With the continuing growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S., smart marketers are working to reach this market more effectively. But if you think that all you have to do to improve your reach is translate all your content and marketing materials into Spanish, think again.
Spanish is the official language of 20 different countries; and, like most other languages, has many different dialects. More importantly, Spanish-speaking countries differ culturally. So developing a marketing strategy aimed at Hispanics requires a deeper understanding of Hispanic consumers than just language.
Here are 6 best practices to consider when marketing to Hispanics:
1. Be aware of "labels".
Some people refer to the Hispanic population as just that - Hispanic; others call them Latino or Latina. Then there's the term Latinx. To add to the confusion, even the U.S. Government uses these terms interchangeably. But there is a difference.
Hispanic is a U.S. census term; Latino (or Latina) refers to their native geographical location - Latin America.
According to Pew research, many don't care which term people use. But there are some statistics that marketers should be aware of. For example, according to Pew, 50% within the USA say they have no preference between Hispanic or Latino. But of the 50% who have a preference, two-thirds prefer Hispanic to Latino. So using the term "Hispanic" is acceptable or preferred by about 83% of the Hispanic population within the United States overall.
You should also be aware of, and consider the differences from state to state.
2. CULTURE IS BIGGER THAN LANGUAGE.
Hispanic consumers fall into roughly three cultural categories:
- 23% are Hispanic Dominant. These people speak mostly Spanish in their homes and consume most media in Spanish. Their average age is 40 and they're foreign-born, having lived in the U.S. for an average of seven years.
- 31% are Bicultural. These people speak Spanish at home and English outside of their homes; but, unlike the Hispanic Dominant group, they consume most media in English. Some are foreign-born and some are U.S. born. At 34, their average age is slightly younger than the Hispanic Dominants, but they've lived in the U.S. three times longer - an average of 22 years.
- 46% are U.S. Dominant. As you might imagine, this group is opposite of the Hispanic Dominants in their language of choice, both in conversation and media consumption. They're U.S. born with an average age of 37; and they're lived in the U.S. for 36 years on average - virtually all their life.
As you develop an online marketing strategy for Hispanics, you'll need to consider these three groups. You may be able to reach the U.S. dominant or most assimilated group with your general market campaigns.
Remember this: culture lingers longer than language. It's evident when you make a new friend who is Hispanic, but doesn't speak Spanish. They will still have a favorite dish their abuela used to make, and they'll be proud of their heritage.
It's important to remember that Hispanics assimilate more slowly than any other immigrant group, and they never completely let go of their Hispanic heritage.
3. BlendING Spanish and English IS OKAY... MOST OF THE TIME.
If you're targeting the U.S. Dominant and/or Bicultural segments of the Hispanic market, consider incorporating both languages and cultures in your marketing.
For example, you could integrate an applicable Spanish proverb in English like "To where you go, do the things you see" (Anglo version: "When in Rome...") You could even include a Spanish sub-title, "A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres".
You could play with idioms that don't translate well, or simply use a single, highly emotional, word in Spanish.
I don't recommend using this strategy for any place other than the USA. You could easily offend a Spaniard who believes in keeping the language pure and clean or confuse a Latino from South America who does not understand your marketing message at all.
4. Go social in Spanish.
Marketers know that social media is one of the most effective marketing tools available, and it's only growing. But those who limit their social media efforts to English-speakers and the Anglo culture are missing a huge marketing opportunity.
According to CNN, 72% of Hispanic adults are active on social media. That's a group too large to ignore. There are a couple of ways to leverage social media for marketing to Hispanics.
One is to create separate social media pages dedicated to Spanish-speaking people. Another is to incorporate topics of interest to your Hispanic followers and Spanish language in your social media content. And don't forget to use social media as a Spanish language customer service tool too!
5. Don't forget mobile.
According to Nielsen Mobile Insights the average Hispanic mobile user spends 658 minutes per month of their mobile plan compared to just 510 minutes per month for all users; and Bi-lingual Hispanics spend more than 762 minutes per month talking on their mobile devices.
With the popularity of mobile among Hispanic consumers, targeting them on mobile with responsive web design and other mobile-friendly initiatives is the smart thing to do.
6. Take a comprehensive approach.
Just like with any other demographic, you must take a comprehensive approach when marketing to Hispanics.
That's the recommendation for the long-term, but I have seen companies "dip their toes in the water" with success. Often the Hispanic marketing initiative starts by simply translating a few brochures, then it scales up into a single Facebook campaign... Depending on the success each company experiences, they'll find a level of involvement with the Hispanic market that makes sense for them.
In the long run, when you publish Spanish-language content, landing pages, ads, or other marketing pieces to attract Hispanic consumers to your website, be sure to publish a Spanish-language version of your site too.
In fact, you should do everything in Spanish for Hispanic prospects and customers that you do in English for English-speaking prospects and customers. This includes buyer personas, lead-nurturing programs, customer service, etc.
Contact us for more help and ideas on marketing to Hispanic consumers.