How to Introduce German Startups to the World: A Guide for Localization

October 13, 2022
Photo by bruce mars from Unsplash

Did you know that Startup Ranking reported that Germany is ranked number six worldwide for having the most startups? As the world’s leading digital hub, it’s no wonder that Germany has become one of the best countries to have startups.

However, according to the First Site Guide, only 40% of startups can make a profit, and 19% reported that competition is the greatest challenge for startups. So how can German startups be competitive on a local and global scale? Today, we will discuss how localization can make your German startup competitive and better cater to your target audience through the expertise of German translation services.

Let’s get started!

Facts and Data on German Startups for 2022 and Onwards

Before we can discuss the statistics and data of startups in Germany, let’s first discuss in-depth why Germany is best for startups. Besides having the fourth-largest GDP in the world, its industries are innovative. Startups are well-supported by academic and government institutions, house stable platforms, and have a diverse society.

We have listed here some crucial data that you might want to know:

  • Since 2005, 30% of self-employed individuals have come from an immigrant background. (Germany’s The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action)
  • 72.6 million German social media users. (Datareportal January 2022)
  • 1 out of 3 startups in Germany was founded by women. (Germany’s The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action)
  • The age range of those who found a startup in Germany is 25 to 34. (Germany’s The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action)
  • 28.6% of German startups come from Munich, while 47.6% are scattered all over Germany. This means that startups across Germany aren’t necessarily clustered in one location. (German Accelerator)

Why German Startups Should Expand Internationally

As mentioned, one of the hardest things for startups is establishing themselves in a competitive and lucrative market. That’s why many startups don’t make it past the first year.

For this reason, after your startup company has established itself and become a stable entity in the German market, you might consider expanding your business globally. You can broaden your target audience and gain more profits by entering a new market.

Your competitors likely haven’t thought of internationally expanding their brand to another market, which lessens your competition. It also allows your startup to grow as you research the market gaps of your target audience and create innovative ways to accommodate their needs.

The most common question we get asked is when a startup should expand internationally. Now, there is a lot of contrasting information out there. Some say your startup has to earn 10 million USD in revenue. Others have said that they will need to think of expansion as an investment, so the costs shouldn’t matter.

Practically, the expansion costs should be considered, as it will take considerable time and money before your startup can fully enter another market. However, we don’t think your revenues should be that big before expanding globally.

So we came up with a couple of questions that you should ask yourself before making your startup business go international:

  • Is your business sustainable and stable in the German market?
  • Do you have the financial capability?
  • Have you conducted feasibility studies, surveys, and market research on your target market and the gaps in its market?
  • Have you developed an international marketing strategy?
  • Do you have a localization strategy made by German to English professional translation experts that can cultivate brand awareness?

First Steps to Going Global Start with German Translations

Many articles online are dunking on translations when marketing your brand to an international audience. That shouldn’t be the case because translation and localization serve the same purpose but just have different approaches to achieving it.

Where translation seeks to remain as faithfully accurate as its source material, localization tailors the content to best suit its target audience. Both are vital as they try to make your startup’s brand more accessible to non-native English speakers and easier for them to connect to it. For this reason, many translation experts offer German translations and localization, as they’re not entirely different as many led you to believe.

So what do we mean when we say that the first steps to going global start with translation? It can help overcome language barriers, assist in your research, and help your startup comply with local regulations by translating documents from German to English. You will need German translation services that private and public institutions worldwide accept as it’s up to the International Organization for Standardization’s qualifications. These agencies have also been evaluated for providing localization services in German and other languages.

7 Tips on from Localizing to Globalizing Your German Startup

Since we discussed the importance of translation and localization, we listed a couple of tips and advice on how you can localize to globalize your German startup:

1. Get to Know Your Target Market

It might seem like the most obvious step any German startup has to make before entering a new market or launching a new product. But many businesses fail to do this. Even big brands have, at some point, wasted time and money on marketing endeavors because they failed to do research.

When planning to localize your German startup, you must grasp what local customers need and their cultural and linguistic preferences and provide solutions to problems that local competitors have failed to notice or address.

2. Identify Where Users are Hanging Out Online

In researching your target locale, you will get to know where your target audience usually hangs out. For example, according to Hootsuite’s Digital Report in 2021, about 74.8% of German users are on Youtube, while Facebook only saw 60%. So if you’re looking to connect with German users, creating content on Youtube is one of the best ways to attract your customers.

Besides selecting which online platform to promote your content, the social media site can be a place where you can directly survey users and get an in-depth profile of your international users.

3. Compliance with Local Regulations

As previously mentioned, you must comply with local laws by having your German documents translated. It’s not just so you can do operations internationally but to ensure that your international customers can trust that your startup can accommodate their needs and provide the service and products they expect.

Complying with your target market’s laws ensures that there won’t be hurdles or delays in the operation. It also legitimizes your company, as it’s up to the standards imposed by the government, making it a safe and trustworthy brand.

4. Localizing Your eCommerce Site and App

For many startups, eCommerce sites and apps are the driving force that has made their brands stand out in the German market. However, it doesn’t stop there as you localize them for your target user to create a more personalized experience.

Rather than just relying on the English language to attract international users, you can make your brand more appealing to them by localizing your websites and apps. If you don’t want to create a whole new website, there are eCommerce platforms where you can globally expand your startup’s services.

5. Creating a Multilingual SEO Strategy

Suppose you’ve decided to build a website and localize it for your international users. In that case, you will need to develop an SEO strategy that will allow your website to reach a broader audience and enhance its user experience.

What many people fail to do when translating or localizing their website is that they don’t hire German translators specializing in SEO and the digital market so that their websites have the right multilingual keywords and be visible on their target market’s search engines.

6. Glocalize Your Content Creation Process

Glocalizing combines localizing and globalizing, wherein your startup is for your target market while establishing its international branding and uniqueness. The content creation process for any market requires that you research before you start creating content.

We advise that during your research period, you list down the traits of your startup ideas that make you unique from your competitors and evaluate the customer profile you’ve created in your target market. Doing this helps you narrow down how you will strategize in creating content that will make your brand more relatable to your audience.

7. Build a Brand Story that’s Local and Universal

The advice we gave from tip number six can also help you find a balance in making your brand story local and universal. Your brand story will have to make your users emotionally connect with your startup.

So it doesn’t have to be hundred percent localized. Often, the best brand stories contain universal aspirations, emotions, and problem-solutions that make them relatable to a wide range of people. That’s why if you think that aspects of your brand would work well by containing certain German cultural traits, then we advise that your marketing expert implements professional translation from German to English and other languages so that it doesn’t lose those traits.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of potential for German startups in the international market. It just requires that they take the leap and work with professionals under the German translation services who specialize in marketing and global expansion. Hopefully, with the tips and insights we provided it will aid you in establishing your startup in another market.

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