How to promote your proof-of-caring program

I recently talked to the CEO of a company that’s about to have an ICO.

He said that out of all the people who have signed up for their proof-of-caring program, only 20% submitted anything.

He wanted to send out an email to motivate the rest.

My suggestion was to give people examples of easy and clever proofs-of-caring.

Here’s an example of such an email, which I wrote for an ICO I’m working with, Experty:


SUBJECT: Warning: don’t try this at home

YouTube user SEONGJU SEO posted a crazy video right before New Year’s.

It’s actually a collection of funny before-and-after clips.

Before: a toddler falls off a rocking horse.

After: a boy setting a new record in a cup-stacking competition.

Before: a girl jumps out of a swing and lands on her face (she was fine).

After: a lacrosse player throws a rock-hard lacrosse ball at his friend… and perfectly knocks off the water bottle that the friend put on top of his head.

In other words, “before” is clumsy and untalented… while “after” is incredibly skilled.

The difference between before and after?

Well, in this particular video, the difference is Experty.

Of course, this video is just meant for fun. SEONGJU SEO submitted it as a proof-of-caring for the Experty ICO. It’s going to get him a sizeable bonus when the ICO kicks off, and he might even get some free Experty tokens as a reward.

Now, I’m not advising you to try any crazy stunts like the lacrosse guys did in SEONGJU SEO’s video.

But if you can put together a cleverly edited video like this one, we at Experty will be very grateful for your helping us to get the word out about our ICO.

And we will reward you with bonuses during our ICO, just like we did with SEONGJU SEO.

If you want to find out more about the Experty proof-of-caring program, here’s where to go:


Of course, you can send out email after email that looks just like this, talking about one entertaining proof-of-caring after another.

The key is to suck people in with something fun or interesting at the start so you can get your point across.

Do you have an ICO coming up? If you want similar emails to promote your ICO or your proof-of-caring program, here’s how you can get in touch with me:

John Bejakovic

Dozens of Hitlers on my ground floor

A few days ago, I came back to my apartment building from an early morning walk.

A man was standing right inside the front door.

I said hello, then looked down to see the pile of books he had just put down.

Adolf Hitler was on the cover of each of them. It was a box full of Mein Kampfs.

I was a bit surprised, but not too much. After all, there’s a very right–wing publishing house on the ground floor of my building, and I guess this was their latest printing.

Here’s why I bring it up.

Ideas have power. They stick around and influence society long after the person who thought them up is dead.

I keep thinking about this because, even though I read and write about cryptocurrencies a lot, I don’t have a solid understanding of what money really is.

That’s why I keep looking for fundamental texts on the topic by philosophers and social scientists. Their theories are affecting what engineers are making into cryptocurrencies today.

As far as I know, there’s no definitive book out there that really explains what money is.

So I’ve decided to collect a library of fundamental readings on money, from different authors, and share what I learn on this blog.

I think it will be a good balance to the hard-core ICO marketing advice I normally push on this site.

The first philosopher on my list is somebody who has a connection to those Mein Kampf books.

it’s Friedrich Hayek, an Austrian economist who refused to return to his native country after it was absorbed into the Nazi state in 1938.

He’s probably most famous for his book “The Road to Serfdom”, in which he argues that growing government control of the economy inevitably leads to tyrannical states.

As far as money goes, I’m planning on reading another of Hayek’s books, called the “Denationalisation of Money”.

It talks about the idea of multiple private currencies, particularly relevant for the current moment of hundreds of private cryptos. If you want to check the book out yourself, you can get it here:

John Bejakovic

Santa’s crazy 2018 ICO marketing plan

This morning I looked under my Christmas tree.

There was nothing there.

“Not again Santa,” I thought to myself. “What’s the excuse this year?”

So I called up the switchboard for the North Pole and asked to be connected to the old man.

They said, “We’re sorry, the line is busy. Santa is launching an ICO in February 2018 and he can’t peel away from Telegram and Bitcointalk.”

“Poor guy,” I thought.

I can understand why he didn’t have time to bring my presents.

And even though I got nothing from Santa this year, I decided to make him a little present myself.

Since he already seems to have the community management down (he’s so busy on Telegram and Bitcointalk), I decided to give him a 3-part email marketing plan in anticipation of his ICO.

Step 1: Get a decent email service

We all know Santa is partial to cute animals (see: reindeer).

Odds are, he, along with 80% of other ICOs, would go for Mailchimp, simply because it’s so cute and friendly.

My recommendation to Santa is to ditch the chimp and go with the boring-but-powerful ActiveCampaign instead.

For one thing, it’s cheaper.

For another, it makes it easier to segment those who have been naughty from those who have been nice and send separate campaigns to them.

