If you’re working on launching an NFT membership or NFT access pass, there are a lot of things to consider and decisions that have to be made ahead of time as you plan your launch– before you start working on the technical end.
I also want to add that if you’re launching your first NFT project, I recommend launching an NFT membership or access pass BEFORE doing your PFP project. The main reasons being that it’s a significant lower barrier to entry. A PFP project is much more time and resource heavy because of the artwork needed, rarity statistics, etc.
I’ve been involved in a number of NFT project launches, many of them being NFT memberships or NFT access passes including Moonbirds and GMoney's Admit One launch. A lot of people’s perspectives of how well a project is doing or will do in the future, is based on the velocity of the sale – how fast does it sell out?
Through my experience working on these projects from a technical perspective, I’ve learned that there are a number of decisions about the project that can make or break your project – either leading it to sell out or slowly trickle into the abyss.
I’ve put together an NFT project checklist of things you need to decide ahead of time to ensure your NFT membership launch goes smoothly and has a higher chance of selling out quickly.
The first thing you need to think about when launching an NFT membership is your community.
For example, are they coming from the broad spectrum of the Web 3 or NFT space?
You have to figure out where the wallet addresses are coming from and how you’re going to organize these into your mint experience.
I like GMoney’s POAP(Proof of Attendance Protocol) only use case. His entire minting community came from people he met in real life and he gave out a POAP to prove that.
When launching a new brand or a new product, the first step in marketing is to answer the question “who is this for?” It’s the same for launching an NFT project.
Your NFT membership is creating an exclusive club – so you need to think about who it’s for and why they’d want to pay to join this exclusive club.
The next thing to decide on when planning your NFT membership or access pass after deciding who it’s for, is what they get and how long their NFT gives them access to the membership for.
A year ago or even 6 months ago, brands and creators could launch an NFT project that had no utility and had a potential to sell out. But those days are behind us.
With the changes in the market and the evolution of market expectation, people are now looking for utility in projects.
For example, Brenden’s Premint collector’s pass that I worked on is his community focused membership pass that gives you access for 2 years to his collector’s view in the Premint application. If your NFT access pass doesn’t have utility, it’s likely going to be a flop in today’s market.
So on top of the utility of the pass, determining the length and time that your NFT membership access pass is valid for is a critical piece. The smallest granularity seems to be a year. Typically the standard minimum is 12-18 months.
A big decision for your NFT access pass is whether to keep your minting as a private list (meaning people need to get on your mint list ahead of time), or if you’ll open it up to the public. There’s also the option of doing a hybrid approach.
Let’s break down these options.
Private Mint: If you want to have a highly curated community, keeping yours private is likely the way to go. Typically this means you’ll be doing marketing and community building to get people to sign up to be on your mint list (ex. via Premint) before your mint date.
For example, in GMoney’s case he was interested in creating a rewards system for people he met in real life so his POAP token was private and available only to people he’s met. He wanted to create a really tight knit group that he could launch a fashion line for. So whatever your focus is on the other side of the token gating, dictates whether you should go the private or public route.
Another example of a great time to keep yours private is if you’re a part of a wine club with a set of known members where the membership is very controlled – private is the way to go. And in this case it would probably be a good idea to do a soul-bound token to avoid transfer of membership and keep the community highly curated.
Public Mint: Some projects prefer to make their mint open to the public (or open to the public for a limited amount of time) so that there’s less grinding and more opportunity for people to mint. If you’re going after a larger audience, you’ll likely want to do a public mint.
A great example of this is, Old Sport, an LA group that launched a speakeasy membership and to get into this bar, you need to be an NFT holder. They made their mint public so it was available to anyone in that area or that was interested in becoming a member of the speakeasy.
Hybrid: A hybrid approach is where you start your mint only open to people on your list (ex. your Premint list) and then open it up to the public after. For example, let’s say you have 100,000 people on your mint list, you could open up the minting earlier for a few hours or a day to specific people that won a raffle, then open it to your allow list is able to mint, then open it up to the public.
If you’re doing a private or hybrid approach, the next consideration is how you’re going to segment your list and time your mint.
Are you going to have a VIP mint list that gets first dibs on minting for the first 2 hours? The first 24 hours?
What I’ve seen work really well is having a 3-hour mint window for your allow list and then the public mints the remainder of the passes that day.
I’ve seen projects that have their allow-list mint over 2 days and it just feels very slow, not as fun, not as much FOMO. You need to find a way to create that sense of urgency and FOMO.
