- 🌻 About This Playbook
- 🌐 The New World of Web3
- 🧠 Collector’s Psychology
- The Core Elements
- 🎨 Art
- 👩💻 Tech
- 📈 Economics
- 🦹♀️ Scams and Spams
- 👯 Team
- 🗺️ Roadmap & Utility
- Launch Ready
- 🚀 Launch & Distribution
- 🐦 Twitter & Social Media
- 👾 Discord
- 👨👨👧👧 Growth: Part I
- 👩👩👧👧 Growth: Part II
- 👨👨👦👦 Engagement: Part I
- 👩👩👦👦 Engagement: Part II
- 👍 Closing Remarks
🌻 About This Playbook
NFTs are all the rage right now, but we’re early and it’s still tough to launch & maintain a quality project, especially now, given the saturation of the market.
This playbook offers inspiration, tips, a guide and best practices for NFT project leaders to de-risk their projects to long-term success.
The insights are drawn from real experience. The team interviewed & worked behind-the-scenes with mods, community managers, and founders of projects that continue to be very successful, and ones that can see more success.
Our goal for this, ultimately, is to inspire, grow, and give back to the early, and developing NFT ecosystem. We believe in its future and want to see more NFT projects, the right & well-intentioned ones, succeed in the long-term.
This is aimed towards NFT project founders who:
- Want to see their project succeed in the long-term, not for any immediate cash grab or rug
- Want to build a solid community of believers, invested in the project, not merely in the ability to flip and make money
- Care deeply about the community they create
- Get excited with experimentation — the practices and tips here are to help inspire more experiments and new things to drive your project’s success
- Are primarily launching generative NFT collections
This could be but is not necessarily for:
- NFT projects as well as DAO leaders, crypto companies and other web3 communities
- Creators launching 1/1s NFTs or NFTs as art
This is not for:
- Short-term projects that want to scam money off of their members
- Projects looking to find a silver bullet into quality growth — there isn’t one and if there were, they’re probably unsustainable promotions that won’t attract the right people you need to succeed in the long-term
The team has talked to and engaged with a whole host of NFT projects — with varying degrees of success, supply sizes, launch mechanics, roadmaps and more!
We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We want this first-of-its-kind playbook for NFT collections to empower projects of various sizes, shapes and colors everywhere, see long-term success.
We’re thankful for these project partners, and for more to come!
One last: CAVEATS GALORE!
- Always DYOR. I’m hoping this gives you the foundation to do your research thoroughly, for what’s best for you and your project.
- Not Financial Advice. Since NFT projects are tied to finances, worth mentioning that none of this is financial advice.
- Guides, Not Rules. None of the below are hard or fast rules, just guiding principles to follow given insights from those who’ve done it before.
- Things Change Quickly. This guide was launched around @February 14, 2022 and is updated periodically, depending on tier. Keep that mind.
- Open to Feedback. We’re very much open to receiving all types of feedback, typos, suggestions, more case studies or otherwise. Send an email to email@example.com
Other than that, happy reading!
🌐 The New World of Web3
- Communities are more invested. Because members are economically tied from the start, and your project is a “public company” from the very beginning, your members want to see the success of the project they buy into. At the same time, they’re more demanding! They want to see that the leaders 1) haven’t left the project; 2) can be trusted on this project’s long-term future; 3) take their feedback to feed into growth. Set those expectations, and understand that you won’t please everyone.
- Web3 doesn’t sleep. That means, sometimes, you might not sleep, too. Projects have to cater to the fact that crypto markets are on 24/7, 7 days a week.
- Web3 is more global. “Expanding internationally” is a priority made down the line for web2 companies or communities. In web3, everyone is already coming from all over the world! Internationalization, channels with country-specific vernacular & other global priorities come to the forefront earlier.
- Web3 moves in insane speeds. A consequence of a no-sleep web3 world is that it moves at lightning fast speeds. Because we’re so early, the world is greenfield & prime for innovation. Many people are experimenting and pushing the frontiers of what’s possible every day.
