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Jun 17, 2003
How To

Marketing to the US Hispanics Online: 8 Tips, 6 Creative Samples, & Useful Links

SUMMARY: US Hispanics spent an estimated $4.2 billion online last year, and they are one of the swiftest-growing Net demographics. We polled several top experts to find out how you should approach this market.
Includes creative samples of 6 email campaigns to inspire you.
There are 12.5 million Hispanic Internet users in the USA.

To put that in perspective, that is more than the entire online
population in Spain or Mexico, and the US number is growing by
15-20% annually. In total, Hispanics are 13% of the US

They are making purchases too. According to Richard Israel, VP Custom Panels at comScore Networks, Hispanics, accounted for 6% of all online purchases in the fourth quarter of 2002 (a total of about $4.2 billion throughout the year, compared to the entire market
spending of $74 billion).

It is a market you should not ignore, especially if you are in
travel, office supplies, or consumer electronics, the three
largest site categories for Hispanics, says Israel.

Here are seven tips to use when crafting an online campaign to
the US Hispanic market:

-> Tip #1. Say it in Spanish

“Our research has shown that reach is higher when looking at
Spanish content,” says Israel. “We believe it’s because there’s
such a small amount of Spanish content online.”

Spanish content accounts for only about 3% of all content online, he says, whereas Spanish is the third most used language in the universe.

For that reason, more and more marketers, including JetBlue,
Southwest Airlines, and Nissan, are launching Spanish content
sites, especially in the last 12 to 18 months.

There is a significant amount of research that says Latinos who
see Spanish ads tend to respond more, says Mary Zerafa, director
of La Opinion Digital. But the language on the Web site is not as
important as the language you use when driving traffic to the
site, Zerafa says.

If you do not have the resources to do an entire separate site in
Spanish, “do a Spanish email campaign to drive to traffic to the
site, which can then be in English,” Zerafa suggests.

-> Tip #2. Offer language options

If you are not sure of which language to use, says Manuel Romero
of SimpleSend, an agency that handles Internet marketing for
AT&T’s Hispanic Outreach, let your readers choose. When people
opt-in, have them check a box for which language they would like to
be contacted in.

Keep in mind that younger Hispanics are more open to English-only

(Link to samples of SimpleSend’s email campaigns below.)

-> Tip #3. Offer Spanish-language support

Any efforts you make will always be more successful if you have
other Spanish options available: Spanish-speaking customer
service representatives, Spanish call center, etc.

-> Tip #4. Tailor your content based on country of origin

Significant differences exist in the US Hispanic market based
on country of origin. The top 3 areas of Hispanic concentration
in the U.S. break down like this:

Los Angeles--mostly Mexico-based
Miami—predominantly Cuban
New York—mainly Puerto Rican.

The rest of the top-10 high-concentration areas include (in no
particular order):
San Antonio
Dallas/Ft. Worth
San Diego
San Francisco

Content should differ depending on the country of origin and the
interests and cultural activities inherent in that region. For
example, says Zerafa, “Mexicans are super into soccer; Puerto
Ricans or Cubans would be more into baseball.”

Be aware of definite cultural differences when targeting a
specific geographical area. If you are a phone company targeting
the Miami area, say, look at what segment of the population is
there before crafting your message.

-> Tip #5. For national campaigns, think global issues

On the other hand, if you are creating a national campaign, use a
more universal theme, says Zerafa. “Some things that help are
good offers, references to family ties, education, health.
Everyone is interested in those.”

-> Tip #6. Design matters. Make it look and feel Hispanic

For example: When HP-LAR (HP Latin America) wanted to create an
advergame to increase market share, they hired Miami-based Neoris
to put the advergaming initiative into effect. Working with game
creator BlockDot, Neoris came up with the character Diego Smart.

“Diego is a common name, you know that it’s someone Latin,” says
Rudy Gonzalez, business consultant for Neoris. “And the name
Smart is cross-cultural.”

Originally, the character they created could have been
anybody. “He just looked like a cartoon,” Gonzalez says. “We came
up with little changes: the mustache, the goatee, the kind of
glasses. Now he’s a guy that looks Latin.”

-> Tip #7. Incorporate culture

Just as an email targeted to consumers in the Pacific Northwest
might capitalize on the Bigfoot legends, cultural characteristics
can help you reach the Hispanic market by getting an emotional

Neoris used folklore from Latin America to create the villain, La
Llorona. “The story goes that she killed her child and herself on
the banks of a river when the man she loved rejected her,”
Gonzalez says. “She returns to the river to scare children. We
grabbed the essence of her and other creatures, put them in

Results: The game has been out for less than 3 weeks and, thanks
to the email blast (Link to sample below) which went to current
HP customers who were already receiving a newsletter, it has been
played over 90,000 times.

Of these non-unique users (people can play the game many times),
2,000 individuals have opted in to receive news and information.

-> Tip #8: "Latino" vs. "Hispanic"

Is there a difference between these two terms? We asked
MarketingSherpa's Production Director Catalina Holland who
originally hails from Nicaragua.

"Oh yes!" she says, "Don't call me a Latina, I would hate that.
Generally if you are more liberal you like Latino and if you are
more conservative you prefer Hispanic." It is probably safest
to stick with the term Hispanic unless you are really sure the
specific folks you are addressing like the term Latino.

-> Four useful links:

A. Creative samples from six email campaigns to Hispanics:

B. HispanicAd: A news site for advertisers targeting Hispanics
online and via traditional media

C. Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies:

D. Multicultural Marketing Resources: A no-cost guide to
consultants and media reaching Hispanics, African Americans,
Asian Americans, etc.

See Also:

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