You figured out the crypto jargon, then painstakingly created the artwork. After that, you figured out how to mint your work as NFTs. This is it. You've arrived!!
There seems to be a problem though. Nobody is buying the wonderful NFTs that you’ve released out into the world. Before we go any further, the first question to ask is how much time has it been since the mint? The next questions are, who knows that you’ve minted the NFTs, and how did they find out about them?
If the answers to the first few questions sound something like, “it’s only been a day or two” and “how would anyone know I minted an NFT” the problem probably isn’t that big of a deal. If you’ve had the NFTs around for a while and you’ve already been marketing them the issues are more than likely deeper.
The first step is acknowledging and accepting that there’s an issue with your NFT sales. After that, a general diagnostic examination of the project and art can provide insight to solutions for increasing sales. A closer look at the problems and how to analyze and resolve them follows.
This article is going to assume you’ve minted and are selling your NFTs on OpenSea or a similar platform or marketplace. If you’ve created your own custom smart contract and minting site much of the information is still applicable. It should be obvious where your situation will differ.
Marketing is going to be the number one way to let the world know that you’ve got NFTs FOR SALE! Without marketing it’s kind of like opening a sandwich stand, making a sandwich without anyone around, and just letting the food sit in the window; it’s pretty pointless.
Assuming you haven’t done any marketing, or very little, increasing the visibility of your NFTs should help sales right away. If there isn’t a marketing budget or some kind of plan in place to educate consumers on the existence of your product you’ll need to start there. Creating what’s known as a fan base or a customer base is absolutely critical for successfully selling NFTs.
It could even be said that marketing is the number one component of successful sales. That doesn’t just apply to NFTs but it’s especially important with them. It’s also especially important for artists that are new and have a small or no existing following and not many fans to cater to.
Figure out one strategy and make sure to monitor the results. Small changes can be made and tracked incrementally to increase a marketing initiative's impact. Organic modern digital marketing through platforms like TikTok is effective for small creators with little or no marketing budget.
If you’ve already been running promotions and marketing your NFTs and sales aren’t happening the problem is more complex to diagnose. Paths to marketing and specific promotions can fail for a myriad of reasons. If you’ve been trying one thing for a while a dramatic shift can sometimes be the solution; try switching from Facebook to Twitter Ads or focus efforts on TikTok for example.
If the marketing is working well and you are getting eyes on the NFTs then the problem might be the NFTs or the project. There are different reasons why individual pieces of art, creators, and projects might not sell. The issues can be related to pricing, quality, utility, niche, and other factors.
Determining prices for NFTs can be a challenging task. Prices range from hundreds of thousands of dollars all the way down to about ninety-nine cents. A range that wide can leave anyone wondering where they fit in the grand scheme of things.
At this point in the evolution of NFTs, there has been enough media coverage that the basic concept has made it into the mainstream. This makes things a bit more difficult for smaller artists and creators. These larger, more well-known, and established NFT creators and projects have a lot more exposure.
The more exposure an NFT project has the more the art is generally worth. In addition to these older NFT projects, more established traditional artists are now breaking into the web3 world. These artists already have a following they can market their NFTs to, and ask for higher prices.
If you’re a smaller artist starting with a lower price point is probably the best approach. Think of it like you would selling your paintings at an art show or gallery. You can even think of an entire collection of NFTs kind of like a body of an artist's work.
New artists rarely make high-dollar sales in their initial gallery showings. Creating and selling NFTs can be thought of in this same way. Unknown and smaller artists should expect to ask for reasonable prices until they begin to make sales.
So, if you’ve priced your NFTs too high and you’re not achieving sales, lowering the price could be the solution. If the price is set to a reasonable and comparable amount to other similar projects and the sales are still not happening it could be marketing. In the case where the NFTs are priced well and you’ve been marketing the issue could be with the artwork or the project itself.
On the other hand, you may be underpricing your work. Price conveys value a potential buyer, and when you price your artwork at $0.99, or even just a fraction of an eth, it could signal that your art isn't worth much now and won't be worth much in the future. [BOLD]Most NFT buyers are buying for price appreciation, not art appreciation.[BOLD]. If you are producing high quality NFTs, one tactic for pricing could simply be to look at popular mid-tier projects which are selling (not talking about BAYC or other high profile collections), and price your product similarly.
The fact that those NFTs are selling tells you that there are buyers in this price range, and attracting them to your own project is just a matter of producing content that appeals to them.
Of course, this assumes you're creating quality art that other people want to spend money on.
All art is subjective. NFT art is also speculative. This creates a very interesting and unique dynamic for NFT creators.