- Meme-ing is the name of the game. Some of the best projects are the most meme-able ones. Crypto consumes it and increases the virality of any one project given its laugh-ability and share-ability. The “Meme Factor” so to say. Best to find a “Meme Intern” join your project early!
- Non-Zero-Sum. What web2 might see as competition, web3 sees as an opportunity for collaboration. In the NFT world, you might have a project that looks and feels similar to another project. You put on your angry face & think “ah! am I going to compete with them?” In reality, these similarities are causes for celebration! It’s an opportunity to partner with that project to share audiences and bring each other’s projects to life! WAGMI.
Alas, the paradox of a web3 playbook: A playbook is meant to tell you what’s common as an antidote for success.
But one of the success factors in web3 is experimenting and finding the unique things that make your project special in the market! A playbook sounds counter to that!
However, there are ways to de-risk your project or shortcut some of the learnings and mistakes existing NFT projects have already made. That’s what this playbook will aim to do.
That isn’t an excuse to try new things — balance the tips here with experimentation to 1) spice up your project; 2) create unique elements for your project and; 3) build on the vast possibilities of the ecosystem!
To wrap this up, here’s some inspiration as you brainstorm on your NFT project:
NFT projects are all the rage right now, but let’s understand the flipside: it’s tough! It takes a labor of lover for something that may not pan out as expected. You launch and you’re a “public company” with a price tag, sometimes uncorrelated to the value you provide. Be in it for the right reasons.
A couple more reminders from current NFT project founders:
- Good things take time. Many NFT founders have said “it took much more time than I thought!” Writing smart contracts, curating a quality community, creating good art — these all take time! Even when you launch, if you’re here for the long-term, there’s a ton of work involved. It’ll also take at least 2 months to launch a quailty project with the right team; be ready. Make sure you’re able to put enough time into your NFT baby — your community will thank you for it.
- Get ready for all types of personas. Because web3 communities have financial ties from the very start, members are more emotional and demanding. Stay aware of this, don’t take things too personally and keep a thick skin.
- Don’t rush. Web3 moves at insane speeds, and it gets hard to keep up. But, good things take time to build and quality is better to prioritize than speed.
- Long-term > short-term. Remind yourself this, especially when your floor price is not as high as you’d like.
- Stick to your vision. Remember what you launched and started this project for.
- Take breaks, don’t burnout. Given web3 never sleeps, you’ll feel the constant need to keep pushing through, and staying up 24/7, too. Don’t burn yourself out! It’s ok to take the space to breath.
- Have fun! No explanation needed.
At the core of it, while there are differences between Web2 vs Web3 companies, certain business fundamentals still need to hold. Before even executing on your NFT project (or as added reflection if you already have), you want to make sure you answer the following questions, and let your strategy and tactics flow from the answers.
- The Vision: Why?
- Why are you working on this? What fuels you and your team to keep going when times get rough?
- What are you working towards? What’s the end outcome?
- What steps are necessary to achieve this vision? Is it really launching an NFT project?
- Target Audience: Who (is this for)?
- Who do you want to attract?
- What vibes do they want and how can you create those vibes in your early community?
- What are your target audience’s motivations?
- What “collector persona” do they fall under (below)?
- Where are they hanging around? (Market there)
- Are they crypto-native or newcomers? (Cater your design, language, and tactics dependent on this question)
- The Project Itself: What?
- What are some similar projects to yours? (Consider partnering with them or finding your target persona there)
- What makes your project different and unique? (Be honest with yourself on this)
- What type of project do you have? (e.g. Profile picture, art, utility — your strategy will be different dependent on this)
- The Team: Who (are you)?
- Who’s on your team today? What are the unique advantages within your team that you should leverage? (Connections, clout, tech expertise, etc.)
- Who’s not on your team today that you need?
The “how” of your strategy should trickle out from these questions. The content below should help you craft that strategy and give you principles in decision making as you go.
Without further ado... let’s get to it. 👇
🧠 Collector’s Psychology
Know your users. 🙂 That’s it. That’s the tweet.
NFT Collector How-To’s
NFTs/Web3 for Beginners
NFT Influencers on Twitter (mostly Ethereum)
NFT Issuance Landscape
Where to go for a specific type of NFT project?
