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NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a technical solution to prove the authenticity and ownership of digital elements. Everything that’s digital so far can easily be copied and there was no reliable way to protect unique ownership technically. NFTs are a new way to achieve this. NFTs are revolutionary.
This technical solution can be applied to all digital elements and it is especially suited and beneficial for art and for artists. I described exactly how this can be done in my article Not Only for Crypto Geeks: 4 Ways to Make Money With NFTs.
In this article, I will focus on how to sell NFT art and will take a detailed look at different NFT promotion techniques and channels.
I am convinced that NFTs will democratize the way we approach art. The beauty of this is that the main principles will remain the same. Artists will continue to produce something creative, need to make people aware of their art, and eventually sell it or distribute it in some shape or form -- depending on their goals. But as NFTs become more and more mainstream it becomes a lot more accessible to anyone to produce whatever (weird) form of art they have in mind. This leads to a much more colorful landscape of artistic diversity.
Artists can use digital platforms to create, publish, promote, distribute and sell their art to a much larger audience all over the world. This is the other side of the coin with art: the consumers or collectors. With traditional art, this was very exclusive to more affluent or even rich people. Getting into art also really meant commitment and was time-intense (take auctions as an example). Also, this side of art now becomes a lot more accessible to the mainstream public. That does not necessarily mean that NFT art is cheap (a CryptoPunk character for $7.6 million, anyone?). But there is a lot more art available and a lot easier accessible. Additionally, the NFT community introduced “fractional ownership” where collectors can own just parts of an NFT art piece.
In the aforementioned article, I describe 4 ways to make money with NFTs. I summarise these here again briefly because it’s a good starting point. For details check the other article. It also contains a more detailed, non-technical explanation of how NFTs work.
The first most obvious way to make money with NFTs is by trading NFTs. That means you buy an NFT about which you think is very valuable but is currently underpriced in the marketplace. Then you hope that the price goes up, then sell it, and the difference is your profit.
Second, you could invest in important technologies that enable the NFT ecosystem. There are many tools, marketplaces, and business models available and there are even more evolving all the time. One example could be to buy crypto coins representing technologies used for NFT like Ether, Polkadot, Flow, or Tezos. Additionally, you could then stake those coins on a crypto exchange like Kraken.
The third way is to actually create or contribute to new tools and technologies. Building and selling your own product can be a very effective building block to financial freedom. There are still a lot of opportunity gaps in the NFT ecosystem.
Finally, the fourth and for me most exciting way to make money with NFTs is to create your own NFTs. That could be art or any other digital object that you think could be worth creating and monetizing. In my previous article, I describe exactly the six steps from having an idea all the way to selling your NFT.
The key to selling your NFT is well-planned and executed NFT promotion. So, let’s take a look at this next.
There is a lot of info out there about creating and publishing NFTs. But there is very little available about selling NFTs and especially NFT promotion. It is, however, essential if you actually want to make money with it.
The ideal way to promote your NFT isn’t very different from any art or product for that matter. Essentially it requires two things: a brand and connections. So, I recommend establishing a brand and then presenting it through various channels to create connections (i.e., potential collectors or buyers). But before you create your brand you need to decide on your goal. Why are you doing this and what do you want to achieve? This may be implicitly clear when you create your art and it helps to think about it, make it explicit and then create your brand based on that goal.
My goal, for instance, is to learn everything about a further possibility to achieve my financial freedom by monetizing something that I am passionate about (which is working with wood as I will show later). Hence, maximizing revenue is not my goal but rather the learning experience (for now, later NFTs should contribute to my passive income). Your goal influences how you create your brand and how you then execute different tactics to achieve your goal.
Your brand is your identity, the basis of how you present yourself and how collectors perceive you. That includes a name, messaging, design, colors, fonts, logos, or anything else that helps you present your identity. A strong, noticeable brand will make people recognize you and relate your brand to your art.
There are many places to present your brand but the most important is the NFT marketplace that you decide to use. Typically marketplaces allow you to create and customize how you present your art using a profile and collections. Below is an example of OpenSea which is one of the most popular NFT marketplaces, which I use myself, too.
