How to Successfully Market the ICO / Blockchain Project in 2018 and Beyond

Oct 11, 2018

Over the course of a few years, the cryptocurrency and blockchain space became one of the most attention-getting industries in the world. And executing a successful blockchain project financed by ICO today is not an easy task, at least not anymore. What most crypto entrepreneurs fail to realize, though, is that this can be a good thing. Let me explain. Blockchain technology is aging and that is bringing some much-needed maturity to the sector. That is fantastic. There used to be a low barrier to entry that helped a lot of bad projects (ICO’s), poised to go bust from the beginning, to enter crypto space. Words Blockchain and Crypto went mainstream which brought in a lot of uneducated crypto speculators. A so-called dumb money if you wish. Speculators that never before invested in any financial or tangible assets. Speculators that had no financial literacy and were investing life savings only because they saw spectacular gains made by people close to them and beyond. It just looks too good to miss out on. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was kicking in. And naturally, they felt they can also quickly achieve the “millionaire” status. “When Lambo” phrase came to mind. All this helped to create a time when ICOs were easy to execute successfully. Tokens were selling like crazy. Liquidity and interest by retail investors were extremely high. Tokens and cryptocurrencies have risen in value like there is no tomorrow. But then came the end of 2017 and crypto world went bust in a big way. BTC, cryptocurrency with the biggest market cap of them all, for example, fell from 20k USD to 6k USD almost as quickly as it went up. The crypto bubble popped, dumb money began to disappear from crypto space and liquidity dried up. Everyone went in “waiting for the next boom” mode and investments in ICOs shrank considerably. To make things worse, a lot of new regulations were popping in existence all the time. And just to make everything a little more difficult, major players like Google, Facebook, and Twitter were banning crypto adds from their platforms making it much harder to market ICOs to the public.

From that point forward, a successful ICO execution is no longer a walk in a park. Only the best crypto projects with a solid underlying solution manage to raise funds and achieve hard cap. The situation changed a lot in the last 6 months. And this is a good thing. It already flushed away a lot of bad projects and made room for proper, legit blockchain entrepreneurship. A barrier to entry has risen dramatically for ICOs. To successfully execute an ICO today, a good underlying project, a strong team with a lot of knowledge and yes, startup money is needed. Today’s big crypto investors are mostly institutions with millions of dollars in managed money. And they are nothing like small retail crypto speculators mentioned above. They are making a proper due diligence before investing. And a simple webpage with a nice whitepaper won’t cut it anymore. And that means ICO marketing has to change also. Old approaches are not working anymore.

ICO marketing today as we established above must adapt to a new reality. The targeted audience is not the same anymore. And that requires a different and more sophisticated approach. Don’t get me wrong, online presence is still very important. State of the art webpage, SEO optimization, Social media, Crypto-Communities, Press releases, Referrals, Cross-promotions, Bounty’s, Blogs etc. are still a must. But they are no longer enough. Online presence is more and more becoming just a support mechanism for what is really important. And that is live events/meetings around the globe. Events where founders, project ambassadors, and teams can meet with potential institutional investors and possible future business partners to discuss projects in person. Events that provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. Most of the crypto funders don’t have the money to organize a conference on their own. But there are a lot of great conferences around the world at any time that will allow crypto founders/teams to attend or even speak at. Blockchain conferences are growing at a similar rate to cryptocurrencies as a whole. New expos are appearing on a daily basis with top speakers and market leading brands involved to create memorable and highly influential events. It is a reflection of how rapidly the crypto industry has grown on a global scale.

Conferences as such are nothing new. And crypto oriented events are in essence still just events at the end of the day. Soo all of the same best practices of a sound event strategy apply to these conferences as well. And online presence discussed above is crucial to them in a way that provides attendees with all the additional information’s about a project (educational role) at the time when a presenter is at a stage, making a short pitch or later on, after the conference, when attendees are researching interesting projects more in depth. But meeting in person with a potential investor rather than on-line is now a new norm. And the conference is an opportunity to meet with potential investors and other crypto founders not only in person but at the same time an opportunity to connect with them on social media, to collect personal emails from them so that a personalized follow up can easily be made and staying in touch even after the conference is possible. Attending a crypto/blockchain conference with an intent to speak at it or not is the right way to get a project in front of other likeminded crypto enthusiasts. It is a new norm, and a must if reaching an ICO hard cap is one’s goal.