dislike crypto Youtubers, I must say that conversations with few of my clients have made me figure out that many times a good video by an influencer can get you hundreds of thousands of dollars from a single video. One of our clients paid $40,000 for a 10 minutes video that gave him $470,000 in return. Of course, in the beginning, it might be a big investment from your side, but if you can get the right youtuber for your company, it might give you a greater return.
PRO’S TIP Based on a touching story:
One of our clients paid$40,000 for a 10 minutes video that gave him 470,000$ in return.
Of course, in the beginning, it might be a big investment from your side, but if you can get the right youtuber for your company, it might give you a great return.
You can think about creative contests that will generate you a lot of high-quality content. One of the best contests I ever saw was from one of my clients, who did a writing contest on Steemit.
The goal was to write an interesting article about their project. In the competition, you are required to give an attractive price.
Steemit is a perfect platform for this kind of creative acts.
Here is the contest post, you can get inspired from it
I believe they received dozens of high-quality articles duo for this contest. It was a brilliant marketing move that got them a lot of attention, content, and buzz.
Airdrop means a coin/token is distributed to the community for free or for small tasks.
This is done to ensure early distribution and to have as many people with “skin in the game” as possible.
Airdrop can help you raise an army of micro-tasks freelancers that get paid with your token. Setting it is not an easy task.
Use one of your tech guys and let them go over this post, or Google “How to launch an Airdrop”.
Here is an example of one of the most successful Airdrops.
Ask Me Anything is a great way to speak to the crypto community at their eye level.
It’s usually done by the CEO or one of the co-founders or key people in your company.
AMA will help you in knowing your community better, by growing your active followers and let them be more involved.
I highly recommend to make a few AMA’s and promote them in your community and other social media to make sure you get some audience.
It’s an expensive but great way to create new partnerships, spread your idea within the crypto community, and meet potential investors face to face.
You can use this website to find the upcoming conferences.
Your ICO/STO came to an end, and now you have a great responsibility.
Most of the ICO/STO fail in delivering value to their community after the ICO/STO ends.
I find it extremely rude to get millions of dollars from your followers and once you get the money you go silent.
What should you do?
- Updates – Keep your community updated, all the time.
- Continue with the AMA’s – It shows that you really work on your progress.
- Partnerships – Work on strategic partnerships with companies that can help you speed up the progress and tech adoption.
- Exchanges – Getting listed on exchange is not an easy task. Many exchanges ask for ridiculously high prices to get your token listed.
Personal relations with key people in the crypto industry might help you to get listed in much lower price and get through all the listing process much faster.
Exchanges like Bibox run a token listing contest.
Every few weeks the top 3 companies with the highest number of votes, get listed on Bibox for free.
What you shouldn’t do in your ICO/STO:
In this chapter, I’ll explain you the mistakes that many ICO’s out there are doing, What these mistakes can cause, and how to avoid them.
I’ll also explain why It’s important to keep high standards in your ICO/STO marketing efforts even with the time pressure, you might have in your ICO/STO.
Running an ICO is not easy:
It’s not a secret that running an ICO/STO is not an easy thing to do. You have a short duration of time to create an insane amount of buzz around your company.
Many ICO/STO gets overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to achieve while trying to round corners, lie, or act in a way that a normal company wouldn’t do.
In this chapter, I will mention what you shouldn’t do in your ICO/STO:
1. Army of advisors + many employees:
Many projects in the crypto world never heard the word ‘Humble’.
There is no reason to have 20 advisors and 30 employees when you still don’t have a running product.
The advisor’s culture in the crypto world became ridiculous.
People who didn’t achieve that much in their career claim to be blockchain expert or whatever title they give themselves, while for thousands of dollars for just putting their picture in your website.
Choose your advisors carefully, Focus on finding Influencers from your ICO/STO niche, and try to find someone with connections in the crypto world.
If an advisor has connections in the PR & media world, It will help your marketing needs.
2. Promise high returns for your investors:
The times where you could fool investors and tell them that once they invest in your tokens, they will get insane returns are over.
Don’t look at ICO/STO as a quick way to get rich or scam people. The SEC and other regulatory bodies are working to ensure the end of scams like what happened with Bitconnect, Onecoin, Centratech, Plexcoin and more.
3. Buy telegram Members –
‘Fake it until you make it’ became the slogan of many ICO/STO companies.
Every day I speak with ICO/STO that don’t have any real supporters but 30k followers on Telegram.
This attitude is fundamentally wrong. It makes you think about quantity and not about quality. It makes you lose the most beautiful thing about the crypto world: The community.
I always advise our clients to stop with this willing to have the largest telegram channel and get likes.
Instead, I pitch them about the real value.
Don’t let the ICO/STO with an insane amount of telegram fool you, 99% of them buy these followers, paying thousands of dollars for 1k telegram followers.
4. Have a cheap WordPress template and talk about changing the world with your idea & team –
As an ICO/STO, the way you look is extremely important. You don’t have anything apart from an idea.
If you want people to get your idea fast, you need to have a great design, smart branding, and excellent user experience.
