Using effective marketing instruments is essential for your ICO campaign to be attractive to the investors. Here are some of the most important components of promotion:
Website & Newsletter
Keep your website clean and simple. Include your main value proposition, links to your whitepaper, blog and all other social media channels. Focus on collecting email subscribers pre-ICO. Many people don’t have the time to look into all projects and only subscribe to newsletters. Later this will become a powerful tool for your ICO campaign. After the ICO use the collected subscriptions for project updates and news. Very important part of the website is your team. Add team pictures and bios. Define their roles. People trust people they can research, thus they want to see faces.
You can have the best product, but if people don’t know anything about it, there won’t be a buzz and no one will invest. So social media is a no-brainer. You will need to be constantly active. The only tricky thing is which channel you chose as your main channel. Historically, the crypto-community has been strongly represented on Twitter and Reddit. Consider focusing on building big follower base there. This will be the foundation for your future ICO communication. You will need to be constantly active, generate discussions around topics of interest, and share mentions you might get from industry experts or respected media channels. Be authentic! Investors understand when a channel is being used for pure marketing or genuine community building.
Include a blog to your website where your regularly update your community about the state of your project, or topics of interest which are related to your project, and share the posts on social media. Consider connecting your website blog to Medium, since Medium has a huge crypto-follower base and could benefit your overall visibility.
All crypto projects have a main platform for direct engagement with the community. This is the place where the main discussion happens and were you gain credibility if you can survive swarm review of your idea. In the early days, people were using the Bitcointalk forum. With the emergence of Ethereum and ICOs, people started looking into alternative platforms. Many projects promoted Slack as their primary communication channel. Unfortunately Slack became a tool for the scammers to trick people into sending funds to false addresses. Many projects noticed that and moved to other platforms such as Telegram or self-hosted solutions. Projects like Zcash host their own forum. Others like Lisk have self-hosted Rocket chat on their servers, having better control over the platform. The main communication channel should be your priority when it comes to community building.
Hire a full-time community manager
Building a community is time consuming, many projects underestimate this role. Your community manager will need to coordinate online engagement of all members, and will be the bridge between the development team and the community. One sided PR by one person will not work. Your whole team needs to engaged online. But online presence is not enough. Your community manager should also coordinate talks at local meetups, conferences or other events, coordinate who gives interviews, or writes blog posts.
AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Get the founders answer questions and give interviews. A very powerful technique is hosting AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions on Reddit or Quora. Be prepared to answer really provocative questions. Furthermore, there are many blockchain related podcasts such as Epicenter or The Ether Review where founders come on the show and talk about their project and their vision. This is a great way to drive attention towards your project.
Record your interviews and presentations and upload these to your Youtube channel. Create small explanatory videos about your project. These could be short interviews or animated videos. Some founders use Youtube as a communication channel (e.g. Julian Hosp, TenX) to engage with the community.
Publicly share interesting activities
If you have a collaboration with other projects or companies, share it on social media. This will give your followers the confidence that you are doing a good job. Announce bounty programs. Could be anything from bug bounties to translation. If you find industry experts who genuinely support your project, invite them as advisors and share it on social media.
Pre-ICO Listing & Support
List your ICO date on all ICO-related platforms and raitings. Talk to private investors before the ICO. Ask if you could announce their names before the official ICO start. Potentials investors gain confidence in your project when they see professionals investors commit to your project.
Pre-ICO: Investor Protection
SEC laws try to protect investors. In lack of clear international regulation you want to do your best to protect less educated investors, having easy to understand communication about what your token is, how the token sale will be conducted. Community standards for ICOs are being developed, in an attempt to protect investors from bad practices. The most important thing is to be as transparent as possible and have very good communication aimed at the least educated investors.
Announce bounty programs pre-ICO. Organize community games with token rewards. An example could be a content creation contest. They need to be designed well, pre- and post ICO. Allocate budget for bug bounties especially if you are designing smart contracts by yourself. Smart contract security is a very tough task.