Insights from IEO & ICO project team, with a story how they successfully passed it

Membrana.io
Jul 12 · 7 min read

The authors of one Telegram channel asked me to answer a few questions about the past IEO, ICO and work with the blockchain project from a marketing and PR perspective during these periods. Briefly, the response didn’t work, so the text didn’t go to Telegram fully and I decided to publish it as a long read.
I hope that the experience of our team will help you with the development and promotion of IT projects in the world of blockchain, IEO, ICO.


Q: Tell us briefly about the placement of the Membrana? How much time did it take from the idea and gathering the team to the finish of the token-sale? What exchanges did you use and how much did you get?
A:
Hi, my name is Kirill. I am a co-founder and chief of marketing at Membrana.io.

The time from idea to the placement on the exchange took a little more than 2 years. In the first year, an alpha version of the product was developed what helped us to get the first big investment. In the second year, the team was engaged in product development and preparation for public sales. At that time, we didn’t know that there will be several sales and that we’re not gonna do ICO in a classical sense.

We conducted a pre-sale on our website through the investor’s page. We conducted IEO on the 2 exchanges: ABCC AND Probit. Membrana, MBN ticker — is placed on 3 exchanges, all Asian: ABCC, Probit, Newexall. Apart from strategic investments, we raised about $150,000 through crowdfunding.

Q: Is there a difference between the PR of ICO and IEO? Can the exchange partially help somewhere?
A
: It is not enough to answer this question like “Yes, there is a difference”. And the point isn’t that it is ICO or IEO. The market is changing and that’s the point. I will try to explain: if you want to open a cafe, then you hire guys who have already opened a cafe, they know the whole “kitchen”, therefore, with high probability, you’ll open the cafe as planned, maybe with minor adjustments. This seemingly 100% correct approach in the crypt simply doesn’t work due to the change of the market. We started the Membrana on one market, prepared a public sale of the project — ICO — on another, conducted it on the third, and we did IEO on the 4th market. I spoke with projects that successfully raised funds via ICO in 2018, learned in detail their cases, recognized contacts, made contacts, do the scoring, and prepared an advertising campaign. As a result, by conducting pre-sale at the end of 2018, we collected almost nothing, possessing performers who were successful just 2 months ago, and enough funds.

Each market cycle (which may change after 3 months) has its own rules. We cannot say that it will work in the future — a bunch of Facebook + advisors + YouTube influencers or something else. But the general rule is: if the project is bad, marketing won’t help (even Roger Ver in the advisors) and $ 100,000 into the “channels”.

We need to speak separately about interaction with the exchange; within the framework of this text, I can say that it is very difficult to work with the exchange. Yes, it helps, but with it, in general, more difficult than without it.

Q: Describe what was done on PR — there, publications in Tier1 (TOP media), work with influencers. And which of the following gave the greatest value?
A:
PR is a part of marketing. Henry Ford said, “I spend 50% of my marketing budget for nothing, but I don’t know which one”. Here is a very similar situation. The main misconception of marketers: collect “community” and then we will “close” them for sale. No. Users in your social networks like Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn — not your investors (85–90%). Media posts aren’t your investors (99%). I recently conducted a series of interviews as part of customer development and found out that 8 of 10 investors didn’t open the site of our product before payment and are going to see it soon.

AMA (ask me anything) sessions in the exchange chat rooms gave us more value (unexpected, right?). But this is after we have made: a video about the product, presentations, a bunch of own articles, more than 100 articles in the media, airdrops, regular spamming, very tricky spamming, PPC on Facebook and Google.

Q: Were there any discoveries for you during the PR of the project? Something that made you say «Wow»?
A: Yes. The main discovery is that even if you spent 90% of the budget and didn’t earn anything, then you can spend the remaining 10% wisely restoring the budget.
The second discovery is a fraud of exchanges. The information that almost all exchanges publish on project collections turns out to be fraudulent. Yes, they cheat on investors and projects.
The third discovery is the sincere thanks of the users.

Q: What advice would you give startups which are thinking about ICO, IEO, etc. in terms of PR? What should you pay attention to and what you need to focus on?
A: The basis is this: now it is almost impossible to simply enter the market and get a boost for a startup through crowdfunding (ICO, IEO).

The main myth for project creators and their marketers: having paid $150,000 for IEO in the TOP-10, investors will automatically come to you from this exchange. No, they won’t come.

When you choose partners for advertisement, look not so much at the result of past cases, as at their date. If the marketing team successfully helped to collect X million in 2017–2018, then it doesn’t mean that they’ll raise at least $ 1,000 today.

It is necessary to mention the media. Media earns on paid articles and advertising. There are now users on the market who are ready to consume content about top projects from a crypto, about the prospects of BTC, JPMorgan coin, Facebook coin and so on. They aren’t interested to know about a new startup. Therefore, the media will take you dearly for posting an article and stuff it somewhere deep. Even if you place it on the main page, you seldom get traffic.

Summarizing.
80% is your product, 20% is your positioning. You need to come up with a product that will have a great token economy, built on community rewards, a clear idea using a token and show this product in action. Next, you need to build a community that will use this product every day, correctly positioning itself in the market.

The best marketing is the development of partnerships with successful projects and works with their community. Well, sowing can be done in your Medium and through influencers on Twitter and YouTube.

A few facts:
1) Most of the investment from one channel we received from the Indonesian YouTube blogger, has about 300,000 subscribers. Paid less than $1000.

2) About the same, but a little less, we received from the Korean YouTube blogger, which has less than 1000 subscribers. Paid less than $1000.

3) The most useless review on YouTube turned out to be the most expensive. We paid $3,500.

4) We received the highest quality video review of the project for $200 and translated into 2 languages (subtitles), paying $ 190.

5) More than half of the YouTube bloggers gave us 0 investment.

6) The traffic from 100 articles about the project, placed in the media, is less than from the “average” YouTube blogger.

7) Russian investors invest in Russian projects.

8) We closed 30–40% of our pre-sale investments through second and third sales to current investors.

9) Exchange fee for IEO and listing more than we received investment from the exchange community.

10) The most intelligent adviser worked with us for free, we didn’t want to conclude a contract with him at the beginning. In general, don’t pay cash to the advisors, only tokens.

11) We dispersed the telegram from 3000 to 90 000 in 4 days, making an airdrop. It was unexpected. I think there were no investors in 90K of subscribers.

12) No one knows how to do “hype”.

13) Our MailChimp account worked for six months and was blocked in the morning of the start of receiving funds. The base was more than 10,000. Use several email clients.

14) Purchased “bases” gave 0 investment. We also used them for email newsletters and ran PPCs on them.

15) “Bases” of investors of other projects gave us 0 investments. We also used them for email newsletters and ran PPCs on them.

16) Email-spam, Telegram-spam, Twitter-spam gave us 0 investments.

17) We didn’t have a single creative, not a single article for the Japanese market. Investments from these accounted for 30% of all investments in the IEO via ABCC exchange.

18) The largest “check” came from a Korean investor.

19) Advertising in WeChat for the Chinese, in KakaoTalk for the Koreans — this is a black box: you put the money and you don’t understand what is happening (if you don’t speak Korean or Mandarin).

20) We spent a lot of money at the conferences. Stupid waste of money.

21) When I asked investors “what helped you decide to invest in the Membrana during IEO?”, the main answers were a clear and promising idea, a finished product, a staking, beautiful code on GitHub.

Today, it is easier and cheaper to earn money through the monetization of the product than through ICO / IEO.

Good luck to all.


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