You hear it more than ever these days, selling in another language is a foolproof way to increase your potential customer pool almost overnight. You may have even read about the importance of selling to your consumers in their mother tongue in our blog, Is Localization Important for Software and Websites?. There are more than 450 million native speakers of Spanish worldwide, making it the second most spoken language in the world, behind only Mandarin Chinese and ahead of English by nearly 100 million speakers. Not only is this language market massive, Spanish speakers are also the largest minority language group in the US, with approximately 43 million speakers. So, naturally, when deciding to test the waters of multilingual sales, you’ve chosen to do so in Spanish! En español!
But, now you have to figure out how to sell as effectively to your Spanish market as you do to your English-speaking audience. The number one rule of marketing is to know your customers, right? So, it’s important to understand just how to go about selling in Spanish. We’re going to talk about five common mistakes companies make when attempting to sell in Spanish. So, you can not only avoid them, but how your business can get it right.
Invest in Market Research
The first and most common error made by any business is to assume that your original language market research still applies for new language audiences. It is crucial to give your Spanish marketing material the same time and investment as your English material. By adapting your marketing taglines, ad campaigns, and website content to resonate with your new consumers in a way that’s tailored specifically for them. Put simply, you must speak to them, not at them.
We’ve all laughed at hilarious translation mistakes over the years, such as that tagline ‘Turn it Loose’ when translated for Coors into Spanish ended up saying ‘Suffer from Diarrhea’. Likewise, when American Motors made the mistake of naming their new car ‘The Matador’ they probably didn’t intend for it to come across as harsh as ‘The Killer’ for Puerto Rican Consumers. In reality, these types of translation and marketing fails can have a tangible effect on the success of your Spanish marketing efforts.
Don’t Mistake One Spanish Speaking Market for All of Them
Just as in English, what works in one region may not work in another. Your customers may speak Spanish in Spain and in Mexico, just as they speak English in the US and the UK, but no one would attempt to sell ‘corn dogs’ in England or ‘afternoon tea’ in Texas. Make sure that you consider the location that you intend to sell in, and always use region-specific marketing.
Adapting to the needs of your target market will ensure success where others have failed. Just as you can spot English translation mistakes from a mile away, so too can Spanish speakers spot lazily translated marketing. Don’t waste your investment! Treat your new consumers just as though they were your intended market right from the start. Only then will you reap the rewards.
Layout and Language Expansion
This step should really be considered when drafting your source language marketing material, preparing your content for expansion when translating into another language. Whenever you do it, you must consider that Spanish takes up more space than English. Even the layout of your marketing materials may need to change to accommodate this. Typically, when translating from English into Spanish, the number of total words will expand anywhere from 15 to 25%.
Don’t waste your efforts by translating your website and marketing materials into Spanish, only to leave the e-commerce side of your website in English. Not only will this be seen as a lazy and half-hearted attempt to entice Spanish customers, it could very well lose you the sales your marketing efforts achieve. Similarly, you must have customer follow-through available in Spanish. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than buying from a company only to discover that their call centers are operated in another language. Value your Spanish customers by speaking to them in Spanish, all of the time. Another way to ensure they feel valued is to create dedicated Spanish-speaking social media accounts for your business. Focus on building a rapport with your Spanish audience, and you will win their loyalty.
Brand Voice: Consistency
You know all about the importance of maintaining the right brand voice and tone. You’ve invested in Spanish language marketing, had your marketing materials expertly translated, put the proper follow-up services in place, and set up dedicated spanish social media accounts. Now, you want to build a solid relationship with your potential consumers. The best way to do this is through consistency. Once you find the right translation partner for your Spanish marketing, build on that partnership to expand your potential. At PGLS, we can help you take your first steps into multilingual marketing, with in-market, native speaking translators who will make sure you put your best foot forward.
It’s not enough to want to sell in Spanish, you must be prepared to put as much effort into serving your new customer base as you do with your English-speaking consumers. If you’re prepared to show your Spanish market that you value their business, they too, will value your brand.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can expand into the Spanish speaking markets, the right way!