Latin America comprises a large portion of the population on the Internet. Currently, experts predict that 30 million Latinos will use the internet for shopping, research, or information in 2010. Nearly, 7.6 million Latino users log onto the internet each year to shop online. In 2009, online use in the Latino community grew by 6.9 percent, while other communities remained stagnant. Contrary to popular belief, the Latino community navigates the Internet with ease. Most of the online community is under the age of 35. Fifty-two percent of the individuals shopping online earn less than $60,000 annually. Currently, experts have shown that English marketing campaigns do not translate well into the Hispanic community.
Latinos seem to read online news more as it relates to sports, music, movies, and celebrities. Therefore, newspapers, such as AOL Latino and Yahoo! en Espanol are more popular. For news specific to their local heritage, some may peruse websites from their native countries. The average Latino spends 9.5 hours online per week. This includes their shopping, reading newspapers, applying for contests and other activities. Given this amount of time per week, it is reasonable to assume that individuals could be viewing news an average of once per day.
Currently, there are 25 countries or areas that comprise the Latin American community. Each of those regions possesses an average of 2 newspapers per country. Therefore, consumers may enjoy 25 newspaper websites. Given the number of papers in the Hispanic community, all will not be ranked in this particular article. However, an example will be provided to indicate the ranking of the papers in one of their most popular regions, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the site of an upcoming Olympic Games Ceremony. Individuals seeking to establish businesses in the area for the Olympics will enjoy advertising in the following online newspaper websites:
• Globo.com: Ranking of 103
• O Dia: Ranking of 5,213
• Journal do Brazil: Ranking of 11
These rankings were based upon the area only and obtained from Alexa.com.
Hispanics often visit websites online that relate to sports, movies, music, contests or sweepstakes. Other popular websites geared toward the Hispanic market are AOL Latino, MSN and Yahoo! En Espanol. Each of these sites features information for the Latin American consumer.
Specific newspaper websites that target the Hispanic market vary by region of the country. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for instance possesses 3 newspapers that are popular with the locals of the region. The three papers are comprised of O Dia, O Globo, and Jornal do Brasil. Columns may relate to sports, travel, current events, jobs, commerce, women’s issues, and other pertinent topics. These papers cover a broad range of news specific to the Brazilian Hispanic community. Other online newspapers may appeal to a more global Latino community.
Hispanic marketing is an interesting subject worth discussing. I agree that very often marketers push agendas that suit their wants and needs rather than those of their aspiring or existing customers. Those that take the high road and put their initial efforts in trying to really understand who their customers are, and simultaneously, helping their customers understand who their own customers are, can eventually reap the benefits of cultivating long-lasting win-win business relationships.
After profiling their customers, it is important to develop content that not only informs but attracts them emotionally. For instance, if your client is a lawyer firm that offers medical negligence services, you may want to create an investment in the service at hand by making it something in higher demand psychologically. Video marketing and social media can help with this.
In many cases, having content developed towards a Spanish speaking audience increases the potential number of customers and demonstrates that the small business is ready to address the reality of the current composition of society where English isn’t the only language. While this might seem like a small step, the correct creation and management of Spanish language website content makes a statement about the business’ willingness to interact with diverse customers and demonstrates a more personal connection rather than simply existing as a faceless business in the minds of customers.
Media buyers don’t put all their eggs in the same basket, they know better. Instead, they create the right mix of TV, radio, print and online. In the same way, Hispanic marketing professionals should be encouraged to create the right mix of English and Spanish content to tap into the entire spectrum of Hispanic consumers. What’s the right mix? Well, that’s for you and your customer to find out. My two cents worth is that it may vary depending on the geographical area where you do business, the type of industry you are in, and of course, the type of product and services you provide.
Alternatively, you can contract an specialist who can help you narrow down this profiling to a level that you and your customers feel comfortable – so then, your investment is optimized and you’re reaching cost-effectively not only the more acculturated but also the less acculturated and the bilingual Hispanic consumers.
Latino Internet Use 2009
* Look At Your Spanish Website Through The Customer’s Eyes
* How Can Your Website Compete Successfully in the Latino Market?
* Small Business Tip: How to Operate a Bilingual Site in the US
There are a projected 48 million Hispanics residing currently in the United States. By 2020, that number is expected to grow to 60 million, according to the U.S. Census. There are over 12 million Hispanic households that have wielded purchasing power of a predicted $1.2 trillion by 2011, according to the University of Georgia’s Center for Economic Growth. The growth of Hispanic purchasing power has grown 80% more, from 2000 to 2007, than the rest of the population. Businesses are seeking a way to capitalize on the economic growth of the Hispanic community.
