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How Building Materials Companies Can Reach Hispanic Contractors

One of the most common questions we gets from manufacturers is “Should we translate our website into Spanish?" The answer is always a resounding, “Yes!” But for some manufacturers that might feel like a daunting task, so we break down this process with an expert.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

More About This Episode

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

It’s important to do the work to make your building materials website more accessible to Spanish-speaking audiences. Kevin Kilpatrick is the Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Lake Lumber, and he walked us through the most effective ways to truly connect with this ever-growing audience in the construction industry.

Six Steps to Marketing in Spanish

Kevin has been speaking to the residential remodeler for about 20 years and works now for Blue Lake Lumber as head of the marketing department. “I grew up in the agency world in Dallas, and then jumped to the client-side, to Home Depot,” he explains.

He eventually started his own media company that provided marketing solutions for the building industry with a focus on one specific audience: Spanish-speaking professionals. They targeted contractors and remodelers who identified as Hispanic, and Kevin learned more about how to successfully reach that audience.

Marketing to any audience takes time, research and some legwork, so we asked Kevin what manufacturers should keep in mind when marketing to Spanish-speaking professionals. He broke it down for us in six steps. “And quite honestly, it's not until step six when you actually pull a trigger, and you start brainstorming and advertising,” he explains. “The other five steps are to get you there.”

Step #1: Where’s Your North Star?

“First of all, you got to know where you're going,” Kevin explains.

That’s right: It’s time to sit down and set your goals. “And generally, it's a revenue goal, but it can be an awareness goal, it could be a conversion goal, it could be a lot of things, but most of the time, it's revenue. But that's number one, and a lot of people skip that and just kind of start digging in.”

That might require some discussion and soul-searching for your organization, but getting buy-in from your leadership team is important. Kevin explains that this step will determine “what the goal is that we're working against — and that's how we're going to be measured as a success or not.”

Step #2: Understand Your Customer

Once you’ve set a goal, it’s time to determine who your customer is, “and that's probably the second most important step is really understanding who you're targeting,” says Kevin.

To understand your customer demographics and behavior, you’ll want to dig into the details, like which language they prefer. “And for me, like I said, it's residential remodelers. It's a large percentage of Hispanic pros out there in the market. Right now, according to The Department of Labor, it's like 27% of the total market [prefers] Spanish,” says Kevin.

That percentage is a considerable segment of the market, and yet many manufacturers only publish installation instructions, blogs and videos in English. “And so you look around the industry and not a lot of folks are going after that segment. And I think that's really a failure of not knowing your customer at the end of the day,” says Kevin.

Step #3: Pin Down Your Positioning

To position your brand in the building materials market, that means “understanding the landscape and where all of your competitors stand and then where you can carve out space for your own,” says Kevin.

You might ask a few questions to suss this out further:

  • Does your product have a unique story or offer a unique solution?
  • How does your product help your end customer?
  • What problems are you solving for them?
  • What does your brand do better than the competition?

Step #4: Sales + Marketing Alignment

Everyone’s heard about the silos that happen in large and small organizations alike, where sales and marketing are two entirely different departments without much communication between them.

“And so many times, the two different organizations are on two different paths. And I'm a firm believer that marketing has to support sales,” says Kevin. “I think that if we, as marketers, aren't making that phone ring or aren't providing those leads or explaining and walking the sales team through on how to use HubSpot … then that's a failure on the marketing side.”

Step #5: Map it Out

Now that you know which direction you’re going with marketing and have everyone’s buy-in, it’s time to draw out a roadmap.

“The next step is kind of trying to figure out your cadence internally for your planning and responsibilities,” explains Kevin, “making sure everybody understands on the team what their role and the responsibilities are, and we're focused on the campaign.”

A campaign might look like a new product launch, IBS or giving your team a goal to aim for and experiment with. “So, whether it's getting ready for IBS, it's who's in charge of the booth, who's in charge of the collateral, who's making sure everybody knows at the end of the day what it is or the bigger campaigns. And you have enough resources,” says Kevin. “Sometimes, your appetite is bigger than you have resources to execute against.”

Step #6: All Systems Go!

The final step is actually marketing to your audience and executing the plan you’ve set forth in the previous steps. “That's when you create the creative brief — the strategy brief,” says Kevin. “And then we start kind of doing the fun stuff in the marketing. But I think people outside the industry — marketing industry, whatever field — they just jump straight to step six, and they start doing the advertising.”

Kevin’s six step method can help for bigger-picture marketing plans, fun content ideas or seasonal campaigns you’ve got planned. But we wanted to drill down further how manufacturers can do that in a way that offers authentic customer support to their Spanish-speaking base.

How to Support Your Spanish-Speaking Audience

We were able to keep Kevin on the show a little bit longer to talk through how manufacturers can help support an audience who speaks a language other than English.

“Have your own YouTube channel in Spanish, to have your manuals or downloadable in Spanish, and every touchpoint needs to be in both languages — from the original ad or the digital ad all the way through their journey and learning,” says Kevin. “I mean, you've already created the content, it doesn't take that much longer to put it in Spanish and create an environment that they feel comfortable in. And so, what we saw is that there are so many manufacturers that aren't creating an environment that is inviting and authentic.”

Kevin gave us a bit more insight into how manufacturers can create that kind of welcoming, supportive online presence — and what to avoid. “The Hispanic pro is hesitant to give their information away. So, email campaigns, all of that,” says Kevin. “It's just culturally, the Hispanic community just doesn't give their information away.”

While email wasn’t the best form of contact, Kevin has seen Spanish-speaking pros on one particular platform: Facebook — Facebook Groups, specifically. “You can catch about 98% of them on Facebook. And Instagram is kind of a distant number two. But we see their usage and particularly, in the Groups for the Hispanic consumer,” says Kevin.

“And you think about it, you're in a country, you don't speak the language as well or not [at all], but you crave this contact and this companionship in this community,” says Kevin. “I mean, they're showing each other pictures, they're asking questions. I mean, it's just phenomenal how it takes off.”

Want Even More Insight?

To make your marketing plans work for your Spanish-speaking audience, Kevin suggests setting a goal of authenticity. “Dig in from a consumer research standpoint and [see] what percentage of your customers are speaking Spanish,” he says. “And then if it's a large percentage … I think you have to be authentic in every touchpoint.”

Listen to the full episode for more ideas and examples of how to effectively and authentically market your own products.

You can connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or email him to get in touch.

If you have any questions about marketing to Spanish-speaking contractors and installers, send us an email at [email protected], we would be happy to help.