Marketing to Spanish-Speaking Members? Be Alert to the Possibilities.

¿Tu hablas español? If not, you may not be reaching the fastest-growing segment of America’s population.




In mid-October, the U.S. population passed the 300-million mark, with the Hispanic population representing 36 percent of the last 100 million. At 41 million strong, Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment – and a significant market for financial services. No wonder more and more credit unions are taking special care of these members by providing services in Spanish.

Large numbers of Hispanics are still concentrated in California , Texas , and other traditional Latino communities. However, they are dispersing from coast to coast, with rapid growth in states such as Georgia, Nebraska, and Washington, according to the Pew Hispanic Center 's 2005 report, “Hispanics: A People in Motion.”

Se Habla Español

Two-thirds of all adults in Latino communities receive at least some of their news from Spanish-language media, although the number of U.S. Hispanics who predominantly speak English is growing. And nearly a quarter of adult Hispanics receive all of their news in Spanish. For now at least, Spanish is still the primary language among adult Hispanics.

To accommodate their Spanish-speaking members, many credit unions print marketing materials in Spanish and add Spanish options to their phone systems and sections of their Web sites . But the America Online/Roper Hispanic Cyberstudy 2005 said more should be done: Hispanics feel online content in Spanish is still deficient, and many say they would use the Internet more if additional content was available.

According to Mark Lopez, publisher of AOL Latino , an estimated 14 million adult Hispanics are online today, presenting an excellent opportunity for marketers to reach this segment by offering the language options they desire. And the earlier, 2004 AOL /Roper survey found that approximately 45 percent of online Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish wish there were more Web advertisements in Spanish. Further, a third of bilingual online Hispanics say they pay more attention to advertisements in Spanish – even among those who are bilingual!

Hispanics, whether Spanish-speaking or bilingual, are embracing the Internet, with an estimated 6 million of them using the Net to open checking accounts or do online banking.

Alert to members' needs

What does it mean for marketers? Those who connect with their customers online in Spanish have a decided advantage over those who don't. Hispanics are open to online advertising and they trust their financial institution with their online data – a perfect opportunity for creative marketing through email alerts! E-mail has become the most popular online activity for all of the U.S. population, and 94 percent of online Hispanics are regularly using it to connect with family, friends and service providers.

Used effectively, e-mail alerts can be a valuable component of your marketing “virtual toolbox.” Hispanic members will welcome your e-mail messages – if those messages are targeted to their interests.

Case in point: Arlington Virginia Federal Credit Union ( $140 million in Arlington , VA ) offers e-mail alerts in Spanish through DigitalMailer's e-LERTS program. We created an alternative site for the credit union with e-LERT information provided in Spanish. When the Arlington Virginia FCU marketing employees want to alert Spanish-speaking members to a car-loan sale or other promotion, they simply translate the e-LERT into Spanish and off it goes.

Arlington Virginia FCU said members are very receptive to its Spanish e-LERTS program, and they like connecting with the credit union in their primary language.

To learn how e-LERTS can help your credit union connect with your members in any language, contact DigitalMailer at .




Oct. 2, 2006



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