Yeah, it is the first ICO for our team. That is because we were thinking about the product from the start and not about the money. As time have passed, we did realize we can’t cover expenses anymore, and have decided to run an ICO.
To be honest, we were surprised about the ICO hype at the moment, but now we’ll speak from ICO team point of view, especially about marketing — because there is only a few useful information on the Internet about this topic.
So, you have a project and decide to run an ICO. How to tell your target auditory about it?
Actually it is a simple question. You need people who have some crypto already.
Even if sexService is the project for everyone, and we do all the best to populate the idea among sexually active people, and explain the blockchain and crypto related matters, none of them actually will buy bitcoin and invest. That is because there is too much misunderstanding. These users will come only after the product spread to masses. So in our case advertising on sex related (porn, sex dating, etc.) websites is pretty useless in terms of getting investors.
Another option — your local investors, and there are many possibilities if you can speak to them directly. They should be the first to know about your project — and if they would not give money for it, then you should think if your project is really interesting.
Everyday offers in your mailbox
Right after announce we have been receiving up to 20 emails with offers every usual day. They are quite similar though — publications, listings, social networks, and advertising networks. All of them ask for money.
Crazy things happen around ICOs now. Everybody think if your are running an ICO, you have unlimited money, and want to suck on you. Honest to be, offers with 1 BTC price are rare, most are from 2+ BTC.
So keep calm.
There are plenty of ICO-related sites. At first sight these sites are the only thing you need to succeed, but that is wrong.
We have sent requests to list our ICO to these sites:
Not all of them have listed sexService.io. Some refused because we are sex-related, some just ignored our request, and with some we did refuse to pay the service fees.
And the most interesting is money, which ICO sites ask, are not reasonable (they ask about 0.5 BTC for listing in general, up to 6 BTC!). Our paid listings compared to free ones gave us less visitors. (Hint: make an ico-some-shit.com website now, and contact ICO teams with your offer — you’ll make money even if you have zero visitors). So there is no connection between visitors you get and price you pay.
Prices are crazy.
Among all of this list we can highlight icoalert.com (free listing), icotracker.net (free listing), which really bring target auditory. And icorating.info… there was no meaningful traffic from it, but the guys put a unique approach to listing, not just showing info you filled on the form as others did, but attached some creativity and labour.
Special attention deserves ICO rating systems. Rare who will go deep in your project, and establish project rating upon a research. Most have automatic “check” system. Have a Twitter link? Check. Have team members LinkedIn links? Check. Ethereum smart contract? Check. All of them like “Whitepapers”. We don’t know if they actually read them, but we had seen so many projects with Shitpapers (better word) describing abstract World dominance for investors, as well as obviously scam projects, where good ratings received. They are so far from Bitcoin tech-based Whitepaper.
Nobody cares that sexService have reasons to have an anonymous team, nobody cares the Website provides comprehensive information about the project — Whitepaper needed. Nobody cares we are not 1-minute-Ethereum token, and already built a conception, a blockchain, wallet app, unique ICO and referral systems. Nobody cares we are deep in development — we had no social campaigns. So sexService has a bad rating.
We tried some advertising networks and spent about 1 BTC total, and they gave zero returns. Zero.
So we tried to analyse visitors coming from these networks. It seems they are just bots. Because we can’t prove it, we won’t name any of them.
Later we learned there are websites, who gives similar traffic, like trafers.com:
You put a link to a website, and new tab in your browser opens other websites, who participate similarly. Google Analytics shows visitors really comes from Trafers. Think about the quality of such a traffic.
Update: Here is some stats.
The best phrase that reflects the essence is “When you are in need of the press, no one will write about you, and when they will write about you, you will no longer need it”.
All feedbacks we received were the offers for paid articles.
Despite of there are many crypto related forums, the only one you should pay attention is Bitcointalk.org. This forum have Altcoins Announcement thread, and Altcoin Bounty threads, where you better add your token.
Not a huge flow goes from the Bitcointalk, but most of them are quite familiar with crypto theme, and some are even looking for projects to invest in.
Bitcointalk has many threads in the category, and you need to make active discussion in yours in order it appears on the first page. Some teams buy stolen BTT accounts for this reason and make useless posts every minute.
Other forums we used to announce a project:
But there were few views, and we decided to stop their support and had redirected users to our Bitcointalk thread.
We have started social accounts not long ago, but many users have joined already. The most visited are Twitter and Facebook, the less one is Google+.
A very mixed auditory comes from the social networks. But the good thing is that your followers pool is always growing.
The main rule you should remember is if you start social campaign, don’t interrupt it.
Once you’ve announced your project, there will be people who will be interested in it. In case of sexService, the number of contributors is high and it’s growing.
Contributors help the project with translations, making posts, social media campaigns, forums support, etc. The best place for searching contributors is Bitcointalk, there are many users who are ready to join, if you’ll interest them. All of them worked for SSIO tokens.
To hold a contribution campaign, you should state what kinds of contribution accepted, estimate each kind in your tokens, and provide a form (e. g., Google online form), where a contributor can register.
sexService greatly excels in the way users receive their contribution rewards, brought Bounty cards, integrated in the blockchain. Once user get a Bounty code, he may enter it in the Wallet app, and the blockchain transfers tokens to the user’s wallet.
sexService got hundred of contributors in a month. Later we have introduced a referral campaign, which have replaced usual contribution campaign where a link to a website can be placed (contributions for translations are still open).
Referrals is an objective way of evaluation of contributes, offering real income (5% of investors’ payments + 5% SSIO), and this kind of objectiveness actually reduces contributors number, but increases contributions quality. E. g., if someone have 20,000 twitter followers, and knows they are bots, will join regular contributors campaign, but abandon referral one. (By the way, it refers also for blogs, sites like ico-something.com, and so on).
Referrals became significant way in gathering investments, and now more and more investors come via referrals. This is because there is no limit for storing cookies, and someone who visited sexservice.io website can make an investment in a week or month later. And we have about 10 new joined referrals every day.
Understand the reasons you run the ICO. If you are doing it to get maximum amount of money, create an Ethereum-based token in minutes, create your social networks accounts, post links to your team members and advisors (better with known names), and write (or plagiarize) a Whitepaper. Run a massive marketing campaign. You’ll get good ratings and attract plenty of investors. No project needed.
We have 90% development, and 10% marketing budget. Later we spoke to people who are experienced in ICOs, and they say you should have 95% marketing budget.
To run really successful ICO (totally without viable idea or product) be ready to spend from $100,000 for marketing.
And if you decide doing things without such a budget, concentrate on a product. We got the necessary investments to continue sexService development, but it seems like most of investors did choose to buy at a price of $5 instead of today’s $1.7 — when some famous medias will be spoken about us already.
Read further: Challenges for ICO teams, part 2