The Core Elements
Art is a subjective topic! There’s no right or wrong here, but here are some things or principles to keep in mind.
- Distinctive Style is Key. Someone needs to look at your project and go “yup, it’s that project!”
- Emotional Resonance is Key. Create art that people genuinely want to show off (if a pfp project, create art that people want to use as a pfp!) Best gauge for this: testing prototypes and teasers on Twitter or with your early community. Even if your art seems good, if no one likes it, then it might be good to make changes.
- Differentiation per NFT. You want each individual NFT to look different than the next one, otherwise there’s no core differentiation and “rarities” don’t end up mattering.
- The critique of with some projects is that, while the art was well-crafted, each NFT looks like a copy of another, just with slightly different tweaking. It’s then fairly hard to identify with the the NFT itself, and rare NFTs don’t look as rare.
If you’re interested in a community of other NFT artists, check out Mycoverse.xyz , an NFT project geared towards onboarding the next million NFT artists.
A few more resources to give a taste on the behind the scenes of crypto collectibles art:
NFTs - An Artist's Tutorial On How To Make Money With Crypto Art
Did you look for information about #NFT #cryptoart, and all you got was a lot of technobabble or the information didn't give you any context from the perspec...
Revealing How Million Dollar NFTs Were Made | Learn the Tools Behind the Art
SUBSCRIBE if you haven't already! ► https://www.youtube.com/user/DualGlocks▶25% LIMITED TIME SALE: https://mediamonopoly.co/creator-gear-Interested in me edi...
Cool Cats Tutorial: Creating a Character & Layering System for NFTs
Tutorial aimed at Artists/Creatives looking to make a layering system for a generative NFT project from scratch!Let me know what else you want to learn in th...
The answer to the question is entirely dependent on 1) the type of project you have and; 2) personal choice/advantages. For example:
- If your project is a game, you might consider faster transactions and lower gas fees so users aren’t deterred from playing — Ethereum is likely not the best choice.
- If you have friends in the Ethereum ecosystem who are also already launching NFT projects you can easily partner with, it might be to your advantage to go on Ethereum.
- If your project involves being friendly to artists, you might want to consider blockchains that have a more environmentally friendly retail narrative.
The below is a high level overview of some other things to consider.
Based on volume, Ethereum has the largest volume and ecosystem of NFTs (see below). Below we compare two other blockchains with Ethereum: Solana and Polygon.
High retail concerns over env’t impact (may affect launch depending on your target audience)
- Typically write up your own smart contract - EVM compatible
Low (0.000005 SOL < 1 cent)
Early - Medium maturity
- Most use Metaplex (Candy Machine)
Low (50 - 150 gwei or < 1 cent)
- Layer 2 & EVM compatible (meaning can switch to other EVM compatible chains like ETH)
Here’s an excellent article that gives an overview of other blockchains like Flow, Wax etc.
Top Ten Blockchains Used in NFT Development
Remember getting lost amidst the variety of chocolate bars on the supermarket shelves? You'll experience the same when choosing a blockchain for your NFT project. But put panic aside - we have you covered. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been the talk of the town, and it seems that everyone has at least basic knowledge of the current trend.
We talk at a high-level on different options to consider when making decisions on the technical front.
If you want to go much deeper, here are more resources and communities to get your started:
If you’re a developer that has yet to learn blockchain or NFT development, there are many opportunities to learn. Here are some resources and communities to join:
Web3 & Crypto Fundamentals
- Ethereum Whitepaper
- MakerDAO Whitepaper
- UniSwap Whitepaper
- The Internet of Money
- The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum
Web Development Foundations
- Web Development Roadmaps
- W3 Schools
- Traversy Media
- CS50 Lectures 2021
- Escape Tutorial Hell & Utilize Them In A Better Way
- The most important advice for learning
- Web3 Blockchain Fundamentals
- Blockchain Technology Explained
- Blockchain Fundamentals Fall 2021 by UC Berkeley
Designing Effective Launches and Gas Optimization
- CryptoFin's Solidity Auditing Checklist
- A Guide to Designing Effective NFT Launches (Paradigm)
- Introducing ERC721A: An Improved ERC721 implementation
- Defining the web3 stack
- The Complete Guide to Full Stack Web3 Development
- Building a Full Stack NFT Marketplace on Ethereum with Polygon
- The Complete Guide to Full Stack Solana Development with React, Anchor, Rust, and Phantom
- What I learned from building Cool Cats NFT
- How Much Does It Cost To Deploy an NFT Project on Ethereum
How do you determine the price?