Each year 7.6 million Hispanics purchase items on the web. An average of $1200 is spent per Hispanic shopper on the web each year. The Hispanic community is a frequent user of the internet. Online Hispanic users shop for financial products, share photos, and files, according to Forrester Research. The Hispanic population increased their shopping online by 6.9 percent in 2009. Given these statistics, the Hispanic market is a potential group for growth.
Thirty one states in America do not possess a community with a majority Hispanic population. However, there are some communities in California, Arizona, and Texas that are majority Hispanic. San Antonio, TX is the largest city in the United States with a Hispanic majority. El Paso, Texas has the highest percentage of any major United States city at 76%. The small city of Huron, California is 98.27% Hispanic. Both Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas have a large Hispanic population. However, neither boasts a majority.
Businesses launching marketing campaigns should be aware of the markets that wield purchasing power and market products to those communities. Targeted marketing allows businesses to maximize their marketing dollars. Marketing to groups that are more likely to purchase will increase a business’s return on investment. Hispanic marketing is wise since this group wields nearly $1.2 trillion collectively.
Hispanics still primarily speak their native language. Nearly 56% of the Hispanic community speaks only Spanish at home. Another 26% speak both Spanish and English at home on an equal basis. Hispanics focus on family and heritage. They also focus on sports, as well as, celebrity figures with charismatic personalities. Therefore, businesses should hire individuals who are bilingual and can relate to the community.
Agencies that possess Hispanic marketing will be more likely to capture the spending power of the Hispanic population. However, despite language barriers Hispanics are still purchasing products. Hispanics are more likely to relate to ads focused on family values. Spokespeople from the Hispanic community may also encourage Hispanics to spend more on various products in the United States. Marketing agencies with a specialization in the Hispanic community will be more likely to encourage Hispanics to spend their money.
Hispanic marketing is a growing business. Businesses market online to obtain access to millions of users worldwide. Since the Hispanic community comprises a large portion of online purchasing, marketing agencies may want to expand to include marketing campaigns that cater to Hispanics.
Business has long been aware of the importance of key influencers. Joe Girard, “the world’s best car salesman” in his book “How to Sell Anything to Anybody”, gave many examples from his career selling Chevrolets in Detroit. Giving one of the local union leaders an exceptional “deal” on a new car was always a good move because the union leader was a key influencer within Girard’s working class clientele. Joe made his money on volume as a direct result of referral business.
There are key influencers in any market, and the marketer’s challenge is to identify them. Within the Hispanic market, a cultural understanding is paramount to identifying these key influencers and enlisting them in the marketing process.
Family – The single biggest influence to Hispanic buyers in general is family. Extended family can be highly influential in buying decisions, and referral marketing tactics may be especially effective within this market segment.
Personality – Another key influencer is the local Spanish media personality. In contrast to other ethnic groups, who assimilate through English radio and television, Hispanics prefer Spanish media. In larger markets, Hispanic customers may be reached by event marketing (concert, festival, etc.) featuring these local celebrities.
Sports – Finally, the last external influencer is the local sports personality. Sports are an important part of Hispanic culture, and a local Spanish sports personality can be an effective spokesperson in reaching this market.
Within these three circles of influence, community leaders can be identified and targeted as highly desirable and significant prospects.
The circles can also overlap, multiplying their effectiveness exponentially. A festival event can have activities for all ages. Or a marketing presence may be established by sponsoring youth sports, especially soccer. These can be seen as one-two combinations supporting both strong family values and a love of sports.
While there may be local (non-Spanish) celebrities that can have some influence, the most effective spokesperson will be Hispanic, not just someone who happens to speak the language.
There are influencers within the family as well. However, it is especially important to understand Hispanic culture in targeting the immediate family. While buying decisions in Afro-American or Caucasian homes are largely made by the wife, the husband usually makes the buying decisions within the Hispanic family. Nevertheless, since many Latinas are active users of social networks, and repeat buyers of virtual goods and services, smart business owners should craft a marketing strategy that includes this sought-after demographic.
Also, the children in the Hispanic family may play a large role in the buying process, due to the fact that they may be the only family members who speak English.
Finally, it may be important for the marketer to remember that, despite the common language, there are actually three separate cultures beneath the umbrella we call “Hispanic“. The majority of Hispanics in the U.S.—63%–are of Mexican descent. The next largest group is Cuban; the remainder is a combination from Caribbean and Central American countries.
