Airdropping is the process by which a token issuer or startup that's holding an ICO will distribute a particular cryptocurrency to early adopters, free of charge. Even so, Airdrops are not exclusive to ICOs, because established Cryptocurrency and Dapp projects can carry out airdrops to promote themselves. They are effective for one, because you get to give them out to people so that they can try your products -- your wallet, token, Dapp, etc. Furthermore, Airdropping is used by many cryptocurrency projects to grow their communities, incentivize early adopters, gain more investors, and help raise brand awareness. Projects such as Polymath (POLY), Quantstamp (QSP), DFINITY (DFN), and OmiseGo are some of the examples that have used airdrops as a strategy to achieve different ends.
Besides, you can assign some tasks to those willing to receive airdrop tokens in return for doing them, like having certain users share information about the company, requiring them to register on the platform app, requiring them to join your social media channels, asking them to download your Dapp, asking them to refer friends to your project, rewarding them for holding meetups, asking to unlock certain achievements, etc. All of these initiatives are known as “incentivized milestones,” which makes airdropping a perfect marketing tool.
Although airdrops were traditionally launched without a strict target audience in mind, now, the term "Smartdrops" has arisen, which refers to airdrops that ae carried out based on on-chain data to help target relevant users.
To successfully promote your ICO via airdrops, you need to plan everything out perfectly beforehand, i.e., the kind of behavior you want to reward and to decide the type of blockchain users you plan to target, and how you want it done, among other things.
There has to be a clear strategy. In a nutshell, you want to give enough tokens so that your project will truly benefit from the airdrop's related initiatives, but at the same time, not enough coins or tokens to dilute your crypto's value in the future. In any case, quality is better than quantity. It is also important to remember that it is more valuable to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars from an airdrop directly with your future adopters, rather than in wasteful, non-evidence based promotional strategies with which you won't be able to pick out any beneficiary in the end. That said, reward people with useful amounts and let them prove their identity before doing so.
Also, it can be expensive and wasteful if your airdrop beneficiaries choose not to take advantage of the opportunity to learn the use case of the tokens they receive or use them to test your products. You want to select your recipients carefully on the basis of what value you believe they'll truly bring to your group's marketing efforts. Answering this will directly depend on whether you are targeting developers, merchants, investors, security issuers or even other blockchain companies.
At this point, there are already startups through which you can run airdrops, for instance, established exchanges or dedicated airdrop companies, and you can decide on the specific criteria involved in doing so -- for instance, giving tokens to holders of another token (many projects on Ethereum give free tokens to holders of ETH).
Finally, never forget to get the word out in time, about the airdrop itself, to communicate guidelines and milestones that must be completed or things that will be required to earn the tokens. Finally, look for important partnerships. Some of the most important tools to use during this process include: Earn.com, Xpo.Network, CoinList.co, TRM?'s API, and the Abacus Protocol. There are also advertising tools such as Airdrop listing services where you can list and advertise your airdrop for a price or even for free. Some ICO listing websites can also provide this service alongside listing your ICO.
ICO bounty programs
Bounties are employed by many startups, websites, and software development groups to reward individuals who identify bugs, perform marketing tasks, or improve the code of a given product or service. In addition to all of this, you can also decide to pay in tokens after the conclusion of your project's ICO.
This way, apart from having people follow up and review your ICO, you also get to promote it in the bounty program. You can organize these types of bounties into pre-ICO bounties and post-ICO bounties. The pre-ICO ones can generate hype and awareness about your project, startup and/or dApp. Efforts like this may include social media bounties in which individuals can earn certain amounts from the bounty by participating in your social media campaign with or through retweets, likes, shares, views and comments.
The other important type to remember here is article writing bounties in which you reward bloggers for creating articles about your ICO and sharing the content. The reward levels can thus be pegged to the relevant engagement levels of the article or blog post in question. Another important type of bounty to remember is Bitcointalk signature bounties, which are offered to all sorts of members of the Bitcointalk community based on the number of stakes they can get in response for being involved. This type of bounty can be utilized in order to improve the feedback that your ICO generates from the crypto community, which can be important when looking to engage other members as well.
