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Online Marketing 101: Get Started Today With Four Simple Strategies

By now, every smart marketer realizes that reaching Hispanics online is crucial. U.S. Hispanics will represent a collective spending power of over $1 trillion by 2011 - and some 30 million Hispanics will be online by 2012, according to eMarketer. No one can afford to miss out on connecting with this highly important audience.

But what marketers can't agree on is how to effectively reach Hispanics online. Should you spend most of your budget plastering banners on the big-name Spanish-language media sites? Or try to reach Hispanic youth via widget campaigns on social networks? Should you only write ad creative and landing pages in Spanish, or try bilingual campaigns?

The truth is, there is no one right way to reach Hispanics online. In a recent report, "U.S. Hispanics Online: Demographics," eMarketer senior analyst Lisa E. Phillips said: "The paradox is that the larger this market grows, the more fragmented it becomes. Language and degrees of acculturation and assimilation vary by circumstances of age, nationality, education and income ... and due to the fragmentation within the demographic, online marketers may have to create multiple executions and strategies."

The Hispanic market is not one demographic, but many - the young Mexican-American male who likes music and cars; the newly arrived, college-educated parents from Venezuela looking to purchase their first home in the U.S.; tween children with Spanish-speaking parents who speak English at school but Spanish at home. And that means marketers need to craft different campaigns for different target segments, just as they do for any other marketing program.

So how do you get started with Hispanic online marketing if you're facing the seemingly insurmountable task of rolling out myriad campaigns to many different sub-sets of the demographic all at once? Don't fret: Hispanic marketing might be a bit tricky, but it doesn't have to be hard. In fact, there are a few simple strategies you can follow to launch a successful online Hispanic marketing program.

  • Start simple. Just because the Hispanic demographic is fragmented doesn't mean you have to launch a dozen targeted campaigns all at once. Start with a general campaign based on the consumer or audience you are trying to target. Basic demographic data can guide you: what's the age range, sex, income level, education level and/or interest area of your target? Your first online campaigns should target these general demographics within the online Hispanic community - and then, through testing and analysis, you can begin to refine your campaigns.
  • Use multiple channels. Now that you know who you want to get in front of, the task is where to find them. Perhaps more than any other demographic, Hispanics interact with your brand across multiple channels - including in-store, online video, mobile, email and social networks. Make sure your Hispanic campaigns span multiple channels so that you can connect with Hispanics wherever they are.

In fact, studies point to how engaged Hispanics are with emerging marketing channels; for example, Hispanic consumers are 50% more likely to use text messaging than the general public, according to market research firm GfK NOP. Hispanics are also very active users of social networking, so try widgets, contests and other entertainment-based campaigns on social networks if you want to reach Hispanics.

  • Target. Within every channel online, it is possible to get even closer to your audience through targeting. First, ensure that you're placing ads on the right publishers for maximum exposure. One way to do that is to work with an ad network that uses sophisticated targeting to get your message in front of the right audience on the right publishers. It doesn't work to just blast your campaigns on the top Spanish-language sites either - because it's easy for your message to get lost on general interest sites and further, many Hispanics prefer to read, shop and interact online in English, so you need to work with an advertising partner who knows exactly where to find Hispanics online, on both Spanish and English-language sites.
  • Test and retest. Once you're in front of potential Hispanic consumers, how do you grab their attention? Online, there's a number of ways - banner ads, text ads, text messages, video and new channels emerge every day. The only way to understand which method will do the job is to test and analyze each and every campaign.

Instead of just assuming that a certain cultural message, promotion, language, image or creative text will work to convert your audience, you've got to use all the technical tools available to find out for sure. Basic A/B and multivariate testing will tell you which particular combinations of ad creative work the best to convert the audience you are seeking. Maybe you'll find out that your target audience of young Hispanic mothers clicks the most often on the banner ad with a photo of a pregnant celebrity and a promotion for 10% off in Spanish, even though you thought the English-language ad with an offer for free shipping and a picture of a baby would work the best.

Just get started with Hispanic marketing; any step toward reaching this highly important demographic is a step in the right direction.

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