How-To Guide for Reaching U.S. and Latin American Hispanic Markets
If you are looking for niche markets that are largely untapped, look no further than the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets. To be able to dominate in these markets, being well-versed in search engine optimization, or SEO, especially if trying to capture the attention of Hispanics. The Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets have some similarities as far as demographics go; they are still two very distinct markets and should be treated as such.
A combination of methods can be used – either local SEO or by a more regional approach – but the main differences between English and Spanish SEO need to be considered for these markets. Below we will attempt to define each in order to help you develop a strategy that will work best for you.
1. Hispanics Who Reside in U.S. and Latin America and the Differences Between Them
Look at the Hispanics who reside only in the United States versus those who live in Latin America and it’s easy to see that main differences between the two. Economy and culture are two of the main differences between the two locations and the strategy for targeting the two demographics will be dependent on them. For example, Hispanics in the United States fall into two categories: immigrants or offspring of immigrants and have thus been somewhat Americanized, even while holding on to their own culture.
What does this mean? For the Hispanics being targeted living in the United States, copy that would promote self-improvement or choices in education would be appropriate, while copy for a culture that is centered more around family would be appropriate for Hispanics living in Latin America.
2. The Difference Between Regional and Local Aspects of Reaching Hispanics Online
When considering the Hispanics that need to be reached online, it’s important to consider local aspects (specific cities and states) like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and regional aspects (a general geographic area) like the Midwest.
By approaching SEO in this manner, you are able to pinpoint the best strategy for reaching the targeted Hispanics living both in the United States and Latin America – which allows greater control and ultimately higher success.
3. The Importance of Language in the United States and Latin America
Cultural and location differences have been discussed, but it is important not to overlook language barriers when considering the Hispanic demographic, both in the United States and Latin America – particularly when dealing when trying to reach this demographic through ads and web content.
The Geoscape 2010 Census Report states that there are more than 50 million Hispanic residents in the United States, of which 60% are bi-Lingual while 40% of whom are dependent on either English or Spanish.
The following is an excerpt from a presentation by César M. Melgoza, founder and CEO, Geoscape, at Versailles Breakfast Club on Oct. 08, 2010: “Will the 2010 Census Results Change the Way Businesses Market to America?”
A combination of content in both languages might sound like a good idea when trying to reach this segment, and in many cases it is. But in many other cases it may not be necessary at all. It depends entirely on the specific Hispanics online you’re trying to target.
Generally speaking, if you are targeting an English-dominant group such as the younger Hispanic audience from the United States, you should target it mainly with English-based ads and website content, since they will be more likely to speak English and relatively less likely to speak Spanish. On the other hand, if you are targeting Spanish dominant U.S. Hispanics or first residents of Latin America, you should almost always use Spanish.
Between those two ends of the continuum are the bi-linguals, whether English-preferred, English & Spanish or Spanish-preferred. When trying to connect with these sub-segments, you may want to use a combination of English and Spanish content to capture the entire spectrum.
To sum up everything we’ve covered, the three areas discussed are the areas that every marketer worth their salt should consider when trying to target the Hispanic market – whether in the United States or in Latin America. How specific the marketing effort put forth will determine how much time will be needed to understand the targeted audience and how much money has been allotted to these efforts.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sebastian Aroca is an entrepreneur and a customer centric professional. He co-founded Hispanic Market Advisors, a company that offers Spanish SEO and English to Spanish translation services. Sebastian has over 10 years of professional experience managing regional customer programs and client acquisition strategies in the areas of sales and marketing communications, primarily for the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American & Caribbean markets.