Furthermore, the median age of most Hispanics is significantly lower than other ethnic groups, which may also be a factor in marketing to this segment.
The key influencer can open doors to your marketing message—and the sales will surely follow.
A small business owner does not have small dreams or small goals, even though he or she may have a small budget for outreach and marketing. Hispanics are part of a rich culture. How would you like to expand your business into your Hispanic community, and cultivate your Hispanic clientele organically, forming lasting relationships with your Hispanic customers?
At the risk of stating the obvious, the first step towards reaching out to Hispanic customers is to identify and familiarize yourself with this client base as it relates to your business. All of mankind is most comfortable in familiar surroundings. Do more than simply translate your English website into Spanish. Create a website that is as comfortable to Latinos as their own home, their own community. As a business owner, you would not conduct business with an organization that you do not trust. Appreciate that the same holds true for your customers, and create an atmosphere of warmth and trust throughout your corporate culture.
Second, ensure that your website is relevant and accessible to your market. No one founds his own business with short-term goals. Growing your business requires that you take the time to cultivate a long-term relationship with your Hispanic customers. This slow, organic growth of your loyal client base is far more profitable for you and for your business than the one-time impulse shopper. Learn about your customers’ needs, preferences, and purchasing trends so that you can strategically situate your company’s information where they are most likely to find it, and find it often.
And finally, as important as your web presence is to the success of your business, never forget that your customers are people. You cannot hide behind a computer screen if you want to organically cultivate long-term relationships with your Hispanic customers. It is human nature to want to put a face with a name. Politicians know this, sales people know this, and successful small and medium sized business owners know this. Time invested in building off-line bridges within the Hispanic community is time well spent. Not only will it give you a greater understanding of your customers; it will ensure that your business is the first thing that comes to mind when they want to research a product, purchase a service, or simply ask a question. Invite your customers and potential customers to make your website their home where they can chat with you or other customers, seek and offer advice, and find promotions on the products they need from a business they trust.
A well-planned Spanish website knows and understands its core audience. It makes the Hispanic customer feel important by offering them an interactive and personalized experience. Imagine having an innovative edge with your small business customers. Rather than just offering that standard list of goods and services, it will offer them the ability to make well-informed and profitable decisions.
How can this be achieved? First, it is necessary to have adequate access to your website’s audience. This is where individual concerns and needs are expressed. When these are specifically addressed, a true understanding of the customer can be realized. What do they want to know? What businesses are they interested in? What research, goods, or knowledge do they need and want access to?
Finding the real identity of the Spanish customer is vital to the success of the website. Offer the opportunity for Hispanic customers to provide feedback. Review your analytics. Doing so will provide you with a wealth of information, such as: what pages your customers find the most useful, and what keywords they search for most frequently. It will help you identify what the greatest barrier is to your customer in purchasing your product or service. When you address concerns, you develop trust with your Hispanic audience. If you carefully consider feedback and review your analytics, you are on the way to formulating your website content.
Once you have identified the needs and goals of your audience, make sure that your content reflects their desires. Not only should your content be helpful and logical, but it should be readily accessible. It should be in a place where your Hispanic customer is looking for it. Next, review the overall logistics of your website. Is your internal search maximized? Can your customers quickly find what they need through your internal search? Are the navigation tools on your website clear and concise? Do they point and guide customers to the right area? Perform an audit of your website, making sure that your content is current, relevant and accessible. Insure that customers are led to the content through a wide variety of sources, such as: maximized internal searches and well-executed navigation prompts. All of these techniques are subtle ways in which you facilitate the decision making process of your Hispanic audience.
As an added bonus, offer a live chat option on your website. The live chat option is another great example of tailored customer service which is invaluable to any small business owner. The individual service will lead customers to express any of the last minute concerns they have before purchasing the goods or services. In essence, it facilitates the decision making process even further. By providing customer service at the pivotal moment of sale, you are maximizing your profitability and furthering your rapport with clients.
The core of your success with your Hispanic customer is in gaining his trust, and becoming a one-stop shop for all of his small business needs. By thoroughly researching his needs and desires, you will be providing goods and services that are both current and relevant. When you allow him the chance to voice his concerns or hesitations in purchasing and address them; you will be facilitating the decision-making process of the small business owner. In today’s busy times, your website’s ease of use will become an invaluable resource for your Hispanic audience.
