Last month, OpenSea announced they're dropping NFT royalty fees—for good.
Considering OpenSea's market dominance, if you're a creator looking to create recurring income, you might be wondering what to do next. Should you churn out new NFTs, and likely devalue your OG collection?
If you're looking for alternatives that are not likely to hurt your collection, but actually add value to it—I've got your back. The strategies I'm about to share will help you to see your NFT community not as repeat buyers, but as essential members of your project who can actively help you grow, and reach a broader audience—even those that are not a part of the web3 crowd.
I've put together 6 powerful, stable NFT monetization strategies, all featuring both actionable steps and real-life examples, to help you navigate the post-royalties landscape.
Let's fucking go.
#1: Wearable Merch
Turning your unique NFT artwork into wearable merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies, or hats isn't just about slapping your PFP on fabric and selling it—it's about creating a real-world, logical, meaningful extension of your digital collection.
Pros and Cons
The beauty of wearable merch lies in amplifying your brand awareness and capitalizing on potentially high gross margins, often around 40%. The journey, however, isn't without its hurdles. The path from pixels to fabric demands intricate design work and the challenge of either doing everything yourself or partnering with the right clothing brand.
- Design Concept: Test and blend different styles, colors, and elements to create designs that resonate with your collection's vibe. Pro tip: Use Cheyn.fashion, a super-simple web app, to quickly experiment with different designs in 3D.
- Select Merchandise: Choose from wearables like t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and more, that best suit your artwork. Pro tip: Listen to your community about the type of wearables they would like to get—set up a simple Discord vote.
- Design Adaptation: Tailor your NFT designs to the chosen clothing, ensuring coherence with dimensions and materials.
- Prototyping: Create a few prototypes and order them as samples to test out, ensuring that the designs are well-translated into physical products.
- DIY or Partner Up: Creating a tangible connection between your NFT artwork and the physical world can be approached in two ways:
a) DIY - Use Printful + Shopify: Combine Printful's manufacturing and distribution capabilities with Shopify's online store solutions. Check out this full guide and Printful's NFT merch page to get started. Pro tip: If you want to offer special merch only to NFT owners, consider applying for Shopify token-gating Beta, or check out thirdweb's NFT-gating guide.
b) Partner Up with Established Brands or Local Manufacturers: While collaborating with Zara might be tricky, you could always try cold-emailing local clothing brands and asking for a partnership. This approach leverages their manufacturing and distribution networks, including both online shops and physical stores.
While the journey from pixel to toys may seem more complex than clothing, the process is actually simple. It goes without saying that this one will only work with PFP collections—so if you've created a cute anime, a sci-fi character, or some other humanoid or creature-themed collection, read on.
Pudgy Penguins stands as an epic example of an NFT collection that has nailed this strategy, turning digital characters into amazingly cute plushies, selling toys online on Amazon, and in over 2000 Walmart stores.
Pros and Cons
Toys can increase your collection's value and attract non-web3 audiences, but the logistical intricacies of manufacturing and shipping shouldn't be underestimated. Embracing this strategy means you're not just running an NFT project; you're now operating a toy company.
- Audience and Toy Type: Define the target audience for your toys (kids, adults, collectors) and select the type of toys that resonate with your NFT characters (plushies, action figures, construction sets, dolls, etc.).
- Design Ideation: Brainstorming sessions to craft toy designs. More than one, and don't stop until the entire team is completely on board. You can start with a rough sketch, and hire a 3D modeler or even use Kaedim to get a rough 3D model prototype.
- Prototyping: 3D printing is your friend—you can check out https://www.shapeways.com/ for high-quality prints, go to https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprintmything/ to get an affordable quote, or simply Google for your closest 3D printing shop.
- Manufacturer Partnership: Select a reputable manufacturer, considering crucial factors like quality, materials, and production costs. Pro tip: Finding a decent manufacturer via googling is a nightmare—you'll just get hit with countless ads. Instead, go to Kickstarter, find successful toy projects (that match the type of toy you want to sell), and contact their founders to ask for manufacturer info.
- Production and Distribution: You need a website (again, Shopify is a decent e-commerce platform, but you can also look at Webflow) to sell online; for physical stores, you can also take the tip from the previous strategy, and contact local brands.
