ICO Marketing – the new frontiers of marketing
Marketing for an ICO or Initial Coin Offering, is unchartered territories for many, bringing with it a whole new meaning to the term “digital marketing”. For these new technologies, there are few marketing specialists. There are more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies currently listed on CoinMarketCap with new startups launching daily, so one needs to find their point of difference to stand out from the growing pool of cryptocurrency startups.
Needless to say, marketing to bitcoin investors is not akin to marketing other products or services. The audience is far more nuanced, diverse and skeptical, and the marketing tools and strategies will not be your typical Facebook promotions or billboard advertisements. Rather, your White Paper, the marketing medium of choice for the bourgeoning cryptocurrency industry, will be the critical marketing tool. It will be the mouthpiece of your company and the central marketing tool that will instantly gain or undermine your credibility. The importance of how you draft your White Paper and how to distribute it to investor bases can determine the success of your ICO.
What is a White Paper?
A White Paper is a concise yet highly structured and technical report, that is informative and persuasive in its content. It typically conveys the company’s background, technical model and methodologies, and introduces the personnel behind the company, their credentials: why you should trust them with your money. A well thought-out and appealing White Paper will be critical to a successful Token Sale and serves as the ‘roadmap’ to what the company will do, once it reaches different phases of funding through its tokens being traded on the coin exchange. There are more and more resources and articles online regarding how to draft an effective White Paper.
Is there a ‘typical’ ICO White Paper?
From what we have seen, this appears to be the typical structure:
Setting the scene
- A brief history and overview of blockchain
- A brief history and overview of the industry your company is in
- Clear and concise explanation of why your company is needed in the world
Explain your ‘how’
- Clear explanations of how you will achieve your goals
- Diagrams and modelling of your platform architecture, technology used and methodologies
- Introduce yourselves
- After all the diagrams and equations, this is where you get human. The team page is where you prove your credibility based on your team member’s backgrounds, experience and resumes. Your ability to boast about the credentials of supporters and early investors will be the persuasive pull for many investors
Map it out
- This is where you explain in more micro-terms why you need the funding and what steps you will take using the money invested and how it will be applied (e.g. Legal, Operational, Marketing)
- Set out a roadmap of milestones so investors know the schedule you are working towards
Disclaimers and Risk Warnings
- This probably needs no explanation. Make sure you have consulted with your legal team to ensure this section is sophisticated and accurate in law, but not overly legalistic. A well drafted Risk Warning section will reinforce your credibility and will give confidence to potential investors.
Here is a list of White papers to get you inspired:
I have a perfected my White Paper and have the final version – now what? Translate it!
The second vital action is translating your White Paper. Presenting your White Paper in key languages will give you invaluable access to new markets and investor bases. You’d be well advised to concentrate your expansion to countries or regions with the largest ‘crypto communities’. Artem Sokolenko, Chief Marketing Officer of BANCA, a crypto company that recently underwent a successful token sale and now has their token BANCA listed on the coin exchange, says that Russia, Korea and Japan are all countries with a high concentration of crypto users. The biggest ICO to date came from Russia and 1 in 3 people in Korea invest in crypto. The early and high levels of ‘buy-in’ to crypto in Korea is perhaps attributable to the advanced social and technological development of mobile payments as well as the government’s attitude towards cryptocurrency, which has been relatively supportive of it. Japan is a hot crypto region with official licenses recently introduced. Europe has not progressed as quickly in crypto compared to Asian countries but Germany has recently passed laws on bitcoins futures. Australia also should be considered as a potential investor base, with the ASX the first exchange to use bitcoin technology for clearing and custody.
Where does China sit in the cryptocurrency world?
From an official point of view, China is very against cryptocurrencies and the Chinese government has prohibited its citizens from investing in crypto companies. However, there still remains a significant Chinese population that are native Chinese speakers while holding foreign passports, so one should not overlook the benefit of translating your White Paper to Chinese. China is a country that is rapidly developing, extremely QR code and mobile payment savvy, and home to a large population of early adopters; if not for the government prohibitions, China would arguably be the ‘perfect’ crypto investor base and the place to market to. We asked BANCA’s CEO Linda Chen why we are seeing more of an uptake in crypto in Asian countries, as opposed to UK or Europe (putting to one side the in-country regulations). Ms. Chen replies with a small smile: “it’s because Asian people are betting people. People are more likely to take risks here”.
Regardless of the region, the world over one will find risk-takers keen to invest. Investing time, creativity and language support to your White Paper is one critical marketing move that crypto or blockchain startups cannot afford to miss.
- There are unique strategies to marketing your ICO or Token Sale; ICO and crypto marketing is a new and dynamic field
- Your White Paper is your key to reaching and connecting with your potential investors
- Translate your White Paper (and website) to reach the full potential of your investor base. The most sought-after languages crypto startups are translating to include:
The author has no affiliations nor investments with any of the companies mentioned in this article. Despite being Asian, she is not a betting person.