While it’s clear that e.g. technology-related costs (and that includes pretty much everything happening between creating an easily tradable token and distributing it to investors) and incorporation cost some money, it’s the ICO marketing campaign that matters (and costs) the most. According to Moshe Hogeg, Founder and Co-CEO of Sirin Labs, and Alex Migitko, COO of Game Credits (to name a few), around $500,000 is generally recommended for a successful ICO launch. Well, ICOs were never meant to be run on a shoestring budget, right?
Before we delve into details, it should be emphasized that the above mentioned figure is just a projection/estimate, so it’s of extreme importance to factor in all considerations. For instance, we should be aware of the fact that most marketing companies (and especially the really good ones) would typically charge 5%-10% of the ICO Target hard cap raise. With about half of the entire budget having to be put towards marketing, it is of utmost importance to look at key areas of an ICO marketing campaign and break down the marketing budget projection.
ICO Marketing Budget Breakdown
Knowing that investors will look at your whitepaper first, it is of paramount importance to make it clear and concise, but also factual and technical. There is little or no room for error here, so outsourcing it to professionals seems like a particularly good idea, which typically means spending somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000, or even more.
- Web Creation and Optimization
The rule of thumb says that, depending on web specifications, spending somewhere between $10,000 (for websites using existing templates) and $40,000 (for highly customized websites) is in most cases a prudent choice and money well-spent, because in that range the price/quality ratio tends to be the highest.
- Content Creation and Marketing
Be it blogs, articles, tutorial videos or even e-mails, a successful ICO needs quality content both pre-launch (to attract investors) and post-launch (to keep the investors — now your community members — updated). Since keeping people interested is key to reaching your ICO crowdfunding goal, spending between $50,000 and $70,000 on content creation and marketing seems like a perfectly reasonable idea.
- Social Media and Community Management
Telegram has become a leading app for discussions about the upcoming/trending ICOs, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the more traditional (sic!) ones, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Cryptocurrency discussion groups are great for generating organic attention, which usually means two things: your social media marketing costs should probably not exceed $5,000 per month, but given the importance of having a well-informed vibrant community, hiring a community manager and/or even a dedicated team to respond on your threads and posts on Bitcointalk, Reddit and social media channel would probably require monthly salaries between $2,000 and $3,000 (per person) over a period of 5–6 months.
- Media Buying, Advertising and Public Relations
We have already discussed market segmentation, and this is exactly where we need it: deciding the ICO’s target audience gives one’s media buys the necessary focus, which leads to tailored ads and well-negotiated package deals. If done properly, it could mean spending e.g. $100,000 instead of $150,000 on the right things, and the $50,000 that you save can then be used somewhere else. For instance, estimated costs for outsourcing your PR activity are exactly in that ballpark, and having a team of experts with pre-existing connections and relationships will do wonders for your ICO.
Gaining enough exposure is key to an ICO’s success, so it is extremely important to allocate elements of one’s budget properly. There are many things to consider, so focusing on areas that can generate the attention that you need is probably the most prudent course of action.