Hackernoon logoWhat makes or breaks an IEO? by@Giorgi-M

What makes or breaks an IEO?

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@Giorgi-MGiorgi Mikhelidze

I'm a beginner Software developer from Georgia with a big love for all things blockchain!

Initial Exchange Offerings are becoming much more popular compared to Initial Coin Offering these times. The ICO craze that was the Summer of 2017 has long passed us, but there are still more and more being promoted every single day.

In the past, where everybody was scrambling to invest in cryptocurrencies, having an average marketing plan was enough to help the ICO differentiate itself from others and come forward as a reasonable and smart investment, but an IEO is becoming harder and harder to conduct.

Simply due to the fact that these types of tactics were adopted by the community, we soon got companies that were using this new trend to their “fraudulent” advantage. Scammers started to dominate the market, 80% of all ICOs made in 2017 turned out to be scams, while the majority of the remaining ones simply didn’t cut it and failed without even reaching the IEO stage.

The crypto winter woke us all up and showed us how important a good marketing strategy actually is for an IEO. After the industry had been tainted with these terrible practices, it’s now much harder to first convince the customers that one is legit, and second to actually convert them for participation.

Three essentials in IEO marketing

Companies hoping to promote their IEO need to consider three very important factors about them. These are:

  • Content
  • Team
  • Future

The content sort of encompasses the other two features. It tries to cover them in a way that can be promoted and shown to anybody. Meaning that it’s not a simple 1000 word article submitted to every crypto website out there. No, it’s a piece of content that has been adapted to every version possible.

Meaning that it can be an interview as well as a video, a podcast, an audio recording, a comic, an infographic, a simple well-designed image, an article or even a meme.

As long as it gets the message across and lets the viewer know more about the project it will have met its goal.

So let’s look at how the content can cover the most important parts of the project, the team itself and the future of the project alongside it.

The team is your centerpiece

Like any reliable engine, an IEO project also needs its cogs to operate, and those cogs are usually the team members with different tasks to achieve before the launch. In order for the engine to even start, the cogs need to be in place and need to be of high quality. If they’re poor quality, then there’s a chance that the engine will either not start at all, or will break down after a few months of being active.

This is exactly how IEOs work. If the team is competent, they will start off really well and continue for years. But if they turn out to be slightly less experienced in the market or in the technology they tend to break down as they go.

The problem is that investors rarely understand this and don’t perceive the experience as something essential for the success of the project. It is up to the marketing managers to create relevant content and promote their team as reliable and trustworthy personnel.

In essence, very few investors conduct serious research on a project they want to invest with, therefore if the team doesn’t have impeccable social media accounts or a detailed portfolio online it’s fine. The problem though is the affiliates.

Many review websites like to demonize the team to drive away traffic and then ask for affiliate programs. The only way to overcome the issue is to have a marketing strategy much better than a simple review on a website.

That’s why companies focus on producing as much content as possible centered around their teams and the HR culture of their office or offices.

The best case practices are to hold regular interviews, allow the team to introduce themselves, showcase their experience and talk about their previous work. Having these “get to know” video and written content drives up the reliability to a whole new level which is very hard to match with a negative review by a third party website.

All an IEO needs to understand is that the project is like a country, and the team is like its government. If they fail, the country fails, and everybody is left wondering what actually happened.

Casual vs professional

A very clear line needs to be drawn between the professional and casual promotion of the team. Meaning that they don’t need to be showcased wearing suits to work and writing code while trying to fix their tie. But they also must not be shown in an overly casual fashion, like coming to work whenever they want and being able to work from home all the time.

The reason is that the customer base has been diversifying for a while now. Interest in cryptocurrencies from institutional investors is growing like crazy. For an IEO, getting a company to invest with them is equivalent to more than 10,000 regular investors sometimes as companies tend to dedicate millions rather than a few hundred or thousand.

Furthermore, the crypto exchange itself needs to see at least some potential in the project alongside the safety. No crypto exchange out there would ever taint their names with scammers for a few million in payment, they’d be sacrificing billions down the line.

Finding that Goldilocks zone between casual and professional is absolutely essential but rather easy, to be honest.

The institutional investors and crypto exchanges don’t hear about upcoming IEOs through banner ads and promotions, they meet the teams or project owners on gatherings or personal calls/meetings. In that case, it’s up to the marketer to get the team on a conference or score an interview/meeting with a third-party company representative.

Almost all institutional promotions happen behind closed doors, and at that moment, the marketers need to have very clear and professional descriptions of their project as well as their teams.

