For UK businesses, Germany is a popular trading option.
With a GDP of more than €3 trillion, Germany is the largest economy in the European Union and the fourth strongest in the world.
What’s more, an incredible 99% of businesses within the country are SMEs, with family-owned businesses proving popular.
Goods and services sold to Germany from the United Kingdom currently contributes £49 billion to the economy, but that figure will no doubt change post-Brexit.
If you want to tap into the lucrative German market, read on for our top marketing tips.
Tweak your products and services
Attitudes and cultures vary from country to country, and so adapting your products and services to best suit a German audience makes sense.
Food and beverage items, for example, may need to be tweaked to suit German tastes, whilst service businesses must offer services in German, meaning you’ll need to hire a translator or German-based consultant to find clients.
Unlike in the United Kingdom, business professionals in Germany prefer to meet for face-to-face interviews, and will expect you to have thoroughly researched their company before you meet.
Those meetings are usually formal, unless you’re meeting one-to-one, so dress smart.
One difference between UK and German businesses is that the majority are family-owned, and as such, they take a longer-term view.
Because of this, they place great importance on relationships, and may choose one company over another based on their relationship.
Therefore, networking and relationship building is essential in the B2B world in Germany.
Work with a German marketing agency
Another way to ensure you’re targeting the right audience and sending out the most appropriate marketing message is to work with a German marketing agency.
Not only will this give you access to a local marketing expert, who will no doubt understand their audience better than you, but it will give you an important contact.
Finding the right one, however, can take time.
If you launch a German website for your business, then consider working with an SEO agency in Germany, too.
Of course, the basics of SEO remain the same whatever country you’re living in, but finding the right German keywords and building links on the best German sites can be tough if you don’t speak the language or don’t have the skills needed for blogger outreach.
Launch an ecommerce store
If you want to expand into Germany but don’t have the budget to do so, then you could look at expanding your ecommerce store into other territories by adding new currencies and allowing for overseas delivery.
Indeed, ecommerce stores can allow you to market your products to the world, and because you can charge a premium for delivery, it won’t really cost you a penny.
However, in terms of digital marketing, you should still put in the time and effort required to boost your online presence within the country.
Setting up German social networking accounts, posting blog posts in German and having your website and product descriptions translated will make your website more attractive to potential buyers.
Although many Germans can speak English, making your brand accessible to those who don’t could win you thousands of new customers, so it’s worth the time and effort.
Another way that you could boost sales from your ecommerce store is to launch a limited edition product just for Germany.
If you run a fashion business, for example, then a one-off shirt design with the German flag or a German quote, for example, could attract the attention of buyers.
Partner with German businesses
If the ideas we’ve mentioned so far don’t suit your needs, then the final one might just be the option for your business.
If you sell physical products or services, then consider partnering with a German business that can resell your wares in exchange for a cut of the profits.
Provided that you have quality products, a strong unique selling point and a respected brand, you should be able to sell your products in Germany without too much effort.
Of course, you’ll need to think about offline marketing materials, like point of sales and posters, to attract the attention of shoppers, but after that, you can sit back and relax whilst other people do the work.
Finding the right retail partner might take time, and it may require you to visit Germany to meet with potential stockists, but it’s worth it if doing so can open up new opportunities for your brand.
There’s no denying that promoting your business in a new country is hard work, but by taking on board the ideas we have mentioned in today’s post, you might just be able to make it work.
As the United Kingdom is faced with greater challenges as we leave the European Union in 2019, experimenting with new opportunities to take your business global is a sensible idea, and as one of the world’s most exciting economies, Germany is the place to begin. Best of luck!