As cryptocurrency becomes increasingly popular among startups and established companies, alike, we’ll be seeing more companies positioning themselves for Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. An ICO is essentially a fundraising process for startups building cryptocurrency businesses. Through a crowdsale early supporters receive a percentage of the startup’s crypto-currency. Often, the currency used to facilitate an ICO is bitcoin.
Similar to Initial Public Offerings, successfully marketing an ICO can be as complicated as it is rewarding. Although ICOs are relatively new, many startups and technologists believe they will become increasingly prevalent in the near future as more burgeoning startups explore application and implementation of cryptocurrencies.
Here are 6 tips to market an ICO successfully.
1. Figure Out Your Market
ICOs are not for every company. Although the concept is new and exciting, not every industry is embracing the implementation of cryptocurrency. Many cryptocurrency supporters believe blockchain systems can and will impact every major industry, for the better. However, this impact likely won’t happen overnight.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself if you’re toying with the idea of an ICO is how you will integrate digital tokens into your business model. If the inclusion of digital currency won’t inherently add value to your product or service offering, then the IPO route may be more suitable for your venture. ICOs are still largely relegated to the blockchain world, but that doesn’t mean that more verticals won’t soon test the water.
2. Learn The Rules
For years, cryptocurrency was seen as the Wild West in the startup investment world. But as it becomes more mainstream, it is actually becoming more regulated. In July 2017, the SEC ruled that some digital coins are actually securities. Securities law is thick and complicated, but you need to make sure you at least know the basics. You should definitely have an attorney for the more advanced rules and regulations, but a basic knowledge of the rules will you make sure your company is ready to be in full compliance with the law from the start. This first ruling is largely viewed as a sign of what’s to come: the SEC will not let ICOs fly under the radar. If you want to position your company for a successful ICO, you have to educate yourself on the SEC’s criteria for what constitutes a security in the digital coin landscape.
3. Know Your Audience
The cryptocurrency world is still largely shrouded in confusion and misunderstanding. As you approach your ICO, you will most likely be speaking to two distinctive audiences: those with a breadth of digital currency knowledge, and those who really don’t understand the difference between Bitcoin and blockchain. This second group likely understands the growing status of cryptocurrency, but they may not understand the technicalities.
It is your responsibility to create marketing and PR materials that speak to both sides of the spectrum. Through thought leadership, social media, and more traditional PR hits, you have to carefully define and tailor your messaging to support the experiences and interests of your target audience. For example, if you have the opportunity to provide a statement to a fintech centered outlet you have the freedom to offer deeper analysis and insights into how you’re leveraging digital tokens, because the audience of this outlet is (likely) already well versed in the topic.
4. Tell Your Story
In addition to offering unique insights towards your marketing strategy, offer your insights to your potential investors. Come up with a sincere story about your company’s purpose in order to compel a desire to support your cause. A recent example of this is UTRUST, who has recently gotten notoriety for its socially responsible goal of boosting emerging economies through an easy-to-use, secure, and accessible banking system.
You want to give investors a reason to give your company money and you can do this by providing them with the story behind your mission statement.69% of Millennials want businesses to better facilitate customers getting involved in social issues, and many investors do, as well.
5. Update Your Website
In addition to social media, make sure your website is up to date and current with all of your company’s latest news. As CEO, you’re going to get pulled in many directions during your ICO so it’s important to have a central source of updates for potential investors who want to research your company. Communication, even digital communication, is considered today’s most important skill.
6. Offer Your Data
Data is important; there are 2.7 zettabytes of data out there today. Trends and statistics are crucial components of demonstrating the value of an investment in your company. Investors want evidence — and by offering your data to analysts throughout your offering, you’re giving them concrete proof that your business will excel. Moreover, you’ll gain additional exposure simply by the fact that your company will be reported on regularly as long as you’re offering your data to reporters and analysts.
Executing a successful ICO is no easy task. A lot of preparation and coordination goes into making sure a newly public company can secure as many investments as possible.