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Marketing Specialist

ICO Marketing – An Actionable Guide for Your Crypto Project

Advertising | Tutorials | Last updated December 14, 2018

Here’s a mind-blowing fact. Advertising has been around ever since 4000 BC.

And I’m not even kidding.

Wall or rock paintings were a common method of ancient advertising, and it is present to this day in parts of Asia, Africa, or South America.

Today, advertising is a crucial process in the business world. A strong ICO marketing plan can help you get the word out about your project and draw in clients by the thousands.

But marketing an ICO (or any other crypto project for that matter) is different than marketing a regular project. 

1. How is Advertising in Crypto Different?

advertising in the crypto industry

In January 2018, Facebook introduced a ban that blocked “ads that promote financial products and services associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

What this meant was that Facebook didn’t trust specific products enough to allow them to use its advertising tool.

Later in March, Google also announced that they will ban all crypto-related businesses from advertising on their platform, and Twitter issued a ban on all ads that promoted ICOs and token sales.

However, this didn’t last too long.

In June, Facebook reversed its ban, allowing cryptocurrency ads but keeping the ban on ICOs. 3 months later, Google followed.

But the damage was already done.

With 3 of the most influential online brands openly stating that they don’t trust the crypto industry, millions of people followed. 

And we can’t blame them.

Throughout its history, the cryptocurrency industry has been filled with scams and fraudulent projects. In a study prepared by the ICO advisory firm Statis Group, it was revealed that 78% of the ICOs conducted in 2017 were identified as scams.

Yet despite these shocking statistics, more than 70% of the funds raised went to high-quality projects. Which means that people got really good at identifying fraudulent projects, and are very cautious when deciding where to place their trust.

But how do you launch an ICO?

In order to have a successful launch, we first need to talk one of the most crucial aspects of crypto projects – the trust they inspire.

2. Build Trust with your Customers

how to make customers trust your product

Trustworthiness is one of the most important elements that a business needs. If your customers trust you, they will use and recommend your products. 

And there are many methods through which you can inspire trust.

Create a Solid Whitepaper

An important process that we go through while listing an airdrop over at 99Airdrops is the evaluation of a project’s whitepaper.

And more often than not, we stumble upon some whitepapers that scream for salvation.

A whitepaper should serve as an educational tool that explains how your project works and should address questions such as:

  • What problem are you solving for your customers?
  • How likely to succeed is your project?
  • What makes you better than your competition?
  • What is your tech architecture?
  • How will you solve potential legality issues?

Here are some things that you can do to ensure that your whitepaper is relevant for whoever reads it.

1. Provide relevant analyses

A strong project analyzes its market, customers, and competitors. And while your customers might not care that much about this information, potential investors definitely do.

Make sure you include this information in your whitepaper as it will help you stand out from the mass of cryptocurrency projects that need funding.

Legality is another crucial aspect of a crypto project. Explaining how you will tackle any potential legal issues that might arise will offer more credibility and

2. Be concise, but explicit

Don’t write more content just for the sake of writing. But don’t skip information that a reader might find interesting either.

Explain how your tokens are distributed and how the technology behind your project works, using images where needed to help your readers better understand your project.

3. Make it reader-friendly

Reading a whitepaper shouldn’t a burden. Make sure to use images to better explain your information, and emphasize your most valuable information using headings, bold, or italic.

Whether a person will read your whole whitepaper or just skim through its content, they should be able to take away key information that will help them understand what your project is about.

And don’t forget about the font.

Nothing ruins a whitepaper like a bad font (or a bad font pairing). Make sure your whitepaper looks professional and unique, but at the same time readable.

Some typography pairings that you can use:

  • Playfair Display & Source Sans Pro
  • Bebas Neue & Montserrat
  • Raleway Heavy & Roboto Condensed
  • Lato Bold & Lato Ligh

Creating a table of contents will also help your users easily find the information they’re looking for.

For bonus points, add hyperlinks from the table of contents to each chapter and sub-chapter of your whitepaper for easier navigation.

5. Create a relevant roadmap

A roadmap that briefly talks about your project’s history is a bad roadmap.

Simply stating that you successfully launched your token in December 2018 won’t do. Name concrete accomplishments and SMART goals that you planned for the future.

