10 Steps to do an ICO Series: Step 3.5 BONUS A Word About ICO Agencies
There are many types of ICO agencies. Let’s compare some of the differences, then I will explain why generally they are a bad idea.
The bad types of agencies
1. We handle all aspects of your ICO worldwide agency.
What they do: They claim to handle your engineering, marketing, legal, and fund collection for your ICO.
Why it’s a bad idea: An ICO is extremely difficult with many unforeseen problems. The agency most likely has never actually done an ICO on their own and therefore have never encountered any of these issues. They will be extremely understaffed and way over their head. There are some good agencies, but they will cost a good chunk of your fundraise and despite what they claim, moreover they will only be able to handle helping you for the language that they specialize in. They will not be able to help you in China, Japan, Korea, Europe, USA etc. They may claim that they can, but trust me, they cannot. Many of these very agencies call me to help them in Japan.
2. We handle your marketing worldwide agency.
What they do: They claim to handle your marketing everywhere.
Why it’s a bad idea: No reputable marketing agency will claim that they can do that, but this is common in the ICO world. If you have ever dealt with a marketing agency outside of crypto you will understand why this is pretty much impossible.
3. We handle all aspects of your ICO regionally agency.
What they do: They claim to handle your marketing, community, roadshow, for a geographic region.
Why it’s a bad idea: Let’s look at Asia for example. China is very different from Korea, which is very different from Japan, let alone Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia.. you get the point.
We introduce you to the top exchanges agency
What they do: They speak with exchanges, and fill out applications to get listed with exchanges that they claim to have relationships with. Doing this on your own is a real hassle, it takes months of work, and it’s expensive. Having an agency handle this is enticing. Unfortunately it’s not a good idea because it’s imperative that you handle and manage your relationship with crypto exchanges in case any problems occur (which they will) but usually these agencies protect and covet their contacts within the exchanges. Moreover, you will still need to fill out all of the paperwork, and pay this middleman a large fee (100k USD +) in addition to the standard listing fees to get listed. In the end, it’s more trouble than its worth.
*ZILLA is developing a system where we have a list of exchanges that you can apply to list on with the touch of a button for a very small fee. We pre-package and send the exchange your application, and put the exchange in direct contact with your staff so that you can manage the relationship yourself. This feature will be live in August.
The good types of agencies
1. The crypto engineering house that has worked on many projects.
What they do: They can dispatch engineers for your project for a fee.
If you have a very defined scope of work, this could work as long as these engineers are the core engineers for your product. They may charge you a % of your fundraise. Make sure this is reasonable. Check references!
2. The PR agency that specializes in crypto.
What they do: They have a list of crypto media outlets that they introduce your project to and successfully get articles published.
I have spoke to many PR agencies but haven’t found a good one yet, however I have seen other projects that are successful at PR who seem to be using agencies. Your CMO can oversee their work but you must check their references to make sure that they can actually deliver on their claims. Make sure you don’t pay a % based on your full fundraise!
3. The country specific ICO agency.
What they do: They help with your fundraise in a specific country since they have a cultivated and curated list of ICO participants. They also help arrange your roadshow, influencer outreach, media, etc for that country. You may find great success with this type of agency since the scope of their services is actually realistic. Make sure you only pay based on a % that they bring in. Not on your full fundraise. Lastly don’t forget to check references!
Agencies generally overpromise and underdeliver. The problem is the scope of work that they claim that they can handle.
If you use an agency, only use a local one for each country that you are targeting and be very hands on with managing the relationship. It’s a must that you check references.
We have been approached by close to 30 marketing agencies. I checked with about 10 of the companies that those agencies claimed to have worked with by contacting the CEO directly on LinkedIn or through their Telegram group. In 9 of those cases, the CEO told me to stay away from those agencies.
You must check references.
Step 4.0 – How to Build Your Communities?
First of all, congratulations for making it this far! You now have your MBA in how to run a blockchain business. Your post ICO strategy should be focused on delivering on the promises that you made during your ICO.
The cryptocurrency exchange dimension is what makes the difference between crowdfunding and an ICO. As a crowdfunding contributor, after contributing to a campaign you simply sit, wait, and hope that the project that you contributed to is completed.
This is a technical team’s webapp/website checklist for running an ICO. Note: Some of these steps are relevant only for ICOs with ERC20 tokens. While the rest is applicable to all ICOs.
Unlike typical startups, ICOs usually use advisors to help with various functions of the company. We have new projects signing up to our platform daily, so I have seen and evaluated over 400 ICOs.
You've got your product in place; you're implementing your marketing strategy, speaking with lawyers, building your community, now it’s time to hit the road.
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