#3: Comic Books
In the grand tale of NFTs, comic books have started to emerge as a unique approach for monetizing and creating value in the NFT space.
There are two ways you can go about this:
- NFT Comic Books: These can be either composable (where individual NFTs combine to create pages, and pages combine to create the full comic) or encapsulate the entire comic in one NFT.
- Physical Comic Books: Available to order online or buy in stores, this somewhat traditional approach demands direct partnerships and printing resources, adding a layer of trickiness.
Examples in Action
NounsDAO's collaboration with Titan Comics demonstrates how existing NFT collections can be leveraged to forge new intellectual property, while the 2142 project illustrates a creative convergence where NFTs and DAOs contribute directly to the crafting of a narrative universe.
- Decide the Format: Choose between an NFT or physical comic, or combine both—e.g. buying an NFT enables you to claim a physical comic book.
- Find an Artist & Create the Comic: You can hire talented individuals on Fiverr, or create comics with AI tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT.
- (Optional) Develop a Revenue Sharing Model: This could range from simple crypto payments to launching a DAO and related coin. If you decide to take this route, it's crucial to ensure you're in compliance with any applicable laws and regulations.
- Engage Your Community: Leverage your existing NFT holders to promote and participate in the comic’s success.
- Publish and Distribute: Whether through an NFT marketplace or physical stores, ensure your comic reaches its audience. Pro tip: You can always reach out to us at Holoframe, in case you want to launch an AR marketing campaign for your comic book NFTs.
Books do more than just add layers to your NFT universe; they're a gateway to reach an audience beyond the crypto-savvy. By diving into the lore and stories behind your NFTs, you not only captivate your existing community but also pull in people who are new to digital art but love a compelling narrative.
Financially, it's a savvy move. Publishing opens up a new revenue channel, enhancing your NFT project's overall worth.
1. Conceptualize your Story: Determine your book's setting and characters, mapping out key events and subplots. Choose themes like freedom or love, and decide on the story format—a single book or series. Pro tip: Involve your community members in shaping story elements, via Discord votes and idea channels.
2. Write your Manuscript: Decide on your writing approach, whether solo, using ChatGPT, or hiring a ghostwriter. Ensure a polished, error-free manuscript through self-proofreading, team review, or professional editing.
3. Design and format: Create a compelling book cover that's in line with your NFT collection's art style. Be mindful of layout, typography, and formatting since your book might live in both digital and physical realms. Aim for a design that is compatible with both the mainstream and NFT book platforms.
4. Publish and Promote: For traditional readers, self-publish on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or even consider hard copies. Simultaneously, and ideally, tokenize your book on NFT book platforms like Alexandria Labs, Soltype, Publica, Creatokia, Book.io, or Readl.co.
Distribute through multiple channels, bolstered by a well-thought-out marketing campaign that targets both the crypto-savvy and those who might find the book interesting due to its genre, like sci-fi or fantasy.
#5 Animated Series
Animated series can supercharge your NFT collection IP and reach. A good one can attract a wide audience, from animation fans to NFT collectors, and offer multiple revenue channels, including NFT sales, IP licensing, and merchandise.
Stoner Cats was an adult animated series starring celebrity felines, and it's exclusive to those who hold Stoner Cat NFTs. Deadheads, on the other hand, merges 3D NFT characters with an animated show, allowing NFT holders to sway the storyline.
The Gimmicks serves as an adult comedy set in the workplace, featuring WWE stars and empowering NFT holders to influence the plot. Krapopolis by Dan Harmon blends gods, humans, and monsters in its animated narrative, with Fox launching companion NFTs for fans.
1. Story, Story, Story: Begin by developing a captivating storyline that seamlessly integrates your NFT characters and universe. Consider the narrative arc, character development, and overarching themes to ensure a compelling story.
2. Script and Storyboard: Write the script for your animated series, breaking down each episode into scenes and dialogue. Create storyboards that visualize the key moments, camera angles, and character actions. This step provides a blueprint for the animation process.
As with any other type of creative work, you can choose to do this yourself, use ChatGPT to help or hire a freelancer. If you choose to do it yourself, you can combine tools like Midjourney with Canva, Milanote, or even Figjam to create a decent, straightforward storyboard.
