Blockchain companies are using Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to raise funds, much more effectively than traditional venture capital funding. While China has banned ICOs as a form of fundraising, it has not made it illegal for private parties to hold digital currencies. There are still plenty of ICO investors in China who are contemplating their next investment. In this blog we’ll cover the essential steps to ICO marketing in China.
China is a low-trust society, which means that businesses must take the effort to build trust among their target audience. When it comes to ICOs, the key is building brand awareness in the industry to assure potential investors that your ICO is reliable and strong, unlike the 90% of ICOs reported as fraudulent by The People’s Bank of China.
The Most Effective Methods for ICO Marketing in China
The fundamental component in determining the success of your ICO is the proper implementation of your marketing strategy. How well you are able to establish brand awareness, how available information is regarding your ICO, and how strong your connection is with potential investors etc. all can have a massive impact on the success of an ICO.
The following are some fundamental marketing strategies you may want to get your hands on to market your ICO, specifically to Chinese ICO investors.
1. Managing Public Relations
To attract potential investors, you must first ensure they’ve heard about you. Hence as earlier explained – build your brand awareness.
a. Press releases
Press release distribution is one of the first steps to building your digital presence among potential investors. ICO investors in China usually learn about new ICOs and related information on finance media platforms in China, such as the China Financial and Economic News (中国财经报网) or The China Economic Network (中国经济网).
Having an experienced team write expertly crafted content for your investment product to be distributed on these large platforms is absolutely necessary for building awareness and trust among potential investors. This will bring your ICO good exposure among a huge number of investors – which is a fundamental step to building your brand awareness and launching your ICO marketing campaign.
Another way of building brand awareness is to release featured posts on popular and trusted websites. Have a professional team write featured posts for your ICO on platforms related to your ICO. Some examples of platforms to choose from:
Leiphone, (雷鋒網) a Chinese media platform focused on technology trends such as fintech and AI,
cnFOL (中金在線) is a financial information aggregator commonly viewed by finance professionals and investors.
These are good platforms on which to publish editorials, not only to gain exposure on the websites’ readers, but also raise your organic search result ranking due to the high authority of these platforms, allowing you to reach even more ICO investors.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media is a must to establish a digital presence and connect with your investors in the channels they frequent most
Wechat is like Google, Facebook, and Whatsapp all rolled into one. It is often the first-place people go upon hearing about a brand or company, oftentimes even before a company’s website. With 938 million monthly active users it’s a platform you really can’t avoid.
Creating a WeChat Official Account will help you gain exposure on the search results of WeChat regarding ICO and other related keywords. With your WeChat account you’ll give potential investors the opportunity to follow your account and learn more about your company. However, WeChat is a closed platform and you’ll have utilize promotion/advertising to drive users to the account. For some more info check out one of our other blogs below:
Read More: Beginner’s Guide to WeChat for Business
Weibo is another great channel for targeting potential investors. With tools for promotion and reaching your target audience as well as a user base of over 340 million users, Weibo can be incredibly efficient for building brand awareness and driving investment.
Unlike WeChat, Weibo is an open platform that serves content to users based on their interests, allowing you to reach potential investors with organic content alone. Promotion and advertising will further this reach and allow you see impressive results with Chinese investors. For more information on Weibo you can check this blog as well:
c. Content Creation
Merely establishing Official Accounts on Social Media is not enough to win your investors’ heart. These accounts need to be active and provide conten that is both useful and interesting for your target audience. Having an experienced copywriting team with understanding of the China market to create quality content for you to publish on these social media platforms is essential.
Quality content will allow you to drive engagement with your followers and give you the opportunity to build trust and foster brand loyalty. When it comes to content, quality is more important than quantity, as good content has a far higher chance of going viral and reaching your target audience.
3. Community Management
a. WeChat and QQ Communities
To market your ICOs more effectively and efficiently, good community management is crucial. Online communities such as WeChat groups and QQ groups are created for specific purposes. Hence, finance, tech, investment-related communities on these online platforms gather a huge number of interested users.
