AMiable Solution #417: En Español?
If you’re like many companies, everything you print and produce is in English. That’s fine, if all you want are English-only customers.
But if you want to be part of the Spanish-speaking community—whom Forbes magazine reported as having $1.7 trillion in purchasing power back in 2018—there are a few things you should do.
1. Have the right motives. Getting to know a new market and understanding its consumers takes time. If you’re just looking to increase profits, you should probably explore a different market. But if you truly want to expand your “sphere of influence,” so to speak, to Spanish-speaking communities and provide valuable solutions to a group of buyers you may not currently be communicating with, then proceed with passion.
2. Employ people who speak the language. Depending on your staff size and market need, you should have at least one Spanish-speaking customer service rep available per shift and at least one Spanish-speaking sales rep.
Not there yet? Wendi Pembridge, a Licensed Insurance Agent with more than 18 years of experience, recommends asking non-English speaking callers for their email address and phone number. As Pembridge claims, “Most people will recognize the words ‘phone number’ and ’email.’” Pembridge then suggests using an online translation tool to help start conversations in email or text. Word of warning, though: words can get lost in translation, so be sure to let those prospects know you’re using translation software. You don’t want to risk offending anyone.
Another option? Work with your local college to develop an internship program for its bilingual students. The students will benefit from real-world work experience, and you’ll have the benefit of individuals who can help you translate or communicate with prospects and customers.
3. Translate your materials. We’re talking forms, brochures, and other important customer-related documents—including your website. Even though many Spanish-speakers can read your materials in English, providing that information in their native tongue not only shows your genuine interest in helping them, but it also creates greater feelings of trust. According to Parker Morse (Forbes, “Six Facts About The Hispanic Market That May Surprise You,”
2018), 56% of Spanish-speaking Hispanics said that they were “more loyal to companies that advertise in Spanish.”
4. And do your research. Just as all Americans are not the same, all Spanish-speaking Americans are not the same. Get to know your audience’s cultural nuances and the cultural sensitivities of the group you're targeting: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Hispanics, or English-speaking Hispanics. Ofer Shoshan, CEO of One Hour Translation, says, “it’s not just translation that is key here, but the cultural adaption of content that is keenly sensitive to local nuances and customs that will truly make your product and your overall brand attractive to local consumers.”
¡Te deseo éxito! (I wish you success!)