Your are ready to bring your mission, your product or service to German markets and front center to a German speaking audience and customers? You were gathering information all over the internet and you came across this article? Great! Take my 3 cents, a.k.a. 3 tips for expanding into German markets that increase your revenue.
Define what you want, need & can handle
There are countless possibilities & options between both ends of the spectrum of translating it all —and— doing nothing and assuming “everybody speaks some English anyway”. However, making key decisions will help you create a plan without blowing all your budget on translations alone.
Ask yourself: How ready are you, your staff to respond to German language inquiries? Do you want, will you need, and can you handle:
- Full-scale localization: a foreign website as fully functional as your English website
- Partial localization: translating only key pages and stating clearly for your visitors that you don’t yet provide all the information in their native language
- An abstract: a one- or two-page summary with the most important information about your mission, your product or service
Then take a look and check on individual features and see if they are truly relevant for your goal, e.g. news & company updates, blog posts, local events … are they relevant for your German audience? Tweaking and adapting your website and content to the target market and the German people you like to reach is called Localization.
While analyzing your online presence that way, consider regular website updates and their translations, the marketing efforts and campaigns you consider for the translated content, the customer support and feedback loops on each scale.
And keep in mind that you can grow into your second business in German language.
Team with a translation partner
Whether you hire a person to manage the whole project in-house or out-source to a contractor, here are a few points essential to a successful partnership and project:
- Communicate well and regularly, via email, phone or in person
- Make sure that all translators and editors translate into or edit and proofread their native languages only, German in this case
- Use translation technologies to manage your budget efficiently
Invite the translator to be a team member, their work shouldn’t be an afterthought. The more your translation partner know about your business, the better they can help with small or fast-needed updates.
And a translator’s work is worth beyond word—think about keyword research and integration, email marketing, tracking reviews, surveys, customer communication…
Integrate marketing from the start
You find yourself having translated your website and now what? Marketing and sales are essential to get a return on your investment, so why not bake marketing from the start in your translation processes. There are many ways to start a conversation with your German speaking audience at any time:
- Create a valuable info-sheet, e-book, mini-course, etc. in German language in exchange to an email address and start a German-specific email list
- Add subtitles to a video of you/your brand, again ask the viewers to join your German language email list
- Ask German customers for their reviews (in German) or to fill out a short survey (in German)
I compiled a document with “16 ways to connect and start a conversation with German visitors on your website” to get your marketing going right from the start and test the waters with expanding to the German markets.
These are my 3 tips for expanding to the German markets in German. I know it is a hell of a journey and by now, there are tons of information on the internet that might trigger tons of new questions on how to translate your brand and online business into German and for the German markets. If you feel some overwhelm and think about throwing the whole thing back on the shelve, check out my 10-day-workshop ‘The Website Translation Roadmap’ where we create a strategic plan, so you know how to go about website translation step by step. On November 9, we start the last “Roadmap“ for this year.