The startup ecosystem has changed dramatically over the past few years, with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) proving a great way to not only raise capital but to test market assumptions and interests too.
Compared to conventional funding routes such as venture capital and loans, crowd-funding of this kind is relatively easy to set up. But how much money do you need to launch your ICO and why is it a good idea to have your marketing budget mapped out?
Know our Numbers
The cost of getting an ICO off the ground is not set in stone. It all depends on what the product is and who you choose to partner with. Outsourcing for optimum efficiency will also affect your overall spend, but as a rule of thumb around €500,000 is recommended for a successful ICO launch with about half of that put towards marketing.
You should also bear in mind that most marketing companies charge 5 -10 percent of the ICO Target hard cap raise, so it’s important to factor in all considerations to ensure you can do your project justice. Here I would put 5%-10% of the ICO Target hard cap raise.
ICO marketing budget breakdown
From creating an easily tradable token to distributing tokens to investors, there are many technology-related costs to bear in mind when launching an ICO – but for the purpose of this article, the focus is solely from a marketing standpoint. So, let’s take a look at key areas of any ICO marketing campaign and breakdown the budget.
Web creation and optimization
In a world where many people look online for information and insights into a project or business proposal, a fully-optimised website is a must. If you don’t own your slice of the web, you run the risk of being seen as time-waster or – even worse – a scam artist!
When it comes to the web development phase, Search Engine Optimisation (more commonly known as SEO) is of paramount importance. Relevant, regularly updated, keyword-rich content can improve your rankings during a Google search and will ultimately make you easier to find. This in turn should contribute to the success of your ICO and organically fend off the competition.
BUDGET: The cost of building a website can vary, but it’s worth spending anywhere from €5,000 to €30,000 (depending on web specifications), because in that range the price-quality ratio is the highest. Remember, websites built from scratch can be customised to a higher degree than those built using an existing template.
Every ICO launch requires a detailed, authoritative, informative and well-written white paper. The primary purpose of this content is to describe the product clearly, explain the use of the token and to discuss the distribution process at length. In short, a whitepaper is the backbone of a crypto-tech proposal and is what investors will look at first to see if your project is worth their time. Why your project needs an ICO should be clearly outlined.
BUDGET: Whitepapers need to be professional and technical as well as clear and concise. There’s simply no room for error which is why many companies choose to outsource, spending around €15,000+ for high-quality, factual and error-free material.
As well as whitepapers, a successful ICO needs exceptional content not just on a short-term basis, but also for the foreseeable future. While a blog can generate buzz and attract investors pre-launch, it’s important to keep investors updated once you’ve released the tokens. Everything from email sends to explainer videos and regular articles can keep people interested in your project and help to achieve your ICO crowd-funding aim.
BUDGET: Content marketing should not be underestimated, so it’s worth setting aside €35,000 – €50,000 to cover content creation during the launch phase.
Connecting with industry influencers, financial analysts and blockchain journalists takes time and effort, oh and did we mention cost? Outsourcing PR activity to those with pre-existing relationships and exceptional communication skills is preferred by many ICO developers who want to get the word out about an ICO launch without soaking up in-house resources.
Remember that many sites and publications also charge hefty fees for guest posts, so you will need to clarify these costs up front.
BUDGET: Estimated costs for a PR launch sit around the €50,000 mark. Again, costs are not set in stone and will depend on how aggressively you need to target investors and your timescale to do so.
With ICOs popping up left, right and centre funding a wide range of different projects – it’s essential to stand out from the crowd. While many ICO developers are using social media platforms to launch their ideas, a thorough and well-planned social media strategy will ensure your online activity is streamlined, well timed and aimed at the right audience.
Platforms worth your attention include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube as well as Telegram, which is an excellent tool for the financial industry thanks to its ultra-tight security features. Telegram is indeed a leading app for discussion and dialogue about upcoming ICOs, with cryptocurrency discussion groups having thousands of members each.
BUDGET: The great thing about social media is that, when used correctly, it can generate plenty of organic attention. Therefore, your marketing spend only has to be around €5,000 per month. Of course, this is for the management, but you will want to plough additional funds into advertising.
You should also consider hiring a full-time community manager to respond on your threads and posts. And remember, the more buzz you generate pre-launch, the more momentum you can expect post-launch.
Media buys & advertising
When it comes to an ICO launch, paid advertising is an essential part of the marketing process. Firstly, it’s important to decide your target audience as this will help give your media buys a focus.
Secondly, you should use analytics to find out where your target audience spends their time – be it Telegram, LinkedIn or on crypto forums. You can then go ahead and create tailored ads that will talk to the right people and promote your launch.
BUDGET: This will vary considerably depending on what marketing channels and advertising spaces you opt for, but it’s worth budgeting around €100,000. Keep in mind that crypto-news networks are taking advantage of the recent ICO craze and therefore you should try to negotiate packaged deals for monthly ads and content releases.
— contentworks (@_contentworks) December 13, 2017
During the pre-launch stages and the early days of the token sale, community management is essential. Networking, developing relationships and talking with potential buyers will all attract attention, so you’ll need a chat room in Slack or Telegram. Many token sales are driven by the initial hype and this can be bolstered by real-time community engagement and prompt interaction.
The ultimate aim is to create a community that supports what you’re trying to achieve – not just your token. Gaining the trust of loyal supporters will help take your ICO to new heights and ensure your tokens remain valuable and useful. The best-run ICOs have a dedicated team answering questions on social channels, Reddit, Bitcointalk, and anywhere else investors are gathering to discuss your ICO.
BUDGET: Based on a monthly salary of €2000 over a period of five months (the initial launch), your budget would need to be around €10,000.
What will happen if you don’t allocate enough?
Trying to launch an ICO on a shoestring? Then you run the risk of not gaining enough exposure to be successful. As you can see, there are many elements to consider – all of which require some kind of budget – so it’s important to break your marketing down carefully and focus on areas that can generate as much attention as possible. Without investor eyes on the prize, your ICO aims will not be met.
If you’re looking to launch a successful ICO campaign, Contentworks has recently expanded their ICO offerings. As well as providing compliant, relevant and engaging content, video scripts and other marketing materials, Contentworks qualifies the needs of leading ICOS and estimates realistic marketing budgets.