The Grok's Inner Hispanic

Who knew? The Grok has some "North of the border" blood flowing in him?!?!?! Yes, it's the other way around on Mars, and life is full of surprises. So, embracing my Cinapsih roots (the Martian equivalent of Hispanic), a la Freddie Prinze, Jr., I wanted to share with you some pointers on how to use the web effectively to reach and market to Latinos.

Who better to all upon than my dear cousin, El Groko, better known in these parts as Juan Tornoe, the man who spearheads El Mago de la Publicidad, the Hispanic branch of Wizard of Ads, Inc.

6 Tips for Reaching Out and Marketing Online to Latinos

Let's review the current state of the "Hispanic Nation"; here are the facts:

  • High immigration and a higher birth rate than the rest of the population assure the permanence of Latinos in the U.S., which as of July, 2004 had a headcount of 41.3 million persons (14% of the entire U.S. earthlings).

  • Proximity, both geographical as well as through technology facilitate the permanence of the culture, as well as to certain extent, the Spanish language.

  • Hispanics' buying power in 2005 is over $750 billion; it will reach one trillion Dollars by 2008, increasing faster than the Latino population growth.

  • 60% of Hispanics have internet access; 52% of them are using high-speed connections at home. 14% of all online Latinos connected their household within the last 6 months and spend at least 6% more time online than non-Hispanics.

  • Approximately half of all Hispanic Internet users are Spanish-language dominant

  • Hispanic e-spending hit $8.1 billion in 2004

Without further ado, here are 6 suggestions for reaching and marketing to Hispanics online.

Aim for bilingualism

Even if it begins with just a couple of Spanish pages, your goal should be to provide your entire site's experience for someone who only speaks Spanish. Hey, they've been doing it with telephone answering systems for who knows how long: "Para Español presione "1"; for English stay on the line."

Give your customers the OPTION of getting the information they need from you in the language they prefer; be it because they don't know any other language, they feel like it at that particular point in time, or they are more acquainted with your "industry's" lingo in Spanish OR English. It just shows both your current and future customers that you care and want their business enough to go the extra mile.

Have bilingual staff readily available - via email, over the phone or at your brick'n'mortar location (if you have one).

Translate concepts not just words

Be sure you have an accurate translation; it is certainly worth making the extra investment. It is not a simple translation job; you have to make sure you are addressing Spanish-speaking Hispanics with the correct words, phrases, sentences, and most importantly, the correct concepts you are trying to convey.

It's the culture: be culturally sensitive to your new target audience

In most situations I recommend utilizing neutral and formal (Usted) Spanish. This type of Spanish speaks clearly and directly to all who speak the language. Even if 65% of the Hispanic Population has Mexican Heritage, you do not want to alienate the other 35%.

There is as much, if not more, diversity among Hispanics as there is among Non-Hispanic Whites. In fact, Latinos are present in every segment of society, from Government to grounds keeping and can trace their heritage back to 20 different Spanish-speaking countries other than the United States.

Persona development - consider bilinguals and Spanish speakers for personas

There are more than 30 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. representing just above 10% of people living in America. They want and need what you've got to offer.

Understand the cultural aspects that link Latinos together and incorporate those to at least one of the personas you are developing.

In your wireframing consider going back and forth between languages as well as ways to be sensitive to the peculiarities of the Hispanic Culture

As mentioned before, a person could be very comfortable, and maybe even prefer, reading in English about the generalities about your organization. Still, when it comes to getting more details they might prefer doing so in their mother tongue.

There will be certain paths that someone from Hispanic origin might choose to follow, that you need to consider. As an example, they might wish to learn more about the persons behind the company as an important part of the buying process, while this could not be as important for someone with a different cultural background.

Provide a glossary of terms with translations - become a resource

It is not only offering a glossary of industry terms, but offering it in Spanish and including links to translation of each term (both English-Spanish &Spanish-English).

Last, but not least, you have to take into consideration that "www" stands for WORLD wide web. If you are conducting business in the Global village, there are 20 other countries in which Spanish is the language of choice. It makes good business sense catering to them in their idiom.

So vamos, begin to grab a piece of the torta.

Adios amigos,

El Groko

Volume 120: 11/1/05


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