Lifting exports to Germany

Contact Attachments used the Export Communications Review to review their website and develop a strong customer base in Germany

Contact Attachments design and manufacture forklift truck attachments and material handling equipment. Based in Newtown, Powys, the business was established over 40 years ago and has built up a comprehensive portfolio of forklift attachments including tipping skips & tipping bins, wheelie bin lifters & drum handlers, forklift snow ploughs & towable salt spreaders and many more.

Contact Attachments had always viewed the UK as their primary market. However, their website was attracting an increasing number of enquiries from overseas, including Belgium, Holland and even the Middle East. “We were delighted with the extra business,” explained Sales Consultant, Jason Cadman, “but we knew we could develop this international opportunity by taking a more proactive approach to exporting.” An internal strategy meeting identified Germany as a strong potential market for Contact Attachments and the team decided to use their website as the primary means of raising awareness and interest from potential German customers. They knew their website would need adapting, but did not have the internal expertise to do this.

Website Review

Undertaking research online, Jason came across the UKTI website and found out about the Export Communications Review (ECR). This provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice to help companies improve their communications to overseas markets, using their website or other means. Each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements. Steve Sharp has worked as an ECR consultant for 12 years and is often surprised that more businesses don’t make use of this heavily-subsidised service, “I was delighted that Jason contacted me from the website, and booked a website review,” said Steve.

Steve met with Jason and General Manager Des Phillips at the Contact Attachments site, understanding their goals for the German market and working with them to create a plan for developing their website to drive new business from Germany. “Steve had really done his homework!” explained Jason, “he spent three hours with us in a nice organised way, highlighting the simple enhancements we could make immediately and also pointing out longer term improvements”

By means of example, Steve’s recommendations included:

  • Creating a new German language website to target this market, which is hosted in Germany
  • Clarifying signposting (e.g. the term ‘International’ is more appropriate to a non-UK customer than ‘Export’)
  • Enhancing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in Germany (e.g. highlighting the specific words missing from the Contact Attachments website which would raise their position in the German Search Engines)
  • Internationalising the contact details (e.g. including office opening hours, in GMT).

An In-Depth Action Plan

A week after the meeting, Jason received Steve’s report which included an in-depth action plan detailing his findings and recommendations, and containing some useful UKTI guides to help the company carry out the necessary changes. Following on from this, Steve’s expertise was also able to help when Contact Attachments struggled to buy a German domain name; “I had no idea that I needed a trustee in Germany to do this, but Steve was able to help us over this hurdle too!”

Jason was very happy that Contact Attachments had found out about the ECR, “It really gave us the fresh pair of eyes we needed to critique our website and the clear report detailed what we needed to do in a very easy-to-follow way. It’s still only a few weeks since we met with Steve, but already our website is easier to navigate. I’d definitely recommend it!”

Sectors: Construction, Energy, Energy, Environment & Water, and Manufacturing
Topics: E-commerce
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