COLUMN: What should your ICO marketing plan look like in 2018?

The ICO era is currently in it’s rising phase, and each day the media talks about the latest news revolving around cryptocurrency. We are waiting for the top ICO from the company Telegram to become the biggest ICO in crypto history, as it will raise over $5 billion dollars.

At the end of 2017, the average number of ICO campaigns closed to three per day. There are a lot of unsuccessful ICOs out there that have failed to reach their soft cap (proven by confessions from some of the teams), so it is not as easy to make one now as it was back in 2017. So we could finally forget about “Garage ICOs” and become more serious about this form of fundraising.

In terms of ICO marketing, the total budget for success is rising and so is the initial cost of investments. You must create a prototype and gain the approval from the communities and advisors if you want to succeed.

The average cost for outsourcing ICO marketing to one of the top agencies starts from around $280,000, not including the legal fees that run for about $20,000

In this article, we will discuss the costs of starting an ICO this year. We will also include comments from agency experts and ad network owners.

1. ICO Listings

Variant 1 — outsource to agency

The cost: $25,000

What to expect:

  • At least 10 popular ICO listings
  • Paid options included

Variant 2 — by yourself

The cost: ~$15,000 (you should include manager’s salary so he or she can send the information)

Top listings cost:

ICO Rating Agencies

There are special types of companies that could audit and rate your ICO for investors. You will receive a special report of investment attractiveness of your ICO and could be listed.

Optimum Strategy

The best strategy will be to place your ICO on Coinschedule, get ratings from ICORating, Digrate, or any other rating service (it will help you to summarize leaks in your ICO), and start pushing FREE listings in order to place your ICO. Don’t forget that ICO ratings appear everyday as well as die everyday too. They start their ratings from parsing the top lists, so you could gain additional traffic that way as well.

Brian Kean, Chief Business Development Officer ICORating.com:

More importantly, the project should be well “packed.” All the materials (white paper, one-pager, web-site, etc.) should be composed in the language of the investors so that it will make the project more attractive to them. It is important to note that in 2018, investors into ICO will become more professional and there will be more players from the traditional financial market amongst them.

Secondly, it is extremely important to build personalized relations with the investors: to contact them directly, to pitch them at a crypto event, to organize personal meeting with them. It is important to note that the information about the projects rated by ICORating is mailed to the list of funds,thus significantly raising their chances to be noticed. Generally, well developed relations with investors, and the agreements with them, ensures that at least the soft cap is collected during the ICO.

Yaroslav Lunev, Strategy Head @ Merklion Agency: t.me/yardy

Personally, I like ICObench and ICOdrops. These guys knows what they’re doing, and this is why more and more people trust them, a fact reflected in the traffic numbers. I remember them first starting out, having a good dialog with the audience right from the start.

2. Paid Advertising

Variant 1 — outsource to agency

The cost: from $150,000 (budget + work)

What to expect:

  • Facebook, Google, Twitter ad campaigns
  • Specialized crypto ads buying

Variant 2 — by yourself

The cost: ~$3,000 per month for ad managements + budget

Platforms to work with:

  • Facebook, Google, Twitter ad campaigns

Specialized crypto ads buying:

You can find more networks here:

Optimum Strategy

Start with the channels that you have ad managers for. You can gain traction with traditional ad networks like Facebook and Google. Eventually you’ll be able to move onto specialized crypto networks a few days before your ICO and on the first days of sale.

Yaroslav Lunev, Strategy Head @ Merklion Agency: t.me/yardy

It is easier to find a Bitcoin on the street than a professional ad manager. Be sure that this person knows his or her craft. My advice is to go to an agency and work with them. And if you’re able to sell your idea to them, you may pay them with tokens, at least partially. But I’d hire an ad manager as well so that he or she could continue agency jobs in the post-token sale period.

3. Events

This should be the main focus of your activity since this is where you can find and communicate with investors face to face to get your first capital. You should remember that crowd capital will come if you manage to raise the initial capital from the big league investors.

You can find the list of upcoming events in 2018 here:

Pay attention to these upcoming events as well:

Variant 1 — outsource to agency

The cost: from $20,000 (tickets included)

What to expect:

  • Investor relations management.