Obviously, there’s no right numerical answer here, but the general economic principles of supply and demand hold true.
The higher the demand, compared to supply, the higher the price and vice versa.
Some guiding principles when thinking about economics:
- The Goal: Sellout. If that means going hard on demand or lowering supply, that is the goal for your launch (but also, just the beginning for your entire project). It doesn’t have to be selling out on the first day or first few minutes: but selling out nonetheless.
- 10k Supply = High. Generally 10,000 supply is now considered rather high. Unless you’re extremely confident of selling out and/or ok with taking a while before it does, you might consider lowering the supply of mint. If you don’t “sellout” even if it takes a while, long-term it may hurt the project.
- Once it’s out, it’s out. You can’t retract a “10k supply” announcement once it’s out in the wild, as you lose trust. If you end up lowering the supply, it shows that the demand isn’t there and might perpetuate lowering your supply further. Be sure you choose one number and stick to it once you’ve announced.
- Work Backwards from a Total Goal. You might consider first thinking about how much you need to raise. Figure out how much you want to be raising for your project that will (ideally) fuel its long-term success or best support the institutions you promise to support (e.g. charities, foundations, future projects etc.) From there, it's easier to work backwards from this goal number to determine a rough tops-down pricing and supply number.
- Price Cheaper for Earlier Launches. You want to get your early believers to talk about your project — price cheaper for pre-launches or earlier waves.
- Don’t Be Too Greedy. It’s easy to want to have a high supply because it gives a higher return up front, but is also harder to achieve long-term success. The goal should be to maximize long-term success rather than initial revenues.
A couple comments on floor prices:
- You’re a Public Company from Day #1. Unlike startups or other companies, NFT projects are effectively public companies from day #1, with floor price fluctuating similar to stock prices of IPO’ed companies. It’s more emotionally taxing. Don’t let it get to you. Keep doing what’s right for your members and the long-term.
- Floor Price ≠ Value. When floor prices are low, it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t providing value to your members. The flip holds, too. The floor price is the perception of what speculators think your project is worth, which means creating the right value and making it known. Breaking it down:
- Identifying Value - are you choosing the right tactics that benefit current and future members?
- Creating Value - are you executing on value you provide?
- Communicating Value - are you making this known to current and potential members?
🦹♀️ Scams and Spams
Scams and spams are not a phenomenon specific to web3. In the first era of the internet, there was email!
But, scams and spams do feel more prevalent and widespread because there is so much money to be made in crypto, there’s a lot of newcomers to take advantage of and it’s easier to “get away with” because of the anonymous nature of crypto.
Now, if you’re reading this project, I hope and trust that you yourself are NOT a scammer or rug pull. So this section is geared towards how to ensure that you protect your members so that they are shielded from scams.
Now that we know the depressing state of scams in web3, we should do right by our community members and protect them. Here are some tactical ways to do that:
- Reminder of Rules for Staying Safe. Remind them of these rules:
- Never type your seed phrase (you will always have to initiate this; wallets or support will never ask for your seed phrase, ever)
- Use a hardware wallet
- Check the URL, make sure it isn’t a malicious-looking website
- Watch what you sign
More info in this thread here.
Here’s one template from our friends at Magnum Opus that you can easily copy paste and customize for your own channel.
TIPS TO STAY SAFE & AVOID SCAMS/SPAMS
We want this space to be a welcoming one for OGs and newcomers! Here are some tips to stay safe, avoid scams and keep your wallets at bay.
