Marketing with NFTs

5 Tips for Creating a Strong Reward Program for Your NFT Community

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January 31, 2023

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The importance of community in creating a successful NFT project, plus how to create a reward program your community will love.

NFTs are unique tokens that can signify ownership of physical or digital assets. Since their creation in 2014, NFTs have been used as exclusive access passes, attendance rewards, and even as collateral to secure a loan. There’ve been countless successful implementations of NFTs by many big brands including NBA, Adidas, Coachella, Dolce & Gabbana, and Coca-Cola. That said, the scope, advantages, and technicalities of these tokens are still relatively unknown.  

While these implementations differ in subtle ways that we’ll get to later on, they all share a common thread: They leverage community to deepen customer loyalty.

When it comes to rolling out a successful NFT collection, there is a lot you can do with NFT communities to pique interest in your project. It might be a rewards program, an NFT event, VIP membership, or even gated content. The only limit in how you foster community growth is your team’s imagination. If you build an effective community, your target audience will be cemented and your customer base expanded.

In this article, we'll explain the importance of the NFT community and how to create a reward program your community will love.

NFTs are unique tokens that can signify ownership of physical or digital assets. Since their creation in 2014, NFTs have been used as exclusive access passes, attendance rewards, and even as collateral to secure a loan. There’ve been countless successful implementations of NFTs by many big brands including NBA, Adidas, Coachella, Dolce & Gabbana, and Coca-Cola. That said, the scope, advantages, and technicalities of these tokens are still relatively unknown.  

While these implementations differ in subtle ways that we’ll get to later on, they all share a common thread: They leverage community to deepen customer loyalty.

When it comes to rolling out a successful NFT collection, there is a lot you can do with NFT communities to pique interest in your project. It might be a rewards program, an NFT event, VIP membership, or gated content. The only limit in how you foster community growth is your team’s imagination. If you build an effective community, your target audience will be cemented and your customer base expanded.

In this article, we'll explain what the NFT community is, why you need them for your project, and offer some tips on strengthening your brand’s community.

What is an NFT Community?

Behind every successful NFT project lies an engaged community that’s drawn in by some element of the project. This may be a lucrative reward strategy, exclusive benefits, social initiatives, or more. Creating any of these elements successfully requires careful and effective planning.

Communities in general are an excellent driving force for company sales. Studies suggest that above fame and fortune, humans desire belonging and connection with one another. Fostering a positive community space related to your brand will lead to customers associating connectivity and belonging with your brand. Establishing a community will also allow you to stay in touch with your customer base’s interests and avoid disasters like Porsche’s NFT launch

An NFT community is basically a group of individuals with similar interests in an NFT project or brand. These may take the form of holders of an NFT in your brand’s collection, or people that express interest in an upcoming collection you’re poised to launch. It’s vital that any brand community is supportive and helpful in order to reassure new people that they’re in the right place. Gatekeeping, bullying, and other negative behavior has no place in a community. Communities can also act together to further community objectives. Members may come together to discuss recent developments, prospects, and opportunities an NFT project presents.

Typically, NFT communities collaborate on a social platform like Twitter, Discord, LinkedIn or Slack. The right platform for your community will depend on who your audience is. You’ll want to meet them where they are. Whether the process of developing your NFT project has been completed or is still ongoing, you need to think about the medium you’ll use to connect with your target audience and promote the value you are offering or intend to provide. This is where you work towards building your NFT project community.

Communities of any form also can help potential investors evaluate the strength of your brand. When they see how active your community is as well as what they’re saying about your brand, they’ll have a better sense of how solid your project's foundation is. An active community will also legitimize your initiative, as you don’t want your investors thinking your NFT project is a thinly-veiled scheme designed to dupe them.

Everybody Loves Rewards

With communities being so beneficial to you and your marketing, it begs the question: what is the incentive for a person to join? What’s in it for them? An incentive typically takes the form of a rewards program where community members get exclusive benefits like brand-specific merchandise or early access to events. These rewards are not meant to replace your brand’s product or service, but rather enhance one of your brand advocate’s experiences in a unique way. 

Think of it as a mutually beneficial relationship. You reward your customer’s loyalty and they stay interested and active with your brand. Everyone is happy. NFTs act as an excellent medium for this as they allow you to gate access to exclusive community spaces with a token, as well as organize and distribute rewards to token holders.