This will not only prove that you are on your path to success, but that you are also capable of efficient planning .

SIDENOTE. SMART stands as an acronym that details a more detailed definition of how your goals should be set: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

Put a Face on your Brand

By creating an “Our team” section will humanized your brand, and your visitors will have an easier time trusting you.

PRO TIP. Link the photos of your team members to their LinkedIn or Twitter pages for more credibility.

Show Social Proof

Social Media has a huge impact on the opinions people have about a brand. Make sure to include links to your Twitter, Telegram, or Facebook pages, and include any media appearances you had in the past.

A simple list of logos with links to the article mentioning you will be more than enough.

ahrefs list of customers

But usually, that’s not enough.

Try to engage with industry leaders and top brands to better position yourself on the market. Conferences, podcasts, and press releases are all excellent and accessible PR tools for any business.

Showcase any reputation your brand has, especially if you’re just starting out. Being active offline as well as online will only improve the credibility of your brand.

3. Build a Strong Community

how to build a strong community in crypto

A strong community can be the best way to advertise your brand.

Think about it.

Whenever you’re researching whether or not you should buy a product, what’s the first source of information you go to? People who already bought or used the product. 

By creating your own community, you can directly engage with the people who use (or are interested in using) your product. And they can provide you with critical information that can help your project succeed – feedback.

But where should you start?

Let’s take a look at the best platforms that you can use to build a community around your brand.


Released in 2013, Telegram is today the most famous social network in the cryptocurrency market. In March 2018, Telegram announced that its user base reached 200M monthly users, and it’s no secret that most ICOs and even numerous cryptocurrencies have their own Telegram channel.

A Telegram group can have a great positive impact on your ICO. This will allow your (potential) clients and investors to directly interact with your team. At the same time, you will also be able to efficiently receive feedback directly from the people that matter to your business.

SIDENOTE. We covered the evolution of Telegram in a previous case study. Check it out to see how relevant the platform and the crypto industry influenced each other over the years.


Despite its advertising ban, Twitter remains one of the powerhouses of social media. And crypto brands are taking full advantage of it.

Twitter is one of the best channels that you can use to inform your audience and keep them updated with everything that happens with your ICO. And you don’t have to make it too professional. 

Numerous massive brands used (and are still using) Twitter for light-hearted and funny campaigns, and fans are loving it.

That doesn’t mean that you have to turn yourself into a Twitter buffoon. But a fun approach will definitely help your fans fall in love with your brand.


Just like Telegram, Reddit is a very powerful platform that can help you build a strong community.

While Telegram is optimal for engaging directly with your followers and Twitter is ideal for keeping your fans updated with what’s happening with your project, Reddit is a mix of both.

But before you go and start building a subreddit to promote your brand, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Don’t spam. We all hate spam. But nobody hates spam as much as Redditors do. Don’t post content just to shamelessly advertise your brand and your products. Instead, try to help the community and provide value.
  • Listen to your community. Reddit is a democracy, and the voting system can help you understand what’s truly important for your community. You can greatly improve your product and the experience of your customers simply by paying attention to what your community wants.
  • Don’t encourage toxic behavior. People can easily stay anonymous on Reddit, and some may take advantage of it for the wrong reason. It is important to try and make it up to a customer who’s angry, but never engage waste your time with a troll. 

paid advertising in crypto

Paid advertising is by far the fastest way to create a network of followers for your ICO. However, one of the main issues with paid advertising is the growing list of rules and regulations that we mentioned earlier.

But that doesn’t mean that advertising didn’t find a way.

Numerous crypto advertising platforms (such as Coinzilla) exist that can help you promote your project and reach your target audience through various types of advertising, such as native or display.

Creating a display advertising campaign for brand awareness is one of the fastest ways to set your project on its path to success. No matter how good your project is, if people don’t find out about it, it will end up just another project.

When choosing your ad network, there are several things you should take into consideration, such as:

1. The size of its publisher network

The more publishers are part of the ad network, the more outreach potential you will have. However, high numbers are usually eye-candy. So make sure you don’t just pay attention to the size of the network, but also to the quality of the publishers.

Gaining access to websites such as, Steemit, or CoinMarketCap will prove as a huge plus.