❌ Don't click on any links via DMs. Even if it says it's a "BOT" of a project and especially if it says there are special mints just for you -- it's likely a scam.
🖇️ Use official project links only. Projects will usually have an official links channel on their Discord (like ours!) or links on their website. Only click those official links.
💬 Consider blocking DMs from certain servers. Sometimes, you want to accept DMs and if you're like me, you might want to keep it on. But consider closing it off if you'd rather not get spammed.
🤫 Report spams. If you do get spams, report immediately and block -- this will help prevent future spams from the address for you or for others.
- Refrain from giving admin rights to bots if it can perform its function without admin rights.
- Disable Webhooks on your Discord server. This was how Fractal’s Discord was compromised (and thankfully was handled very well by the Fractal team.)
- Don’t use bots you can’t vet or that are relatively new.
- People matter most. On this post, Zeneca emphasizes how he (and how many collectors) decide on what projects to choose. The gist: Team. Community. Team. Community.
- Show that you’re a team worth betting on! I’ve seen projects not show the team on their website at all. Big no-no. If you were one of the OG Punks or BAYC that could fly, but there are now so many projects and historically many rugs. You need to communicate trust. At the minimum, the team should be shown on the website, with credentials that point to the credibility of the founders (doxxed or not).
- Share stories. To take it a step further: You might even consider revealing the why’s behind the project and stories of the founders to exemplify why they are committed to the project’s mission. People latch onto stories (that’s why lore around NFTs works so well!) They’ll care about the stories of the founders, too.
At the very minimum, each team needs:
- An artist. Naturally in charge of creating the art and major creative decisions for the project. To note: you might consider creating art components outside of the generative NFT attributes themselves (e.g. rare 1 of 1’s, influencer NFTs, visuals to showcase the project), so leave scope and time for that.
- An engineer. In charge of springing up the smart contracts, putting together all the generative art, setting up the website and mint pages, and all things tech!
- A community lead. In charge of all things in relation to the community including marketing, partnerships, growth, communications, etc.
Everyone a team. While each teammate has general roles, you are a team together and a lot of things will require constant communication with one another.
Mods over time. Over time, this team will usually grow to include mods for the Discord if management becomes unbearable.
🗺️ Roadmap & Utility
If you do offer a roadmap, here are some things to consider:
- No empty promises. Only offer roadmap capabilities you can actually deliver on, not just slapping it on for the sake of it.
- Alignment with vision. At the end of the day, the roadmap is to show the grander vision the team is building against. Align your roadmap to the overall goal of your NFT project.
- Consider: Co-created roadmap. Acknowledge & explicitly call out that that you want the future of the roadmap to eventually be determined by current holders, as the benefit of buying! If they understand the value of the art, team, community and vibes in the long-term, they’ll be excited to participate in its future.
- Instead of concrete phases of a roadmap, consider how the community will be involved and feed into the future of the project (communicate the longevity of the NFT), as a way to portray community-led involvement.
🚀 Launch & Distribution
We forget, but the first few NFTs were just put out there, no “pre-sale”, with very slow buys and for free! (e.g. Cryptopunks!)
Today, there are several distribution mechanics out there but they can generally divided into 4 themes.
Choose the mechanism that best fits your project.
1) Typical: Pre-sale + Sale within 24 hours of pre-sale
- ex. World of Women, Ninja Squad, most every other project
Pros: Less risky because tried and true
- All eggs in one launch (something could go wrong, making the entire launch go wrong).
- Relies a lot on hype to get fairly successful.