Here are a few examples of what a rewards program can accomplish:

  • Fastrack new user acquisition
  • Improve user retention rate
  • Collect better user data for future marketing efforts
  • Create emotional loyalty among community members
  • Improve brand awareness across the broader NFT landscape
  • Create more sales and revenue for the NFT collection

The People Behind the Projects

We mentioned a few examples before of successful reward communities implemented by larger brands. Here is a quick overview of how people are using NFTs to gain rewards. It is, after all, the people that determine a project's success.

NBA Top Shots

Whether it was Kobe’s 81-point game or Jordan’s final shot with the Chicago Bulls, most basketball fans can recall those unforgettable moments where the fate of a game hangs in a few decisive seconds. But what if you could collect and save these moments? Dapper Labs partnered with the NBA to develop Top Shots, which allows you to buy, sell, and trade iconic NBA moments like trading cards. 

Community members organize into meetups and watch parties spearheaded by team captains. Members are rewarded with prizes, merch, and more for attending these special events. Ultimately, the Top Shot NFTs are designed to fit right into a Basketball fan's established interests and expand upon the established sports collectable card industry. 

Adidas Originals: Into the Metaverse

Adidas is popular enough in the physical world, so why would that be any different in the virtual one? Adidas virtual gear lets your avatar sport that original Adidas brand fit in the Metaverse. An integral part of Adidas’ Web3 initiative is establishing and fostering community growth on both Twitter and their private Discord server. As thanks for being part of their community, Adidas gives you the opportunity to attend sponsored events, pitch new ideas, and contribute to the goals of the project as a whole.

Adidas’ NFTs were quite popular.
Image: Adidas

Dolce&Gabbana #DGFamily NFT Community

The fashion brand Dolce&Gabbana launched an NFT collection designed to bridge fashion in the physical and virtual worlds. D&G NFTs take the form of colored boxes that grant members access to their exclusive community and several rewards. A member of the DGFamily group may receive physical or virtual apparel drops, access to exclusive virtual events, and even real-life experiences. 

These luxury NFTs are designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and implemented with a hashtag in their name. The brand stated that their new community represents a cornerstone of their DNA: a family or community of people who share passions and values. Their community uses these boxes as ticketing for IRL events and members are periodically rewarded with exclusive brand drops only available to NFT holders.

Coca-Cola NFT Collectibles

red and white plastic containers

Coca-Cola stands as one of the most iconic and recognizable brands in the physical and virtual worlds. Their NFT collection includes a unique Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket NFT that includes a unique code to a wearable version in the Decentraland virtual social platform. In fact, their community is integrated with the Decentraland platform and organizes events within the virtual space. Members get virtual outfits, physical vintage coolers, and more for being part of the

Some Food for Thought

NFT communities don’t necessarily always stem from established brands. For instance, the Ethereum-based utility NFT, Legendary Racers, offers its members a variety of reward benefits for buying in. This includes access to their Legendary Racers' club that holds special raffles and exclusive discounts, access to their NFT Gallery, VIP Sandbox Events, and an online shop for the physical wearables. 

Charity-based NFT communities like Blazed Cats were created in response to other cash grab projects. While Blazed cats is, at face value, an NFT collection themed around silly cartoon cat avatars, it’s also a charitable powerhouse that’s donated over $215,000 to Mental Health America within its first two weeks of launch. The group has committed to donating 25% of their minting proceeds and 100% of secondary royalties to mental health charities. 

With community building as a dominant thread throughout these different projects, you’ve probably been thinking of how NFTs may fit into your own brand. With this in mind, here is how to build and strengthen your NFT community. 

5 Tips For Creating a Strong Reward Program for Your Nft Community 

1. Set a Clear Vision and Goals

red and white tunnel with red carpet

The secret to starting a successful project is having a clear vision and goals. Identify realistic goals for your NFT project so you can focus and work towards them without straying from your plan. Find a suitable niche, research its problems, and tune into your target audience.

Questions you should answer;

  • Who are the project’s community members? (i.e. your target buyer personas.)
  • Does your audience enjoy animation artwork, virtual fashion, games collectibles, or PFP?
  • Which social spaces does your audience already inhabit?
  • What sort of loyalty program should you create? 
  • What does your audience care about? 
  • Why would they want to be part of the reward program? (i.e. WIIFM?)
  • What goals are tied to the planned reward program

Research and survey your target users' qualities as well as their media viewing habits in detail. Take the time to identify your target audience and always refer back to your audience when introducing new products or services. Factor in distinct demographic traits like age range, geography, and their technical expertise. But don't forget audience psychographics like interests, personality, preferences and values. Finding these enables you to understand who your target audience is, what they require from you, and how to create the best service for them and achieve the community goals.