Many ICO/STO ignore the design, buy cheap WordPress design which looks precisely like 9 out of 10 projects out there.
When it comes to the way your website looks, take someone professional, put a lot of thought into the message you want to deliver, and how you want the visitors to remember you.
5. Spend your Token like crazy –
Paying with tokens is like throwing a boomerang. Eventually what you ‘throw’ comes back to you.
Many ICO/STO offer freelancers, influencers, advisers and many other benefits, such as tokens for their work. When a company does it, basically by giving air to someone and telling them that once this air will worth some money, sell it.
Once the token start to worth something, people sell it. Because many people who been involved in the ICO/STO since early stage got high amounts, without knowing that they became the Whales of that specific token, Causing major dumps every time the coin price rises.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, Don’t pay everyone with your tokens.
Guerrilla Marketing Introduction
In this chapter, I’ll explain to you what Guerrilla Marketing is, And why it can make your ICO/STO stand out from the crowd.
First, you’ll learn exactly what a Guerrilla Marketing is.
I’ll also explain why Guerrilla Marketing is so important for your ICO/STO and how you can apply for it in no time.
Accord to Wikipedia:
Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend. This involves high energy and imagination focusing on grasping the attention of the public at a more personal and memorable level.
I like to compare Guerrilla Marketing to Couchsurfing.
When you do couch surfing, you meet local people and see their city through the local eyes.
In guerrilla marketing, you don’t think as a company, but as someone from the crypto community.
The challenge is to make this switch and see yourself not as your company, but as a simple person that has a different need and thoughts than your company.
The beautiful thing about Guerrilla Marketing:
Is that it’s much more dynamic, flexible, fresh, and exciting than the standard way.
It’s less scalable than just running a PPC campaign on Google or Facebook, but by going out of the comfort zone and giving something new to the community, you significantly increase your chances to be remembered.
Guerrilla Marketing Is what will turn you from an ordinary ICO/STO company.
By running a simple search on Google Trends, You can clearly see that Guerrilla Marketing popularity is decreasing. For you it’s much better, It means more marketers are focusing on the traditional way, and by doing creative Guerrilla Marketing work, You have a higher chance to be remembered.
Guerrilla Marketing will turn you from an ordinary ICO/STO company,
To ‘THE’ ICO:
Every month there are hundreds of new ICO/STO. Each one claims to change the world or make a revolution in a particular industry.
The ICO/STO that nail it are the ones that understand the importance of Branding. Marking yourself as a brand and not as ICO/STO is an important point that you need to keep in mind.
Brand give your company a meaning.
Without the meaning, you’re just another ICO/STO.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this?
When you think about:
SpaceX– Innovation, Brave, pioneer
Nike – Just do it, Sport, Shoes, Fast, Running
Apple – Cool, Mac, Design, iPhone, innovation
ICO– Scam, Risky, Bubble,
The goal is to run an ICO/STO while marking your self as a non-ICO brand. By doing so you will create a positive ICO/STO image for the crypto community.
Tips from CMO’s that raised 10+ Million USD in their ICO/STO
Running an ICO/STO is a difficult thing to do.
Every mistake a long the way can cost you in precious time and a lot of money.
That’s why it’s important to meet people in the industry and to create good connections with
This Chapter might be short, but the insights from the short interview with these two
"When people tell me they've learned from experience, I tell them the trick is to learn from other people's experience."
– Warren Buffet
Meet The CMO’s
In GuerrillaBuzz we have the opportunity to work with many talented CMO’s.
The challenge in the crypto world for each ICO is to bring something new to the community.
Learning from experienced CMO’s might be the best thing you can do for yourself.
I interview two of the most talented CMO’s I had the chance to work with:
How would you define the KPI's for a successful ICO marketing campaign??
The number of Telegram members, BitcoinTalk and Reddit comments are often used by investors and ICO review sites alike to gauge the level of hype and community support around a project. Hype is used as a proxy for potential success in fundraising and token performance. The problem? Fake Telegram members and forum comments can be easily bought, just like Twitter followers or trading volume on exchanges.
Focus on other metrics instead and build your ‘sales’ funnel considering the stage of the ICO you are in: Website traffic, email sign ups, token sale registrations, valid registrations (KYC approved) should be among your core KPI’s prior to the public token sale. Constantly monitor conversion rates at each step of the funnel to identify areas that require optimization. Break the data down by country, channel, source and campaign.
Trim the fat and scale out what works in preparation for the public token sale start. A public ICO receives most contributions within the first 24 hours from launch and are limited in time, so there won’t be a lot of room for campaign optimizations using transactional data. Test, validate and improve your strategy and tactics before then.
What in your opinion was the most significant money spending in your ICO, ROI wise?
ICO listing sites and blockchain conferences.
The first one provides your project exposure and visibility to a qualified, in-market audience. Although the user pool size is narrower, conversion rates (website visit to transaction) tend to be some of the highest when compared against other channels and sources of traffic. Advertising dollars previously spent on widely used social networks are shifting towards ICO listing sites as a result of the recent advertising bans, increasing the cost of this services.
