Tips for a successful ICO campaign

We’ve reviewed many projects, tokens, ICO’s and teams and we know a thing or two about launching ICO’s although we’ve never launched one (we were asked to participate in several projects but we refused because of opportunity costs)

I was recently asked “how to find investors and partners for my ICO” and decided that, if I am going to spend time responding to this question, might as well make an article out of it.

So I’m gonna share my observations about what could improve your changes of getting investors and partners for your ICO.

1. Hide a crowd manager

This is a person that is responsible for all the communication with stakeholders and investors. Communication and presentation is the most important thing about an ICO. First, you should be well aware where ICO communication takes place – bitcointalk.org, slack, rocketchat, telegram, youtube, facebook, twitter. You should have noticed proactive posters, analysts, investors, entrepreneurs in the field. You should know several people that are deep into crypto (wouldn’t’ve thought that a person who doesn’t, would be launching an ICO) – start with your network, and involve your extended network, and get somebody to become your crowd manager, somebody who has done it or has observed other people do it.

Here are the responsibilities of a crowd manager (they should have great communication skills, preferably perfect English and be good in marketing and/or sales):

  • write all the copy for your website. Gear toward benefits, not features
  • maintain the social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Publish and coordinate publishing on all platforms, don’t neglect one of them
  • create and moderate a slack, rocketchat and telegram channels – the more, the better, because different people have different preferences, each of those channels has its problems, so reduce the friction that the mass public has in terms of communicating with you and make sure you are everywhere
  • create and maintain a bitcointalk.org announcement thread, with great presentation and honest communication. Never ignore people’s questions (being believable and trustworthy is everything in this scam space)
  • coordinate the bounty programs, pay on time, because the bounty hunters’ wrath is not to be underestimated

Pay the crowd manager “real money” (the irony is government issued currency is not even close to being real money). The people you’re gonna get when you pay made up token money, aren’t gonna do a great job. They are usually full of hot air and are gonna dump whatever tokens they get right away.

2. Have bounty campaigns but don’t overdo it – bounty hunters can be very useful to carry out viral marketing campaigns, but they can also be a huge pain in the ass.

Don’t give out too much of your tokens on bounty campaigns because bounty hunters aren’t holders – they dump as soon as they can and if they possess too many tokens, your ICO could tank and the price start a momentum in the wrong direction

3. Use your extended network to find “whales” to pitch pre-ICO discounted offers to

Again don’t go too big on the pre-ICO discounts, because what usually happens is, the whales that you sell at 30% discount to, dump at market price the moment the token hits an exchange, and the price does a big dive. Everyone is taken with their pants down and people start to leave, to save whatever little money they have left.

4. Make sure there is a very conservative spending policy with a vesting/lock-up period for founders – the longer, the better, because this instills trust in the market place – people are very wary about this – they don’t want you to take the money and run

5. Implement what I call an “open face policy” – everyone on the team should be present on the website and have their real name, picture and linkedin profile there – so that people see that there are business people with their real lives and reputations at stake, with skin in the game – not some shady mom’s basement hacker guys who will disappear the moment they get the money. Avoid placing Vitalik Buterin’s picture there unless he is really involved in the project, or he is going to burn you

6. You could consider paying $110 000 to John McAffee to pump your token, although his influence has worn off, since most people realized he’s probably full of shit

7. Go on to real business websites where listings are being posted for people looking for business partners. Position yourself as an actual real business who just happens to innovate by going blockchain (I hope you really are). Find investors and partners there

8. Set aside as much money from your budget as you can on getting influencers promote your product, but don’t do so in an unethical manner – ask the biggest guys on youtube, twitter and other bloggers to do a professional analysis of your product, and pay them if you need to, but make it abundantly clear that you want a clean, fair review, and ask them not to spare you any criticism or outright hate for your token. The most authentic and honest reviews are your best way to get recognition in the market place. The outright praise stinks from afar and people can sense it right away, so avoid paying for hype.

9. Get one of your teammembers to do regular youtube updates on progress – this is one of the most assuring things for potential investors. Make sure you never stop doing these updates, otherwise people are gonna think you ran away. If you can get a pretty smart girl like Dash’s Amanda B Johnson to present your project online, it would be great. The crypto community is very welcoming to this.

10. Get a big crypto person to hate you and/or get involved with Twitter wars with them. Preferably provoke the BCASH guy’s anger. Roger Ver. This will get everyone’s attention.

11. Go to crypto meetups, and if you can, get the chance to be one of the speakers. Sponsor crypto meetups and conferences.

12. Start a weekly update newsletter and always deliver, always keep everyone in the loop of what’s going on.

13. Learn the laws of Branding by Al Ries and Jack Trout and use them – become a market leader in a newly created market category. Position yourself as the leader, and the proponent of the category. Choose a great and short, human-understandable brand name, that implies a benefit. Come up with a slogan, stand for something that others don’t stand for, but people care about. Reposition the competition by implying what you can do that they can’t. Promote the market category, so that being the leader in a category whose size increases, you get an increase in marketshare too. Become the credible go-to authority in your market category. If there are other projects in your market category, think again if you should be number 14, trying to solve the same problems other are solving as well. Don’t think that if you do it better, people will know. The associative box that they have in their minds is already filled by somebody else. Do you think the world needs yet another privacy coin?

14. Make sure you can get on good exchanges. If you start with whatever exchange agrees to take you on, and you choose one of the shitty ones like yobit, you are going to have a hard time trying to convince everyone you’re not a shitcoin.

15. Avoid proof-of-stake that awards huge percentage of tokens. This is very inflationary policy and is a recipe for disaster. POS users dump the reward constantly and your project will find itself in a downward spiral. POS with huge reward stake is a race to the bottom, its what happened to 1337 (Elite coin) at one point.

16. Invest time, money and effort in the most beautiful, detailed and bound with deadlines roadmap that you can. Roadmaps are huge. Don’t be vague. Be very specific about what you’re gonna do and when you’re gonna do it. This will give people confidence in your project. Confidence and trust = money. Same goes for the whitepaper, and please don’t copy and redo someone else’s roadmap like Tron did.

17. People love a small, finite supply of coins. A token that is emitted in the billions has a much smaller chance to get a good price per coin that one that is much more scarce.

18. Link to the source code on github and commit often. People are gonna be afraid to invest in a product whose development they can’t see. People are going to frequently check in on your progress there, and they are going to know if you haven’t committed new code in months. Get as many developers to contribute as you can. Community members should be welcome to contribute too.

19. It is a massive success for a crypto project if they can affiliate themselves with a government agency or a banking institution. Many crypto idealists will object to that but the truth of the matter is that the biggest enemy of crypto are govs and banks and if you have them on your side, it appears that your future is guaranteed, which means the fear of loss of money will be mitigated, and people will buy.

I will add more tips if I think of any, or if I get them in the form of feedback when I publish this article here and there.


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