10 Steps to do an ICO Series: Step 4 How to Build Your Communities?
Most ICO’s don’t succeed. From what I’ve observed, the reason is that they haven’t properly grown their community. It is a must that you grow your community in order for your project to take off.
In order for an ICO to be successful, you have to have a massive amount of people excited about your company. Doing this will
- Increase your chances of reaching your fundraising goals. (if you are holding a ‘crowdsale’, the members of your community are the ones that will be participating in your ICO. If you are only soliciting institutional investors, having a large community will make it easier for them to hear about your project and a large community is social proof that your project will be successful in the long term)
- Increase your chances of getting media attention.
- Increase your chances of getting listed on a major cryptocurrency exchange.
It takes incredible effort and time to grow an authentic, engaged community. And once you have a growing community in place it takes incredible effort, time and consistency keeping that community informed, managing trolls and sentiment positive. I cannot stress enough how difficult this is. You have to essentially make your company an online influencer.
Launch Your Website
If you don’t already have a website in place, you’ll need to do so before getting into the community building stage.
Your site needs to feature your origin story, the white paper, and a clear explanation as to what the product can do. The website should also have a blog that goes deeper into your application, as well as a place for people to sign up for your newsletter.
The first version of our website was a disaster. It wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t have a clear call to action to get potential participants to sign up for our ICO or for them to sign up for our newsletter. The second version was a little better with clear call to action buttons and forms. The design was also a bit better. The third one had much more optimized call to action buttons. The forth one is our best one yet. The next one is half done and will be released shortly.
My advice to you is to have your creative director handle this. If we had one from the start, we wouldn’t have had to completely redesign our website every 6 weeks. If you don’t have a creative director, you can find a designer to design your website for about 4,000 USD. That may sound like a lot of money, but it’s cheaper than redesigning your website 5 times in 8 months.
The Email List
Once you’ve got your website, build an email list. Add a capture form to your website so that people can sign up for updates throughout the ICO process. Not everyone is ready to participate in your project right away, and many want more info before they commit to your project.
From my experience, it is much easier to build your email list than is is to build your social channels such as Telegram.
Create a weekly newsletter. Gather industry info, updates, investment insights, and so on for the purpose of staying on top of mind as you go through the many steps of staging your ICO–it’s not always going to be outwardly promotional.
Get On Calendars
There are countless calendar sites where you can announce your ICO. Find the free ones and announce your project on as many of those as possible.
We’re looking at places where you can publish a schedule for your planned ICO or get inspired by how others are running their pre-ICO campaign.
Build Your Community
Reddit, Twitter, Slack, and Telegram, are platforms with active cryptocurrency communities.
A chat group is a lot of work, so you may need to invest in hiring someone who can take over as a moderator should you be strapped for time (which you will be). Additionally, there are several scams involving people posing as team members on Telegram (and Slack) to obtain user credentials, making a round-the-clock moderator a must-have for creating a safe, transparent community.
If you have time, don’t write off Facebook and LinkedIn. While these channels aren’t exactly hubs for blockchain investors, they may help you create a buzz around your company.
Talk to Your Audience
You don’t need to be a crypto genius but as you approach your crowd sale (in crypto we call it a crowdsale), you will be speaking both to those who know their stuff, and those just getting acquainted with blockchain, bitcoin, and ICOs.
Create content for both groups. Write a blog post or create a video that explains the ICO process in detail. Create another that focuses on your project and why being on the blockchain gives it more value.
On the flipside, it pays to talk to the experts, too. This means taking a more technical tone when communicating on crypto forums like Bitcoin Talk or Telegram–versus a generalist approach on Facebook.
The wild story of ZILLA’s community.
I was the first community manager of our online groups. We first used Slack for our online community, but we quickly migrated our community to Telegram because it was easier to delete scammers and trolls.
I spent over 10 hours per day chatting—mostly answering the same questions over and over, and deleting trolls and negative people from our group. I would go to sleep at 2am with the phone in my hand, and wake up at 6:30am with the phone still in my hand.
After doing that for about 6 weeks, I woke up one morning to find that someone had took it upon themselves to answer questions about ZILLA while I was asleep.
“Who are you?” I asked. “I’m David, and I love ZILLA” David is a successful pharmacist from Africa that loves what we are trying to achieve, and saw that I was overworked and decided to help us out. For free.
He worked for free for 3 months, and then I finally hired him to work for ZILLA part time. He still works with us til this day.
Find Your David
If your project is genuinely solving a problem, and you are connecting with your potential customers and ICO participants, some of those people will step in to help you build your community. They show up out of nowhere but treat them well and pay them generously when they show up.
Share Your Story and Your Stats
Aside from talking about your unique product, how it works on the blockchain, and why it needs to be there, you need to present some actual data. Trends and stats aren’t just fun to read; they also demonstrate your value in a marketable way. Consider turning your data into infographics. This will encourage your community to share your story.
To put it another way, investors want some evidence that your ICO will work. Additionally, offering data to the public means you’ll generate some extra buzz. Why? Because digital publications will be more inclined to cover your ICO in their stories.
Parting Thoughts Before Building Your ICO Community
Finally, you need to be prepared to try it all. From calendars to social networks, email blasts, and Reddit Q&As—it’s all about trust, transparency, exposure and constant engagement. This needs to be thought of as a marathon and not a sprint.
That said, the product needs to be right before diving in. Imagine creating a product, then spending all that time marketing said product, only to find that it isn’t going to work.
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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