Regarding blockchain conferences, we had mixed experiences sponsoring them. Worked well for presale contributions and building some lasting relationships with influencers, journalists and vendors in this space.
What are the most important social channels for an ICO? And why?
In the past, the major channel we used to focus our efforts was Bitcointalk forum.
Actually, you can still find Satoshi’s and the rest of the gang’s correspondence there. However since the ICO industry gained popularity and with it so did the bounty campaigns, BTT had transformed into a bounty hunters listings making the serious players moving elsewhere.
We at BITSME believe that content creating is the key for an ICO Success.
Videos, blogs, and newsletters are the best way to gain attention to your project and are those who eventually create community engagements.
Therefore I would say that Medium and newsletters are the most important channels to keep on a regular schedule. Once the project has them it is very easy to make some noise on Reddit, Discord, and Telegram.
Why so many ICO's are failing to deliver their message and how can the right marketing plan address this issue?
As mentioned above the way we see it is all about Content!
I can give you numerous examples of projects approaching us failing to understand why their brand awareness is so low…Even the best marketers will be hopeless without material to promote.
According to our methodology, every project should be focused constantly on creating as many materials it can – animated explanatory video, Meet the team video, weekly blog, weekly newsletter, influencers reviews, etc.
Only then go on to the traditionally PPC and online marketing schemes. Teams need to understand that their audience attention is minimal right now with the influx of ICOs and when they finally do get their attention they must have all the information ready to deliver the message.
Why ICO’s have a bad image? What should an ICO company do from an early stage to create a positive image?
The issue is the market grew too much too fast, so people abused the ICO fundraising system to make a quick buck and disappear.
Most ICOs will not have a product, but the ones that will change the world.
Legitimate projects should not only convey from the get-go that they are here for the long-term but literally take necessary steps to make sure they do rather than talk.
For instance, giving company equity to strategic investors, building a binding roadmap, making milestones and deadlines that they must adhere to, otherwise, they have to refund money and more.
What in your opinion was the most significant money spending in your ICO, ROI wise?
ICO is a holistic thing, and it’s not that easy to measure ROI for every marketing technique that you use, unlike PPC for instance.
I think projects should be visible on all fronts.
making a lot of noise on media outlets through PR, to influencer marketing on YouTube, to ICO Listing and Reddit marketing. It’s all necessary to stand out.
How do you determine how much money your ICO need to raise?
Projects I have helped already had the cap in mind. Although, i did ask some of them to lower the amounts. Sometimes the founders dont see things realistically.
What are the challenges that your company faced after the ICO ended?
In a recent project i served as external CMO, the community was striving during the token generation – but then turned silent upon token distribution. We worked hard and made them all ambassadors of the project again.
What should a company do to keep their investors satisfied until their token get listed on a few exchanges?
Overcome Google, Facebook & twitter ICO ban
Some of the largest media platforms in the world have recently banned all the advertisements related to Cryptocurrencies and ICOs.
By doing so, it has become much more expensive and challenging to promote an ICO/STO.
In this chapter, I will show you how we help our clients to overcome the ban by using creative ICO/STO marketing approach.
I will show you a few real examples that will help you understand the idea in no time.
Are Facebook and Google ads really important for your ICO/STO?
As an ICO you want to be seen by as many potential investors as possible.
By competing with Facebook and Google ban on ICO’s, you basically lose an insane amount of potential investors in your ICO.
In GuerrillaBuzz, we developed a strategy that helps our clients overcome Facebook, Google, and Twitter Ban.
Before I show you how we do it, It’s DATA TIME:
"In a gentle way you can shake the world"
How can you get around Facebook, Google, and Twitter ICO/STO ban:
Just assume that you are Facebook for a second, there are thousands of new ad campaigns that are getting launched every hour.
How will you control it?
How will they make sure there won’t be any ICO/STO ads out there?
They are simply banning many words related to ICO/STO and block campaigns that try to run ads with this keywords.
I gathered few examples of ICO/STO ads on Facebook
You can run ads for your ICO by not using the forbidden keywords like ICO/STO, Initial Coin Offering, Free Tokens, Cryptocurrency, Crypto, Altcoins.
In the Section below I have collected a few Facebook ICO/STO Ads from my Facebook feed as an example for you.
MFchain used the word: Presale, and Smart Contract, and Modern Finance Chain.
Streamity used the words: Whitelist, crowdsale, Digital Assets.
Etheal used the words:
Token Sale (the words were in the picture and not as a text in the ad)
ENDO used the words:
MFChain Version 2#
Used the words:
Presale, Pre-Sale, Modern Finance, Chain
CoinJournal used the words:
Overcoming Facebook & Google ICO Ban
Which words can you used in your ads?
The full words lexicon:
- Presale / Pre-Sale
- Smart Contract
- Modern Finance
- Blockchain Protocol / Blockchain
- Digital Assets
- Initial Coin Offering
- Free Tokens
- Cryptocurrency / Cryptocurrencies / Crypto
- Buy Bitcoin