Portada: How are you marketing Guias Local to gain traffic?
George Ramos: GuiasLocal.com’s marketing strategy has been focusing on the social mediums. We have seen other Internet based companies pour tens of thousands, up to millions, of dollars on advertising each year. This leads to companies charging more for their services. In today’s economy, GuiasLocal.com wants to give its advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers at an affordable rate. The social mediums have allowed GuiasLocal.com to reach consumers and businesses across the world while allowing us to keep costs down. GuiasLocal.com surpasses established Hispanic companies with over 40,700 Twitter followers, 2,300 MySpace friends and over 1,600 Facebook friends.
GuiasLocal.com’s domain name is a logical domain making it easy to remember which visitors back, keeping our advertising costs down. As well, additional domains are owned by GuiasLocal.com such as ElBoxeo.tv, LuchaLibre.me, LaPrensa.mobi, etc, which also drives further traffic to GuiasLocal.com.
P: Why is your first launch in El Paso?
G.R.: We selected El Paso to be our initial city in our 200-city roll out because El Paso, TX is a community rich in Hispanics and their culture and as one of the top 20 Hispanic markets.
In addition, 47% of the nation's purchasing power and 50% of the Hispanic population are concentrated in California and Texas.
P: In which cities are you going to launch next?
G.R.: All of GuiasLocal.com’s 200 cities will be available for search in early 2010 when the full launch of GuiasLocal.com is scheduled, including cities in the top Hispanic markets. A full list of our cities can be found on GuiasLocal.com. We are currently working on additional enhancements to GuiasLocal.com including menus, pricing, handicap accessibility, kid friendly, services offered, and much more.
P: What opportunities does Guias Local offer to national advertisers?
G.R.: Hispanic Americans continue to grow four times that of the general population. GuiasLocal.com offers national advertisers the opportunity to reach U.S. Hispanics in both Spanish and English.
GuiasLocal.com is not just a local search website. We are an information provider and will be offering Private Label, Apps, API’s as well as Mobile ads, affiliate marketing, R.O.N. (Run of Network), banners, city images, keywords, business submissions, links, widgets, Pay-Per-Click, Pay-Per-Call, Cost-Per-Click, Pay-Per-View, CPM, CPA and SMS Text which will all be available to national advertisers through the GuiasLocal.com network.
Given that almost half of Hispanics speak only Spanish at home, products that offer easy directions and a bilingual user interface will gain faster adoption. What's more, one-third of Hispanics feel that Spanish-language Web sites enhance their user experience — a clear message for online retailers and marketers.
P: Do you have an estimate for the size of the Hispanic local search market?
G.R.: There are over 40 million Hispanics in the United States and, according to Forrester Research, in 2008 “Hispanics totaled $951 billion in disposable income — 9.8% of total U.S. spending power. By 2013, this number is expected to grow to an impressive $1.4 trillion”. Given these numbers, plus the fact that they are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., Hispanics represent GuiasLocal.com’s target market.
P: Do you provide advertisers behavioral targeting solutions?
G.R.: While behavioral targeting is a benefit to advertisers, GuiasLocal.com also wants to take into consideration our consumers and their privacy. We are currently researching this area.
P: What sales force do you work with? How many are they? How are they organized?
G.R.: GuiasLocal.com’s approach to sales is something that makes us stand apart from our competitors, “Referral Advertising”. Following similar structures to popular MLM revenue models, GuiasLocal.com will offer to advertisers/consumers the opportunity to make money from referrals.
For example, an existing advertiser, Smith Bakery, has purchased ad space for one year. They have a large customer base and decide to tell all local businesses to advertise with GuiasLocal.com. For each business that purchases advertising upfront whom Smith Bakery refers, Smith Bakery will make a percentage of the ad revenue. If they do this enough times, they have paid for their own advertising and may even put some additional revenue in their own pockets.
On the consumer side, John Jones used to work for the yellow pages and has been recently laid off. John can make a percentage of all ads he has referred that close with monies paid up front. John is now running his own business, deciding his own hours, and GuiasLocal.com is giving him the opportunity to do so.
P: What operators have you partnered for the mobile application of GuiasLocal.com?
G.R.: GuiasLocal.com is currently working on our mobile versions and, at this time, cannot divulge this information.
P: Who are the financial backers of Guias Local?
G.R.: GuiasLocal.com is currently in bootstrap.
We recently added dotcom veteran, Tom Herman, to our board who has been guiding GuiasLocal.com strategically in our money raising efforts. You may remember Tom from the movie, Startup.com. The film followed e-commerce website govWorks.com and its founders, Tom and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, from 1999-2000 as the Internet bubble was bursting. Under their leadership, govWorks raised $60 million in venture financing from firms such as the Mayfield Fund, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, the New York City Investment Fund, Hearst Corporation, Sapient Corporation and Vignette Corporation. Tom brings over 15 years of start-up experience leading technical strategy, software architecture, fund raising and mergers and acquisitions of technical assets.