3. Production: To actually produce your show, you've got two choices:
- Hire an animation studio or a freelancer
- Do it yourself
If you choose the DIY route, the quickest and simplest route to take is to generate it with AI—try combining MidJourney with Runway Gen2. It's going to be obvious you've used artificial intelligence, but that could also be your main selling point.
4. Post-Production: After animation, focus on post-production tasks such as sound design, voice acting, and visual effects. You can hire voice actors, or use services like Typecast or Replica Studios to generate voice over with AI. typecast.ai and replicastudios.com
5. Distribution and Promotion: Explore distribution channels for your animated series, whether on streaming platforms, or your own website. A solid strategy would be to publish exclusively on X, and monetize via subscriptions - but you could also go for YouTube, or even TikTok, and monetize via views. Develop a marketing strategy that includes teasers, trailers, social media promotion, and engagement with your NFT community.
#6: Video Games
Integrating your NFTs into video games isn't just a trendy move; it's a strategic one. It opens up new avenues for user engagement, provides a unique utility for your NFTs beyond mere collectability, and brings a new way to monetize by launching a crypto token usable in your game.
Two initiatives perfectly illustrate the evolution of NFT collections towards gaming: Otherside by Yuga Labs and Brawler Bearz. Otherside has taken web3 by storm, generating $319 million from 55,000 Otherdeed NFTs. On the more agile end of the spectrum, Brawler Bearz adds layers of utility to its NFTs by offering a browser-based game where owners can stake their bears, engage in PVP combat, and set off on quests.
1: Define Your NFT's Role in the Gaming Ecosystem: The most crucial first step is to decide what role your NFTs will assume in the gaming world. They can serve multiple purposes, ranging from items, characters, and real estate, to vehicles, spells, and even NPCs. A simple, smart move could be to make your existing NFTs playable while crafting new collections for additional features and items.
2. Choose the Right Web3 Game Development Platform: To seamlessly integrate NFTs into games, you'll need a robust platform designed for this kind of heavy lifting. Two standout options are Thirdweb and Immutable. Thirdweb offers a plethora of customizable smart contract templates, while Immutable is known for its gas-free transactions and scalability. Either platform could serve as a powerful cornerstone for your project.
3. Select Your Game Development Engine: The game engine you opt for can either make or break your project. Unity and Godot are well-established engines that have extensive community support and libraries. If you're aiming for something less conventional, platforms like GDevelop and Construct are also viable alternatives. Each has its own set of tools and features to match different project needs and skill levels. Pro tip: Core Games is a simple-to-use game builder featuring out-of-the-box Ethereum NFT support.
4. Development & Testing: After choosing your platforms and engine, the next step is the actual development. This stage involves implementing the smart contracts for your NFTs into the game mechanics. Your choice of web3 game development platform will come in handy here, providing the necessary infrastructure to tie everything together.
5. User Engagement & Feedback Loop: Before officially launching, it's crucial to listen to your user base. Implement beta testing phases and solicit feedback. Fine-tune your game and NFT utility based on these insights.
6. Rollout & Continued Development: Once you've made the necessary adjustments, it's time for the big launch. However, the work doesn't stop here. The gaming and NFT worlds are ever-evolving; continually assess how your NFTs are being used and make improvements accordingly.
Beyond the Mint: Building an Ecosystem Around Your NFTs
We've explored everything from merch to toys and comics, and even thought about animated worlds for your NFTs. But it's more than just making money. It's about building a community that's as passionate about your project as you are.
Whether you're putting your art on T-shirts or crafting an animated story, remember: the key to success is understanding that you're not just expanding utility for your NFTs; you're building an ecosystem.
Want us to give you more examples or deep-dive into any of these strategies? Tell us what you're curious about on X.
- Revisit Your Business Model: Assess the health of your current monetization strategy in the post-royalties world.
- Community Polling: Engage your community on Discord or X to gauge interest in various new projects and monetization methods.
- Prototyping: Whether it's designing a piece of merch or drafting a comic, the prototype phase is essential. Use it to gather feedback before full-scale production.
- Launch and Iterate: Release your new monetization strategy and make data-driven adjustments as you go.
So, ready to break the mold and redefine what an NFT project can achieve? Let's fucking go.