You can also offer bounties to those who want to translate project documents or moderate forum groups. This is especially important if you are targeting international groups. Bug reporting bounties are given to help developers identity issues with software or with other associated platforms.
Using ICO Calendars
If you are a dApp developer who is looking for ways to promote your dApp, dApp stores might be the place to go. If you are holding an ICO and have a dApp, then these stores and ICO Calendars can work well together. ICO calendars, especially the most popular ones including: Cryptoslate, TokenMarket, Icorating, Icobench.com, Icomarks, Coincodex and Coinschedule and a host of others we have mentioned in this article, are great for promoting your ICO directly because they are visited by millions of investors looking for projects they can invest in.
You might want to shop around for a good ICIO listing service because some will include additional services and different prices, which might even be free, depending on the service in question.
Most ICO Calendars provide you with the opportunity to detail your project and even provide useful social networks and communities where customers may get additional and up-to-date information. You can also add links to Telegram, Reddit, Medium and other posts on other similar platforms.
Write a good whitepaper, lightpaper, design an ICO website or landing page
A good project is not necessarily only detailed in its' whitepaper. A good whitepaper should satisfactorily explain your idea and information about the project. The whitepaper should first define your problem and indicate how the project addresses that problem. Like any business proposal, it may provide the details of current markets, competitors, financial stats, and future trends. Make sure you truly know the ins and outs of your product before writing its' whitepaper.
The whitepaper should also detail the primary internal and external risk factors that may affect the business in the future, including the mechanics of the project including its' full description, and its' full pitch. In addition to this, token distribution should also be addressed which includes the schedule of the project's future distribution of tokens, and its' estimated unpurchased token allocation, as well as future estimated fees and costs. On top of all of this, it's necessary to remember to include the team members and the roadmap as well as all related citations, near the end of the whitepaper.
In then, all of these basic items can be summarized in a few sentences.
Make sure you are able to explain clearly your product/service, explain why you are adopting or using a blockchain, address the value of your tokens and their intended use cases, discuss the solution your project is presenting, detail its' token distribution, explain its' security measures, and give the details of its' team members. These are the most important things that investors will be looking for in your whitepaper.
Besides these basics, include graphics such as charts, tables, and photos. It's also important to use clear layouts and an easy-to-grasp vocabulary, in addition to avoiding using a buzzword-filled format and using external links to back your points. This is all because the formatting of the whitepaper will directly determine its' readability.
Whitepapers should always be used alongside other strategies that help to promote ICOs including social media engagement, bounties, blogging and ICO listing sites.
Regarding the project's website, you can either choose to create a dedicated web page for the ICO or a landing page on an existing website for the ICO. The page should, among other things, include a call-to-action that invites investors to participate, links to the project's social media platforms that should encompass a wide spectrum, and other project materials including a detailed overview of it, and token sale terms such as pricing, token supply and future, planned methods for the purchase and distribution of the token. Furthermore, the page should also have a roadmap, anticipated legal issues, detailed profiles of the team that include the project's founders and partners, and finally, press and media links about your project.
As if this wasn't enough, there should also be a lightpaper or 1 pager that summarizes all of these details in just 1 page to give readers a shorter, yet just as trustworthy option. Many people who are hosting ICOs also post explainer videos on their websites, which are videos explaining the important concepts about the projects in question.
Communicating the ICO and pitching at events and conferences
Blockchain conferences and events are all around us and are a great marketing channel through which to communicate your ICO face to face. Doing so can be very expensive but may be worth it to generate a good ROI.
Besides, they helping you connect with the right audience on a personal level, they offer a great opportunity to seal partnership deals and answer concerns that it may only be possible to answer face-to-face, while building greater trust in your community at the same time.
