Tutorial | 16 minutes
8 Jun 2021
8 Jun 2021
IDO Marketing and PR: All You Need to Know About
When it comes to marketing and PR, the blockchain space had several changes over the years. Each fundraising method that involved had a strategy that were suitable for it. This article will explain you all you need to know about IDO marketing and PR, how to launch your campaign, setting your IDO marketing budget the right way, where you should focus your energy when it comes to IDO PR, and what makes company standout with their marketing campaign.
Before I begin with this guide on IDO Marketing I’d like to highlight the fact that I’m into marketing for the last decade and for several years since we established GuerrillaBuzz, Blockchain PR and Marketing has been my main focus. One of the most challenging things about marketing in the blockchain industry is the fact projects and marketers should keep learning new strategies on a monthly basis.
ICO marketing that worked in 2018 didn’t work well for STOs and IEOs one year later. IEO marketing strategy is different than IDO marketing and PR strategy.
That’s why I recommend you to check the definitive guides in our blog to make sure you follow the right strategy for your fundraising method.
Now that’s cleared up, let’s begin our guide.
IDO stands for Initial Decentralized Exchange Offering. This means that the project launches its fundraising campaign on a Decentralized Exchange, with the exchange itself managing the overall fundraising. They came about due to the need for better liquidity and faster trading within the crypto markets. This also helps to decrease the cost of listing a token and defeats the need for intermediaries by relying on effective liquidity pools on the exchange. This is similar in a sense to the IEO, which is when a project lists its token sale on a centralized exchange. The immediate trading that is offered can make a much more attractive solution.
Whilst IDOs are great options for projects, it’s not going to be a walk in the park to get listed. Most exchanges will do heavy due diligence on projects to reduce the likelihood of scams, and even if you do get selected, you’re going to be expected to adhere to some strict rules. For example, you will be required to grant the exchange a sum of your project tokens, or a sum of money in return for your listing. You will most likely be banned from listing your project on any other exchanges too. Finally, you will have to be okay with the fact that the functions of the token sale are most likely to be out of your hands.
Still, many projects are finding that the benefits of using an IDO far outweigh the difficulties of getting listed.
IDO Marketing (Initial Decentralized Exchange Offering Marketing) focus on building authority and credibility behind a blockchain project mainly in crypto communities around the web.
If in ICOs many projects focused mainly on attracting investors by creating hype, IDO Marketing campaign focuses on getting investors by building a solid community with active members that support the project in a variety of ways.
IDO PR (Initial Decentalized Exchange Offering Public Relations) focuses on spreading the word about the IDO project while highlighting the real impact the project is making. IDO PR will also bring out points that can attract new community members, since the strength of an IDO lays in the quality of the community around it. Since IDOs aim to pass the heavy due diligence of crypto exchanges, creating an honest PR campaign that builds IDO authority within the ecosystem is crucial for the project success.
In the few years that blockchain marketing was around, there were a number of different fundraising methods which blockchain companies used. Each one has its owe different marketing approach, but before we dive into it lets, first of all, understand what’s the difference between IDO to other furnishing methods.
As has been previously stated, an IDO is a token offering that is hosted on a Decentralized Exchange, as opposed to a centralized exchange, or being hosted by the project itself. This means that a more experienced group can handle the token sale along with others benefits. These are better liquidity on the DEX, instant trading and the fact that the actual costs involved in the listing are far smaller. It is definitely more difficult to launch your token on an exchange than it is to do it yourself, but the results you get will likely be far better.
The first method of raising funds for blockchain projects has now been around for a while. This is where the project will launch its own token sale and is responsible for the whole workings of the token sale. These tokens are offered to potential investors in return for flat currencies, or other cryptocurrencies. There have been many attempts to improve on the ICO model. That is mainly due to the prevalence of scams that keep cropping up.
An IEO is essentially the centralized counterpart of an IDO. As a result of this, the actual process of getting listed and the control you have over the token sale is effectively the same. Despite this, there are still some key differences between IDOs and IEOs. They are considered to be much more secure than ICOs. Although, there is still always the risk of a project being a dud.
Security Token Offerings started as an attempt to bring ICOs and crypto fundraising in general. This was more in line with national and regional legislation and to provide peace of mind to these investors. The STOs differ from the other token offerings in the sense that they are tokenized digital securities. This is as opposed to utility tokens, which cryptocurrencies tend to be. These tokens can also be used to trade in real-world assets, which increases their usefulness.
Before moving forward with this guide I’d like to explain in few words the difference in the marketing strategy for each fundraising method.
Companies focus mostly on creating hype, it doesn’t matter if there’s any real technology/solid team to back it up. The ICO marketing and ICO PR campaign were pretty short, around 4 months on average.