But whatever tool you use to send emails, make sure to…

Step 2: Send interesting emails

If you’ve met Santa personally, you know he’s a jokester who’s got an outsized personality and is full of great stories.

Unfortunately, when the man in red sits down to write, his personality goes out the window and he sounds like a company robot:

“Dear toddlers and pre-adolescents, we’re very excited to notify you of our impending SNT token sale which will bring the revolutionary power of blockchain technology to the $4.5 trillion gift-giving economy.”

No, no no, Santa.

Keep the personality, and write like you talk.

Make it interesting and fun to read, and those ICO investors will keep opening your emails until it’s time for them to contribute. Just remember:

Step 3: Email often

Santa has a hangup that people only want to hear from him once a year.

He’s worried that if he emails about his ICO too often, people might unsubscribe from his list.

That’s when I want to grab the big lug by his shoulders and shake him violently.

“What are you trying to accomplish? Keep uninterested people on your mailing list? Or raise money for your ICO?”

If you email people regularly, you build a relationship.

You build anticipation.

You build trust.

You convert some of the maybe’s into yes’s.

You remind people you exist, and you get them out of the torpor of not taking action.

You validate that they are making (or have made) the right choice.

All those outcomes are pretty valuable.

And if the cost of them is turning away some people who probably wouldn’t invest in the Santa ICO anyhow, then so be it.

I think these 3 steps are a very good starting point for Santa.

And maybe for you, if you too have an ICO coming up.

If you want more detailed info than I could whip up for Santa on Christmas morning, you can get it directly from my little elf workshop:

John Bejakovic

The true meaning of FOMO

I just watched Richard Donner’s 1988 Christmas non-classic “Scrooged.”

Bill Murray plays a heartless TV network president who has to learn about the true meaning of Christmas, in a modern retelling of a Christmas Carol.

At the beginning of the movie, Murray’s character is in a meeting with his team. They are going over promo ideas for their “Scrooge” Christmas special.

First, the team shows off their nice and straightforward advertisement. It doesn’t need to be fancy, they claim, because people already want to watch the show.

But Murray’s character hates it.

“That isn’t good enough,” he screams at his team, “they have GOT to be so scared to miss it, so TERRIFIED!”

So he comes up with a clip of his own, featuring toxic rain, drug addicts, terrorism, and freeway killers. His promo closes with the line:

“Don’t miss Charles Dickens’ immortal classic Scrooge… Your life might just depend on it.”

This scene reminded me of a conversation I recently had with the founder of a company that’s going through an ICO soon.

I asked him what he’s looking to accomplish with the email marketing campaigns for his ICO.

Immediately, he shot back, “FOMO.”

Fear of missing out.

Personally, I think it’s a mistake to focus on fear first.

Like A-list copywriter and million-dollar marketer Mark Ford wrote:


“Proponents of the fear-and-greed approach often argue that the smart thing to do is to follow a fear-based lead with an appeal to the prospect‘s greed.

“But I have found that if you do that, you wind up attracting the kind of customer you don‘t want: someone who is gullible and greedy.

“You can‘t build a business by selling to the gullible and greedy. You can make scores, sometimes big scores. But you will never have a sustainably profitable business.”


In the Scrooged movie, an old woman keels over and dies while watching the fear-based promo because she’s literally scared to death.

And something similar might happen to your ICO investors (and future token holders and potential customers).

Urgency, fear, scarcity… They are important in marketing, at the right point.

But they shouldn’t be the sole focus of what you do, particularly if you’ve got a solid ICO lined up.

There are lots of other things you could focus on in your email marketing, which might be a lot more effective in the long term. If you want to find out what some of them are, go here:

John Bejakovic

ICO email marketing lessons from Jay Abraham

I am subscribed to marketing all-star Jay Abraham’s email list.

And while I know the man is a legend and has a lot to teach anyone intetersted in marketing, I rarely read his emails, and I have yet to take any kind of action based on them.


Because many of Jay’s emails offer a dozen separate things to do.

Such as:

Watch this video (and a second, and a third).

Download some guides.

Check out these songs. And articles. And interviews.

In all fairness, it seems that when Jay is really promoting something serious, the emails are exclusively focused on that one offer.

Plus, I suspect that Jay’s email list is in the hundreds of thousands. Also, many people on his list already know and respect him. And he’s not really dependent on email marketing for his enormously successful business.

If he didn’t have all those great assets, I think he might break up these emails up and use separate emails to pitch each one of his valuable offers.

And if you want my opinion, I think you should do the same.

Did your ICO get featured on Forbes? Great. Write an (entertaining) email, and link to the article.

New advisor? New email.

Want people to join your Telegram group? Write them an email, and don’t ask them to also check out your Twitter, Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, and Myspace profiles.

In short: one email, one idea, one action.

Even if you have to send out five emails a day.

But won’t sending so many separate emails annoy people? Not if you make them fun to read.

