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Did you know that all the data you need to start building your business is already available online, completely free? Open data provides business mailing lists and brand-new revenue streams and opportunities, from information already stored on the web. There are vast ranges of data available to produce direct marketing lists - primarily government and public sector sources - and begin creating your customer base. This information can then be used to launch products or services, or perhaps partner with companies to expand your reach. Here, we’re sharing the process of promoting your startup without the need to buy mailing lists - saving you all-important resources.

Analyse the industry

Open data, or public data, is free for all to use. In fact, it’s one of the greatest advances for recent times - especially for SMEs and those looking to build the foundations for their business, without breaking the bank. Companies can access the information and use the data to create software and, ultimately, drive sales. There is so much data available, you can begin by analysing the industry and doing your research.

You can refine searches and understand what to access with the likes of MyOpenData - the UK’s largest library for public data. Essentially, our open data platform has done what all others haven’t, and collated all information to store in one place - meaning you don’t have to go back and forth to build your business mailing lists.

You can already find out what has been done with a little research. The most commonly used open data sources are geospatial/mapping, public transport and the environment. Therefore, you can assume there is already some hefty insights into those specific industries - enabling you to analyse the competition. Similarly, if you can’t find a dataset, chances are you can create one from a combination of sources, further enabling you to identify the core demographic for your sector.

Establish high-value customers

While you need to do your research and see just what your competition is doing (and where to replicate), you need to understand your audience. The initial analysis of the industry flows nicely into this point, and helps you build a customer base and, subsequently, segment in the future.

There’s absolutely no need to buy a mailing list when the information is already available. Thanks to MyOpenData, you also know where to find it… Establishing a core customer base is critical to the success of any business. If you identify the wrong demographic or attempt to appeal to those far from the targeted audience, you are, effectively, burning money. For instance, if a gardener is looking to promote his services during the busy summer months, it’s pointless targeting those who live in second-floor flats.

An open data platform allows him to target areas around his base, and those affluent areas with a larger number of homeowners. Therefore, he can then register the interest of those that respond or engage with his marketing message, segmenting them into priority categories.

Distribute information/flyers

As mentioned above, with the information to hand on your high-value prospects, you can then begin the process of crafting a personalised marketing campaign. You also needn’t worry about the GDPR and targeting those who have not initially engaged with your company, as open data offers compliant GDPR mailing lists. You can then look at the opportunities for spreading your message. While we live a digital age, direct mail marketing offers the chance to deliver your message and services into the hands of your prospects. It’s much easier to ignore an email than a letter…

You can download the data on particular postcodes or even certain houses around a specific bus stop - near to your company - and distribute flyers. To ensure you gain the most response, we suggest personalising the message to suit their needs. For example, highlight the quickest way to get to your company, or detail any events you may be hosting in the area.

While the free mailing lists on open data are anonymous, it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t personalise your marketing campaign. Remember, 84% of consumers responded better to brands that personalised their mailing.

Partner with companies

While open data can help create relationships between your brand and consumer, it can also produce new opportunities with local businesses. For instance, one such example is a clothing store opening in Newcastle, looking to target homeowners within a one mile radius. To encourage those prospects to visit the store, the clothing company could work with a popular, local bar to offer a free cocktail for every item purchased. Therefore, the bar is receiving additional footfall, as is the new store. Essentially, you pat each other on the back and get more customers.
You could also share the information with the business to help their marketing campaigns, and work together in the future.

Remove barriers for small businesses

The increasing ease of accessing open data - such as through the MyOpenData platform - makes it smoother for startups and SMEs to enter markets. Essentially, you are accessing information that many have long thought they had to purchase, or even not available to the general public. The growth of open data has proved exponential, with even the likes of Spotify utilising the services of public data. With more than 30 million subscribers, you can be forgiven for thinking they have their own database. However, the brand uses MusicBrainz - a free platform maintained by a global community of users, making the data available under a public license.

Ultimately, the open data platform offers businesses the chance to establish a database of customers and segment later down the line into high-value categories. Similarly, the public data works in favour of consumers, as it is GDPR compliant and completely anonymous.

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