Note: Most of the ICO companies spent high amounts on PR until the fundraising and after they raised the money and reached their goals they stopped with most of the marketing activities. This caused a negative impact on the company credibility and reputation.
Unlike ICOs, in Security Token Offering (STO), the marketing campaign focuses on a targeted audience. Only accredited investors could invest in STO, making the entrance bar higher. The STO marketing and PR campaign focused mostly on finance and high-end crypto news sites, and less on community support (such as bitcointalk, Reddit, Telegram etc…).
The main goal behind most STO marketing campaigns was to build the company reputation and credibility within the blockchain ecosystem and to target accredited investors which are much different by nature than the ICO investors.
Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) was one of the most challenging fundraising methods to promote. IEO first started due to the lack of trust investors, companies, and governments had in ICOs. IEO made it possible to use a specific exchange’s reputation as a kind of guarantee for the company that runs the IEO is legit. The lack of trust ICOs created was due to the fact many ICO scams.
It forced IEOs to allocate their marketing budget to other places online they were less familiar with.
Now to summarize the main differences between ICO, STO and IEO marketing and PR strategy. IEOs needed to be more creative in their campaign to regain the crypto community trust after ICOs hurt it, and the marketing channels were more limited due to the ban of tech giants like Facebook and Google.
Note: While writing this article, Google updated their policy towards financial products and services. Google announced they are lifting their ban on Wallets and Exchanges ads.
ICOs, Defi, IDO and other fundraising methods are still banned from running ads campaigns.
Planning your IDO marketing costs and budget for the first time might be a difficult task. There are plenty of marketing channels you think your company should be at, when in fact only a few are actually relevant and create impact.
Over the last few months, several IDO companies approached us. One of the questions that constantly repeated is:
‘How much does IDO PR campaign cost?’
The answer depends on your company goals and overall budget.
For example, if you plan to spend $100,000 on building your IDO, allocating only $5,000 for marketing might be too low.
Several weeks ago I spoke with a company that wanted to raise $10 million. They were looking to spend around $20,000 on marketing.
Common sense says that If it was so ‘easy’ to raise such a large amount everyone would spend those amounts on marketing without thinking twice.
But here’s the catch:
You should look at IDO Marketing and PR costs as an investment. You invest in spreading the word about your company, building your brand authority and credibility. It doesn’t promises money in return but it increase the chance you will reach your fundraising goals.
Ask how much money or percentage of your total budget are you willing to invest in marketing your IDO?
Besides your IDO PR budget, there’s another factor: The market costs.
PR articles cost money. So does running ads, paying for influencers, managing and growing your community, going to conferences etc.
On average an IDO PR and marketing campaign would cost you $7,000–$20,000 per month.
It’s important to mention that we also had clients who ran campaigns of $80,000 per month. The figures above are only an average. The costs depend on the marketing activities, your company needs and can afford.
A company with a higher marketing budget can pay for more deliverables, like PR articles on different news sites.
Pro’s tip: There’s two common mistakes that most blockchain companies repeat when planning their marketing budget. Companies forget to think about SEO in their marketing and PR campaign and once the fundraising is over they tempt to stop with most of their marketing activities. This makes the project slowly fade away. We will dive more into it over the next chapters.
There are many different marketing channels out there!
With so many marketing channels out there, it becomes extremely difficult to master each one of them for your IDO.
That’s why in this section I will highlight the most important marketing channels you should consider using in your IDO marketing and PR campaign.
To make it easier for you to remember I also highlighted in this illustration the IDO channels we at GuerrillaBuzz think you must use in your IDO company
Some of them are irrelevant for crypto. Others might not be useful for your company.
Diving into each one of these channels deserves its own article. For now, I will just highlight in few sentences why you should focus on the ones we think are important.
Building your IDO authority and branding while attracting a new audience. Public Relations campaigns are a must for any IDO company. The right way to launch a PR campaign is by first of all understanding what’s the right budget for you. Next, run research to check where your target audience is online. Blockchain companies target crypto news sites. This is a mistake in my opinion! If your company helps developers to build decentralized applications, crypto news sites are relevant. But, new sites for programmers are also extremely important. Using an IDO PR agency might save you a lot of money and troubles in your campaign. I do recommend that you read several of our guides before deciding if you plan to run an in-house IDO PR campaign or using a PR firm for it. In case you decide to go with our services you can book a meeting here.
The heart of the crypto community. By being active on Reddit and getting your content in large subreddits such as /r/cryptocurrency /r/bitcoin /r/cryptomarkets etc, your IDO is more likely to attract new community members and investors.