At this point in time, there is even a specific visual NFT art style that’s come into existence. Mimicking this popular pixelated style can be helpful, or harmful. Several of the early and most popular NFT projects use this very simplistic art style spawning thousands of copycats.
Not all NFTs follow this style. NFTs have evolved far beyond just images to include video, audio, and interactivity. The NFT ecosystem is evolving at breakneck speed providing an opportunity to create a wide variety of tokenized creative expressions.
When it comes to NFTs and sales there is an interesting intersection between investors, art collectors, art fans, music fans, and all kinds of others. This fusion of people from different backgrounds with varying interests creates a diverse set of people for artists to potentially reach.
Each of the different types of individuals buying NFTs are doing it for differing reasons. Some are simply fans of a musician buying new unreleased material as an NFT. Other buyers are strictly investors looking to hold an NFT long-term like a stock or sell it quickly to turn a profit.
Some buyers won’t even pay much attention to the actual artwork of NFTs. If a project has picked up enough traction and built a large amount of hype, sales can be achieved. Once a project has established a solid sales track record the general public perception of the art is positive, regardless of quality. Just look at Gary Vee's garbage NFTs and how much they sells for. Is that quality art? Absolutely not. It's 100% marketing and it 100% worked.
Another thing to consider is that while one group of people will find some art appealing while another group will not like it at all. The subjective nature of art usually means artists need to focus on reaching their target fan base and demographic. If feel like you've already accomplished that and there are issues with sales, then then quality of the work itself could be the problem. You need to be able to honestly asses the quality of your work, or take honest feedback from anyone who offers it.
Comparing the art in your project to other similar projects and asking people from outside your usual circle are great ways to see how you’re stacking up. Asking existing followers and fans what they do and don’t like is another great way to learn why sales might not be happening.
Following NFT style trends can be a recipe for success. For folks who can't afford a Bored Ape, they'll be looking for something that appears similar, but with a different price tag. This is typical of shoppers in any category – not just NFTs.
The trouble with this strategy is that you're always a few steps behind trends, and success with selling your work depends on you getting exposure to your work exactly as trends hit, but before they die out. For example, right now the Bored Ape style and Crypto Punk art styles are really saturated with tens of thousands of alternative projects in the art style. How many animals can you dress up in a hat and sunglasses before it gets old?
The alternative is to do your own style. That would be the most genuine thing you could do, but the starving artist meme exists for a reason. Sometimes, the public just isn't ready for original ideas.
Since the beginning of NFT art, there has been a visual style associated with it. The first successful projects shared a similar look and feel. At least several of them have anyway.
Jumping into the current trend in style is certainly one approach to creating NFTs. It’s worked for quite a few leading to great sales. That doesn’t mean it is the path to take or that it will work for someone else.
Something to stop and note is many of the projects that have broken into the mainstream do have a certain look and feel to them. Others incorrectly assume that they can copy the visual style and replicate the sales. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Many of the projects that get copied had a tremendous amount of paid or organic marketing behind their launch. Some of them also had some kind of pre-existing fan base or fans to market the NFTs to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these aspects of those projects but it’s something to keep in mind.
Through the popularity of image NFTs, the concept of a collection has broken through into the mainstream. This wider concept is part of the general process and mentality of NFTs. Creating art in a collection like CryptoPunks or any of the Ape projects is almost standard at this point.
All art should be unique and break the mold though. So creating an NFT collection might not be for you. The digital artist XCOPY just sold millions of dollars worth of 1-of-1 NFTs so having a collection of 10,000 variants is not the only selling point for NFTs. It depends on what kind of artist you are, what kind of fans you might already have, and what your goals are.
Another significant choice after that is the style of the art you intend on using for your collection. This may be obvious, but for many new NFT creators, this is just a reminder to not get stuck in the loop of what's been done before. Flat cartoon graphics are not the only thing that are selling right now, although it may seem to be the case. There really isn’t anyone or anything that can tell you, me, or anyone else what constitutes good or bad art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even with NFTs.
For individuals just trying to hack together some code to get some copycat NFTs together I think the window is closing. There is still some opportunity to make money here, but if you take this path, I think the key is to really hit the marketing aspects of the project as hard as you possibly can.
For real, actual artists I’d say get as creative as you possibly can. Research what others are doing and kick it up to notches unknown. Push the boundaries for the NFT visual art. Tap into unseen and new ways of providing utility behind your NFT. Making more apes or even another animal at this stage of the game feels a little, well, played out.
It’s not totally uncommon for an artist to have a manifesto or a purpose behind their body of work, a series or collection, or an individual piece. In a way, this is similar to what an NFT project roadmap is all about.
