Your guide to pre and post-launch marketing for IEOs, from Crypto-News, the UK’s leading media and news publisher specialising in cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFT and web3 projects!
Step 1: Value proposition
Step 2: Creating a community
Step 3: Audience persona creation
Step 4: Your website & content
Step 5: Choosing your ecosystem and marketplaces
Step 6: Launching
Step 7: Post-launch
- Your Team
- Macroeconomics & regulations
It’s 2022 and anyone with an internet connection can plan, build and launch their own cryptocurrency.
Research from Coindesk and others, however, suggest that as high as 95% of cryptocurrency projects are ultimately unsuccessful and that even established projects may not survive market volatility and other macroeconomic events – like being regulated into oblivion.
Here at Zebu, born in the heart of the bull-run and soon to enjoy our first birthday, we’ve seen a pandemic and an outbreak of war fail to dent our bullishness and we hope that yours remains intact, too.
This paper, whilst far from a guarantee and not to be taken as financial advice, will touch upon topics we believe are vital to successful Initial Offerings – whether they’re centralised or decentralised.
For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to assume your project is bootstrapped and will not require fundraising, which could comprise an entire guide on its own (stay tuned).
We have a separate guide for NFTs that you can find on our website.
Step 1: Hone Your Value Proposition
Move beyond solving problems and into creating value.
Many blockchain and cryptocurrency projects aspire to traditional problem-solving – a well-trodden and established approach applied to novel technology.
This is a missed opportunity and we believe teams should be pushing themselves to go even further. Sure, projects can start with problem-solving, but should quickly look to see how they impact their audience, and the society in which they operate.
Identifying previously unseen upstream benefits to your project can help galvanise and motivate not only your team but your stakeholders, partners and community – indeed, the whole ecosystem.
To identify your value proposition, ask yourself these questions and write down the answers:
How can I apply what I’ve learned to my Initial Exchange Offering in a few bullet points?
What are the most valuable 1-3 answers in the list of bullets above?
What is the most valuable of the 1-3 answers above?
How could you enhance this value proposition?
Who could benefit from your value proposition?
Who benefits most from your value proposition?
How is your proposition unique?
Who can you ask for feedback and validation of your value proposition and what did they say about it (feel free to ask Zebu!)?
Bonus exercise: use the answers to the questions above to inform your content strategy!
- Create a webinar that runs through the people who benefit from your VP and how they can join your community
- Write an article based on the webinar and share it on your Medium page
- Ask your contacts if they know anyone that would benefit from watching the webinar
Step 2: Creating a community
We all know this is easier said than done.
Creating and nurturing a community is both vital and challenging for any project, and whilst there are some solid case studies and examples of success in this space, many projects fail because they do not handle the delicate balance of use case, hype and technology well.
Hype can make or break projects, and often is a bigger driver for short-term success than both use case and technology, but we’re not naming any names!
The trick to engagement with a community is — no matter how tempting — not to centre it on events or milestones.
This naturally results in massive spikes of activity that then quickly drops off.
Rather, community engagement is about consistently drip-feeding valuable resources and content to your followers that is evergreen and not tied to any specific activity.
We suggest content that includes profiles of your team members, your technology roadmap and exciting partnerships as well as your events and milestones, so that you always have something to talk about.
Step 3: Audience persona creation
There are two major themes to consider when it comes to your audiences: your horizontal and vertical applications. We’ll explain what we mean about that below.
Horizontal: this is the specific capability or use case you want to bring to market.
Vertical: this is the industry you’re best positioned to serve, IE financial services.
Finding that sweet spot between horizontal capability and vertical specialisation is the key to understanding your niche.
Within your niche there are specific personas and these roughly equate to decision-makers and influencers in b2b and institutional or retail investors if b2c.
A basic understanding of how to move these personas through a traditional marketing funnel:
Awareness > Research > Deliberation > Purchase > Loyalty
Or similar will be helpful, and you can tailor the content you create to the specific pain points and value-creation that will speak to your audience. We recommend that as you move through the funnel you have different versions of content for the different audience personas.
Typically audience personas delve into:
- Job title
- Problems to overcome
- Value drivers
Once you have a better understanding of your audience personas you can speak directly to that person in your content.
Step 4: Your website & content
Potential investors, partners and other stakeholders are extremely wary of scams and rug-pulls, and one of the ways to signal legitimacy is through a web3 experience on the web that is provably legitimate through verification, credibility, social proof, and high quality content.