Twitter is where most of the crypto influencers are active. It is a great platform to develop relations with new community members. You can also contact other companies here.
Running only PR campaign is not enough. You should create a blog on your site and write high-quality articles that give great value to your community and readers.
Writing content with SEO strategy in mind will help you to get organic traffic in the long run. Most IDO companies don’t even think about SEO. SEO can be a massive advantage for your company. Run great SEO and content research and allocate budgets for IDO SEO to make an impact.
Both of those channels are usually being used in IDO and blockchain projects to build and communicate with your IDO community. Make sure you’re not buying and fake members to keep the group authentic. Your community should be more about quality and less about quantity.
As the first online crypto community, BitcoinTalk is still one of the most important marketing channels for your IDO. With more than 4 million visitors per month, and DA 86, BitcoinTalk is an important place to be mentioned at. Links from there can help your site authority and if you will manage to create high-quality discussion there it can drive some serious members to your community.
It’s important to mention that over the years Reddit took over the crypto community by storm and became the most popular place among blockchain enthusiasts. BitcoinTalk became the target of airdrop providers and people who sell low-quality marketing services. It’s still an important channel but if you should prioritize your marketing efforts, Reddit is by far more important for your IDO PR and marketing campaign.
What if you could be there when your target audience ask a question online to give that person a detailed answer? Will it help you to build your brand and attract new community members? The answer is yes, and the way to do it is by using Quora marketing for your IDO.
There are millions of questions on Quora so finding what to answer should be your first step. Look for questions related to your target audience, then begin answering several questions per week. Link to your company ONLY if it fits naturally, and don’t try to shill your company when it’s not needed. Try to be natural! Don’t push too hard.
Make sure to put your title in your profile. This will improve your branding and drive traffic in the long run. Of course, for that, you’ll need a good quality of answers. Here’s an example of how you can use Quora for your IDO branding without linking unnaturally to your site. 13,500 people read Sylvain’s answer. He didn’t link to his website, but everyone saw he is part of inbitcoinwetrust.net. This will help him develop his branding.
Launched in 2016, Steemit is a blockchain-based blogging system. With almost 7 million monthly page views, Steemit should be considered an important place for your IDO to be.
The advantage of steemit is that its users own a blockchain wallet. Users can earn STEEM for participating in Steemit making the target audience there pretty relevant for your IDO fundraising. Think about it this way, Reddit has billions of page views per month. However, the vast majority of the users don’t own crypto. Comparing it to Steemit and you can see why it’s an important site for your IDO.
Personal note: In the marketing campaigns we launch for our clients on Steemit we see a decrease in the engagement Steemit posts are getting (if we compare it to years ago). I recommend our clients in GuerrillaBuzz to consider Steemit as a plus. It will barely drive traffic to the client site. However, it’s a great backlink and the exposure on Steemit if a post gets to the trending section is amazing.
Don’t let the fact large tech companies banned IDO ads get you down. There are still plenty of great sites to run your IDO marketing campaign through. Run some quick research to understand where your target audience is online. You’d be surprised at how many sites let you run IDO ads campaign.
Using retargeting in your marketing campaign can bring you a great advantage since your target audience will see you over and over again.
According to Google, combining retargeting ads with the other advertising you already do can help you sell 50% more stuff.
In every marketing campaign, there is trial and error. Since the blockchain marketing space is relatively new, you should expect to have more mistakes than you would normally have if you were to promote a non-blockchain company. In digital marketing, you can simply run an ads campaign, run some A/B testing, and according to it always improve your marketing campaign. In IDO Marketing campaign, that’s not the cast.
The thing about mistakes during your blockchain PR and marketing campaign is that each mistake costs you money. Even more importantly than that, it costs you time. Time is usually an important factor to every IDO, IEO, and DeFi project out there.
It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.
In this section, I’ll share with you several mistakes that many of the IDO companies who approached us at GuerrillaBuzz constantly do. By learning from other companies’ mistakes, you will save thousands of dollars in your IDO marketing and PR campaign.
I have published thousands of articles over the years for our clients. All of these were on leading crypto news and tech sites around the world. Yet, I learnt that paying thousands of dollars to publish an article on a popular site won’t always generate brand awareness and traffic.
It’s important to be on different sites and yes, it’s great when your company is being mentioned on a site like Coindeck, CoinTelegraph, Investing.com etc
But because those sites release hundreds of articles per day, the chance people will read the article and click on the link to your homepage is not that high.
Don’t get me wrong. I do see the benefits of being mentioned on CoinTelegraph. It’s great for your company credibility, your community will like it, and it might drive some people to your site. But if you will be mentioned in a less popular site with 100,000–500,000 views per month, the impact might be the same or even higher.
