How Dealers Can Reach the Underserved Hispanic Market

Tap into the demographic that will drive 50% of America’s population growth over the next five years, and will represent a buying power of $1.7 trillion by 2020

When it comes to identifying new customers—and finding creative ways to market to them—few businesses are as nimble as U.S. automobile dealerships. They’re quick to spot underserved markets and craft resonant, authentic communication.

For more than a decade, the industry has witnessed and adapted to the increasing cultural diversification within the U.S. There’s no better example of this than the Hispanic market, which has grown dramatically in size, cultural influence, and buying power.

The savviest OEMs and dealerships have courted these consumers for years. Toyota and Nissan in particular have led the industry in wooing Hispanics. In 2014 alone, Hispanics contributed to nearly 40% and 30% of total brand growth for Toyota and Nissan, respectively.

Game-changing opportunity

Auto purchases by Hispanic buyers are on track to double from 2010 to 2020, growing at a pace of 116%. Hispanics will buy nearly 2 million new vehicles this year. In the first two quarters of 2016, new vehicle sales to this demographic grew six times more than the general market’s.

On average, these car buyers are about 30% more likely to be buying their first vehicle, and are increasingly likely to buy a new vehicle over a used one. Hispanics are also 50% more likely to buy a luxury car as their first vehicle—great news for the industry.

Dealerships can increasingly court these consumers, thanks to the internet. Americans now conduct research online and comparing car prices more than ever, and the Hispanic market is no exception.

About eight in every 10 new vehicle buyers use the internet to help them make a purchasing decision; they conduct about 14 hours of online research before making a purchase.

Insider knowledge

To help capture this growing market, there are companies that translate auto industry websites for the Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanic market, helping businesses reach consumers through search engine optimization, social media, and more.

Bilingual fluency among Hispanics is continually increasing, but serving these consumers in Spanish remains critical. About 75% of Hispanics speak Spanish at home. Nearly four in 10 prefer to read online and offline content in “all Spanish” or “mostly Spanish.”

Those are huge numbers, considering the Hispanic population has grown more than 58% since 2000, will drive 50% of America’s population growth over the next five years, and will represent a buying power of $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Capturing even a fraction of this market’s attention and revenue can mean huge gains for local dealerships.

To make an impact from a website development and technology standpoint—and understand what Hispanics are looking for when engaging with a website in their language—it’s vital to examine the performance of top translated automotive sites in operation in North America markets.

Examining engagement metrics such as traffic, bounce rates, and more allows marketers and translation service providers to identify key behaviors among online Hispanic car shoppers.

For starters, Spanish-speaking Americans are ravenous content consumers. They view 10% more pages per site visit than other demographics.

Nearly half of the website traffic coming to Spanish auto sites is organic, including traffic driven by Spanish-language keywords.

And although the second-largest traffic source to these sites is direct traffic, the third-largest source hails from referral traffic from car brands’ English sites. Spanish sites have a higher percentage of referral traffic than other demographics examined.

Smart dealers should mention their Spanish sites in local marketing efforts—and provide links to Spanish sites on their primary English sites—to help increase awareness among these consumers.

Bounce rates on U.S. Spanish sites are generally higher than other demographics’, though this is due in large part to considerable inbound Spanish-speaking traffic from Latin American countries.

Indeed, U.S.-based sites provide marketing cross-border marketing value; they often provide rich content experiences not available to international users in their own markets.

Research concluded that sports cars represent the most-researched vehicle type among Hispanics. Subcompact cars claim second place. Third place goes to compact cars.

Advice and next steps

How can dealerships best serve this ever-growing market? Creating authentic, culturally relevant online experiences for Hispanics—accessible in their languages of choice, on their devices of choice—goes a long way.

Reaching these online-savvy shoppers starts by deploying a Spanish version of a dealership’s website, and ensuring it remains in sync with the content and inventory found on the dealer’s English website.

For instance, when new services or sales promotions are unveiled on the English site, they should immediately appear on the Spanish site. When vehicles are sold on the lot, their product pages are removed from the English site—and the Spanish site updates in real time.

Years ago, this represented a technically complex, costly endeavor. These days, affordable solutions exist that can deploy secure, translated sites in weeks. Daily maintenance is performed automatically.

Translation is a necessary first step, but delivering authentic experiences is also especially important. A 2015 Google study indicated that 70% of Hispanics believe in the importance of a website’s content being culturally relevant.

To address this, dealerships should consider customizing text, graphics, or promotional elements on their translated sites to woo Spanish-speaking consumers. Apply this method to traditional advertisements, social ads, and in-language pay-per-click campaigns, too.

Making this content available on mobile phones is also mission-critical. For years, Hispanics have over-indexed in mobile phone use, using their smartphones far more than the non-Hispanic average.

More than 35% of Hispanic car shoppers find in-app mobile ads persuasive, according to a study commissioned by NBC Universal.

The study also revealed that these customers are very active on social media. Up to 50% of Hispanic respondents discuss brands online, and use brand hashtags in social posts.

Finally, make sure your team on the ground can linguistically accommodate Spanish-speaking consumers when they visit the lot. This means leveraging Spanish-fluent sales team members, and providing in-store signage, dealership, and product information—and purchase contracts—in Spanish.

Charles Whiteman is senior vice president of client services at MotionPoint Corp., a leading enterprise localization platform. He may be reached at MotionPoint helps world-class brands grow by engaging and enriching the lives of new customers in markets around the globe. Far more than the world’s most effective website translation service, MotionPoint’s turn-key platform combines innovative technology, big data, world-class translation, and deep international marketing expertise. MotionPoint’s approach guarantees the quality, security and scalability required to succeed in an evermore competitive global marketplace—both online and offline.

Charles Whiteman


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