- Much harder to sell out
2) Longer Buffer: Community Pre-Sale + Sale a couple days after pre-sale
- ex. Crypto Coven, Solsisters, Curious Addy’s
- Offer early believers the chance to help build hype for the project
- Guarantee some sales with a smaller pool
- See if project resonates earlier on
- Less typical, but getting more popular
- Relies heavily on the initial community you built to make sure there’s enough word of mouth and eyeballs on the day of mint
3) Frequent Waves: Launch a small supply every week or so, increasing the price every launch
- ex. TR Labs, SOL Neighborhood
- Build hype every launch while growing and rewarding your set of early believers
- Incentivize people to get in earlier
- Get feedback from your early community and see if the project resonates earlier on
- Launch your project and deliver on your roadmap, to prove your credibility to execute
- More time spent every launch, building, marketing and setting up the variables for a successful launch
- New potential collectors will rely heavily on the success of previous launches to determine if it’s worth buying for a future one
4) Frequent Auctions: launching a small supply of total collection consistently
- ex. Nouns DAO, Wizards DAO
Pros: Builds good FOMO for every bid or auction
- You might have to consider marketing everyday if the hype and growth isn’t organic enough to sustain auction bids.
- Need to program in the auction bids as well, and is more effort, since it’s atypical of existing off the shelf solutions.
🐦 Twitter & Social Media
Twitter has become the native crypto platform. If you want to ever get any project out successfully, leverage Twitter.
When it comes to social media your strategy shouldn’t be completely focused on building FOMO and hype.
Consider it as a channel that is at the top of funnel to project what you stand for. Create useful content that eventually attracts interested people who actually care about your community. If you focus too much on building hype you will end up attracting people who only care about quick gains.
Here are some reasons why Twitter is great:
- New! Hexagonal NFT Profile Pictures. Native profile picture integration of your NFTs.
- Network effects. “Crypto Twitter” has amassed an unbeatable and strong following of NFT and crypto thought leaders, investors, enthusiasts and newcomers.
- Personal. You can also build a brand on Twitter that is highly personal or you. It’s not too professional like Linkedin or hyper-inflated like Instagram.
- Humor. Twitter is more forgiving to humor, which feeds into the meme-y culture of web3.
- Several Content Options. Twitter has several content options (unlike Youtube for videos or Instagram for photos). You can add text only, videos, photos, long threads.
- Virality. The Twitter algorithm is present and news-centric. It doesn’t resurface old posts unlike Youtube. If the Twitter algorithm picks up your tweet, you can gain 1000s of followers in a few hours.
- Spaces - Doing Twitter spaces regularly is a great way to build your Twitter audience and well as engage your community. It’s a great way to talk about your project, with your members hearing the voice behind the project, as well as grow your community.
- Bio/Profile Links - Your bio should be sweet and simple in a way that also captures your vision. Pre-launch: link your website. Growth: link your Discord. You can also consider using a link-in-bio platform like Linktree.
- Pinned Tweet - Introduce your project, and share your story at length. You can change it as needed depending on the phase of your project, making sure it gives a good first impression of your project.
- Retweet - Especially retweet your community members. It encourages your members to create and tweet, as well as creates buzz and engagement.
- Twitter Giveaways - giveaway tweets that offer pre-sale spots of free NFTs, if picked up by the algorithm, can grow your project tenfold!
- Threads - Writing good threads is a superpower and can really power the growth of your community. You can talk about:
- The behind the scenes on the tech of your project
- How your art was generated
- Stories behind the team
- Highlights around the industry your project’s in
- “Thought leadership” about the vision of your project
- More inspiration under “Content Tactics & Ideas”...
- Lists - Two ways you can leverage lists:
- List of your members so your members can follow other members and support one another.
- List of those contributing significantly to your project — follow, like and engage with them.
- DM thought leaders who resonate with your brand and can benefit from being associated with your project
- DM other projects with similar missions or vibes — chances are higher so your shared audience lifts the boat for both projects
Some suggestions for who to reach out to:
Discord has now become the go to platform for hosting communities in Web3.
- Robust management features.
- Robust engagement features.
- Programmable bots & APIs.
Discord makes managing community at scale pretty easy because of it features like Server timeout, slow mode, and many more.
Discord also supports retention and distribution of your community as you can keep the community updated through your announcement channels and interact with them through voice in voice channels or in a Clubhouse format by using Stage Channels.
- You want to play music in an event: Probot and Hydra.
- You want to record a townhall: Craig.
- You want to have token or NFT gated channels: Collab.Land or Grape.
- You want to welcome people automatically: MEE6
- Discord APIs are great so if you want you can also build an excellent custom bot for your community.