According to a Netcraft Web Server Survey, as of December 2009 there were 233,848,493 websites on the internet. That, of course, has already grown exponentially. Millions, if not tens of millions of these, are business sites attempting to capture customers from the fastest growing demographic in the country—Latinos in the US. How can a small or medium-sized business possibly compete successfully in Hispanic marketing against these odds?
Naturally, language is a fundamental issue. The more your site can communicate in the potential customer’s language, the easier it will be to move that customer to take action. You want both English and Spanish-language landing pages, for example. But that’s something your competitors in this market are probably aware of. It’s a threshold requirement—you have to have it—but by itself, it’s just not enough.
Using search engines is how buyers manage to navigate through the hundreds of millions of websites demanding their attention, so that they can find what they want. The real key to success in Hispanic marketing lies in getting search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, as well as the less known ones, to actually prefer your website over the others. The design of your site and its content should be irresistible to those particular searches, within your product and market arenas. That way, when a potential Hispanic customer carries out a search, whether in Spanish or English, your bilingual site shows up at the top or as close to the top of the list of results as possible. That’s the one they’ll click on. That’s Hispanic search engine optimization.
From then on, the issue becomes conversion funnel optimization. You want your bilingual site to function as a reliable lead funnel for the opportunities the search engines send your way. You certainly don’t want to miss any of them. You’ve got their attention, now how do you move them to take action whether that is to complete a contact form, dial a 1-800 number or buy products and services?
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It takes fully optimized bilingual content to create the kind of Hispanic marketing that quickly has them to buy. “Fully optimized” means that what you offer, in the way it’s presented on your website, is engaging and seamlessly driving customers to wanting to take action. Funnel optimization makes the most of the opportunities. The potential customer’s search is converted to a purchase. If you aren’t optimized in this way, your customers may not act, even if they do find you.
Search engine and funnel optimization require a partnership between what you have to offer as a business and the expertise that transforms your bilingual site so that it meets the criteria search engines mine for. Once this is solidly in place, you are in the game with the odds in your favor.
Is your Hispanic marketing strategy working? In order to get the best return on investment (ROI), tracking and measuring results is an essential part of one’s overall marketing campaign.
A number of tools are available that make the job of measuring the effectiveness of one’s Hispanic marketing strategy much easier. Probably the best known tracking tool is Google Analytics, a free service offered by the search engine giant that allows in-depth analysis of one’s website traffic. For sites that also use Google AdSense and/or AdWords, the Analytics tool also allows easy tracking of conversions (sales/clicks).
Google Analytics and similar site statistic tools provide information on the number of unique visitors to one’s web site, the sources from which these visitors came, the keywords used to find websites, and other highly relevant data. By knowing where your visitors are coming from, and especially the visitors that end up buying a product, one can test which Latino marketing efforts are working and which are not.
Other ways of tracking and measuring the results of your Hispanic marketing strategy include using contact forms on your website, and if you have a toll-free number, using the reports provided by your phone service for that number. The flow of responses measured in phone calls or completed contact forms gives web owners an idea of whether a specific marketing campaign has created an uptick in traffic or not.
After measuring and tracking results for a period of time, you can establish average rates of traffic, conversions, etc., and then set benchmarks for your Latino marketing efforts. For example, a web site may be getting large amounts of traffic and unique visitors, but for some reason visitors are not buying or clicking on ads once they reach the site. With web measurement tools, one can experiment with different types of presentations, sales pitches and the like to see what works best, and thus improve one’s site performance.
Since measurement tools allow one to know precise dates, times, landing pages and other relevant information, one can easily detect whether a press release, blog, article or other publicity event has created a buzz. If you are placing advertisements on other sites, services like Google Analytics allow you see how much traffic you are receiving from those sites and how many of those visitors are converting into sales or clicks. With such information website owners can determine whether they are getting sufficient ROI from any specific site to justify continuing the campaign at that web location. In addition, you can study each traffic source and analyze their average time on site. The referring sites with higher averages, for instance, may indicate more qualified visitors.
Because the internet world changes so rapidly, companies must maintain vigilant monitoring of their Hispanic marketing strategy efforts, if they hope to get the best use of their money, to avoid unpleasant surprises, and to focus on those market channels that work best.
Related topics: How to measure the ROI for Spanish-language sites
Making a concerted effort to increase participation in the upcoming 2010 Census, in January the United States Census Bureau revealed its educational Spanish-language website directed at Latinos in the U.S. With a constantly evolving population in this country, the Census Bureau is seeking out new means to reach all those living within the U.S. so that they can be properly counted.
