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Marketing your NFT

Guidance for marketing an NFT
Image of Snoop Dogg wearing Bored Ape Yacht Club merchandise in an interview
© RMIT 2022

NFTs have exploded in popularity and the market landscape has fast become very competitive. In order to stand out from the crowd, NFT projects are increasingly using marketing strategies to garner attention and hype, extend audience reach and engagement, and ultimately boost trading volume and revenue.

It is critically important that a new NFT project gains momentum by selling out or minting all the NFTs in its collection and establishes a good trading volume and stable floor price. Many projects have died in the dark after falling at this first hurdle. As in other markets, sales and marketing go hand in hand so promoting your NFT project is crucial to its success – simply minting an NFT and listing it on a marketplace is unlikely to cut it in such a competitive landscape.

Understanding the target market

The first step in NFT marketing is to understand the target market: is it a broad audience that can be reached through traditional digital marketing or a more niche audience from blockchain and cryptocurrency communities? There is a trade-off at play here – broader markets have depth but are likely to be limited by the novelty of NFTs and a relative lack of familiarity with them, while niche markets of crypto enthusiasts will be smaller but less hesitant to invest in NFTs.

In fact, it is a good idea to consider your target market from the very inception of an NFT project, as it could (and should) influence decisions about artwork style, metadata properties, and other design features. From the outset, more ambitious NFT projects often also release a ‘road map’ for future plans (e.g. new collections, collaborations, airdrops, merchandise, etc.), which again should be formulated with the target market in mind.

NFT Marketplaces

Once the design and direction of the NFT project has been decided, a natural step is to mint the NFTs and list them on a marketplace like Rarible or OpenSea or Nifty Gateway. NFT marketplaces are where existing NFT owners (collectors and fellow creators) can be found, and the more potential buyers you can reach, the better the chance of closing a sale – so it makes sense to list on the major NFT marketplaces. But this is not the only place potential investors can be found and it’s not even the first step you should take in marketing your NFT.

Promoting your NFT

Prior to launch, successful NFT projects create a professional website and establish social media channels. NFT enthusiasts tend to frequent Twitter and Discord, but it’s also worth considering Instagram, Reddit, and Telegram, as well as crypto native social media platforms like Mirror.xyz or NFT Calendar. Social media marketing is used for NFTs in much the same way as it’s used elsewhere, but targeted at slightly different audiences, hashtags, and the like. The extent and popularity of social channels allow you to promote your NFT to large audiences, so get to know the popular social media accounts, lists, and hashtags on crypto Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and develop a social media strategy that works for your target audience.

Reddit is a great platform to promote your NFT project, not just because of how many people use it, but because active NFT investors use it to discover promising NFT projects before they gain popularity (e.g. see r/NFT and r/NFTsMarketplace). Discord is another place where NFT collectors can be reached – in the Discord servers of the NFT projects they’re currently invested in or following, in large public servers that are dedicated to promoting new NFT projects, or in more exclusive, invitation-only investment servers (e.g. some of the larger Discords are OpenSea with 200,000 members and Rarible with 130,000 members).

Building a community

At a minimum, you should have a website, Twitter account, and Discord server – not only for promotion but because without these, potential investors may see a red flag that your project is not credible or a risk of scams such as ‘rug pulling’. Include a description of the NFT project and the inspiration behind it, as well as information on how, when, and where the NFTs can be minted or purchased (e.g. FAQs and step-by-step guides). Publicly releasing a road map and engaging the community through social media not only builds hype for the launch but also builds trust in the longevity of the project. Customers prefer brands that communicate with them and authentic relationships are the key to maintaining loyalty in the highly competitive NFT landscape.

Moreover, much of the perceived value of NFT collections lies in the community that emerges around them, so creating spaces for community dialogue is a savvy marketing strategy. These can be public and open to everyone (e.g. Twitter) or private spaces just for the community of NFT owners. Discord is a particularly popular platform as it can be used in both ways – servers and channels can be left open or require a private invitation or verification that accounts hold an NFT before access is granted (e.g. token-gated channels using community management tools like Collab.Land).

Go to the social media channels of existing NFT projects similar to yours or with similar target audiences to promote your project. For example, Discords often have a channel dedicated to cross-promotion (‘shilling’) that can be a source of early adopters seeking to discover the next big thing. The more experience one has with existing NFT projects, the more likely they are to get involved with yours. Successful new NFT projects co-opt collectors by offering them spots on ‘whitelists’ with access to the NFT mint before it opens publicly. Others run competitions for whitelist spots or NFT giveaways in an attempt to create a viral moment and crowdsource marketing efforts (e.g. post on social media or create a meme and the best engagement gets a whitelist or free mint).

Finally, influencer marketing has become widespread nowadays. Some of the biggest celebrity NFT influencers include Snoop Dogg (who is apparently behind the popular NFT centric Twitter account Cozomo de’ Medici), Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon, Logan Paul, Gary Vee, and Mark Cuban. Consider reaching out to crypto influencers and celebrities with large fan bases that trust their advice, to raise awareness of your NFT project and capture the attention of your target audience.

Image from a fan animation of Jimmy Fallon interviewing Paris Hilton from Twitter

Influencers in the NFT space charge varying amounts depending on their reach, following, and the type of promotion (e.g. Twitter or Instagram post versus full-length video or ongoing endorsement). Typically, payment for their support will take the form of a donation of NFTs from the project or cryptocurrency. There has been some controversy about conflicts of interests when influencers fail to declare that that have received payment or NFT donations, and represent themselves as genuine fans that have invested into a project. So be careful not to undermine the authenticity and organic growth of your NFT community by leaning too heavily on influencers.

© RMIT 2022
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NFTs: A Practical Guide

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