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The US Hispanic population is the fastest-growing ethnic segment in the country, with an expected growth of 167% between 2010 and 2050. If you haven't begun doubling your efforts to reach Hispanic customers through online marketing, now is the time to start.

And, just as when targeting any niche market, you should follow some basic guidelines—including the following—to effectively market to Spanish-speaking customers.

Focus on a local campaign

Traditionally, Hispanic communities are tightknit and family-led. However, because the term "Hispanic" encompasses a broad range of nationalities, attempting to lump them all together can be problematic. Hispanic communities are not homogenous.

Hyper-local strategies allow you to address the different needs of those communities, which can vary by ethnicity, religion, region, and age.

For example, the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team recently unveiled a marketing campaign with the tagline "Somos Hispanos. Somos D-backs." The team focused on Hispanic communities in areas with close ties to the baseball team rather than shifting efforts more broadly. To reach different cultures, the campaign relied on players with backgrounds similar to the intended audiences, including Cuban Yasmany Thomas and Venezuelan David Peralta.

Bring your 'A' game

Some companies believe that simply translating an ad or website from English to Spanish counts as effective marketing. You need to go further. If you're going to market to Hispanic communities, you must put effort into outlining and implementing a full-scale, in-depth plan. Some companies go so far as to create a separate marketing unit for each group they want to target.

Dish Network, for example, used its DishLATINO brand to engage Hispanic consumers by focusing on their interests, not just on the language they speak. McDonald's also had the right idea when it put together separate groups to market to Hispanic, African-American, and Asian demographics. McDonald's organized panels and placed separate directors in charge of each group to focus full attention on each ethnic group's needs.

In the same way, rather than coming up with a broad campaign and then attempting to rejigger it for Hispanic communities, you can have people on board designing campaigns that are specific to each community's needs.

Partner with Hispanic leaders and businesses

Familiarity can help breed trust. By partnering with businesses that are already popular with Hispanic communities, or bringing famous Hispanic faces on to endorse your product, you can help bridge the gap between your business and Hispanic families.

Some companies, such as Latin World Entertainment, founded by Modern Family star Sophia Vergara, specifically help other businesses market to Spanish-speaking families. CNET partnered with the group to build Hispanic-specific ad campaigns and, as a result, increased revenue substantially.

So consider developing relationships with Hispanic businesspeople who can help you reach your full potential with Hispanic marketing, online or offline.

Bridge the language barrier

Much of the younger Hispanic generation is bilingual. As the Hispanic population continues to grow and assimilate into a predominately English-speaking country, its numbers are only going to increase over time. US births by Hispanic families contribute to about 78% of the increase in the overall Hispanic population in the country, meaning many Hispanic children grow up speaking both English and Spanish.

Don't be afraid to play with language. Implement "Spanglish" into your advertising to reach the Millennials. It's OK to mix English with Spanish in an ad. AT&T effectively relied on the tactic with its "Mobile Movement" campaign; it used Spanish and Spanglish in its commercials and online ads to speak to the younger generation.

Invest in the Hispanic market

One of the biggest roadblocks for companies is a fear of wading into the Hispanic market at all. Many are reluctant to even try to market to Hispanic audiences, either because they fear a backlash or they don't understand the group's growth potential in the US.

No need to panic. Sit down, research ways Hispanic families access the Internet, and come up with a clear, concise plan to begin a pilot campaign for targeting them. Set aside budget specifically designed to attract a Hispanic customer base.

You cannot afford to not bet your money on the fastest-growing market in the US. Don't target the Hispanic audience as an afterthought when developing your online marketing strategies.

Embrace social media

The Pew Research Center found last year that 80% of Hispanic adults use social media. That's higher than the 72% overall use by adults in the country.

Hispanics share posts on social media five times more than non-Hispanic users do, and they're 35% more likely to click on a link or post shared by another Hispanic person than a non-Hispanic one, the study also found. And nearly 18% of Hispanics polled said they use YouTube for helping them make purchasing decisions.

Clearly, you need to use social media to bring in Hispanic customers.

* * *

Embracing the Hispanic community online is the key to helping your business become and stay successful. Rather than simply translating ads into Spanish, learn to embrace the different cultures and values of Hispanic communities in the US.

With the right amount and combination of research, planning, and partnerships, you will see your sales climb with help from US Hispanics.

Whatever you do, don't ignore the huge Hispanic market when planning marketing initiatives, online or offline.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jonathan Deesing

Jonathan Deesing is an analyst and writer for Red Bull eSports and enjoys exploring new ways to reach and engage consumers.

Twitter: @deesing

LinkedIn: Jonathan Deesing