Marketing the 2010 Census to Latinos in the U.S. does not come without its challenges. For instance, during the last census in 2000, there was much suspicion over the “long-form” version of the census questionnaire that was mailed to roughly one in six households in the country. The eight-question form sent to everyone else contained basic questions about age, gender, and race. However, the 53 questions in the long form ranged from inquiring about income and the dollar amount of mortgage payments to what means of transportation is used for work and how the home is heated. Such questions were deemed too intrusive by many, including U.S. Hispanics. As a result, only 69 percent of Hispanic households returned the census forms mailed to them. In contrast, the return rate for white households was 80.8 percent. In response to the upheaval over that census, the Spanish-language website explains in a question and answer format that the 2010 questionnaire will have only ten basic questions including name, race, and date of birth. An example of the form can also be reviewed on the website.
The new US Census 2010 Spanish-language website reaches out to Spanish-speaking citizens not only to explain just what the 2010 Census is and what benefits can be gained from it, but it also recognizes the concerns Latinos in the U.S. have voiced about the census process. For example, U.S. Hispanics have serious worry about the confidentiality of the census and how participating in it could result in criminal prosecution over legal status. As the website explains, The U.S. Census Bureau has been required by the Constitution to count citizens and non-citizens alike since 1790 and has done so in every census since. The website goes on to assert that all information collected in the census is protected by law as well. In other words, every person working for the census is sworn to never disclose any information collected, and the penalties for breaking that oath can be as harsh as a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. More importantly, this oath includes not sharing information with any federal or law enforcement agency.
Going further to address matters of confidentiality, the Spanish-language website explains that the 2010 Census is a mailed questionnaire. Therefore, if the form is mailed back within the time frame allotted, no representatives of the U.S. Census Bureau will visit. This should allay the concerns of anyone not wishing to have his or her privacy intruded upon by a visit from a census worker. Finally, the website stresses how important participation in the census is because federal assistance for services like education, transportation, and health care are apportioned based upon population counts.
Hispanic Market Advisors is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to help achieve a complete and accurate count of our population as part of the 2010 Census. It is projected that in the next few decades the Latino population will double in size. Census data help state and local governments determine the resources needed to support the growing Latino population.
Get involved: Toolkit for Reaching Latinos (US Census Bureau)
At this point it is clear that the Hispanic population in the United States is becoming a strong national presence (see table below). Hispanics are the second largest group in the United States with a significantly different language. When a company can efficiently reach their customers and provide insight into their company, products or services, they are more likely to make a connection and hopefully a sale. That is why it is imperative to be able to reach such an audience but first you will need to understand who they are.
Hispanic population in the United States: 1970 to 2050
Source of Data and Year
Hispanic Population (in millions)
Percent Hispanic of the total population
*Projected population as of July 1
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 Decennial Censuses; Population Projections, July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2050.
Internet Release Date: February 08, 2008
There are more than 300 Counties with a new “Majority-Minority”. Maricopa County, Ariz. (home of Phoenix), had the biggest numerical increase in the Hispanic population (71,000) since July 2005, followed by Harris County, Texas (63,000). Los Angeles County had the largest Hispanic population (4.7 million) in 2006, followed by Harris County, Texas, and Miami-Dade (1.5 million each).
Thus, it’s not longer a question of whether you target US Hispanics but how and where.
An AOL study presents a different approach when it comes to segmenting US Hispanics, more specific to marketing and advertising purposes. The study suggests segmentation by “Life Stages”. The young and free stage represents people who are single, average 26-years-old and have no children; young family are 33-years-old, married and have one child; mature family are 40-years-old on average, married and have two children; prime of life are 41-years-old, married with no children; and empty nesters are 57-years-old, have children over 18 years old and are married.
This marks the importance of understanding who your audience is. Once you create Hispanic consumers profiles you are in a better position to succeed with an integrated Latino marketing effort.
Based on the life stage group of your Hispanic audience you may want to decide how to allocate your resources more wisely so you can be on target while optimizing your ROI. For instance, a new creative campaign targeting one group will include Spanish-language online, print, radio and television executions while other Latino outreach program targeting a different group will include bilingual online, social media and television executions.
The more you know who your customer is the better your chances of connecting with them. And the more connections you create with the right group the larger your pool of prospective customers who will value what you have to share and offer.
For more information: Connect with Hispanic Market Advisors