5 Tips for Successfully Entering the German Market
You’ve made the decision: entering the German market is your main goal for 2021.
This’ll be your year to grow your solopreneur business internationally. It’ll be your year for more success, more revenue, more happy customers.
But there’s this little annoying voice inside your head.
What are you talking about? You have no idea how to do that. Better stick where you are and not ask for too much. What if it doesn’t work out? What if …?
Let’s stop that little voice right there. Entering a new market is something every small business can achieve if they have the right tools and strategies at hand.
In this article, I’ll share five tips for successfully entering the German market that will mean you have the best possible start.
Tip #1: Take it step by step
Taking your business across the borders of your own country is something that will happen gradually rather than from one day to the next. And growing your business in Germany is no exception.
So, take the time you and your business need to step into the German market. Don’t try to do too much at once, but rather go step by step, at your own pace.
Instead of biting off more than you can chew, create achievable and manageable short-term goals for your journey onto the German market. Your resources as a solopreneur are different from large corporations and you should use them wisely, not spreading yourself too thin.
For example, you could start by getting your online shop translated for the German market within the next two weeks.
That’s a lot more sensible than, for example, setting the goal of offering your online shop, blog, newsletter and social media channels in German and creating a German ad campaign on top of that all within the same time frame.
Tackling one small thing after the other instead of trying to do everything at once gives you the possibility of sustainably growing your business in Germany in the long run.
It’ll also prevent overwhelm, that feeling of never doing enough and the risk of giving up all together – and missing out on the great opportunities the German market can offer you.
Tip #2: Let go of perfectionism
We solopreneurs are especially guilty of blocking our own paths to success by wanting everything to be perfect. Even though everybody knows the saying “nobody’s perfect”, we still seem to try to achieve perfection.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Trying to make everything perfect will only mean that you invest valuable time into something that’s impossible. Time that you could have put to much better use (making your first sales to German customers, for example).
Instead, simply start somewhere. Learn, allow yourself to make mistakes, gain experience, and gradually improve.
Don’t be afraid that your German customers won’t like your brand or buy any of your products if you haven’t figured it all out yet.
While it’s true that Germans expect a certain level of quality (who doesn’t?), you’ll probably be surprised how curious they are to find out more about what you have to offer, even if not everything is perfect.
That doesn’t mean that I want to encourage you to be sloppy and be careless about your German customers. But I do want you to find a healthy balance and take bold action instead of standing still or getting in your own way.
Tip #3: Learn about your new customers
Another tip for successfully entering the German market is to learn about your German customers.
Just as you probably analysed your domestic English-speaking customers when you started your business, you can and should do the same for your new German audience.
Try to find out more about who they are, how they live, what they like, how they shop.
Maybe you can find some up-to-date statistics about the German customer, or research the latest marketing trends in Germany.
Once you’ve got that information, you could even go as far as to create a completely new Ideal Customer Avatar specifically for the German market.
You might be wondering why that’s important. Can’t you just use the same avatar you already have?
It’s important because getting a crystal-clear vision of your German customer will help you see the similarities and differences between them and your usual English-speaking customer.
You can then use this information to adapt and tweak your usual sales strategy to your German customer.
Maybe Germans prefer another payment method to the ones you’re offering so far? Then add their preferred method to your online shop!
By doing this you’ll give your German customer the feeling that you know and care about them, which in turn will help you sell to them – and successfully enter the German market.
Tip #4: Check out your German competition
Knowing your German competition can be another decisive factor when it comes to successfully starting your journey on the German market.
Take a look at the German companies and solopreneurs in your niche and analyse them in more detail.
- What are they doing differently from you?
- What do you like about them, what do you not like about them?
- What do their customers appreciate about them?
- What do their customers criticize?
- Maybe you can find some useful client reviews online? Or check out some comments on social media?
This information is extremely useful. It’s like insider information because these businesses and brands already are successful on the market you want to conquer. They already have the perspective that you want to gain.
So, rather than seeing those businesses as competition you need to fight off, try to see them as a source of ideas and inspiration to optimize your own offer to your German audience.
Tip #5: Team up with language professionals
You already know that to sell successfully in Germany you also need to communicate in your customers’ language.
But simply using free translation tools or having your content translated by a non-professional means you’re risking all your previous efforts going down the drain.
Low quality, stiff translations simply won’t resonate with your German customers. They might feel like they’re second class customers to you – not the best start if you want to sell to them.
If you want to successfully enter the German market, you need to team up with real language professionals, people who:
A) are experts in finding the right words
B) have good knowledge of marketing in Germany and
C) know what Germans are like.
We’re talking about German marketing translators and transcreators. They have the skills to make your German copy and content work wonders.
So, get a translator or transcreator of your choice on board, brief them about your business, and have your English texts recreated in German to start selling your products in Germany.
Entering the German market with your solopreneur business is a great way to grow it. However, our inner critic never sleeps and limiting beliefs or wrong expectations may cost you a big chunk of your success.
But if you take this journey step by step, let go of your perfectionism and learn about your new customers, conquering the German market suddenly won’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
Add in some competition analysis and a strong language partner and there will be nothing that can stop you making your brand shine in Germany.
By the way: If you’re ready to take the next step and get your web content translated, get in touch at email@example.com. I’d be happy to help you get your message across in German.