Most of you will say it is impossible to set up an ICO without a start-up budget. It’s not surprising, since most marketing experts recommend paying media or vloggers for ads, paying trackers to be listed among ICO-calendars. Yet that’s far from all the expenses.
Besides, if you consider using professional support from companies to help you manage an ICO, then your marketing can cost a pretty penny.
So, let’s try to figure out how to make everything by yourself, without any expenses. Remember—you’ll need to work hard.
Step 1. Explore the Industry.
You better start by closely analyzing the blockchain-market. Use the Internet, read specialized media such as Cointelegraph, CoinJournal, Medium, MoneyControl, Coindesk.com or BTCmanager.com.
Look at the most financially-successful ICO campaigns in history; for example, EOS, FailCoin, Tezos, Neo and others (and these are not necessarily technological successes, mind you). If it’s possible, you can also interview ex-ICO participants.
Check out the crypto-community at social networks such as Bitcointalk.
Advice. Analyze your target group, it’s needs and desires.
All of that will help you make a marketing plan and PR-campaign strategy.
Step 2. Find advisers
Advisers are the experts in the crypto and ICO world. They can help develop your ideas and defend them before the investors. It can be people from the financial world, businessmen, IT and legal experts or investors.
Advice. Choose your advisers carefully. There are plenty of scammers among so called “experts”, who in real don’t care about technologies and just want to get money from you. You need to be certain of your adviser’s experience.
Where can you find them?
In general, advisers can find you by themselves through trackers or media. But you can also use social networks, especially LinkedIn, which is very useful for this aim.
Don’t forget about the conferences dedicated to blockchain technologies, which are taking place today all over the world. The general usage of this kind of event will be discussed below, but for now it is important to mention that participation is usually expensive. However, you can be invited for free, if you complete the next step.
Step 3. Build a Personal Brand for your Team (or find a well-known authority in the crypto industry and invite them to the team)
If you are lucky to attract someone popular from the crypto world to your team, then you are going to be successful.
The system is simple: the more you pioneer your technologies, the more chances you have to awake somebody’s interest, and the more chances you have to make your idea work.
The brightest example of the way a personal brand can positively influence the project is Telegram. It became popular very quickly because of Pavel Durov, who is well-known as a founder of Russian the social network VK. Pavel also used the viral marketing to allow him to become an even more popular person. He managed controversial actions like throwing five-thousand-ruble notes away at the City Festival, and many others.
For people with a popular personal brand, you can propose commission based on the investment, or even company shares. Also, you can build a new personal brand of someone from your team.
-Promote the person with content-marketing;
-Create personal profiles on social media, and post the news. Use LinkedIn, Reddit, Medium, Telegram, Instagram etc. Prove that your person takes part in plenty of crypto events, meets with the experts of the industry, shows all his activities in crypto life etc.;
-Send articles to the media using his name, try to discuss the hottest news;
-Cooperate with vloggers, offer them mutual advertising;
As a result, your new crypto authority can be invited to conferences and other events for free as a speaker or as a special guest.
Step 4. Take part in crypto conferences
Conferences are a good way to promote your company—but not all of them are really helpful. You should know how to choose the right one for your goals.
If you want to find investors, you need to be sure there will be ones on the conference. Because sometimes there are only startups at the conferences presenting their ideas to each other. So, if you are lucky, you may find advisers; and if you are very lucky, you’ll find investors too. Anyway, it’s not rare for the hosts to set up an event like that in order to earn money, with that as the only aim.
Besides, there are some countries where the participation at the meetings makes sense. For example, Bahrain, Sweden, India, Japan, Singapore, and USA are usually on the list of the biggest investors to cryptocurrency countries. Still, before you apply, check the website of the event, look at the list of visitors, participants, and speakers. If there are authorities, experts, or people from the big IT-companies, and serious businessmen, then there is a big change there will be investors too. If there are only nonames, then you better miss it and save your money.
Even if you decide to participate, it is not obligatory to buy huge banners or exhibition stands or to be shown on the screens. Sometimes business cards and corporate T-shirts will be enough. Just try to make connections with important people.
Step 5. Make your own community
1. Bitcointalk. Create your own branch on the chat and give it life. You need to discuss your project with crypto fans there all the time.
2. Trackers. You have to be listed on the trackers. You can use the free ones, such as ICOBench. It will give you a high network traffic, and that’s why trackers are a very significant point in your promotion plan, which you simply can’t ignore.
3. Bounty-campaign. Find people who will promote you on their social networks, write posts and news of your project. Bounty participants are usually into this crypto field, so they generally have lots of crypto-crazy followers too. They can also make videos about you on YouTube, which is turning into a great advertising and marketing tool today. You can offer bounty participants your tokens instead of money.
Advice. Try to set the tasks for your bounty participants in detail, carefully discuss all the conditions of your collaboration and the plan of actions.
4. Telegram. It’s the most popular messenger for the crypto-crowd, so it’ll work for you if you pay in tokens for the posts. Use the Telegram-channels, addicted to business, financial world, technologies. Founders of crypto channels usually require payments in cryptocurrency – in Bitcoins and Etherium.
5. Media. You should try to find authors who will write in media outlets about your project. Offer them tokens too. Make them believe in your idea, let them write useful articles for the industry. Journalists are always glad to represent quality content.
6. Airdrop. This is when your company “pays” someone for certain movement. The user can follow you at social networks for tokens, for example, and stuff like that. As a result, crypto fans can write to your chats and be active there.
Step 6. Find the business partners
When any of these marketing tools work, you’ll get messages from different people in your email with the offerings to collaborate. It can be vloggers, journalists, or companies and they can help you to find investors. But be careful who you choose. If you see the potential partner has a strong community that trusts his opinion, you can offer him commission based on the whole investment in case he will appeal the community to invest in the project. Make friends with people like that, they are going to be a great support for you.
Step 7. Find investors
So, here is the final step. All previous ones were made for this last move. Of course, while you were coming to this point you already had to get some investors, but you shouldn’t stop searching.
Again, use social media. As it was told before, the simplest one is LinkedIn. Send messages to everyone who shows up in Google after you type in the magic word “investor”. Out of about 100 people you write to, you may get an answer from just 10, and maybe only one of them will really invest in your project.
To find the investors you should choose the best conferences to take part, spread information about your project among the surroundings people, and let the local and foreign media find out about you. Use all possible contacts and tools.
So, to conduct effective ICO marketing without a budget it’s necessary to follow these steps. Also, pay attention to these next things in your company:
– Technologies. The project has to present something really new to blockchain: technologies
– Ideology. Stay open to your followers—it’s the best way to make them trust you and believe in your technology’s primary benefits. There are some companies that launch ICO just for money, so if you want to get something more than just financial support, then you need to be honest. You have to have advisers and legal experts who, in case of suspicions, can protect you.
– Team. A strong team of professionals is one of the most important points for the investors. If you work at the office you can always invite them and prove that your intentions are serious.
Keep in mind that the only budget you have are tokens. Why do you actually need money while launching ICO? They’ll help you to do the same marketing campaign much faster. But if you use your tokens correctly you can also save time. The main tool is your idea: it has to be strong, otherwise no one is going to be interested in your tokens.
By Maria Igitkhanian
Regular journalist of Paymon