How to Market Your Open Source Project or Business

Launching your own open source project is always exciting. You’ve worked on the project for so long and now it’s starting to attract users. Some businesses may be interested in using your open source solution, while home or personal users are beginning to contribute to the project as it grows further. The initial launch of the project is a critical moment.

In order for an open source project or business to be known, it needs to have a good marketing strategy. These next several tips we are about to discuss in this article will help you get started with marketing your open source project or business. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Open source marketing

Have a Business Model and Set Objectives

It is important to remember that open source is not a business model. It is simply an approach to a project or a business. Anyone can tap into your source codes and make changes or adjustments. To market the project as a product – or as a business – you need to have a business model.

A business model is, in simple terms, the way the project is designed to earn revenue. Will you be offering premium services? Is the open source project marketed as a paid solution? How will you monetize the business down the line? Answer these questions and you’ll be able to develop a suitable business model for the project.

On top of that, it is also important to have objectives for the marketing campaign. Determine the things you want to achieve and start formulating the right strategy and tactics to achieve those objectives. If you want to sell premium support to business users, for instance, targeting corporations and SMEs should be your main tactic. Learn about marketing automation to help fine-tune the strategy even further.

Social Media Is Your Friend

Social media is a great tool when it comes to marketing open source projects or businesses. The available social networks are free to use and can help you to generate leads and connect with millions of potential users directly. You can also interact with your users, answer questions and share information on how the open source solution can be used in different environments.

The best thing to do is to start with your social networking pages right away; it’s also a good idea to start them before releasing the open source solution as a product or business, since you can then have a run-up and start attracting users very early in the game.

Social media is always a bit tricky, especially when you’re just getting started. Don’t worry; you will be able to build a strong following in no time. You just have to be patient about it. Tools designed to do marketing automation for SMBs can help you a lot as you get started with social media. Start interacting with key opinion leaders in the field, promote others’ projects or businesses and simply engage your users actively.



Since the project or solution is open source, you can also crowdsource further developments of the project or business openly. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get contributions from various sources. Ideas and pieces of codes will start streaming in once you turn your project into a crowdsourced one.

Crowdsourcing is also a great promotional tool for the project. People who are involved in the project or business – whose ideas are added to the open source solution in particular – will be more likely to promote the project. When a contributor has 10,000 followers on Twitter and he or she tweets about your project, you’re reaching 10,000 more potential users that instant.

It is also worth noting that crowdsourcing is a great way to get the project moving after launch. Even when you’re stuck or you face problems with taking the project to the next level, there are hundreds – or even thousands – of other people that will help contribute to it.

Focus on the Project

A lot of open source projects or businesses didn’t get the initial traction they need due to one simple mistake. The people behind those projects promote themselves more than the projects they are developing. This may seem like a good idea at first; you’re using your credibility and personal presence to jumpstart the project or business. In the long run, however, you will find that maintaining traction and actually pushing the open source solution as a product to be much more difficult to do.

Always focus on the project. Point out unique selling propositions, tell stories on how the project can add value to users and you will have no trouble at all getting in the recognition it deserves. Use this tip, and the previous ones we talked about in this article, to get the ball rolling.