This post originally appeared on startupnation.com/grow-your-business
Standing out as a startup or small business just got tougher. You can thank an upsurge in entrepreneurial activity ostensibly spurred by the pandemic. The U.S. Census Bureau’s business formation data shows that more than four million people became founders in 2020 alone. That’s a record number of launches in a 12-month span—and all the more reason for your team to get creative.
Here’s the problem, though: You have to go the extra mile to do something deliberately different. Just tweaking your marketing content to better align with Google’s ever-changing algorithms won’t do. Neither will updating your logo or website. Those are good things, of course. They’re not enough to make you stand out like Nyan Cat soaring through a digital sky, though. But if you can figure out how to capitalize on NFTs the way Nyan Cat’s artist-creator did, you might just turn some heads.
Understanding the world of NFTs
Before diving deeper into ways to leverage NFTs for the benefit of your business, you’ll want to understand them first. NFT is shorthand for “non-fungible token.” A non-fungible token is simply a one-of-a-kind digital asset. You could trade an NFT for money or something else of value but you couldn’t trade it for something similar. That’s because it’s an original.
All NFTs are stored using blockchain technology. Consequently, they have a digital “footprint” that allows owners to distinguish between authentic and pirated NFTs. It’s kind of like an antique dealer deciding between a genuine or fake Van Gogh. Only one can be the true piece of art. All others, no matter how much they look the same, are just imitations.
Consequently, if you saw the image of a static NFT like Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” you could always right-click the image. Nevertheless, your right-clicked version wouldn’t ever sell on Christie’s for more than $69 million. After all, it would only be a poor duplicate of the real thing. If you tried to pass it off as a bona fide Beeple, you’d be outdone by the blockchain stamp that said otherwise.
Making NFTs work for the work you do
Now that you have a better grasp of NFTs, you might be wondering how they could apply to your business. Certainly, they’re a bit of a curiosity now—and can be an expensive one if you decide to collect them. Nonetheless, don’t fall into the trap of thinking they’re only oddities. The truth is that you might be able to incorporate NFTs into your business plans to bring a little buzz your way.
Before you assume that you have to be in a creative industry to use NFTs, you certainly don’t. Hey, you don’t have to be in the world of publishing to push out terrific blog posts, right? In the same way, you can harness the power of NFTs without needing an ounce of artistic ability. Similarly, you don’t need an endless supply of cash. The cost to develop and mint a single NFT frequently averages just a few hundred dollars.
So how can you put NFTs to work? Below are a few springboards to get you thinking about NFTs and their potential usefulness to you and your team. You don’t have to emulate what’s been done before, certainly. Nevertheless, knowing what’s worked for other organizations can stir your imagination.
Crowdfund for your upstart dollars by selling NFTs
Have you thought about taking the crowdsourced investing route to raise money for your next dream? Or maybe you’re trying to scale an existing business that’s had some success. Either way, you might consider selling NFTs as a way to reach your funding goals.
The NFT you sell could be anything from something related to your business, a la Adidas’ 30,000 NFTs that sold ridiculously fast. The Adidas NFTs have a futuristic, metaverse feel that shines a light on the forward-leaning image Adidas appears to be cultivating. Your NFTs could be anything, though, from video clips or GIFs to corporate logos or photographs. The point is that they mean something to the buyer due to their originality and prestige.
Will your first NFT go-rounds spur attention? You’ll have to market them to NFT investors and collectors. Be sure to go online and get an education in what the NFT investing audience is talking about before designing any that you plan to sell.
Go for boldness and buzz with an NFT loyalty campaign
Perhaps your goal isn’t so much to get an influx of funding dollars into your business. Instead, you may just want to encourage buyers to up their lifetime value. That’s another area where NFTs might help.
Let’s say you want to develop a sense of camaraderie and exclusivity among your best customers. You could take the AMC route and give free NFTs to consumers who support your company in a specific way. For AMC, that meant sending “I Own AMC” NFTs to AMC Investor Connect members. The NFTs became an “earned” commodity in exchange for the support of AMC.
To keep the excitement going, you might do well to close out certain NFT collections seasonally or annually. That way, customers eager to receive and showcase all your NFTs would have a reason to keep buying what you sell or, if you’re in a renewal-based business, re-upping their subscription.
Put NFT authenticity behind your corporate-based events
NFTs aren’t all about artwork and graphics. Because they legitimize something in the real or digital world, they can be used to indicate ownership or status.
For example, you might be asked to speak as a keynote at a convention this year. What if you gave all attendees who stayed for your talk a certification of completion backed by an NFT? The NFT backing would allow any participant to prove that they were part of the discussion.
You might think that people wouldn’t care about being able to say they had sat through a particular lecture. Yet we all like to feel as if we’re getting something extra for our time. Handing out NFTs, especially with the NFT market being so exciting now, could cement your company as both unique and leading edge. Remember: People are spending thousands on NFT pet rocks. That alone shows how effective the draw to be a part of something new can be.
Join forces with an influencer willing to partner on an NFT
Influencer marketing can be a wonderful way to spread the word quickly about your company. But the influencer field is becoming cluttered. An NFT partnership with an influencer could be a way to energize a target user base.
The secret to making this type of partnership work is figuring out both the form of the NFT asset and the win-win arrangement between you and the influencer. For instance, your influencer may promise the first 1,000 people who DM an NFT. Those people could then scan the NFT at a special landing page on your site for exclusive discounts, perks, or merchandise.
Is this kind of like handing out coupons? In a way. The difference is that an NFT is hype-worthy by its very nature. As a result, consumers are more likely to treat it like a prize than they would an emailed promotion code.
Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs are generating lots of press thanks to their novelty. Therefore, if you’ve been looking for a fresh way to stay relevant or grab headlines, you may want to bake a few NFT initiatives into this year’s planning, development, or advertising budget.