I recently spoke at the annual Florida Sterling Conference about communicatingwith the Hispanic consumer. It is projected that by the end of2015, Hispanic owned businesses will reach 4 million, with anestimated total annual revenue of $661 billion.

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With so much revenue being generated by one culture, there is anincreasing need for bilingual communicators to help bridge the gapbetween corporate America and the Hispanic consumer. So how can weeffectively market to individuals who place such a large emphasison their culture and have the largest buying power in the U.S.?

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Here are 5 hacks to help you better understand andengage with the Hispanic Customer:

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1. Hispanics are not a race but a culture:

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National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off on September 15.This day was chosen as the starting point of the 30-day celebrationbecause it is the anniversary of independence of five LatinAmerican countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hondurasand Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate theirindependence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18. For some, it's justanother holiday in the calendar, for others, a uniqueopportunity.

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Related: Are you guilty of these 6 salessins?

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What makes Hispanics “Hispanic” is 400 years of Spanish controlover Spanish speaking countries in Latin America; the dominantCatholic Religion; and the Spanish language. This heterogeneousgroup today makes up 17% of the U.S. population, and is a strongcommunity of people who have one goal in common: to improve theirlives.

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2. Hispanics make decisions by means of familydiscussions:

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When purchasing a big-ticket item such as a car, Hispanics makedecisions by means of family discussions. Shopping trips are agroup outing, featuring the whole family or at least one or twofriends. Be sensitive by addressing the whole family and makingsure everyone is on the same page.

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family gathering
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(Photo: Thinkstock)

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3. Word-of-mouth is big among Hispanics:

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Hispanics rely and trust each other's recommendations; thereforeword-of-mouth is an invaluable source for referrals. Building agood reputation within the community is key for ongoing business.Bilingual team members facilitate communication andunderstanding.

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4. Engage online in Spanish and English:

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Many Hispanic families are bilingual, with older members of thefamily preferring Spanish and younger members English. A bilingualwebsite will allow families to experience your website, as afamily, in English and Spanish. By providing a Hispanic onlineexperience in both English and Spanish, you will send a strongsignal to the U.S. Hispanic market that you are investing inthem.

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5. Hispanics don't appreciate the “hardsale.”

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Are you ready to tap into the largest non-white group within theU.S with buying power that exceeds $1.5 trillion? There is nobetter time than today.

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Related: 3 key strategies for growing your insuranceagency

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