In the world of NFTs, a roadmap generally consists of the mission behind the project. Most NFT projects have one root cause or purpose. Some are to provide artwork for larger play to earn games while others have connections to social causes.
A good roadmap will clearly communicate the mission of the NFT project. The plan ahead for the project and most importantly how investors and collectors are going to get a return on their investments.
Creating a project roadmap helps fans and collectors as much as the creators. It’s definitely a good idea to have a path to head down with an NFT project. The technology changes so rapidly it can be easy to become distracted or switch directions and pivot unnecessarily; the roadmap can help mitigate flailing.
If you’re strictly a traditional artist the concept of a roadmap might be new. It’s definitely something that’s used more on the tech side of the fence. There’s no need to be alarmed though creating them is pretty straightforward.
To create a roadmap, divide the next year into four quarters. This is common for business and finance so it’ll be good to get into the groove. Each quarter of the year will be a segment for you to assign a task or goal to.
As you can probably tell, the roadmap creates accountability for your NFT project. This helps provide a better outlook for potential investors and current ones. One word of caution is don’t go overboard with the targets on your roadmap; it’s 100% critical that you're successful in following through.
If you don’t have a roadmap then creating one could help with sales. Because of famous projects adding “utility” to their NFT projects, like a game and clubhouse for Bored Apes, and membership benefits for Vee Friends, buyers are now expecting to get utility beyond aesthetics for their NFT purchases.
The funny thing about NFT roadmaps to me is that it signals a crack in the market. Art alone is not enough to sustain the current prices of NFT projects, so users are demanding more. They are beginning to ask, “What the hell does this thing do anyway?”
Some projects have promised games. Some have promised donations to charities. Some have promised that users will get token air drops or other financial incentives. As an individual artist, you may not have access to those technical skills, and you may not want to provide any incentives that you can't actually deliver on. That's fine. A roadmap is not necessary. It's just an option for those who have the tools available to them, and another marketing angle worth considering.
Maybe, instead of creating original NFT art, you can create an original NFT roadmap, like inviting all your NFT holders on a camping trip. Who knows. I'm just spitballing here.
Something that a number of NFT projects have in common is a theme or niche. CryptoPunks, Apes, and the lot have a specific flavor to their design and appearance. Many other projects take the niche even further than that and tie the concept of a social cause into their project.
Having a niche in the modern world is especially important for a lot of things, NFTs included. A niche can range from horror movies to 1980s nostalgia to pet snakes or chinchillas. It’s basically the thing or subject that the NFT is focused around.
One artist can have multiple projects and each one can have a niche. Some artists work within a niche so they’ll have multiple projects all with the same general theme. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to create a niche; it is important to consider having one though.
Personally, I think this is the second most important thing to consider after taking a closer look at your marketing efforts. NFT sellers seriously underestimate the power of niche marketing in any type of product sales.
I know this from my experience running blogs for the past decade. The world is connected through the internet, and it's interesting to see how unique communities connect. Did you know that there's an entire industry of photographers that specialize in drone photography? Did you know that there are groups of people who dress up in animal costumes and go to conferences with alternate animal personalities?
This idea of niche communities could really work to your advantage when selling. What type of NFT art could you create that would appeal to only a specific audience?
For example, some people love horror movies and black metal music. Could you create some gruesome, scary, gloomy, violent, bloody NFTs that would turn most people off but appeal to this horror-enthusiast audience? Or maybe some NFTs of specific dog breeds. People love their Yorkies or Great Danes or French Bulldogs or whatever. A whole series of NFT Frenchies doing cute things wouldn't have mass appeal, but would be irresistible to anyone in the cross section of Frenchy Lover + NFT Buyer
Additional Problems and Solutions for Selling NFTs
Minting and Forgetting
The world needs to know that you’ve created NFTs. There are multiple paths to gaining exposure for an NFT project. Utilize the maximum amount of channels you can to tell the world about your NFTs! Even great art needs advertising to find the right buyers for your niche.
Expecting Immediate Results
The amount of time it takes to make an initial sale can vary depending on the amount of effort put into gaining visibility. Building a community and hype around an NFT project is crucial for success. Even if you’ve built a community it can take time before the sales begin to roll in; don’t lose hope.
Many successful NFT projects have a flourishing and vibrant community that exists around them. Often these communities gather and communicate in Discord groups specific to each NFT project. This platform provides a forum for collectors to communicate with each other and project owners to chat with fans and buyers.
Without marketing a new NFT project is difficult if not impossible to discover. For creators using OpenSea or another NFT platform there is the chance some rando buyer will stumble across your project; but probably not. Use every possible marketing angle you can dream up and afford. You could use social media channels like Twitter, Facebook groups, or even paid advertising options like Google Adwords.