By now you've probably heard of the NFT craze and the lively community promoting the splurge of tokenized JPEGs. The booming market has been turning heads; Some are curious and join the frenzy, others... not so much.
It shouldn't be a surprise that the community has been met with concerns about the functionality of their beloved tokens from the outside world.
Twitter wars are common nowadays with right-click savers on one side of the battlefield and die-hard NFT enthusiasts on the other. In No Mans Land, battles are fought about the relevancy of NFTs, their contribution to scams and Ponzi schemes, and the monetary value they can bring to the artistic field.
Although there are no clear winners when it comes to these hard-fought battles, it sure feels like NFTers are winning the war against their opponents. Growing industry sales volume, waves of new projects emerging from the ashes, and institutional involvement are all clear indicators of what's to come.
I've been on a path to achieve financial freedom from NFTs throughout the past couple of months. And I'm not the only one with the same mind frame. WAGMI isn't a joke for my NFT friends and I.
We live by this motto in the space, and we'll either live off of food stamps or drive a decked-out Lambo. There's no in-between.
All jokes aside, my journey in the sphere has been filled with smiles, laughter, and lessons. I may have taken Ls, but I gain a new appreciation for the industry from each dollar I lose.
All in all, I wouldn't trade the people I met nor the pleasurable experiences for my losses. It sure has been a wild ride, to say the least.
Every day I learn something new, and this makes me a more knowledgeable investor who knows when to ape-in to a project and when to pass. From observing the landscape, I've been able to narrow down the qualities that can make or break a project.
Today I'll be showing you how to build a successful NFT collection. Let's get straight into it.
The formula for success
So as a creator, how can you take the W in the NFT world?
Follow this equation:
Success = Artwork + Utility + Community + Marketing
Now, this is a tried-and-true strategy, and most blue-chips stick with this recipe to obtain the goodies. But there are levels to each component of the equation. What do I mean by this? Well, it's not set in stone. Each function of the equation has its own properties.
Let's start with the artwork.
I would've argued that this is by far the most dignifying part of a collection, but this is just false. Coming into the space, newcomers either dive in with the prospects of wealth or stick to collecting their favourite NFTs because of the artwork.
But if you're a veteran of the space, you'll know an NFT's artwork can look like it's been put together in two minutes while remaining completely unoriginal (aka a copypasta NFT) and it'll still blow the lid off the market.
At the same time though, the dev team can focus solely on the artwork without delegating their time to the other aspects of the project, like marketing, and it'll achieve great heights.
What I'm trying to get at is that you don't have to nail the artwork. You don't have to create something that's never been seen before. But it does help.
Take BAYC for example. They are considered the original ape project, and at the time, it held a unique value proposition seen by no other project in the industry. The art was different and cool. It was a breath of fresh air. Out with 8-bit and in with the apes!
Now we see at least one new ape project trend every single day on Twitter. These are called derivative projects, as they take the BAYC idea and expand and modify the art in their own way. Gaming Ape Club, Teen Ape Gang, Alpha Kongs Club, 0xApes.... the list goes on and on. And I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg here.
There are hundreds of ape projects. The same goes for CryptoPunks, Alien Frens, Invisible Friends, and so on.
Artists can either opt to design a high-quality collection that isn't following any trends, in hopes of becoming first-movers in the space, or they can follow a trend for a much safer bet. Although following a trend won't reap you the same rewards as becoming a first-mover, it is less risky.
In summary: Either spend months refining a high-quality, original artwork for your NFT collection, or nail an artwork that follows a trend. Of course, the safer option is to follow a trend.
Picture this: You just purchased a Wulfz and want to show off your new avatar in The Sandbox. So you hop in, equip your Wulfz, and go to your land to make some changes to your home before your virtual house party.
Once you're done, you want to gamble all of your money in the 'Nino because you're a degen. So you cross to Decentraland, purchase some chips, and proceed to lose all your money. Stay classy.
This is all taking place in the same world. It's all in the metaverse.
Strap in, because this is likely what the future is going to look like, and it's one of the ways NFT leaders are pushing for utility in the token's fundamental design.
One of the hottest debates out there is the value and utility individuals get from purchasing an NFT. The question we're asking ourselves is:
What value do NFTs bring to us?
There are several ways NFTs can suffice our needs. For one, being part of a community is valuable to some people. It fulfills our social needs.
Other examples include your participation in DAOs, airdrops, alpha, launchpads, charity donations and so on.
But as you can tell, none of these utilities provide what we really want: Integration into the metaverse. We want to embody our NFT, as it's a form of self-expression.
