Marketing teams that have been reading all of the “NFTs are Dead” articles in the news these days might be scrapping their previously-planned non-fungible token releases—some probably should, and some definitely should. Much more on that in a bit. But for the right play, releasing NFTs—even in the current crypto winter—can be a highly successful gamechanger. For those select plays, we’ll look at a slew of best practices to ensure your project reaches its goals.
22 billion dollars was spent on NFTs last year, and despite current market volatility, that kind of traction is not going away anytime soon. For every big name brand that crashed and burned with a half-baked entry into Web3, there’s an innovative startup out there prepared to reap the rewards from selling digital tokens and collectibles.
Business owners should view the current cooling of NFT sales as more a case of users becoming more selective–rather than completely dismissing this powerful concept. The truth is, humans love the idea of owning rare collectibles—any OG collector who still has their Topps baseball cards can confirm. Also, NFTs offer a unique way to connect a wide audience to worthy causes–more on that below.
As the CEO of a company leveraging Web3 (my metaverse for live, free, veteran mental health will drop in late Q3) and as someone who has personally launched and purchased many NFTs, I’m convinced that there is no reason that the right NFT project can’t still be successful. However, the days of riding a hype wave and hoping for the best have been replaced by sound strategy, consistent engagement, and community service. In fact, there’s practically a blueprint to crafting a successful NFT launch.
Here are the five things businesses should do before even thinking about dropping an NFT in today’s market:
- Identify and involve your audience(s) first. Some people buy NFTs to hold as an investment strategy and have little to no contact with the founders– and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the users who believe in what you’re building and join your NFT community because they want to support what you represent are even better. Projects should be more than just “fun” right now—the best NFTs are tied to obvious, defensible, real-world utility of some kind. If your project doesn’t fit the bill, it might still be a good idea, but it’s probably wrong for this crypto winter moment. If you’re offering real value, build an army of influencers and brand ambassadors who can share your message early and often—involving them as much as possible in your pre-launch events will increase the chance of success.
- Educate yourself and the public. While NFTs use new technology, they are still collectibles. Anyone planning to drop an NFT should not only study up on Web3 best practices for delivery and security, but also develop an understanding of how legacy collectibles, such as baseball cards, were carefully crafted to maximize collector value. The public needs to be educated on why you’re launching an NFT, what the benefits of joining the community are, and potential investors may need step-by-step tutorials and extra help learning how to acquire it. Making and sharing short videos is an excellent way to accomplish many of these objectives.
- Remove the barriers to buying. Here’s an example from the personal banking industry: picture a bank that allows secure, convenient online transactions and uses technology effectively to keep their customers informed of any and all pertinent information. Now, imagine a different bank that still relies on wasteful snail mail, makes customers wait in long lines to execute simple transactions and seems relatively lost when it comes to using technology–which one are you going to trust with your money? It’s not enough to design an eye-popping NFT series, your product must prioritize security and offer an exceptional user experience that investors can’t stop raving about. Don’t forget to include merchandise (shirts, hats, etc.). Your Web2 audience who may have no interest in—or baseline knowledge for—buying the NFTs, may still want other ways to support your project in the ways that are the most accessible for them.
- Discover what makes your brand unique and use NFTs to amplify that. NFTs require creativity. They are a visual medium. Attention favors the bold and original. To stand out from the apes and other pixels out there, assemble an experienced team that can not only develop killer functionality and graphics, but also introduce your NFT to the market in fresh and exciting ways.
- Never underestimate the power of the pre-launch. If an NFTs pre-launch strategy isn’t thorough and well-planned, you’re just going to be burning a lot of gas for little results. Pre-launch is the perfect time to clean your house. Google your business, update your website, get some traditional press going, and make sure any additional traffic an NFT drop brings will reveal the best of your brand. If your engagement time is limited, focus on getting the word out and growing your user base on Discord and Twitter first. A quick internet search will reveal all of the hashtags you should be using. Get social, share the stories behind your NFT, educate the public (back to #2), and let people get to know the people behind the token. If you haven’t hosted several full and active Twitter Spaces prior to launch–you’re not ready to drop.
The NFT market is showing some growing pains right now, but the potential of this concept is still in its infancy. I believe the most impactful, perhaps even world changing, NFT projects haven’t even come out yet. While the current NFT reset weeds out the scammers and digital hucksters, stay focused on your goals and don’t be afraid to drop an NFT in a bear market. As the Roman phrase often recalled by today’s military commanders and startup founders states, “Fortune favors the bold.” If you believe in what your business is doing and are in it for the right reasons, NFTs can be a powerful, long-term community-building tool.