In order to create connections, you can deploy several different techniques and channels to promote your work, raise awareness and eventually sell more -- all by leveraging your brand. You can compare this to a sales funnel, where potential buyers are added to the top of the funnel via different means. You create connections to these potential buyers and over time they move further down in the sales funnel. That means that they are showing more and more interest and the probability of them buying your art pieces increases. The higher quality, specific, and customized your connections and touchpoints are, the more likely a successful sale will happen.
Let’s have a look at 9 effective NFT promotion techniques. The first one is a must, all the others are great to have. It depends on your goal, which combination of techniques is the most suitable for you.
Building a community (i.e., a network of connections) is a lot of work and will not happen overnight. But it is so effective. If you manage to build an active group around your art then you have interested people who could become buyers and resellers. The quality of your community and the interaction between the members is way more important than the quantity. If your members are convinced about you and your art they will push out your message to other people and through network effects increase the size of your community.
Creating a website or a blog (or reusing an existing ones) is a great and fun way to express a lot more details about your art. For sure you are proud about what you are doing so you want to share this with the world. Describing the story of your art or why and how you made it adds value and makes it more attractive for collectors. Of course you would refer readers via links to your NFT art.
This is closely related to the previous technique about blogs. I strongly recommend writing your content with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. If you do that well and consistently, people will find your work through their searches, and they come to your page for free. Traffic to your page will accumulate over time without spending money on, eg, ads.
The trick is to pick relevant keywords with a high search volume but at the same time not too much competition. If you then publish content optimised for such a keyword, you will soon rank high on search engines and users will find your art. This is not only about written content. Your content can include different formats like long-form well researched articles, videos, or infographics. You can publish this on your own blog, as a guest post or use third party content platforms like Medium.
As a general advice it all comes down to quality. People will find and read your stuff if it’s really good work. Create explanatory content that goes into depth ideally with a storytelling approach. The best that can happen is that it goes viral.
Guest posts are a great opportunity to expose yourself to new audiences. Make sure that you research and choose your hosting blog well. It should address a critical mass of a relevant audience. Also build a good relationship with the owner and make clear what’s in it for them.
The guest post should of course be high quality, SEO content and refer to your NFT and your own blog or website. An additional technique is instead of going for a full guest post to ask if someone is willing to link back from one of their articles to your NFT or blog. This can sometimes be tricky but can be very valuable for both sides.
Leveraging classic personal and public relations is another way to promote NFTs. Introduce your art to your friends and family and other groups or circles you may belong to.
Even better, if you can pull off interviews or articles about your NFT art in relevant media, even better. Neil Patel has a great list of resources for low cost / high value PR activities.
This is related to relationship building. You may consider introducing your work to an influencer who has good credibility in an area relevant for your art. And then ask them to talk about your work. You need to make sure that these influencers are known on those platforms that are important for your brand. You need to show them what’s in it for them, which is tricky especially when you just start out or when you try to work with an influencer who has a very strong standing. In most cases, it is a matter of paying them accordingly.
Once you managed to get the first interested members in your community, it is important to take care of these connections. Ideally, you should consistently engage with your community and keep them informed. You can do this via community calls, video conferences, webinars, ask-me-anything (AMA) sessions, podcasts, email newsletters, or even virtual collection exhibitions. Make it interactive and ask for feedback and opinions or even introduce little games or quizzes to activate your community. Especially make sure to keep them informed about and build up to the next drop (an “event” when your NFT sale begins).
In-person events are related to community building. They are especially valuable since the quality of interaction is a different level when you can meet in person. Relationships are best built through face-to-face interactions. This can work especially well if your community is concentrated in a certain location. Meetup.com can be a good platform to organize this.
Advertising is also a classical means that can be very effective. You can use targeted search ads like on Google or Bing, or run general social media ad campaigns, eg, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. This will drive traffic to your NFT art or your website. It is paid traffic -- as opposed to the organic traffic from people who find your SEO content -- and if you choose your search terms and demographics well can also be very effective.