Now as I've explored before, NFTs aren't currently at the metaverse stage. You're probably wondering what I mean by this.
What developers deem as "the metaverse" has yet to fulfill the concept of the metaverse. Quite simply, it's just a game with separate servers in which you can purchase land. We've seen this before with popular MMOs and the likes.
What's more, is that a game developed by one studio can't be intertwined with another game made by another studio.
So if there's still no interoperability in the metaverse, then how can NFTs bring utility in such virtual worlds? The utility that comes from owning an NFT and using it in Decentraland is.... having a portrait in your virtual house of an artwork that only you can own. Boring.
Even if you can equip NFT wearables on your Decentraland avatar, you can only show it to a handful of users on the same server. Boring x2.
The previous example is what the industry is aiming for. Albeit, we have to be realistic. It's good to go out and touch some grass once in a while to gain a new perspective on the subject.
At the moment, there is no NFT utility in worlds like Decentraland and The Sandbox. I'd say that the utility we seek as gamers, tech-nerds, and developers, isn't where we want it to be.
We can't equip our NFT and feel like we're walking around as our avatar. In fact, if we don't see metaverse initiatives evolve, then we'll never reach this dream of practical NFT usage in virtual worlds.
The good news is early NFT investors aren't expecting a metaverse integration yet. But they do want to see utility in one shape or another. I mentioned a couple of methods blue-chips have tackled to bring investors utility, but utility comes in all shapes and sizes.
I would recommend you build a project that already comes with utility upon mint. Instead of making promises and hoping for the best, give your holders actionable and real-time value. Remember: Actions speak louder than words.
And the utility doesn't have to entail a bundle of valuable things. You can just focus your energy on one.
Alien Frens is a perfect example of this. They focused on ONE aspect of utility: Social connection. As a result, the team formed one of the most supportive, positive, and tight-knit communities ever seen. Some people bought into Alien Frens to become a part of the uplifting community.
Weed out one or two valuable aspects of your project.
Make sure it's polished and refined upon mint.
Build on it. Make it better over time.
Aim for other forms of utility as well, but really hone in on one or two versions of your project's utility at first.
You can have the most beautiful, picturesque, 1/1 NFTsever seen, but without a strong community backing the project, your NFT will never see the light of day.
Think of building NFT projects as crowdfunding. You need to intrigue potential investors via your artwork, marketing, and utility. But once you've got their foot in the door, you also need to get them in the house and shut the door behind them (politely of course, as they're your guest). You need their financial support to succeed.
So now we know a community provides funding for your project, but it also comes with a range of other valuable materials. That's right! Community members provide free word-of-mouth marketing (which is hands down the best form of marketing), user-generated content (UGC), hype, and long-lasting support.
Wait. Let me go back. A strong and tight-knit community accomplishes all of the above. You can have over 100k followers on Twitter and 150k Discord members, but if all the members are bots, inactive, or there for a pump &dump, then say goodbye to your NFT dreams.
I've seen projects fail with thousands upon thousands of followers. But on the other hand, I've witnessed projects with 1k Discord members pump then consolidate way above their mint price.
Okay, so how do you build a strong community?
Like everything in the NFT space, there are various methods to succeed in this:
- A closed Discord
- Intriguing whitelist requirements
- Access to tools like free alpha and collab giveaways
- A special label for community members (Frens, Dracos, Gang, Apes, you name it. Whatever works best with your art)
- GIFs, Emojis, and special commands that relate to your art
- Fun games in a channel (Maybe add a casino or a fun game everyone can play)
- Special events with the community (Movie night)
- Mods, and even more mods
- Dev team chatting with community members, answering questions
- Good vibes
- Continued hype
- Recognition of early adopters and die-hard supporters
And the list goes on and on. I found that the best way to build a community is to make your Discord members feel special. You want them to feel like they're accessing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Give them a good time and they'll leave with a positive impression.
All of the points listed above are highly encouraged. The only point that you may want to skip out on is the closed Discord since it makes it less accessible for 9-5 workers/full-timers.
I found that closing your Discord early and releasing spots once in a while helps build commitment within your members. Why? They have to spend more time and get more creative to enter your exclusive community. Then, once they're in, it feels like they FINALLY made it.
I want to delve a bit deeper into whitelist requirements, as I've seen projects doing it all wrong.
Just like community-building, there are numerous WL requirements you experiment with to build a core group of adopters:
- Ranking up in Discord
- Inviting friends to the Discord
- Hand-picking active and helpful members
- Raffles and giveaways
- Games (my favourite)
- Acknowledging artistry (Fan art, music, poetry, and such)
The first two points are the most popular. After all, it's a question of opportunity cost for the consumer. As they spend more time chatting with others and racking up invites, they're more emotionally and mentally invested in the project without knowing it.