Keeping your mint window tight is what ensures that exists.
Next it’s time to decide how many pieces you want to have in your collection – you can make it unlimited, but in my experience that’s a missed opportunity because what’s the point in marketing an exclusive club and creating FOMO if there’s an endless supply?
You don’t want to set it too small because it limits your revenue potential, but you also don’t want to make it too big or you’ll set yourself up for disaster.
Decide on how many pieces you want to create your collection – and to do that think about how big you want your community to be.
You can always launch additional collections to grow your community, but you can’t shrink it down. If you start your project with 10K pieces but only sell 1,500 passes that’s a bad scenario and you can’t go down from there.
My advice is to start on the smaller side which plays well with creating something exclusive and stirring up FOMO and excitement about your project. Starting with around 1,000 pieces has proven to do quite well.
For example, Proof was 1,000 pieces and was later able to expand their community by offering Moonbirds and Oddities. Each token gave holders access to their Discord, but original Proof holders were rewarded with 2 free Moonbirds passes.
You can keep your access pass numbers small and use subsequent mints to expand your community further.
Another piece of advice on deciding your collection size, is to get creative with the number. For example, some projects will make the collection size 666 pieces, 777, 1111, or 1234.
For a project that’s 6969 pieces, you can imagine what the community is going to be like – so whether this is a professional or more fun and casual community, take that into consideration when deciding on the size of pieces.
Another consideration is if your access pass will have membership tiers or if everyone will have equal access and perks.
While having membership tiers makes your project slightly more complicated, it can create additional excitement around the project because people are competing to get the top tier and access to even more exclusive perks.
For example, CityDAO bought a plot of land in Wyoming and they’re creating their own city where citizenship is determined by an NFT membership pass and there’s different tiers.
The lowest tier is a simple citizenship tier that allows you to live there, and there’s higher tiers such as a Founding Member tier that gives you access to make decisions about how the city is created.
I think the rule of thumb should be that you only have 1 tier, unless there’s a very noticeable difference in the way your application works (if your NFT access pass is to use your platform application) or whatever your token gating experience is.
If there’s a totally different experience that’s being created on the other side of whatever you’re token gating, then that makes sense to have multiple tiers.
Next is the most creative part – the artwork for your NFT membership. Unlike a PFP collection, NFT membership passes typically have the same artwork for the whole collection. The exception is if you have different tiers of tokens, then each tier will have a slightly different look in the artwork.
The reason Moonbirds exists is because Kevin wanted to token gate PROOF reports. However, he found it was kind of uncool to have a pass as your avatar on Twitter. So they decided to roll out a PFP project after. Because people want to have some sort of visual representation of the project.
The artwork of your NFT membership pass should reflect your brand. It needs to look cool and be collectible. It needs to have your brand colors and make sense for the community you’re trying to build.
If you’re building a professional community, your artwork should look clean, polished, and professional. If you’re building a fun and quirky community, the artwork should reflect the vibe you’re going for.
Personally, I’ve always really liked the look of PROOF and PREMINT because they look cool, metallic, and futuristic. Colors like gold, platinum, and black all work really well for access passes. I think there’s a lot of carry over between credit cards and access passes. If you think about the cool credit cards there’s Amex Platinum, Amex Centurion Black, Visa’s black, platinum, and gold cards– they look cool and they look expensive.
To ensure your NFT membership pass sells out, it’s a good idea to plan our collaborations. Collaborations expand the potential for people interested in your token. And this idea of doing brand collaborations are not new to Web 3. This has been a strategy for ages. Supreme did a Supreme X Chanel collaboration which brings together two great names and creates something new and unique.
You can collaborate with other NFT projects that have similar values to cross-promote. You can also collaborate with brands that aren’t new to Web 3. I think it’s a great opportunity to reach out and expand your brand awareness by tapping into other audiences.
If you’re not sure where to start, a great place is using Premint to look at other projects and find ones that align in values and the type of community you’re trying to create.
Having a successful NFT membership or NFT access pass that sells out doesn’t happen by fate. It’s the result of proper planning and being deliberate about what you’re creating from who you want to be in your community, how big you want it to be, what perks your members will get, how they’re able to join that community, the artwork that reflects your brand, and brand allies that align with your vision are all a part of what makes an NFT project successful.
Hopefully you've found this checklist helpful and feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you have feedback or questions!