2. Choose Your Platforms

Platforms give your audience a medium to interact and share their thoughts. Some platforms will even integrate with your projects’ reward system! Twitter and Discord are some of the more common platforms used for NFT projects. The most well-known NFT communities, like BAYC, Cryptopunk, Azuki, and others, interact with their followers and potential investors primarily on these two platforms. Knowing how these platforms differ can help you choose which one will best serve your project's objectives:

With Discord, you can have a direct and exclusive line of communication with your community and pass information straight to the members. Discord gives users instant access to vital project information. You can set up different channels like "Welcome," "Official Links," "Announcements", and "FAQ" channels on your Discord community for quick access to updates. A Discord server will reduce the likelihood of someone organically coming across your community, as membership usually requires an invitation link. 

Twitter can serve as a platform for NFT news updates or publications. Having a Twitter handle for your NFT brand can entice visitors to engage with your content. Both community members and outsiders alike can communicate and share their views using the platform. Content on Twitter can take the form of threads, news updates, and memes. Twitter makes it easy to attract the public's attention, including that of important influencers, as you may organize a variety of events in which the general public can participate. Keep in mind, however, that having the general public participating in your community can sometimes be a detriment as much as it is a boon. 

Some other honorable mentions include Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Slack.

No matter what platform you choose, you’ll need to actively update and engage with your community in order to foster growth. You can run events, host AMAs, and periodically offer giveaways. Using these tactics, more people will see the value in joining your community.

For example, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), a popular collection of 10,000 distinct NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, stands as one of the most successful and popular NFT communities out there. The project was able to expand their community to over one million members by implementing an exclusive access strategy to develop its community, grabbing the attention of influential figures and offering exclusive utilities to its users.

Doodles is an NFT project where users can make personalized characters that are in a hand-drawn art style. The unique part of this project is their Discord server where community members can propose ideas and vote on decisions for the project. The creator’s road map of the project is publicly available and highly collaborative with the community. 

Selecting a solid platform and then nurturing community growth can act as a stimulus for starting and maintaining a project successfully.

3. Create a Marketing Strategy 

monitor screengrab

It's time to create an actionable strategy after setting your goals. You'll need a blueprint for how to move forward with your NFT community. After all, people need to know about your projects and understand its benefits. We all know by now that our goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here are some things to think about during the planning process:

  • Define marketing goals and objectives: You and your team need to create realistic and quantifiable marketing goals that span the duration of the reward program and are in line with your community's long-term vision and overarching goals. 
  • Define KPIs: Any marketing initiative should have measurable metrics to determine the success of campaigns. These metrics are called KPIs and can track a variety of different factors. For example, you may have a KPI for the return on investment (ROI) of a campaign, the amount of people converted by social media posts (conversion rate), or the cost of acquiring new customers. 
  • Develop your timeline and budget: Create a plan and budget for your marketing campaign. What goals do you need to hit by what time? When do investors expect your project to be self-sufficient? How can you continue to engage your target audience? It should include all planned promotions, as well as a detailed analysis of their costs.

A well-drafted marketing strategy will draw the attention of followers and investors who might be interested in investing in your NFT project. If you’re on social media, you can increase the audience for your tweets by using specific niches and significant hashtags.

For example, AMC piggy-backed off of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s social media traffic to launch their first NFT project. This project rewards the first few thousand AMC Stubs members who purchase or reserve tickets to select movies with exclusive NFTs. They’ve continued their NFT collection with other popular movie releases in 2022. Their NFTs are mutually beneficial with the films they partner with while also growing and supporting their AMC Stubs platform. 

On your website, you can publish guest posts for other NFT sites to increase visibility and engage with other active communities. This is a great way to spread the word about your project and establish credibility.

Success is never guaranteed, but an effective plan or strategy will keep you on the right track toward building and supporting an effective community. 

4. Pick a Medium of Engagement 

four women holding drinks while laughing together during daytime

Once you establish your plan and platform, you should always be looking for new and innovative ways to engage your community. NFT communities should be associated with constant discussion, idea development, and a strong sense of belonging. Community projects should leverage various channels and platforms so that anyone involved feels important and heard. NFT Projects can also supercharge user acquisition through various incentive programs and campaigns.

