Great guest post by Tony Simonovsky CEO of InsightCryp.to

ICO token sales are on the rise. When MasterCoin launched a token in 2013, and Ethereum in 2014, nobody knew that the crypto trend would soon become the shot heard around the world. Some might call the ICO market a bubble, while others say it’s the future of investing. But whatever side of the (bit)coin you’re on, the facts don’t lie: $250M has already been invested into ICOs, and $107M was from this year alone. In 2017, ICOs raised $1.25B, and collectively edged out the year’s early stage VC blockchain funding.

At the time this article was written, 203 ICOs have been launched in 2017. If you’ve been thinking about launching your own token sale, there are a few things you should know. From creating a great white paper that defines your value proposition to setting up a legal support system and compliance team, ICO launches require a special set of skills. And they aren’t for the faint-hearted.

As CEO of InsightCryp.to, I’ve helped numerous ICOs launch token sales and meet their goals. And I’ve learned a few things along the way that are crucial for every ICO-aspiring company to know. If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, this isn’t it. Rather, my aim is to direct your focus to the most important elements that can make or break your token sale.

Here are 5 things you need to know to lay a solid foundation for ICO success.

Timing is everything
In the fast-changing ICO world, timing is crucial and worth infinitely more than money. While heading up the marketing and analytics for KickICO’s token sale, I realized that I had to move fast to stay ahead of the game. Sometimes that meant taking risks to test new channels instead of just waiting for new opportunities to come my way. Being proactive and moving quickly is crucial to a successful operation. I’ve seen many ICOs fail because they’re just too cautious and wait too long to confirm marketing placements instead of just going for it.

Get press—lots of it
One of the key elements that every ICO needs is good and plentiful PR. No matter how great your company is, you will fail if you can’t get the word out. The best ICO ROIs emanate from a solid PR strategy that creates a buzz around your company and token sale. Aim to get as many articles, videos and mentions published as possible, particularly in crypto and blockchain publications and channels. More buzz means more followers. And in the world of ICOs, that translates to greater success.

Be transparent in the crypto community
While buzz is crucial to your success, it’s equally important to keep your community in the loop on your latest news. Two preferred channels that ICOs use to distribute updates to their communities are Medium and Twitter. Make sure to post updates on a regular basis. Focus on new developments with your product, the ICO progress as well as the discoveries and insights you glean during the campaign. Be transparent and open about the highs and lows. People like to connect with real people—and nothing says “real” like transparency.

Engage with your community
Unless you’ve got big investors on board to support your project, building and engaging with your crypto community on a regular basis is crucial to hitting that funding goal. Some of the most popular tools for ICO communications are Skype, Slack and Telegram groups. Develop a team to manage your community, share articles and videos, and answer incoming questions. Train them on what they can and can’t answer. ICOs with active communities tend to succeed, raising more money than their silent counterparts.

Go for the (attainable) goal
An optimistic outlook is great for keeping your team motivated during the exhausting ICO process. But make sure you don’t set a goal you can’t reach. ICOs that have funds or investors on board before they launch might be able to aim high, but companies without a name or a following in the crypto community should beware. Aiming too high without the proper foundation is almost a sure route to failure. Remember that when it comes to goal setting and success, moderation is key.

Launching a token sale can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. But avoiding other ICOs’ mistakes—and taking advice from people who have been through the process—can help you weather the ups and downs.

At the end of the day, when your new token is born, you’ll find it was worth it. The chaos. The hectic schedules. The last-minute deadlines. Suddenly, they’re all things of the past, and you’re left with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve made your mark on the future.

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