“How much does an ICO cost?” is one of the biggest questions in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, and it’s also one of the hardest to answer. It all depends on what you need, where you are, and how big you plan your ICO to be.
We know, you’ve landed on this page in hopes of getting a magic number so that you can look at your budget and feel an instant wave of relief. Our ICO services are designed to give you just that feeling, but it’ll take a little effort to get there.
Let us walk you through some of the initial stages of building an ICO budget, and then reach out for a final little help tailoring it to your specific situation.
Creating Your ICO Budget
Let’s look at some of the major components of an ICO launch. These sections may feel like peripherals to your business at first, but as we dive deeper, you’ll realize that these efforts can be as important as your technology and coin.
Here are the things that you’ll need to protect your business and generate interest so your ICO gets the attention it deserves.
Audits and Contracts
Most places will focus on cosmetics of the ICO first, such as marketing and whitepapers. These might be needed to get attention and have a little flash, but they can’t make up for a poor foundation. That’s why it is important to look first at the mechanisms for your sale and how you’re protecting customers, investors, and yourself.
A fundamental piece of the blockchain is the immutable ledger and smart contract. You’ll need these to protect your ICO as it’s listed, and as you start to sell and distribute your tokens. So, they need to be secure and tested. An audit of your smart contracts is one of the best ways to identify vulnerabilities and safeguard your investment.
Professional audits can cost you from $10,000 to $50,000 but are worth the cost. A bug in your system, especially something that interrupts an ICO launch or causes an issue during the ICO, can cause funders to head for the hills.
The more secure your smart contracts are, the better the blockchain will be and the safer your ICO and tokens will be in the eyes of investors.
Like any digital business, you’re going to need a website. It’s extremely important for your ICO and overall branding because it’ll serve as a consistent target page for all your efforts. It’s where you can host your white paper and the location you’ll want to send everyone from your social and other posts.
Creating a compelling landing page will give visitors an overlook of your project and can excite them enough into investing. It’s also a smart location to place your ICO status-updates, such as time, sales, and planned distribution.
Optimize your website for SEO purposes so that people will find you first when searching for your brand and ICO. If a potential investor can’t find you, or you look like just one of many on the search results page, they might not choose to go through with their spending.
Take time to optimize every page for keywords and build out consistent update opportunities, such as a blog, and you’ll be easy to find throughout the life of your project.
A new, professional website can cost you between $25,000 and $35,000 depending on how interactive it is and how many pages you use. We recommend having at least seven pages:
- About Us
- Token Information
- FAQ or Explanation
Interview a variety of design firms and creators to make sure you have the right brand to produce a quality design for speed and aesthetics.
Marketing and website development are fundamental pillars to getting the word out about your ICO. But, when someone hits your landing page tomorrow and then again in 4 weeks, will they be greeted by the same things or updated content? What about a month after your ICO?
If you were interested in a cryptocurrency and its website, blog, Medium page, and other channels never updated, would you believe what the whitepaper said about fund allocation?
Consistent content is a cornerstone of maintaining interest, not just that initial ICO buzz. Building out a strategy can help ensure you’re creating a community to engage with throughout the life of your ICO and token. Don’t forget that this is a crowdfunding operation.
Content should reach beyond just a blog and consider articles on third-party sites, explainer videos, updates, and your thoughts on the market.
Some of this work can be done by you or your team in-house, while you might need to go outside for professional videos or to pay for posts on third-party sites.
Put aside about 2% to 5% of your projected revenue target aside for content development during pre-ICO, ICO, and the next six months.
Investors and buyers need a way to judge the validity of your project and your aim, plus they want a convenient way to know your philosophy, token allocation, distribution, and more. Enter the whitepaper.
Every ICO and blockchain project needs a whitepaper to serve as that authoritative documentation to explain itself. Lengths vary, but the primary requirement is a clear and articulate description of your ICO. Share as much as possible, without giving away trade secrets, so that you can be judged fairly.
Use the whitepaper to tell your store and make the case that you’re worth investing during the ICO stage, before you have a chance to prove yourself in the market. It’s your best chance to make a good first impression.
