September 6, 2022 - 7 min read
y00ts is an NFT project that has done over 50,000 SOL in sales volume at the time of this writing at a time when OpenSea sales volume is down nearly 90% from its all-time high. I break down the marketing strategy of y00ts and how it was able to generate so much interest in a bear market.
OpenSea sales volume dropped 89.6% from its record high in January of 2022 to its August 2022 sales and the NFT market is quiet.
Despite this NFT crash, there’s one NFT project that is making serious noise while doing an impressive sales volume right after mint: y00ts.
y00ts is a collection of 15,000 NFTs. t00bs were minted on September 5th, 2022, and have already done over 54,000 SOL in sales volume, with an average current price of $4,700 per NFT, which will allow holders to mint a y00t. Both collections will remain active on Solana.
How is it that in an NFT bear market, a Solana blockchain project is making us nostalgic for the bull market of 2021?
I’m going to break down their marketing playbook below, based on some amazing Twitter threads for NFT_God and my own research into the Dust Labs team (creators of DeGods, another popular NFT project on the Solana blockchain) that dates back to March.
Let’s dive in!
Let’s start with the team, because this matters in how and why y00ts got so much traction so quickly.
DeGods already found success on the Solana blockchain with over $60 million in sales volume.
Dust Labs, is now the parent company of DeGods, as well as y00ts, is led by CEO KevinDeGods.
This is important because these are battle-tested founders who have grown an NFT project and instilled confidence in their community.
You can’t fake experience, and that is step 1 of their “marketing strategy”.
While I’ve never spoken directly with Frankdegods, he is well respected in the community and I’ve seen his name come up over and over again on Twitter for months.
They have a vision and their followers have confidence they can follow through and overdeliver.
The hype that I organically noticed around y00ts was that there was an application process to be considered to mint a y00t (which now sells for $4,000 — $5,000).
This required owning $DUST, but it created an environment that drove people to actively advocate for themselves to be part of the mint.
Allowlists are relatively new, and as demand increased in 2021, we saw more and more ridiculous requirements for people to get a spot on them.
It got to the point where people were hiring others to spend time in Discords to get the engagement scores needed to mint.
The application process y00ts rolled out turned that on its head.
There’s something different about being selected by the team and being part of an application process versus trying to game a requirement system rigged against you.
That excited people.
So much so that many shared in excitement when they were invited to the Allowlist.
I saw tweet after tweet of those accepted sharing the news — it created scarcity, and a fun experience while anxiously awaiting to see if you “won” something that felt fair because the team reviewed.
I wrote about how to sustainably market an NFT project to maintain long-term interest and at the top of my list was communication.
Twitter spaces are one of the best ways to get in front of people in the NFT space and that’s exactly what Frank did.
It takes a lot of effort to show up in spaces and talk with a community, but it goes a long way in building trust and awareness for a project.
It’s so hard to maintain because there’s no growth hack — you have to show up and do the work.
But Frank did it and word got out about the project.
Again — you cannot fake this. Many projects disappeared and got quiet. This leaves doubt about vision and commitment, and Frank was able to take advantage of that because he had a lot of attention in the sea of silence.
The 2021-style NFT marketing was to dump all the value and differentiation into 1 roadmap and call it a day.
Not to knock those projects, and not everyone did that, but y00ts released information little by little over time to keep people interested but also help people understand the value and differentiation.
Releasing information over time communicates a strong vision, and confidence in that vision and keeps people interested and engaged.
The application process was genius because it kept people on the hook and interested in hearing how things were progressing.
Frank’s consistent communication and new value add with each one continued to pique curiosity and interest and frankly gave people more to talk about the project.
This is a pretty simple step in marketing — care about your customers!
NFTs offer unprecedented access to customers (community members, whatever you want to call it).
From the beginning, I’ve seen feedback that the DeGods team not only made an effort to empathize with their community but acted in a way that aligned and vibed with them.
Again, this is an honest signal of a project founder who believes in what they are doing versus trying to create hype to sell out a mint, reap the benefits of secondary sales and slowly disappear and/or not have the capacity to evolve during a bear market.
You have to really know what you’re doing and believe in it to put your community first, listen to them, and evolve your approach.
Frank distilled the vision of y00ts (as well as DeGods and $Dust) succinctly and framed it in a way that holders can see how it benefits them.
Consider this the offer to minters/buyers.
This is the biggest puzzle in the NFT space since project founders are in sticky SEC waters if they promise USD profits from their efforts.
Instead, Frank focused on “systems designed to prioritize rewarding holders that provide value to their respective communities”.
People care about what’s in it for them, and while the execution of that vision is what matters most, this is a compelling offer for anyone considering buying into the project.
While most other projects have you pay for merchandise, access to events, etc., and haven’t really nailed utility beyond that, Frank has a vision and anyone who reads this can clearly see that it’s targeted at bringing them value.
It’s refreshing to see an effective marketing strategy deployed in an NFT bear market that delivers results.
But I bet if you asked the team if this was a marketing strategy, they would respond by saying it isn’t.
It seems to be the culmination of their learnings and observations of the NFT space and how it has changed. They simply acted on it and a byproduct of that effort and innovation was more interest and engagement.
Many others will likely study this approach, but at its core, they listened, observed, and approached the launch of the project with their holders (and potential holders) in mind.
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