That’s why it’s important to focus on diversity in your IDO marketing PR campaign. Don’t focus on expensive (Tier 1) publications. Try to diverse your campaign as much as possible. The more, the better!
Most blockchain companies I’ve stumbled across have a bad habit when it comes to blog content.
They keep talking about themself like they already changed the world, when in fact they just began their journey
Too many IDO PR articles using structure similar to this:
How [Company name] is changing [INDUSTRY NAME] industry.
There’s another type of articles that usually have this structure:
How Blockchain Can Help [Industry Name].
How [Industry Name] can benefit from [Blockchain].
Above you can see an example of an article I just saw on CoinTelegraph. These types of articles might have worked with ICOs, but they’re not relevant anymore.
When thinking about story angles for your IDO PR campaign try to define your target audience. What is the issue you’re solving?
Once you find it, try to create articles that discuss the issue. Rely on more attractive titles.
For instance, I’ve seen plenty of exchanges who run PR articles about how easy it’s to buy crypto in their exchange. Those articles received zero shares and engagement.
Here’s an example of article with a great angle that attracted thousand of views and shares:
It received more than 5000 upvotes and 800 comments on Reddit:
This type of PR quality is important if you want to get more people to see your company and product. Keep in mind that it requires a lot of creativity. That’s why many blockchain companies prefer to hire a professional blockchain marketing agency.
In the blockchain world, it’s rare to find a company that understands the importance of search engine optimization. I have a theory why. This reflects my point of view from years of working with hundred of blockchain companies.
When I first got into blockchain PR at the beginning of 2017, ICO was the main fundraising method. Companies cared only about buzz and fast fundraising.
Since it can take many months to see results in SEO, companies gave up on it. Once they finished the fundraising those companies used the money they raised on other activities beside marketing.
Mostly on showing they are partnering with other companies, exchange listing fees, conferences etc.
Many of the largest blockchain project out there don’t have any content strategy, organic traffic, and even blog. Some of them use just a Medium profile.
Just to put things into perspective, people are a lot more likely to click on organic search result than clicking on an ad.
No matter if you choose to use GuerrillaBuzz as your marketing and PR agency or if you decide to run your marketing campaign in-house, I do recommend you to understand this!
Investing in content and SEO as a blockchain company is one of the most important things you can do. It will help you to show growth over time and mark your community and investors that you are here to stay.
Saying your company idea can change the world is easy. Actually building the technology to do it is the real challenge.
Blockchain enthusiasts are more technical than stocks investors by nature. Having a strong technology infrastructure and online presense is essential for each project that wants to become a market leader.
Focusing on different key channels should do the work.
Get your CTO and dev team to share their insights and idea on those platforms. You’ll be surprised to see that it won’t slow the development and your community and investors would love it.
The pressure ICOs had to raise millions of dollars in short time while the most popular marketing channels (Google, Twitter, Linkedin etc) were banned made many ICOs to try several new strategies. One of them was fundamentally wrong. ICOs would buy thousand of fake followers to their Twitter and Telegram official accounts.
Those companies began faking their community stats to attract more investors, and since the investors knew that other investors are more likely to put money in a company with more telegram and twitter followers, no-one called a bluff.
I remember going into a Telegram group with +100,000 members. Besides the people who got paid to comment & speak about the project, there was no real conversation.
Having ambassadors is important and can be useful to spread the word around your IDO in your marketing campaign. But faking your community won’t lead to any good results.
Investors are smarter nowadays. They can actually track it and notice when an account is fake.
Here’s a tip I’m giving to our clients at GuerrillaBuzz.
It’s better to have small and active community rather than large and inactive one. Focus your efforts on building a real community with dedicated members. Accept the fact that building a community is a long process. Give yourself milestones and think of creative ways to attract more people. Stay away from airdrops since they bring only fake and inactive members.
Launching an IDO PR and marketing campaign is a difficult task. However, by following the numerous steps i’ve shared with you in this guide and planning your campaign according to your budget, you will be able to increase the chance you’ll launch a successful campaign. Finding the right budget for your marketing campaign might involve trial and errors. My recommendation to you is to think about marketing as something your company needs. Just like hosting. Marketing is a part of your business.
The key is to find the balance between marketing and PR budget that helps your company grow but also not leaving your IDO bankrupt. Raising the budget before reaching new company milestones or an announcement might be ideal for most companies.
If you liked this IDO PR and marketing guide please share it with your team. You don’t have to hire our marketing agency to show some respect. Tweeting and sharing it might be just fine 😉
Hope you enjoyed.