There have been scandals recently about whitepapers that use stolen bits and pieces from other papers. It harmed the professional look of the ICO and killed confidence because outside investors can’t tell where else the company skimped.
Regarding price, a strong whitepaper will cost you roughly $10,000. That includes a professional writer and editor to make sure you’re free of errors, as well as a designer to make it look nice and mirror content on your website. Sometimes, you may want to spend a little more to have the writer and designer create smaller prospectus and one-page documents that can be shared more easily and drive interest in the larger whitepaper.
Press Releases and Outreach
You can’t just rely on word-of-mouth to expand your reach. So, your best way to touch base with journalists, analysts, and industry experts is to create a series of press releases and announcements. Options for this outreach vary, with platforms that create media contact lists and send out your releases or advisories to media for you, or simple one-off purchases for each release.
The good news is that many top ICO news sites will pick up press releases and run them, while some PR services also have dedicated distribution for your release.
Budgets can vary pretty significantly for this outreach, depending on your number of press releases and how far you want to spread them. Baseline, you’ll be spending around $10,000 for a media advisory service and a few thousand dollars per release per service. Spend about 2% of your revenue target from the ICO on these services, and you’ll be in good shape to meet those goals.
Unfortunately, an informative website and a few press releases aren’t enough to stand out in the crowd anymore. There are hundreds of ICOs going on right this moment. How do you compete?
Social media has become a go-to option because it gives you a chance to share your message while also providing valuable insight and information. Blending your posts with promotion and industry thoughts on the market or news will show that you’re staying on top of things and are a leader in the space.
Here are a few of the places your social media strategy should include:
- Optional: Steemit
- Optional: Instagram
It might be a little odd to have Telegram at the top, but it is the premium space for ICOs to advertise on social. These channels are easy to control, you have broad access, you can invite people from almost anywhere, and there are plenty of existing channels that will promote your ICO or send buy signals to investors.
You’ll need a broad reach and a full-time person or team to manage these channels. The more you put yourself out there, the better return you’ll be able to generate.
In-house, these services can cost you about $40,000 per year. If you are hiring a company, you might be in the realm of $5,000 to $7,500 per month, but that will typically include more videos and posts than a single person on your team can create. The good news is that these professionals can manage your community as well.
And finally rounding out your ICO outreach budget will be paid media. Look at search ads, promoted posts, pre-roll video on YouTube, and more. One of the first areas you’ll want to pay for is actually analytics of your existing channels and market. Discover what your most likely user does, including where they spend their time, then target those channels.
Create advertising for each channel and buy small ad spaces initially. Scale up according to what works. The more tailored your ad is to your market, the more likely they are to collect and read about your service. This can be tricky and difficult, so many will turn to a small marketing firm to help with the ad-buy.
Over the course of the year, you may spend up to $50,000 or more on these ads. They’re a fantastic way to promote your ICO, gain a big audience for the launch, and then keep interest so that your coinage value continues to grow after the ICO ends.
One area many people forget about until it is too late is legal consultation. You’ll want to get your ICO reviewed to make sure it is compliant, and you can sell legally in your jurisdiction. They can also help you stay safe with your social, PR, and more.
Another smart reason to pay ahead of time for legal support is to protect you from personal liability if something goes wrong. You want the corporate entity to be secure and have the right paperwork filed so that there’s no risk to you.
Legal advice can cost you upwards of $20,000, but it’s well worth the cost.
Finalizing Your Budget
All-in-all, you’ll be looking at close to 10% to 15% of your ICO’s projected gains. It may feel like a large investment, but it can help ensure that you’ve got everything in place to build a successful campaign. You know that starting a cryptocurrency and blockchain project was difficult and setting up your ICO for success is too. Continue to do your due diligence and protect yourself and your company.
Now is not the time to skimp. Failing to invest can, and has, lead to a failed ICO.
It’s one reason the IBC Group offers complete end-to-end ICO marketing. We know that this can often be the most difficult part of a launch for technology companies and innovators. Reach out for a full list of services and budget based on your needs and your offering.