This month we launched the Tech4Good competition. To further support businesses doing good, we also published an open-source sheet with funding routes and support. We aim to create a “living” spreadsheet where people can find information, but importantly also add to it.
Non-technical Open Source is varied and growing fast. An example would be Wikipedia which contains almost 6 million articles developed and maintained by individuals around the world.
How can a business use Open Source in marketing?
Marketing is changing. In an environment where consumers are switching on their ad blocker and countless articles and posts are falling on deaf ears, companies are having to change tactics to engage with their customers.
The key is engaging with your customers to provide useful and sought-after information. The catch: Open Source means that it’s free. Some argue that giving away content for free can devalue its worth and that businesses should be compensated for developing learning resources, however, we can list some good reasons why Open Source is a powerful marketing tool for businesses…
1. Learn from your customers
We bet that you are highly knowledgable about your industry, but with a forever growing to-do list, it can be difficult to keep up to date with industry news. Creating an Open Source marketing piece where your customers contribute, means that you can start to learn from your customers and become up-to-date with valuable sources your customers are engaging with.
If you are looking to engage with more potential clients, these sheets can point you towards online or physical groups where your target your audience are engaging or “hanging out.”
2. Be seen as the industry expert
Building trust is hard. By being the owner of a “living” open-source document, you can start to establish your brand as a go-to company for information related to your industry. With this, comes trust that you will be able to provide a reliable service or product.
Example: Jon is a Mailchimp specialist and contracts to SMEs providing advice on email campaigns. He decides to publish an open-source document of templates people can use with their Mailchimp campaigns, along with advice on when and how to use them. People are also invited to upload their own templates. Potential customers not only use the templates but start trusting Jon as the ideal creator for bespoke email templates.
3. The viral effect
By creating and sharing open-source advice, tools and templates, providing the document is well maintained, you are giving your brand the chance to be organically shared and put in the hands of potential customers. Your customers will start to share your Open Source document with other potential clients who may wish to engage with you.
4. Marketing budgets for startups
Marketing is expensive. Whether you hire an agency, an in-house marketing team or maybe you are winging it yourself (and let’s be honest, your time is money), marketing can be an expensive outgoing. Creating an Open Source document is a cheap and easy way for small businesses to spread their brand and start to engage with their target audience.
5. Provide value in the community
Sometimes it’s not just about business, you may want to also just give something back. Open Source marketing is a great way to give back to the community and circulate information.
Ultimately by helping other businesses to learn and access open-source information, we are helping our eco-system to grow. In the long run, this is a benefit to everyone.