Social media and other free ways of promoting ICOs
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, Slack and Telegram are some of the places you should head to if you're looking to promote your ICO. With a good ICO team and your own website and blog, you can then supplement and even, indeed, lower your ICO's overall budget, especially in the case of sponsored content. This is because the main idea behind sponsored content is to get the word out about your ICO.
Promoting on Telegram
Promoting an ICO on Telegram can be done in-house by creating a dedicated Telegram group for your ICO. Just like with other social media accounts, you can try combining airdropping strategies and bounty programs to grow the group, though keep in mind that the platform has had a problem with scammers and spammers, so having a dedicated bot for verifying each member that joins is likely ideal.
Telegram is a great place for those startups and ICOs who want a more direct connection with their audiences as long as they keep this in mind. With Telegram, you can answer customer questions one-by-one, in the same way that you can with Twitter, Facebook, and other similar platforms.
One differentiator related to using Telegram above other platforms is that you can pay other Telegram groups to promote your ICO, especially if these groups have a vast audience reach. There may be several other groups which you can consider using to promote your ICO by sharing news and information about your project. However, just as I mentioned above, make sure the group has real Telegram members and not bots, because it won't help to promote to bots. There will be no real signups if bots are used as members in this case. Still, remember that maximum conversion is possible if you can get relevant audience.
Reddit is also popular for announcing ICO launches because the messaging board remains important in spreading the word about new ideas and businesses. A popular sub-reddit that may be of interest to ICO groups is the one known as 'altcoin', which is dedicated to cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. It now has over 811,000 members and is popular for announcing new tokens as well as updates on established ones. Basically, you can easily get your message across by posting information including a summary of your token, the purpose and the support network that is backing the coin. Other details to include when promoting on Reddit are the maximum supply, the token team's development plans, and any other info on the team behind the idea.
In publishing information about your token or ICO, you should start promoting the token well in advance of your ICO. In doing so, it then becomes necessary to create a new separate messaging board based on your token alone. The messaging board should now work as a company prospectus and allow you to communicate all the relevant news regarding the token to future investors. For instance, you can spark more debate from audience by inviting questions from your subreddit audience. Regular updates should be posted via the subreddit plus an active messaging board. If you can get the subreddit voted higher (upvoted) by other users then it will appear among the top ranked search results for its' topic, which will lead to significantly greater engagement.
Quora can be useful for promoting ICOs as long as you post good and quality content there. In doing so, keep in mind that people go to the site to find out what experts think about topics they are knowledgeable about.
Twitter is also a popular alternative for advertising ICOs not only because of its large user base and audience, but also because of its analytics platform. Thus as an ICO advertiser, you can get lots of useful data that you can utilize to optimize your marketing campaigns for grow your crypto community. Twitter allows you to measure engagement per post and per tweet. Thus, you will then be able to know which posts or tweets are truly making an impact and which are not, related to your ICO campaign. In other words, when Twitter analytics tools are used correctly, you get an idea of what to reiterate and what to discard.
The other upside of Twitter is its thriving crypto community. For instance, you can get people talking about your ICO using related hashtags and even have teams or Twitter accounts mentioning your ICO quite quickly. That said, it is possible to pay to partner with owners of individual accounts or other startups to promote your ICO in this way.
For instance, you can pay those with a huge crypto following to get their endorsements or get the same sort of endorsement from celebrities or other leaders in the crypto space. These personalities will then discuss and hashtag your coin.
Related to this, you can also pay crypto news sites for an article or promotional tweeting about your coin.
For instance, ICO Facebook groups such as CryptoCurrency & ICO Investing, CryptoCurrency - Researching & Investing in top tech projects, Trading, ICO, and Bitcoin, ICO sale, Cryptocurrency Investing, allow for the discussion of emerging ICOs, scam ICOs and other crypto news. Facebook is, however, full of fake accounts which people use to promote fake ICOs.