Marketing through these channels can be very powerful. Participating in group discussions and promoting information regarding your ICO can help you to reach users with a dedicated interests to cryptocurrency investment.
However, with this type of marketing it is important to be authentic and not let on that your participation in the discussion is for advertising purposes. While this can be effective, the hardest part of this style of marketing is finding these groups. A marketing agency (like Dragon Social) can often aid in finding these groups and helping you conduct your ICO marketing in an authentic manner.
b. Forum Marketing
Another way of creating your online presence is to frequently post about your ICO on China’s online discussion forums, such as Baidu, Tianya and Sina forums. As with WeChat/QQ groups, posting in an authentic manner is essential.
Dealing with forums can be dangerous as sentiments shift quite rapidly and properly navigating the community can be difficult, especially for the unexperienced. However, when it comes to ICO marketing, this can be one of the most effective methods for going viral and building brand awareness regarding your ICO.
4. Influencer Marketing
You may have heard of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), otherwise known as influencers, but you most likely didn’t think it could have any relation your ICO marketing in China. One platform that the influence of KOLs can be leveraged on is Zhihu.com.
Zhihu is a high-quality Q&A social media platform in China, where users ask and answer complex questions for one another. There are many influencers on this platform who exchange investment-related knowledge with their audience. Receiving recommendations/endorsements from these influencers can build a massive amount of brand awareness and trust among users.
Zhihu also provides huge SEO value as it has a trust ranking from Baidu comparable to that of a government website. Building a presence on Zhihu is a fantastic way to make your ICO seem authentic and trusted by real investors. To learn more about Zhihu check out the blog below:
5. Programmatic Buy Advertising
This term may seem complicated, but it really is not. It is just an effective way of displaying banner ads. This type of advertising allows you to appear on almost any website without its own native advertising program. Programmatic buying serves a singular purpose: delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.
Using algorithms and big data, this type of advertising can identify ICO investors by labels and tags created based on their past behaviour.
(e.g. A user may have searched for terms such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrency-related keywords. After identifying that the user has an interest in these topics, the program will serve display ads regarding your ICO to them.)
These banner ads will appear on various websites, (which you’ll be able to determine from the back-end of the advertising platform) and will be particularly effective if displayed on finance-related media sites.
How to select an agency for your ICO Marketing Strategy
When searching for a marketing agency to help you with all the above steps to market your ICO, don’t just consider the price of their services. If you want the results to be worth your bucks, look at whether a marketing firm has these qualities:
1. A good track record of relevant experience
If you are looking to market your ICO in China, you must consider whether the marketing firm you are choosing knows the Chinese market well. Whether this firm specializes in marketing overseas firms to the Chinese market, or has a track record of ICO marketing is essential to determining whether an agency is qualified to market your ICO.
2. The marketing firm has the resources, assets, and connections necessary to facilitate a successful marketing strategy
The agency should have connections established in China. Particularly with websites where content should be published. It should also have access to a network of KOLs, WeChat/QQ groups, and the capacity to handle your project. These assets are important for marketing your ICO’s brand awareness effectively.
3. Execution time
As those active in the crypto-community know, the time ICO process goes by relatively quickly. The presale period to the actual ICO is usually very short, and it is crucial that promotion and advertising is done in a timely manner to ensure the success of the presale and the ICO. Hence, while this may seem obvious, choose a marketing firm that is not lazy, but effective and available for handling all of your enquiries & requests.
4. The Marketing Team Are Crypto-Investors Themselves
While this isn’t essential, it would certainly help with the implementation of an ICO marketing strategy. Having a marketing team that understands the crypto-currency market, the ICO process, and the behaviour of potential investors it will undoubtedly increase the effectiveness of the campaign. This is even more valuable when it comes to China, as the methods for reaching this target audience can be quite difficult. For example, they would be connected and joined to WeChat groups that can potentially involve hundreds or even thousands of past and future ICO investors.
Conclusion on ICO Marketing in China
If this all seems extremely complicated, it’s because it kind of is. If you’re looking for help in marketing your pre-sale, ICO, or even hoping to boost the price of your already existing coin/token, contact the Dragon Social team to see how we can help!