Hack your ICO marketing strategy

Adrian Barwicki
5 min readFeb 10, 2018

There have been 235 Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in 2017 amounting to almost $4B in funding. The number only includes successfully conducted ICO where the soft cap was reached.

Source: CoinDesk ICO Tracker

Due to the growing interest for ICOs, it is expected that more projects will be raising funds in an ICO in 2018. As the ICO sector becomes more crowded, the startups need to fight for attention of the investor.

Google Trends for the term “ICO” in 2017

Planning a marketing strategy for your project from day 1 is crucial. The areas in your marketing strategy will include:

ICO Marketing Verticals

There are many agencies out there offering professional PR and Marketing services for ICOs. Their prices are hefty as shown in the image below. On top of that you can be prepared that the costs will additionally include a few percent of the total amount raised and few percent of the tokens issued in the ICO.

However, no matter how much you spend, it will not get serious traction unless it is marketed properly through growth-hacking strategies.

In this article, I’m going to give you some supplementary growth hacking strategies that you can use to market your ICO if you want to gain traction.

Let your community spread the word about your project

Most of the members of the community will hold your tokens and have a natural incentive to promote and share your content. The community picks up on promoting the content once a certain “virality” or “spread” threshold is met. Maja Voje (CMO of OriginTrail) did a great job in building the online community, managing it and creating a high value engagement among members.

Exemplary way for promoting a good-quality content can be illustrated on the following example:

The post “The path to supply chain transparency” has been shared in the Telegram group of OrginTrail. The community picked it up, shared on Reddit, discussed on social media and retweeted multiple times, generating tens of thousands of views on all channels combined. This has been done with a 0$ budget. The effect can be fully attributed to the community.

Medium Stats for the post “The path to Supply Chain Transparency with OriginTrail”.
The post generated an avalanche of comments on Reddit.

Community building should be your focus.

Make the media talk about you

Come up with a unique and interesting story about your ICO and reach out to reporters. It serves the purpose of trust building and gives more exposure to an audience that does not normally follow the ICO sector.

The recently launched German ICO wysker (by ann-lauriene) shows how to reach out to a wide audience with a low budget. Wysker has been featured in one of the most trustworthy and most-read business magazines in Germany “Handelsblatt” with over 100k daily copies.

Content strategy and email marketing

ETHLend Weekly E-Mail Updates — well executed e-mail strategy

Did you know that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38 according to the national client email report 2015.

E-mail marketing automation enables you to reach out to undecided investors or inactive subscribers by creating a win-back and re-engage email series. You can execute an automatic email strategy for every new subscriber as well — keeping them constantly engaged with a predefined strategy.

Go out and meet potential investors

OriginTrail Team Q&A time during a meet-up

It’s important to be in touch with your target market and understand your customer/investor. Participate in crypto meet-ups, conferences, and seminars around the country.

By going to these events, you’ll spread the message, generate the most quality leads and supporters, and most importantly you establish trust.

Trust is a key factor for a successful ICO. This might be a self-evident to some, but remember that the ICO sector is still full of scams and teams running away with the collected funds. Investors want to know that you’re real.

Proof of Care — Viral Marketing Tactic for Token Sale

Proof of Care is an approach to whitelisting for an ICO. It provides a novel and effective direct referral model of generating referrals from genuine early adopters, without the need for external incentives such as additional tokens, or competing interests through a bounty pool. You can structure your ICO in phases with the pre-sale being extremely limited. People who want to get whitelisted will have to write a blog post or invite a certain number of people to your ICO.

You can check out the execution of the “proof of care” strategy by QuantumStamp run by Richard Ma.

Executing a successful ICO is not an easy task and requires some unconventional growth hacking strategies. A lot of preparation and coordination goes into making sure the company can secure as many investments as possible. We are in the process of evaluation and preparation of an ICO for the VQ Marketplace.

What are some other tips you have for successful marketing of an ICO?



Adrian Barwicki

Hi, I’m Adrian. This is my private blog and you’ll find here from time to time updates about my travels, works and investments.