If successful, you will create a strong and loyal community made up of brand advocates. Here, we explore the various channels and programs that could be employed:

  • AMA: A popular interactive interview style in creative industries is the "AMA," in which viewers and followers may ask the host any question they desire (ask me anything!). It provides the community with the opportunity to discuss a certain topic with a panel of internal and external experts. AMAs can take the form of an article, live stream, or video hosted on sites like Telegram or an active Twitter space. NFT Projects can leverage Link3, a Web3 social network to publish this AMA event to capture the attention of new users. Through this platform, a reward system could be implemented where participants are incentivized to interact with the AMA by receiving small community-specific rewards.
  • Offline meetup: Online events are cool but offline events are also a great way to grow community solidarity. NFT communities can organize an offline meetup in popular hub cities to meet with its users in person and share insights, have fun/dinner parties, and even attract new members. Utility NFTs can assure that the only people that enter your event are verified members of your community. Promotions for events can potentially be published on social sites like Eventbrite for wider reach. Afterward, consider publishing an event recap to keep users unable to make it to the community event involved. 
  • Quest event: VR platforms have become increasingly popular, today we have Galxe, Quest3, SoGraph, and. NFT Projects can leverage these platforms to conduct community events that can span the globe. These events may range from Lucky Draws, interacting with DApps, testing new products, completing some tasks to gain access to an exclusive group, participating in trading contests, and more.
  • Live streaming: Discord is one of the popular community platforms out there, particularly for NFTs and Gaming. Discord is well suited for hosting blockchain gaming livestreams for NFT projects that may use a Play2Earn model. Developers may want to showcase a way to play their game and earn tokens. You can also consider hosting quest and gaming tournaments on Discord while streaming them live for other users. The AXIA Blog demonstrates a good example of engagements for Discord communities.

The ways to engage your community are endless. The important takeaway is that establishing the parameters of your project and implementing a platform isn't enough; you can’t expect your community to run itself! You and your team will need to stay engaged in order to keep your audience excited about your brand. 

5. Get the Right People Aboard

macbook pro displaying group of people

Hiring the right team that understands your brand and NFT community goals is key to a sustainable project. NFT community initiatives will expect a higher level of transparency than traditional marketing. Every employee, from the community managers to the developers and core team members, is part of the community that you’re fostering. Hiring the wrong individual, or working with the wrong agency or consultancy might cost you more than money — it can damage your brand’s image.

  • Hiring the right team: NFT Projects can either hire a recruiting firm to source raw talent or have an in-house HR undertake the process. There are many recruitment firms out there to leverage including Crypto Recruit, Women in Web3 and Storm2. These firms will connect you with individuals that understand how the NFT field works internally and externally. 
  • Finding the right agency or consultant: Begin by determining what talents and expertise are required for your project. From there, you can create a detailed job posting and either analyze agency proposals or look for specialist firms that suit your project's criteria. Here are the top 100 blockchain agencies to explore. These agencies encapsulate business development, marketing, and I.T requirements. (Don't hesitate to get in touch if you need help!)
  • Ambassador program: An NFT ambassador program is a search for valuable contributors from the broader crypto community to impact the success of any project. Ambassadors could be picked from the list of your most loyal and dedicated community members or supporters of your project. Ambassadors will likely be names already known throughout the community and will blend naturally with the community's vision, purpose, and aspirations. For reference purposes, here is a sample ambassador program from Moonbeam, a Polkadot Parachain.

Wrapping Up

As the internet expands its reach, more people are flocking to online communities that share common interests and goals. They may look to these communities for participation, guidance, and knowledge. Any brand wanting to utilize the power of communities to create brand advocates should take the time to learn what makes an NFT project successful. While execution is important, a focus on community building and participation shouldn’t be ignored. If properly planned, your project will likely be on the proper path to success.

Stay up-to-date on Web3

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Book a 20-minute call with our team to learn how we can help you plan and execute a winning Web3 strategy.

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Ready to create engaging Web3 rewards?
Try the PolyientX platform and start building an engaging Web3 reward program.
Try the PolyientX platform
Stay up-to-date on Web3

Get the latest tips, ideas and case studies from the best of Web3.

Talk to an expert

Book a 20-minute call with our team to learn how we can help you plan and execute a winning Web3 strategy.

Book an intro call

Ready to create engaging Web3 rewards?
Try the PolyientX platform and start building an engaging Web3 reward program.
Try the PolyientX platform
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