There are also other platforms that specifically serve particular niches like CoinTelegraph or CoinGecko. If it fits with your overall goal and budget you could consider buying a banner there to promote your work.
These were nine techniques that can work very well for NFT promotion. Let’s take a look at NFT promotion channels next.
A promotion channel is a way to reach your target audience with your brand and messaging.
Channels for NFT promotion include all your well-known social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. Every platform has slightly different mechanics, audiences, preferences, advantages, and disadvantages. Within the platforms you can use different features to address certain target audiences like hashtags, groups on facebook or channels on YouTube.
Other effective formats could be chats and forums like Telegram, Quora, Reddit, or Discord. The latter two seemed to be quite popular in the crypto and NFT space. I recommend finding the most relevant communities on those forums and deliver valuable input. If you appear too spammy only trying to sell without a genuine interest in the group, the other members will notice and you won’t have any success.
Good old email marketing is another channel that you can leverage. It’s one of the most effective in terms of conversion rate. It’s related to community building technique described earlier. You should offer your subscribers interesting news in a regular newsletter or execute drip campaigns to increase engagement that hopefully leads to a conversion.
Other more niche platforms include Hacker News, BitCoinTalk, Hackernoon, HowToToken, or Cryptopanic. I recently discovered cent.co a platform for creative income, which seems highly suited. I use it myself to present my NFT art or other relevant articles and I am getting some good traffic from it there. There is also an increasing number of trackers (like NFT Hunters) on which you can list and present your NFT art.
A very innovative -- and maybe at first unusual -- type of channel are metaverse events. The metaverse is a collectively shared virtual space. It is a persistent 3D virtual space that can be used to host events. Such spaces can be represented by virtual buildings within which you can showcase your work. Two examples are Cryptovoxels or Decentraland.
I want to conclude this article with some general remarks and a practical checklist.
The famous Rule of Seven also works for promoting your NFT art. Try to communicate your message often and through a variety of channels. Users need to see your work several times before they even start to recognize you (i.e., brand recognition). Make sure that your message is simple, consistent, and relevant.
I also recommend to focus your message more on your art rather than the technology aspect of NFT. Most people emphasize too much on NFT but that’s only a means to an end and may confuse potential collectors more. Crypto and everything related too it is still a bit too alien for most. By focusing on your art, you will be more relevant for more audiences and achieve broader acceptance. And don’t flood or spam people with irrelevant content. Do your targeting homework carefully. This will reduce friction and make your funnel more effective.
Finally, focus on the most effective activities. You cannot do everything. Deep-dive on the techniques and channels that work best for you. Understand them really well (know the most relevant hashtags, accounts, groups...), and stay consistently active. You can also automate a lot of this. Monitor what you do, keep doing what works, and stop what doesn’t.
In summary, here is my NFT promotion checklist:
NFTs are here to stay and I am convinced that they will revolutionize many areas, some of which we don’t even know yet. We finally have a means to technically and uniquely prove the authenticity and ownership of digital elements. This will have lots of beneficial effects especially on art by democratizing access to it.
In this article I specifically addressed the question of how to sell NFT art. To do this successfully you need to take NFT promotion seriously. I outlined the importance of knowing your goal, then building your brand based on it and then leveraging a combination of nine NFT promotion techniques and four channels.
I also ventured into the field of my own NFT art (like “With a Happy Ending”) with the primary goal of understanding the details of the NFT ecosystem but also because I love to work with wood. All my NFT art combines hand crafted wood work with digitally modified artifacts. I call this “Augmented Virtuality.”
If you want to get started yourself, head over to my preferred marketplace OpenSea. On OpenSea you can either start creating, publising and selling your NFTs, or buying, collecting and trading NFTs.
Full Disclosure and Disclaimer:
I am affiliated with Kraken and OpenSea. If you use my affiliate links, I may get a commission. You help me a lot producing more content like this.
I am not a financial advisor. I present my view on things that work well for me (like solar or wine). I am not taking any responsibility for your decisions. Always do your own due diligence before you invest.