Now, while Discord is the defacto and go-to for communities in web3, it’s not necessary to launch a successful project! I’m interested in seeing more ways NFT projects build community, without Discords. Some examples in the thread below.
If you want to go the extra mile, help your members navigate and use Discord.
You can reference these two resources to help them get acquainted with Discord:
👨👨👧👧 Growth: Part I
When should you start growing your Discord and community?
Rough ballpark might be 4-6 weeks prior to launch. But, really, there’s no one right answer to this. Instead, what might be most helpful is having a couple guiding principles to keep in mind.
Note: “Launch” = putting your Discord and socials out there. “Hype/grow” = getting influencers to tweet, announcing big stuff, doing invite contests or giveaways, etc.
- The Shorter <> Longer Timeframe Spectrum. The shorter time you have from the time you launch your community to launching your NFT, the more you rely on hype, which attracts a large quantity but not quality of members quickly. The longer the time, the less you rely on hype and the more you rely on organic growth which attracts quality of members, not quantity and much more slower. Organic growth takes time but taking that path initially helps you to setup a very strong base for the community
- Consider launching the community (not hyping) before you have everything figured out. This gives you an opportunity to get feedback from your earliest believers (as you’ll see later) and get them invested in the creation of the project early on.
- Don’t hype and grow before you’ve identified early believers. Your early believers will help sustain the momentum in the community, so that when more people come in, there’s solid activity that exists.
- Don’t hype and grow before you’ve built about 80% of the initial tech. You want to leave room for feedback, but also have demos and something to show. Many collectors are very impatient and unless they know something’s almost ready to mint, chances are you’ll lose a ton of the momentum & have to “re-hype” again.
The best way to grow your community, especially when starting from 0, and for the long-term requires A LOT of time and dedication. You want to spend time:
- In the ecosystem. Build your credibility in core communities, and you’ll more easily be able to get early adopters from that community. Build your credibility as good people and ambitious builders, so others are willing to back you.
- With your members. Listen to them. Answer their questions. Be very transparent about developments. Show your care.
Here are a few things you might consider staying away from:
- NFT Promoters — many founders that care about the longevity of their project have said how they regret ever having paid promoters (the ones that message you on Discord). They create a lot of buzz on Twitter, but in the wrong circles, and without downstream effects to the Discord. This makes it harder to form partnerships with solid groups because they know you have a bad early community.
- Buying Followers or Members with Bots — same rationale as above. Gives you numbers but no long-term value.
- Working with “Bad” Projects — find partnerships with communities that 1) uphold your values and; 2) have a team you trust. Otherwise, you risk the reputation of your own community. If this does happen (sometimes you have the best intentions but expectations don’t match), be open, honest and communicative with your members.
- Influencers with a mismatch of audiences or goals — you’ll pay but you won’t get the community that you want or need, that match the vibes you want
- Getting distracted with too many partners — the partnerships you form are in service of your community and your long-term goals. It’s tempting to say yes to every partner that comes your way, but a lot of them might just be distractions and opportunity costs to the right types of partners, initiatives and projects you should be focusing on.
- Bad influencers — they’re in it just for the money, not because they like your project. Make sure influencers you partner with are in it for the longevity of your project (with upside via compensating with NFTs) and have an audience that you want to attract.
Why do this?
A strong brand will give strong defensibility and loyalty to your project & increase inbounds (rather than outbounds) for more partnerships and opportunities.
These are two excellent threads on why building a brand is important and how to build a very strong brand.
Your Partners = Your Brand
Many times projects do the mistake of partnering with other projects and influencers who benefit them from financial capital but harming the brand in the long term. You must say no to anything and everything that doesn’t align with your brand.
While building your brand, think clearly about the long-term value of each brand interaction. Be very clear on what you stand for, what your values are, and be hyper-focused on saying yes or no dependent on that strategy.
