Best Practices: Online Marketing to Hispanics

Reaching Hispanics via interactive media should be on the top of any marketers to do list during the next decade. For key data points validating Hispanic marketing read our Special 2010 Census Preview IssueIn the below Q&A, Joe Kutchera, author of “Latino Link” a book recently published by Paramount Books, lets us know about the do’s and don’t’s when it comes to marketing to U.S. Hispanics online. He also provides in-depth views on SEO.

Portada: What are the three do's and don'ts for marketing to Hispanics online?

Kutchera: “Here are the three do's. First, localize your site by developing culturally relevant content. Second, build and maintain continuous relationships with your consumers via social networks. Third, partner with a strong translation and technology company. And the three don'ts include: First, if you decide to enter the Hispanic market, stick with it. Don't launch a website and then exit after the first problem. Second, don't just offer a straight translation, try to offer culturally customized content for your target Hispanic audience. Third, double check translations with native speakers.”

Portada: How do you recommend marketers target U.S. Hispanics online with paid search and SEO? In other words, what advice do you have about helping them focus on the U.S. Hispanic audience and not Spanish-speakers in Latin America, for example?

Joe Kutchera: “While U.S. Hispanic search has its own nuances, you always need to focus on the basics: optimize your site for SEO, develop original content for your website when possible, work with local bloggers and press to ensure you are getting links to your site from domestic sources, and make sure your search and display ads are geo-targeted to the United States only. It's amazing how many publishers cheat their clients by serving international impressions to U.S. only advertisers. Also, be sure to install a global gateway that leads users to the correct country-specific website. Or, install a splash page that explains what your company's international product sales and credit card policies are, as Best Buy has done.”

Portada: Your book, Latino Link, features a case study from the jobs and recruiting site, Monster Worldwide. Does Monster have a site targeting U.S. Hispanics or only Mexico? Does Monster have other sites in the Spanish-speaking world? Can Monster grow its brand pan-regionally in all Spanish-speaking markets? If not, what would you advise it to do so?

Kutchera: “No, Monster has not launched a U.S. Hispanic-dedicated website. But, they have evaluated the opportunity. As you'll see in its case study in the book, Monster has rolled out its websites globally on a country-by-country basis. Its Latin American headquarters in Brazil have centralized many backend functions for the region. Nevertheless, the company very much focuses on customizing and localizing each country specific website as its needs for each country are different even though they share the same language, Spanish. The reason why I included Monster in Latino Link as a case study was that they provide a great example of how to scale out web businesses pan-regionally while at the same time customizing sites for every region and even personalizing information for each user. In the U.S. Hispanic market, has a strong presence for job searchers and positions listed.”

Portada: I understand fulfillment is a challenge for the development of e-commerce. How so and what do you propose to overcome this hurdle?

Kutchera: International e-commerce represents a very large business opportunity as consumer demand for products across borders is high. Yet, enormous hurdles exist like taxes and international shipping fees. What's most interesting is how Latin Americans go around the hurdles and shop in the U.S. Mexicans, it is estimated, spend $40 billion annually on products and services in the U.S. Why? Because laptops, for example, in the U.S. cost about half of what they do in Mexico. Higher taxes and less competition in Mexico make prices higher. So, Latin American consumers go out of their way to travel and shop in the U.S. The Internet then becomes a key shopping and planning tool for Latin Americans who shop in the U.S.”

Joe Kutchera is the Author of Latino Link: Building brands online with Hispanic communities and content ( and a leading speaker and advisor on reaching Hispanics, multicultural Americans and Latin Americans online. Mr. Kutchera works with Insitum, an innovation, design, and market research consultancy, which helps companies develop new products for the Hispanic and Latin American marketplaces. Insitum has offices in Chicago, Mexico City, Bogota and Sao Paulo. You can read Joe's columns about best practices for reaching Latinos online on MediaPost and Portada.