Reaching Hispanics Online
Vann adds that marketers should recognize what is known as family bilingualism, which is when English-speaking family members help Spanish-dominant relatives with translation of English-language sites. For this reason, a toggle feature between comparable Spanish- and English-language sites becomes critical to success; such a tool allows visitors to go back and forth between the same Web pages in the two languages, so Spanish-dominant and bilingual Hispanics are better able to fully discuss and understand your product, offer and purchasing information.
The Copy and Creative Commitment
Of course, a Spanish-language site foremost needs to tie into the marketer’s existing online messaging and mission. That said, Fleming stresses the importance of connecting through the best quality Spanish. “Well-meaning organizations don’t realize that what they’ve put out is not intelligible to a large percentages of Spanish speakers, because the choice in wording has been accidentally driven for a specific segment …” Other times, he adds, you will see language that is flat out offensive to some segments because it might appeal to the region where the translator comes from, and he or she is not skilled enough to realize that the phrasing means something different to other Hispanics.
Beyond language, imagery needs to be selected carefully. Opportunities exist to customize the experience for Hispanics versus Anglos; for example, stronger colors can be used on Spanish-language sites, and it’s a good idea to swap out photos of Anglos for Hispanics. Still, it’s important to make any such changes in a way that does not deliver a limited or inferior site, says Fleming.
A best practice with global navigation is to place the link from your Spanish site to your English site, and vice versa, in a prominent location above the fold; the top-right corner is considered ideal, says Vann. (See the Crutchfield site in “The Language of Service and Sales,” for an example.) Place this link on all pages within the site, since search engines can drive traffic deep into the site. “Actually, the best source of Hispanic traffic for big companies is their general market Web site,” he explains, so marketers should leverage this visibility with the Spanish-speaking market.