But many are turned off by this method. Most coin it as "grinding," as you often have surface-level chats with others in the same position, and you never really get to know your project's brothers and sisters.
I'd always recommend you offer whitelist positions via giveaways, raffles, collabs, and fan submissions. I'll talk more about the first three later because it's a great way to gain exposure in the Twitter space.
My favourite projects are often hand-picking WL members and building fun and interactive games to play for WL. I'll give you an example of two projects that nailed this aspect.
To get a whitelist spot for Turtle Town, you have to fish for a turtle. The mechanics are pretty rudimentary:
- Type the /fish command for a minimum of every 5 minutes
- Once you get 4 points, go to the store and /buy bait. This will increase your chances of catching a turtle by 5%
- Continue fishing and you'll land a turtle eventually. Make sure you read the descriptions of the fish you catch as they all have their own unique personalities!
- If you're active and cheerful, other members can gift you a turtle if you haven't caught one. Incentivizes building a tight-knit community!
Next, we have Dracoverse. One of the ways you can get WL here is by getting income through:
- $work, $slut, $crime, and $rob. $work guarantees income, while the other three are up to RNG. You could $rob someone who hasn't deposited their money, but that isn't nice!
- Roll the dice at the casino. Here you can try your luck at blackjack, roulette, and some other classics.
Once you have 10k coins, you get a free WL.
Donating to other players is another mechanic that is crucial for inspiring friendships and a close community. Players can reward Draco money to un-WL members for their participation in the Discord.
Marketing is an essential tool for reaching your desired target market. Without promoting your project to the right group of people, or failing at grasping the concept of targeted advertisements and organic engagement, your project won't succeed.
Marketing is used to build hype in the NFT world. You want people to be ecstatic about your project. But you also want to make sure that the hype you build is organic. Say no to bots!
How can one achieve an effective marketing plan?
Follow these steps:
- Establish a mission. Where do you see your project over the long run (and I'm talking about years ahead)?
- Don't just create. Build. The difference is that creating involves fulfilling one step (like creating the art), whereas building is a long-term approach.
- Be passionate about what you're building. If it doesn't align with your likes and values, then the project won't succeed over time. A strong leader shows they're in it for the long haul. A strong leader is the face of their business.
- Find your target market. Is it cartoon-lovers? Pokemon fans? Young women? The more niche, the better.
- Follow an organic marketing plan. This is where you can differentiate your approach. You've seen how most projects do it: Create a Twitter, conduct giveaways offering ETH or WL spots, promote tagging and genuine comments, etc. This is a fantastic approach, but try to switch it up!
- You can host fun games where people have to solve a puzzle or riddle to enter the Discord (Some projects broke Twitter using this method)
- If you focus on building a niche community, promote the content you and your niche love. If they like cereal, ask them what kind of cereal they stan.
- Tweet your artwork
- Reveal the utility your project delivers
- Target popular influencers in the space, get their badge of approval
- Host giveaways for other projects, and get them to do the same with you. I've seen projects establish solid relationships with similar artwork, and this could help bring like-minded individuals into your community!
- Promote UGC and reward those who've helped you tremendously. Twitter threads, fan submissions, mentions... these are all forms of UGC that aid in your cause.
- Don't ever stop marketing. Remember, it's all about hype, and if the hype dies off, it might take a miracle to make a comeback.
The two main takeaways about marketing in the NFT world are that there's always a fresh take on the organic engagement approach. The sky is truly the limit.
Also, building a smaller community of members with similar interests will beat a large community of pump & dumpers who could care less about the well-being of your baby. This stuff takes time, so don't worry if you don't reach the golden number of 10k Twitter followers in the first, second, or third month.
I'd much rather see a 1k page with dozens of comments under each tweet than a 10k page with a handful of botty replies. This is what experts look for in long-term projects.
I hope this helps guide you in your NFT journey. Remember, it's all about building, not creating. People will notice if you put your heart and soul into your creation. The NFTs I still support to this very day are the ones with active dev teams that I've spoken to, given feedback to, and put my confidence in their hands.
We're still early adopters of NFTs, so don't be disheartened if takes longer than anticipated to build a one-of-a-kind project. Just make sure that you don't hop on the trend too late if you choose this route.
As always, WAGMI frens 🥂
I am not a financial advisor. Please do your own due diligence before making a decision based on my article, as I am not responsible or liable for your investment decisions.
Originally posted on read.cash.