2. The available campaign creation tools

Targeting your audience by country or device, or optimizing the zones in which your banners are displayed on a website, can minimize your costs and maximize your results.

Probably the most important part of creating a display campaign is targeting your audience. These options are available in Coinzilla’s campaign creation tool, under the Campaign Settings section.

coinzilla audience targeting

Taking a look at your user data from Google Analytics can help you determine which types of users convert better, which will then enable you to maximize your conversion rates.

SIDENOTE. We covered all there is to know about advertising your project with Coinzilla in several posts, addressing both Native and Display advertising campaigns.

3. The available ad formats

The available ad formats are only limited by the ad network you use. While some ad formats perform better than others, we usually recommend testing several formats to decide what works best for your campaign.

Some websites display only certain ad formats, and if your audience is present there, it is always a good idea to include it in your campaign

4. The statistics you will have available

By having direct access to your campaign’s performance you can easily test multiple variants and optimize your campaign on the go.

Clicks, impressions, CTR, and costs are all metrics you should look at while your campaign is running, in order to ensure an optimal performance.

5. The support offered

Let’s face it.

Sometimes we create a campaign and things go south. Maybe a bug won’t allow you to deposit additional funds. Or perhaps you want to consult with a specialist about your campaign. Or you might just have a few questions and need some answers.

A designated support manager can help you fix issues as soon as they pop up, thus ensuring a smooth advertising process from start to finish.

5. Dodge the Facebook Ban by Promoting Content

While you may not be allowed to promote product ads on Facebook, Google, or other major networks, you can promote something much more important – content.

Content marketing is a powerful tool that you can use to grow your business and gather leads.

The Demand Gen Report of 2016 shows that 47% of buyers view at least 3 to 5 pieces of a brand’s content before they contact a sales representative. At the same time, 96% of B2B buyers look for more information from industry thought leaders before buying.

Furthermore, a report conducted by DemandMetric found that 82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading their content, and 70% of them feel closer to the brand. 

Creating qualitative content can help you position as an industry leader, and the more people will learn from your content, the more they will trust you. 

And while it may be a long-term strategy, it’s definitely worth it.

6. Stay Connected with your Customers via Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the strongest tools that you can use in your campaign. But only when done properly.

Did you know that email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent? That’s higher than almost any other digital channels.

Here are some things you can do to ensure that your next email marketing campaign will be more successful. 

1. Strategize around your goal

What do you want to achieve via email marketing? Drive people back to your website? Increase revenue? Improve brand reputation?

Set your objective and then create your whole strategy around it. 

advertising with coinzilla

Here are some questions you should ask yourself while creating your strategy:

  • What tools will you use? One of the best email tools we worked with so far is MailChimp. But there are many others out there, and we strongly encourage you to test them and see what works best with your business.
  • How will you segment your audience?
  • What variables will you test? A/B testing is crucial for the success of a campaign. One of the most important parts of your email is the subject line, so we encourage you to start with that.
  • How will you personalize the content? According to MarketingSherpa, personalized subject lines increased open rates by 29.3%.
  • How often will you send the emails?
  • What will your goals be for each email?
2. Provide something in return for their subscription

People are becoming more and more cautious with their online information. And you can’t expect them to just give away their email for free.

Everybody hates spam, remember?

By providing your website visitors with an e-book, a discount, or access to a course in return for their email address, they will be more likely to subscribe. 

3. Stay relevant

Always have a clear goal in mind when sending an email, and make sure that you provide valuable information to your subscribers.

Otherwise, you will just annoy your customers and you’ll become another spam email in a list of spam emails.

7. Tracking & Optimization

crypto campaign tracking and optimization

Your job doesn’t stop once your campaign is live.

Always measure your success and adapt your campaign and your strategy according to the data. If you don’t, how would you know if you’re spending your budget on relevant channels and not just sending it down the drain?

Google Analytics is perhaps the best tool that you can use to track your website.

If set properly, it can help you determine how effective are each of your traffic sources, which brings in more revenue, or which is a waste of time and effort.

Final Thoughts

Marketing an ICO can be tough. But it’s not impossible.

By putting together a solid strategy, maximizing your efforts, and investing in the right places, you can turn yours into a case study for success.

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