There are many groups on Linkedin that are used to promote and discuss emerging ICOs and their potential value. You can promote your ICOs via these groups and let other members of the Linkedin community give their feedback and follow your project.
Hackernoon, Medium, Steem, Reddit and other publishing networks can also add great value to your ICO/dApp promotion tactics.
Youtube is also a great place on which you can host explainer and other types of videos.
Social media can be great for bounties or crypto airdrops, which you can use, as mentioned above, to get interested people to post articles, news and information about your ICO before they can win the said rewards related to these initiatives.
Content Marketing as a strategy requires you to develop compelling content that is specific to your project's respective category that it is serving. The content will preferably explain why you care about this category, what you will be able to do now which you could not earlier, how it will change the way you do things, how it will make you a better person or make processes better around you.
Besides the category level marketing content, the product level marketing content should explain how to use the product, review the product (includes product reviews), how to derive maximum value from your product, product hacks, etc.
Such content can be in the form of blogs, videos, infographics, slideshare decks, and tutorials. These material will help you to have new and exciting things to discuss with your community, help the community to understand the value position even more clearly, and also to showcase thought leadership and subject matter expertise on the problems you are solving.
In addition to employing free publishing sites, you need to identify the main ways of distributing said content to your audience. Thus, you should include press releases with top blockchain and crypto tech publications, word of mouth through influencers, which can be done through reviews, AMAs and video interviews, and crypto communities on Reddit and Quora and Bitcointalk.org, among others. With all of this remember that the key to a successful ICO marketing campaign is that its' integrated in all of these ways.
An SEO-focused strategy should always be used from day one and this can be done with intelligent content generation and a well-researched link building plan. Off-page and on-page SEO can be done in-house but it obviously, this way, things can turn to be very expensive. Overall, using SEO means using a long-term campaign building strategy just like email marketing, which will keep your ICO and token sustainable long after their launches.
PR and blogs
Professional PR agencies can help with advanced ICO marketing strategies. Most of the linked websites here also offer PR publishing services, and some of these are willing to do so for free, at least initially. Not only will they help get the word out about an ICO, they'll also help with designing the best possible message for doing so that results in the optimal level of appeal.
Keep in mind as well, that with guest blogs published on other media sites and crypto websites, you can not only get more of an audience and more potential customers but also more backlinks to your ICO.
Email marketing for ICOs
Email marketing is a conventional brand and marketing promotion technique that still works.
The banning of crypto and ICO advertising by MailChimp didn't mean the end of email marketing for crypto and ICO projects. People with existing email lists (which, otherwise, may take time to develop), will still find long-term benefits from taking such a strategy.
You begins by collecting relevant email addresses of potential investors, which can be done using a subscription form placed on your ICO landing page or website so people can sign up to your mailing lists. For instance, you can use a call to action to have them sign up so they won't miss on important updates about the ICO, airdrops etc.
Email marketing works great in combination with other methods like airdropping because people opting in for airdrops will provide their emails, which you can then use to send future emails about your future project. Once you have set your mailing list, segment it in terms of languages for a multilingual audience, as well as the different locations that said audience originates from, whether or not someone is a new subscriber, and any other categories that may be of interest to you like your customers' specific preferences, interests, ages, and occupations. Segmenting, in this fashion, helps to send more highly targeted emails because the audience is more narrowly defined. This method has been shown to boost email click rates, open rates, click through rates, and even other results such as buy rates.
Once you do this segmenting, you can then introduce your product to newcomers, inform them about updates and changes, and send further details about the project after its' ICO concludes.
Try an IEO Instead
There are many reasons why an IEO may be the best option for promoting your token sale, as compared to an ICO. An IEO is hosted on an exchange platform and therefore has more authenticity than an ICO. In some cases, an ICO project can actually gain tangible publicity benefits from this, depending on how famous the exchange is and in cases where the exchange promotes the project to its audience directly.
Some exchanges, through their IEO services, may help projects bring on a certain kind of target audience from given regions, younger or older generations, etc.