To get started with your project you should consider publishing content on these channels as the absolute minimum in order of importance.
Whitepaper / Litepaper:
A 4-page litepaper is really the bare minimum; you can’t get away without one. Publishing a lite or whitepaper indicates a serious level of commitment to your project, and the first thing any potential investor will look for when they find out about you. Your whitepaper should delve into much more detail about the people, processes and technologies that combine to bring your unique offering to market.
Another hallmark of legitimate projects, tokenomics provide investor confidence through transparency, but be careful to get your allocations right; don’t keep 99% for your team!
A Medium account is effectively an external blog that can bring fresh eyes to your project and is highly shareable on your social accounts. We strongly recommend setting one up and writing there at least once a week, saving your site for official news like partnership announcements, fundraising updates and other press releases.
Twitter, Telegram and LinkedIn (if B2B focussed) take priority here and will form a key part of your content strategy, amplifying the messages you put out and keeping you in touch with your ecosystem.
We recommend engaging with influencers on Twitter, multilingual community managers on Telegram and other projects that would become partners on LinkedIn.
Step 5: Choosing your ecosystem and exchanges
Another area that would necessitate its own guide, we’ll simply list some key considerations when it comes to choosing your protocol and the exchanges you want to list on (whether they’re centralised or decentralised).
By this, we mean which protocol you want to build on, and whilst Ethereum is a popular first choice, it has a number of drawbacks and is not the only option anymore.
There are multiple up and coming or established protocols that can be built upon, so choosing yours should come down to:
- Size of the community
- Availability of developers
- Growth in active wallet address
- Speed of transactions
- Cost of transactions
And perhaps the most important of all: interoperability between blockchains.
Whether you take a centralised or decentralised approach you’ll want to consider the following when it comes to listing your token on exchanges:
- Safety & security of users
- Legitimacy & social proof
- Breadth of offering
Step 6: Run up to launch day checklist
Here is a useful checklist for launch day, to help prepare you in advance:
- Are your listings prepared and ready to go live at the same time?
- Have you tested your Miniumum Viable Product?
- Have you published your post-launch roadmap?
- Have you received all the legal sign off you need?
- Have timings and details of the launch been clearly published and communicated to the community?
- Have influencers been briefed to amplify your launch?
- Have you ensured there will be enough liquidity to make the markets at launch?
- Have you kept some budget to one side for launch activities?
- Are you prepared for emergencies?
Step 7: Post-launch
Now you’ve launched, it’s time to conduct a post-mortem.
This examination of your launch can help inform your ongoing strategy and give you a clear route to continuing success. It should include:
- An executive summary
- Detailed technical analysis incorporating stats and data
- Immediate actions to take and longer-term next steps
It’s extremely important to keep activity levels around your project consistently high at all times and one of the best ways to do this is through transparent content marketing: talking to your audience about what you’ve learned and what exciting futures are still yet to pass.
One excellent approach to this is to use user-generated content in the form of competition entries and similar – once you’ve earned your community, you can ask for more than just their investment of money; their time, creativity and energy can be harnessed too to create brand advocates that keep your project alive.
Other considerations: Your Team
Essential members: The founder and C-level executives:
Founder – the ultimate stakeholder, there to bring the passion and direction to the project
CEO – a business leader who owns the project from start to finish
CMO – someone who can really speak to your audience
CTO – the personal building the product
You might later expand into having a Chief Operating Officer, Chief Revenue Officer or other C-level executives.
Nice to haves:
Writer – content remains king, and you need writers that can publish quality content regularly
Designer – branding is an important differentiator between emergent projects
Videographer – ideal for creating engaging content for social media
Community manager – someone who can establish the value chain between project and audience
Other considerations: Macroeconomics & regulations
Cryptocurrency has often been called a Ponzi scheme and compared to the dutch tulip mania of yesteryear, but one thing is clear – it is here to stay.
That being said, it isn’t unaffected by macroeconomic issues like war, famine, disease and the machinations of market whales.
One needs a good understanding of the fundamentals of the blockchain, cryptocurrencies and the emergent web3 to understand how trending events can impact price volatility and there are many excellent books and resources on this subject; DYOR.
It’s 2022 and we’ve seen a lot of crackdowns on mining and several attempts to regulate cryptos — mostly focussed on stablecoins — along with some countries fully embracing the opportunity represented by decentralised finance and web3.
As more and more governments look to implement Central Bank Digital Currencies, it seems unlikely they will want to compete and will rather attempt to assimilate – one to watch very carefully indeed.
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