The RareCircles Guide to NFT Roadmaps

The roadmap is a fundamental aspect of an NFT project — it’s your chance to provide clarity and transparency around your venture, the kind of community you want to build, and what people can expect for their investment. While not every project uses roadmaps the same way — and some even forgo them — they’ve become standard practice for a reason.

Roadmaps can be either time-based, with milestones every few weeks or months, or percentage-based, with new deliverables rolled out as the project hits certain sales targets. The latter model has become the norm, since it allows creators to raise revenue for more expensive deliverables during the roadmap’s back half.

Read on for some best practices when building out a road map, using examples of recent successes.

Don’t overpromise
The NFT landscape is full of projects making big commitments. But a roadmap is intended to reach out to your intended community, and deliver what it will find unique, exciting, or valuable. Trying to out-do other projects with unrealistic promises will backfire if you can’t make good on them — and it’s far better to deliver successfully on a modest roadmap than fail to deliver on a more ambitious one. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of simple and easily executable roadmaps to draw inspiration from.

Take Shogun Samurais, a project launched in 2021. The first of its four deliverables, to be executed at 25 percent and 50 percent of NFTs sold, were standard-issue roadmap fare: airdrops of new NFTs, and exclusive merch. But the next two were more unusual, including a pot of money for community development efforts, and a buy-back wallet when the project was sold out. (The latter means that once all NFTs are sold, the founders will buy back any NFTs listed below mint price on secondary trading and use them for giveaways or other community benefits.)

Another simple, straightforward example is Crypto Dads, a five-step roadmap which also includes airdrops and merch, a $30,000 charitable contribution related to men’s health, and a $30,000 community fund to go towards building a new project.

Engage the community you want

This is your first, best chance to attract desired community members, so don’t blow it. Plenty of successful roadmaps hew to well-worn paths: extra airdrops, merch, charitable contributions. That’s fine, but this is also an opportunity to reinforce the kind of project and community you’re building, and create unique offerings tailored to it.

Take The Sevens treasure hunt, a great example of gamification. A week-long, collaborative puzzle-solving event with prizes for winners, it’s aimed squarely at the project’s target audiences and packed with “references to anime, shows, games, and pop culture,” according to the roadmap.

There’s also Doodles, a project that has earned attention for its engagement-heavy strategy. Rather than reveal a roadmap at launch, the founders invited collectors to its Discord before the mint event, building up a base of people invested in the project’s direction from the get-go. After launch, it created a forum where its community posted roadmap ideas to be collectively decided upon.

Surprise, delight, entertain

Roadmaps are first and foremost about explaining clearly what your community will get for its investment. That doesn’t mean those benefits can’t be fun and inventive as well. The Seven’s treasure hunt made that clear.

Another now-classic example is the Bored Ape Yacht Club: Its first roadmap promised a mutant-ape creator at 100 percent sold and that’s what it delivered, dropping “mutant serums” to users to create new NFTs “mutated” from their original ones.

A more recent roadmap comes from Cool Cats, a project launched in July 2021 that promised everything from creature eggs and winter festivities to artist spotlights and secret projects.

Keep it fresh

So your roadmap is well on the way to completion. How can you continue to engage your community?

If you’re hoping to stir up excitement about the medium- or long-term future of your project, it might be time for Roadmap 2.0. That could simply involve making sure you don’t let things go stale by unveiling new ideas, utilities, and ways to engage after the official roadmap has expired. Or you may want to tackle ambitious ideas that were just a bit too much for Roadmap 1.0.

Some efforts might sink and some might soar, but if you’ve delivered on that first roadmap, you’ve got leeway to get more creative and have even more fun — as long as your community remains your top priority.

Written by: Matthew Halliday

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