Resources on Brand Building
- What is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course
- 2019 The Brand Flip, Marty Neumeier Director of CEO, Branding Liquid Agency
- Best Brand Building Strategy Ever: Steve Jobs Presents "Think Different"
- Branding 101, understanding branding basics and fundamentals
- “Lessons in Building and Managing Strong Brands.” – Kevin Lane Keller of Dartmouth College
👩👩👧👧 Growth: Part II
Again, the Paradox of Playbooks in NFTs it that the playbook is to experiment!
Try the guides listed here but also don’t be afraid to innovate and experiment. Some will fail, but the idea is to keep experimenting to find the breakthrough opportunities. The other upside: pushing the ecosystem forward.
👨👨👦👦 Engagement: Part I
Good mods are very important both for keeping the community active and ensuring it’s a healthy place for everyone to hangout.
Hire mods who believe in your project so they can see its success through. More on this on the “mods” section.
👩👩👦👦 Engagement: Part II
And again, as a reminder: a success factor in web3 is in experimentation and uniqueness — anti-playbook. So balance the principles and tips above with a healthy amount of experimentation with your community.
Here are a couple of fun experiments I’ve seen:
- NinjaSquad: Alpha Contest - contest where community members find alpha on different crypto projects, and share with the broader community
- PixelBeast: Sneks and Ladders (open source link: make it your own!) - a customized game built on Discord, giving a reason for members to visit the Discord everyday (ala Wordle psychology!)
- Mycoverse: Artist x NFT Platforms - Mycoverse’ mission is to onboard the next 1M artists in web3. They’ve since launched tools like Nifty Generator or Nifty Pixels and now also launching a whole startup called FormFunction to fulfill this mission! Talk about execution
- Crypto Covens: Daily Prophecies - the Coven witches built “the oracle”, a Discord bot that tweets daily prophecies for the witches. It creates good vibes for all the witches, daily!
- Curious Addy’s Trading Club: Q&A Bot - the CATC team prioritizes education for all. They noticed many people were asking questions and responding back — they wanted to incentivize and encourage this behavior, so they made a bot to fulfill this.
How do all these projects come up with these ideas?
Openness to experimentation, openness to community ideas and a mindset of build with and for the community.
General resources to uplevel your community building chops, web3 or otherwise:
- Chris Cantino’s Thread: How to Build Community
- Gina Gotthilf, Duolingo - How Duolingo Got to 170 Million Users for Free
- How $10B Figma Nurtures a Community-Led Growth Strategy with CCO Amanda Kleha
- The Community Growth Engine: How Duolingo Scaled to 90 Courses and 300M Users | Laura Nestler
- Why do some communities thrive while others become ghost towns?
- Community-Led Growth
- How Community-Led Growth Drives Product-Led Growth with Notion's CRO, Olivia Nottebohm
- Gina Gotthilf on how Duolingo went from 3 million to 300 million users
👍 Closing Remarks
Launching NFT collections nowadays are seen as lucrative forms of money making. But NFT projects are like startups — they’re tough!
Ultimately, the most successful & long-term-driven projects, the ones we want this playbook to encourage, see NFT launches as the beginning of a journey. Make sure the underlying motivations keep you grounded as you craft and launch your NFT project to success.
When asked what the biggest piece of advice NFT founders, the #1 answer was “Stay true to yourself!”
Launch an NFT collection for your community, for the long-term, for the longevity of your vision, and you’ll be all right. 🙂
Huge thanks to the partners involved in this journey!
@xuannu_eth from @crypto_coven, @KnavETH from @chain_runners, yen from @worldofwomennft, @elifozgecanhiz from @ninjasquadnft, @petrichorate and @pencilflip from @TheMycoverse, @daniel100eth, @Nonfungible_gal, @punk6529, @JonRogers, friends from @RealSolSisters, friends from @DeadHeadsNFT, @Zeneca_33 with @Zenacademy_33, @evesinfinity from @InfinityLabsNFT, @Maliha_z_Art from @WomenriseNFT, @yoheinakajima from @PixelBeastsnft, The Mayor from @SolNeighborhood, @mai_on_chain from @CuriousAddys, @thatguyintech from @chibishinobis, @loopify from @Treeverse, friends from @SolanaBananas, friends from @WizardsDAO, friends from @Odyssey_DAO