Variant 2 — by yourself

The cost: from $10,000 (tickets to events in case of early buying)

What to prepare for:

  • You should be familiar with networking.
  • Have a clear plan about your product and business that you raise your money for.

Optimum Strategy

Start with online communication early on, before meeting them. Try to build up your online relationships and send them the important information. Then work on your presentation before an event and try to make appointments before you go to it. Don’t forget to follow up. Fundraising is a continuous process that takes time

4. PR and Media Outreach

After you have all of your product descriptions and your site ready, you can start your public relations outreach. Below, we will discuss online activities.

Variant 1 — outsource to agency

The cost: from $50,000

What to expect:

  • Up to two unique press releases distributed to major sites.
  • Up to 5 articles published in the most popular blockchain media outlets.

Variant 2 — by yourself

The cost: Unpredictables (from $10,000 for publication in top-tier websites)

What to prepare for:

  • If you don’t have relationships with top-tier websites, it will be really hard to get the discount.
  • You must be ready to generate quality content and distribute it.
  • Try to work with companies like http://bitcoinprbuzz.com/. They have packages for distributing press releases at attractive prices.

Optimum Strategy

Make sure that your main account has your high-quality content (a good example of an ICO where content marketing was on the main channel is Jincor). Outlets will be happy to publish good, analytical research content for free. Establish a budget of about $10,000 — $20,000 for top-tier publications and press release distribution. But if you have good content, you could go viral very fast.

Yaroslav Lunev, Strategy Head @ Merklion Agency: t.me/yardy

If you have good budget, a wise strategy would look something like this: 1) market research 2) list the countries where you will start promoting your project 3) find a local PR agency in every country (big agencies work with the whole regions of several countries) 4) your in-house PR manager will coordinate all of the activities. If you cannot do it this way, then try to create a Content Generation System by yourself, be warned, however, that this is not easy.

5. Specialized Forums and SMM

Variant 1 — outsource to agency

The cost: from $30,000

What to expect:

  • SMM
  • Work on forums such as Reddit and Bitcointalk
  • Bounty campaign

Variant 2 — by yourself

The cost: ~$5,000

What to prepare for:

  • You can hire good managers on Upwork.
  • Try to find proven managers on Bitcointalk for both your bounty and signature campaign.

The list of communities to keep in mind:

Optimum Strategy

The main budget should go towards a good signature and bounty campaign. It is difficult to get good results from it and to manage the process, but there is a chance for success.

6. Native Ads — Tell The World About Your Product

You should really consider this strategy if you have a low budget or a great product you want to tell world about.

Agencies include this part in public relations, so here we will describe the variants on how you could make it on your own.

Step 1

Create your content plan regarding your product and market. You should research the sites that you want to be published on, and try to research their top articles and editorial policy.

Step 2

Create a detailed plan for each of your articles for the writer (you could be a writer by yourself). With this plan, try to ask questions that should be answered during the article and give links to sources where the writer could find the information.

Step 3

Hire a great blockchain writer and proofreader on Upwork (the prices can start from $500 for 1,000 words from a good writer. Don’t hire cheap foreign writers, you will just end up wasting your time as well as your money).

Step 4

Reach out to websites to publish your content. It can take time (for example, it could take up to a month after approval to get published in Entrepreneur.com). In most cases you don’t need specialized websites (but it helps because crypto investors read them all), you could simply publish on your niche websites. It will, however, be hard to explain to newbies how to invest in cryptocurrency.

Hack 1: The main advantage of native articles is that they gain organic traffic from Google, thus you can start to see more traffic arrive to your ICO. Keep in mind that it’s better to start early, before your ICO.

Hack 2: Try to realize the content strategy of the website that you want to publish on. If it’s a news or daily analytics website then your content will get shot down very quickly.

Specialized companies to outsource to:

  • Cointelegraph.com (this is the top crypto website. They make native ads, but the price is very high and starts from $10,000).
  • Howtotoken.com (A crypto guides website. Project has a team of authors trained to create great product manuals that explain your product to crypto investors. The cost of writing and distributing to their audience costs up to $1,500. Contact [email protected] for more information).
  • Hacker Noon’s Weekly Sponsorship Package 🙂
Free newsletter signup
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Never miss another Bankless Times news story as we send you hand-picked articles every morning
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else. You will only receive our daily newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.