Nine Marketing Best Practices for a Successful NFT Drop
Kent Lewis, Anvil Media Inc
In early 2021, I officially boarded the NFT marketing train with a charity fundraiser event and mural and speaking about my experiences at Digital Summit. We also kicked off our first client project with HP Enterprise to create NFT environmental art, which allowed us to fine-tune our NFT marketing skills. In this article, I share nine insights we’ve gained along the NFT marketing journey and hope the insights will be your boarding pass to join us on the NFT train.
There are meaningful parallels between NFT drops and Kickstarter campaign marketing, as I quickly realized. We helped launch a product on Indiegogo years ago, leveraging many of the core strategies still relevant in today’s blockchain-based virtual worlds. The tenets of a successful NFT launch also draw parallels to viral marketing strategies of 20+ years ago. In short, the secret to a successful NFT launch is to go viral quickly and let the algorithms and buzz drive the campaign over-the-top.
For the majority of makers looking to monetize NFTs, however, a viral launch can be elusive, so we recommend building a foundational launch plan that covers the core channels and methods NFT enthusiasts typically use to discover new products. The strategies, tactics and channels outlined below maximize the opportunity for a successful NFT drop, when executed properly.
Develop a Launch Plan
Whenever I’m entering into a new channel, I always make sure to understand the community before I engage. That was true for social media platforms the last 20 years, virtual worlds like Second Life and even Wikipedia. The communities built around NFTs are no exception. Before we launched our NFT Mural project, we did our research. I even purchased my first NFT through the mural project to make sure I understood the entire experience as a consumer. When planning an NFT drop, research the best NFT drops and learn from their successes (and mistakes). Create an NFT Drop Roadmap based on best practices. Your Roadmap or Launch Plan should include the following components to be successful.
Build an Email (White)List
One of the most effective strategies to maximizing a successful NFT drop is to build and curate an email list. While the list may start with friends and family, you’ll want to grow it quickly by incorporating a signup on your landing page and use a host of strategies to grow subscribers. If you’re on a budget, I recommend taking advantage of 2,000 free sends a month via MailChimp. You can always move to a paid plan as you grow the list. Beyond promoting the email subscription via the landing page and social media, consider reaching out to NFT industry media (blogs, publications and discussion boards) and influencers. We’ve also used advertising to grow a launch list quickly. To simplify, consider a general email list, but if you’re open to segmenting, consider developing a dedicated whitelist for early NFT promotion. A whitelist typically consists of qualified buyers interested in first access to the drop. Don’t forget to build out a drip campaign to ensure subscribers are aware of the drop date and associated details.
Create a Teaser Video
I’m a big fan of video marketing, and NFTs lend themselves naturally to the medium. Facts tell, but stories sell, and the best storytelling vehicle available to NFT creators, is video. A good teaser video will tell a memorable and compelling story about your NFT: what is it, why should I care and how can I get it? Not only should the teaser generate awareness and interest, but it should also be reimagined for a variety of platforms and purposes. In terms of duration, I recommend a 2-minute video for your landing page and YouTube, 1-minute version for Facebook, thirty second spot for Instagram and TikTok and create shorter 6 to 15-second ads for YouTube and similar video platforms. Don’t forget to strip out still images for the landing page, Pinterest, Twitter and even LinkedIn.
Develop Compelling Landing Page
Like any other digital marketing campaign, you need to create a page to which you can drive traffic (from organic social and search ads) to generate awareness and interest. The NFT landing page should include compelling video/imagery and copy as well as a call-to-action (CTA) that may include subscribing to receive updates on the NFT drop. The objective is to secure the largest possible list of opt-in emails of anyone interested in your NFT drop, so you can notify them once the product is available. Once the drop is live, you can update the site to direct visitors to the active marketplace to purchase.
Seek and Engage the NFT Community
Now that your landing page is live with embedded video and email subscription functionality, it’s time to get the word out. There are a host of NFT-centric community platforms or subgroups you can join and monitor before engaging. It is critical to understand each NFT community’s rules and make the time to add value before making an ask or plugging your drop (and landing page). Here are a short list of possible NFT communities on which you can engage: Reddit, Quora, Discord, Telegram, Bitcointalk, VeeFriends, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Invest in NFT Advertising
For the past 20 years, we’ve specialized in building highly targeted advertising campaigns on Google, Meta, Microsoft and other platforms for clients. NFT drops should have a dedicated ad campaign to amplify reach, including popular search and social media platforms. Since there are very few dedicated ad networks that target the blockchain/crypto/NFT communities, consider hiring NFT influencers to promote your drop. The NFT community is quite tight and relationship driven, which may allow for a shorter turnaround time when engaging influencers, but best to play as far out as possible.