If you want to find out the way I do that, here’s where to go:

John Bejakovic

4 signs of a needy ICO

“I learned that the hardest deal to make is the one you desperately need or really, really want to make. Somehow, the other person always senses that, and it scares him or her away. On the other hand, the easiest deals to close occur when you feel that you don’t need them and really don’t much care whether they come to fruition or not.” — Dan Kennedy, The Ultimate Sales Letter

I got an email today from one of the many ICO newsletters I subscribe to.

It made me cringe a bit, because it sounded so needy. I immediately thought of the Dan Kennedy quote above, as well as all the other marketing and negotiation and sales experts who will tell you that neediness kills (deals and sales, at least).

But what do I mean by neediness? Here are four examples taken from that needy email:

1. The “6 hours left!” subject line

I know, urgency sells.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do urgency.

The wrong way is to put it into the subject line like this, before your readers really know or care about what you’re promoting or selling. It telegraphs neediness: your neediness to grab attention, to be heard, to close the deal. The exclamation point doesn’t help either.

2. Emojis

This email had a rocket ship and two planes at the end of the subject line.

These subject line emojis started coming out a few years ago. There are probably dozens of articles out there telling you that they will increase open rates and therefore theoretically increase conversions.

I have my doubts. I scrolled through my emails, and the first other ICO newsletter featuring bright shiny emojis in the subject line was on the topic of how to get your contribution back, because the ICO failed to meet the soft cap.

3. “Airdrop bonus”

This needy email was pitching a “massive airdrop bonus” for the top contributor during the presale.

I get it. It’s cheap to make cryptocurrencies. In fact, it’s free.

That doesn’t mean you should advertise the fact that you’ve got tons of tokens to burn. Instead, make your tokens seem valuable, and only give them away in seemingly controlled, quid-pro-quo transactions.

4. “We love our contributors and we want to help however we can”

This quote appeared somewhere in the body of the email, and it’s the summary of this email’s needy attitude.

Color me cynical, but I don’t believe this company loves me or is looking to help me in any way.

I’m pretty sure they just want my money.

Not that I have any problem with that. I just think there are much better ways to get me to invest than by pretending to be my friend or mother.

To sum up, neediness kills.

But if shouting, cajoling, and pretending to be best friends isn’t a good way to get investors, what should you do instead?

I have my ideas. If you’d like to talk and see if they’re right for you, here’s where to go:

John Bejakovic

Punch, counterpunch, and Jeff Berwick on the price of Bitcoin

I just listened to two big copywriters, Kevin Rogers and David Garfinkel, talking about the similarities between standup comedy and copywriting.

Kevin, who used to be a standup comedian before becoming a very successful copywriter, talked about the “punch-counterpunch” strategy, which works in both standup and copy.

What’s “punch-counterpunch”?

Let me illustrate it with an example from the crypto world.

Jeff Berwick, aka The Dollar Vigilante, regularly sends out emails about Bitcoin.

A recent theme has been, “Bitcoin breaks through new price barrier, doubters look like jackasses.” There are at least a dozen emails from Jeff along those lines in my inbox.

Anyways, that part, where Jeff positions himself as a strong Bitcoin supporter, is what Kevin calls the “punch.”

But here’s the counterpunch.

Three days ago, Jeff sent out another email with the subject line:

“As Bitcoin Breaks All-Time Highs Near $18,000 Its Future Has Never Been So Uncertain”

This email talks about how Bitcoin is failing as a transaction currency, and how that might spell its doom.

And today’s email:

“If You Listen to Youtube Commenters Gold Is Dead And Crypto Will Never, Ever Go Down In Price”

This one is about Jeff’s advice to take a part of your crypto profits and invest in precious metals.

In other words, once you’ve established your credibility (“I’m a huge crypto supporter”), you can then lead your audience to some unpopular views (“Bitcoin might have fundamental problems”, or “it can’t hurt to diversify”).

If you read the blog of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, you might recognize this punch-counterpunch by another name: “Nixon goes to China.” As Scott tells it, Nixon was a stout anti-communist, and this was why the public didn’t balk when he started to normalize relations with China in the 1970s.

So what’s the point of all this?

Well, I think there’s a lesson in there if there’s any apect of your ICO that many people are naturally skeptical or suspicious about.

You first have to meet your audience where they are and agree with them. Once you’ve established yourself, you can then lead them where you want them to go.

Of course, it will take some time and staying in regular contact to do this. If you want to hear my ideas on how to do this with email, here’s where to go:

John Bejakovic

Winners vs. losers in ICO marketing

One of the most successful sales letters of all time is the Wall Street Journal’s “Tale of Two Young Men.”

It’s supposedly been responsible for over $2 billion worth of subscriptions.

It starts out something like this.

Two young men graduated from the same college.

They then got a job at the same corporation in the same department.

Both worked hard. Both were intelligent and ambitious.

And yet, 34.3 years later, one of the men was the CEO of that company, while the other one was a frustrated middle manager.

What was the difference?

You guessed it. The future CEO subscribed to the WSJ.

In his Ultimate Sales Letter, master marketing educator Dan Kennedy gives 3 templates for effective sales letters that should be aplicable to any business.

“Winners vs. Losers,” as in the WSJ example, is one of them.

So how could we apply this to a cryptocurrency mining business?

Oh I don’t know.

Maybe talk about two friends who got into cryptocurrencies.

And rather than speculating on Bitcoin, they decided to spend their money on mining.

One rented out some computing power on a well-known mining marketplace, NiceHash.

While the other invested in a mining ICO, Moria Miner (don’t look for it, I made this up).

The first friend thought he was being smart because he was making some money right up front.

That is, until two weeks ago, when NiceHash was hacked and all their Bitcoin stolen.

The second friend however, is safe and sound, his Bitcoin hoard growing as Moria Mines keeps working away, thanks to their experienced tech team.

Anyways, you see how this can work.

Winners vs. Losers.

A perenial sales letter template.

If you want some of your own winning marketing strategies compared to the losers involved in the other ICOs, I might be able to help. More information here:

John Bejakovic

Milton Friedman inadvertently points out the limits of Bitcoin

In 1999, famed liberal economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman gave an interview fo the National Taxpayers Union.

The interview is popular these days, because of how Friedman predicted the rise of an “e-cash” that could be used for anonymous, trusted payments online.

And so you can find excerpts of the interview on Youtube, usually with a title that says, “Milton Friedman predicts Bitcoin in 1999!”

However, what I personally found interesting in the interview was something else.

Friedman talked about this future e-cash with enthusiasm, because he believed it would make it harder for government to collect taxes.

In fact, he thought this was going to be the effect of the Internet in general.

Well, it’s now 20 years later.

The Internet didn’t seem to really stop the government from collecting taxes.

And it’s quite possible that Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies won’t do so either.

For example, consider the big crypto news from two weeks ago.

The IRS forced Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, to hand over details on the accounts of 14,355 users.

In fact, there’s another bit of the Milton Friedman interview that’s relevant here. He says:


The reality is that we’re much less free than we were 50 years ago. Government is bigger, it takes a much bigger fraction of our income, it imposes more controls upon us.


I doubt this is going to change quickly and easily.

If you want freedom, I think you should look somewhere else than to the Internet and Bitcoin (actually, cutting off your Internet might be a good start).

On the other hand, if you’re looking to make money, then by all means, pay more attention to what’s happening in the cryptocurrency world right now, because it could be the biggest money maker since the heyday of the Internet 20 years ago.

Anyways, the entire Friedman interview (not just the e-cash bit) is available online. It’s worth watching, regardless of whether you agree with Friedman in general or not. Here’s the link:

John Bejakovic

How to agitate emotions for a mining ICO

I’ve recently been working on an advertorial for an upcoming mining ICO.

An advertorial, in case you don’t know, is a piece of marketing copy.

It looks and reads like an article, but it’s actually designed to sell. It’s basically less pushy (and more impartial seeming) than a regular sales page.

Anyways, the main thing about an advertorial is the “angle” behind it. This is the big idea that’s going to catch the reader’s attention and then lead into the sales pitch.

Here is one possible angle for a mining ICO.

It’s the classic Problem-Agitate-Solution.

First you state the problem. In this case, we could say, “the Bitcoin train has passed.”

Then you agitate that a bit:


Imagine the big grin you’d have on your face today, if only you had invested in 5 or 10 Bitcoin just one year ago. Each day, you could get up, check the most recent Bitcoin price increase, and see that your little Bitcoin hoard is now worth $5,000 more… $10,000 more… even $50,000 more.

Over that one year, you would have increased your investment 20 times!

You could have turned $1,000 into $20,000…

$5,000 into $100,000…

$50,000 into a cool $1 million!

Yep, it certainly would have been great.

But here’s the brutal truth. The train has passed.

Even if you invest today, you will only get meager returns by comparison, because the price of Bitcoin is already so high. Today, each new dollar of Bitcoin value only translates into a small percentage increase. And if you do invest, you might be buying into BTC right before this bubble pops, and you might lose 90% or more of the money you put in.


Finally, you offer a solution: “Sidestep the bubble entirely, and don’t buy Bitcoin. Mine it instead.”

At this point, you can tie into the ICO, and you’re off to the races.

This is just one possible angle, of about a half-dozen common options, such as winners-vs-losers, or predicting the future.

I won’t list them all out here, but if you’re interested in advertising your ICO in this way, here’s where you can find out more:

John Bejakovic