When it comes to regular investors, having banner ads, “get to know” sessions and AMA sessions on Reddit is enough to drive traction and get as many people interested as possible.

All they need to consider is that places like YouTube (for video content), Medium (written content), Spotify (audio content) are absolutely essential, alongside social media activity.

Always mention the coin

Although the team itself is a great point to focus on when trying to get the crypto exchange on one’s side, it’s also very important for the exchange to understand exactly what the coin will be touching on and whether or not, it’s ready to actually launch.

Therefore, a very clear marketing campaign needs to be made for this sole purpose. For example, most companies that try to get listed on popular exchanges create custom-made infographics that detail the investment landscape of the project.

Usually, it happens right after the ICO phase has been completed, meaning that the company already has funds it can diversify into various sectors of the project. But what the exchange needs to hear is the future emissions and the possessions of the coin.

In order for both parties to profit from the IEO, the company conducting it needs to have a clear 5-year plan ready for the exchange to review. For example, if they’re prepared for the market fluctuations and price changes, the company needs to understand that the exchange may require more in terms of commissions. This also needs to be planned.

Overall, when it comes to dealing with the exchange, nearly 90% of the numbers needs to already be achieved, for which there are different strategies, including the team promotion mentioned above, but what about the coin itself?

Convince the investors, convince the exchange

Getting the numbers required for promoting the IEO has quite a lot to do with ICO marketing. The strategies are quite similar, but it all comes down to the end result. As long as the project team is able to convince the crypto exchange that it has already garnered some traction behind it, the costs start to go down significantly as the exchange takes it on itself to promote it.

This doesn’t mean that some preparations are not required though. If the team had already prepared a marketing campaign for the exchange to use, there’s a much higher chance that the IEO will succeed. Here’s how it can be done.

Focusing on the whitepaper

The whitepaper is the map of the project, meaning that if it’s complicated or low in quality, the investors will immediately see it as a liability.

The best way to manage a whitepaper is to supply it with as many case studies as possible.

This means that when the person is reading this information, they don’t feel like they’re on a lecture.

Stories are usually what works best to get the message across, therefore they should be inserted wherever it’s relevant.

Then it’s time to focus on the authenticity of the whitepaper. In 2017, quite a lot of fraudulent companies ruined it for everybody when they started to copy successful whitepapers and use it for their advantage.

Now, ever since investors have experienced these tactics, they are much more careful, using plagiarism tools and community opinions on whether or not a whitepaper is too similar to another one.

The best way to check for authenticity is to use plagiarism tools, social media channels such as Reddit and Telegram for showcasing it and researching the community reactions. It takes around a week or so, to have an idea about what parts need to be changed.

5-year plan

Simply having the 5-year plan is enough to convince both the investors and the cryptocurrency exchange that the project is long-term. If the plan has been well-researched and structured, then it gives both parties some kind of guarantee that if this doesn’t work out in the beginning, there are still plans in the future.

However, there needs to be one small detail that should always be excluded from the whitepaper. That detail is the word “if”. Should the project team include too many “ifs” in the 5-year plan, it gives off a very untrustworthy vibe.

It’s basically like telling both the investors and the crypto exchange that the team does not have control over the success of the project and it relies on other companies lending a hand. That is definitely not in neither the investors’ nor the exchange’s interests.

For one it gives the exchanges extra hassle to find investors as they will be the ones usually promoting the token sale, while the investors will have an understanding that if something goes awry with the project, the team will not be able to do pretty much anything.

Promoting the whitepaper

Once all of the pieces are in place, a very clear strategy needs to be formed for the whitepaper promotion. In most cases, companies make just a single PDF file that contains all of the information. That may work for an ICO, but for an IEO there are different methods required.

Two variations are usually enough to have a successful promotion campaign. For example, the company may create an in-depth 20-page whitepaper for the exchange to study, which will talk about absolutely everything in detail, while also having a one-pager for the investors.

It doesn’t mean you have to segment it and not have it available for everybody. Some investors like to go into details, while others prefer a quick and easy read.

The moment these documents are prepared, it’s time to launch the campaign. Usually, it can revolve around press releases, sponsored posts, YouTube discussions, AMA sessions on Reddit, Telegram messages, Twitter posts, and Facebook promotions.

There are dozens of possibilities to make Written, audio and video content for promoting the startup.

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@Giorgi-MGiorgi Mikhelidze

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I'm a beginner Software developer from Georgia with a big love for all things blockchain!


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