Promote Your Event
This is a fairly straight-forward but important reminder. NFT drops are a relatively new phenomenon, but there are still a few dedicated locations to which you can submit your drop as an event, including NFT Drops Calendar and NFT Calendar (which you can also follow on Twitter and Instagram). Don’t forget to add your drop to other event calendars relating to your discipline (art, music, etc.), industry vertical (marketing, design, footwear, etc.) or local community.
Go Virtual with Your Events
The pandemic has forced us to embrace virtual and hybrid events. To help address this change in behavior, social platforms have expanded capabilities, especially around live events. We recommend building a live virtual event around the NFT drop to maximize buzz and engagement. There are a host of platform options, which should map back to your target audiences’ preferences. Popular livestreaming options include: Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, YouTube Live and Facebook Live. If you’ve bought into the metaverse, or believe your target audience is vested in virtual worlds, explore hosting a metaverse event on a popular platform like Cryptovoxels or Decentraland Marketplace. The additional buzz may outweigh the cost and effort of crafting a presence in the metaverse, even with lower attendance and engagement rates than social platforms or physical events.
Leverage the Media
Despite the declining efficacy of press releases in securing media coverage (or even rankings in search results) the tactic still has value. In an ideal world, you would be able to leverage relationship with the “NFT media” with a simple email announcement. Unfortunately, editors are too busy to read your email pitches. The best way to ensure coverage is to help editorial staff by providing a thoughtful press release that does the heavy lifting for the busy writers and make yourself available for interviews. Even if your press release doesn’t rank in search results or gain pickup in mainstream media, it can be a vital component of your content marketing strategy.
While the above strategies and tactics will maximize visibility for your NFT drop, the ultimate goal is to achieve “featured drop” status on your marketplace. Featured drop status drives exponential awareness, engagement and sales. Utilizing the strategies and tactics outlined above as part of your NFT Drop Roadmap will maximize success, and revenue. I hope to see you at a future Digital Summit and will be speaking about the metaverse in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Denver and Minneapolis.
As President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for managing operations, marketing and business development towards its purpose of creating meaningful impact for Anvil’s clients, community and its employees through creative problem-solving, making and leveraging connections and educating others. Under his leadership, Anvil has accumulated the following awards and recognition since inception in 2000:
- Inc. 5000: Fastest growing private companies in America
- Oregon Business Magazine: 100 Best Places to Work
- Portland Business Journal: Oregon’s Most Admired Companies
- Portland Business Journal: Fastest Growing Private 100 Companies
- Portland Business Journal: Corporate Philanthropy Awards winner
- Clutch: Top Pay-per-Click and SEO Agency in America
With a background in integrated marketing, Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his Internet marketing career at a Portland, OR Web development firm, where he also created a free monthly lifestyle e-zine and acted as Editor-in-Chief for a decade. Shortly thereafter, he built and managed his first search engine marketing team at a full-service marketing agency. Lewis went on to found or co-found two agencies and two organizations, including pdxMindShare, an online career community, and SEMpdx, a trade organization for SEM professionals. Lewis was also Director of Marketing and Business Development at goodguys.com, an online electronics retailer, and Chief Marketing Officer for ToneCommand. Since 2000, he has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University, where he currently teaches Search Engine Marketing workshops. That same year, Lewis joined SMART as a volunteer reader, then joined the marketing committee, where he created a fundraiser event known as SMART Gala. For ten years, he was a member of the board at SMART and is still a volunteer reader today. In 2007, he joined the Portland chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), where he was Membership Chair for five years. Lewis regularly advises startups and sits on advisory boards for companies like CareSpace and PacificWRO. He also speaks regularly at industry events, is quoted in the press and contributes regularly to publications including Portland Business Journal and SmartBrief. Past industry awards and recognition include Portland Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year, PPC Hero’s Top 25 Most Influential Pay-per-Click Experts and a BuzzSumo Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencer.