La Comunidad Online

September 4th, 2009 by | Print

La Comunidad logoToday’s interview is with Maria Smith-Alvira, co-founder and partner of La Comunidad Online, a bi-lingual (English / Spanish) online community. I asked Maria if she would be interested in participating in an interview for two reasons.


First, I am looking for new, qualified, quality methods for you as a solopreneur to grow your business. This often requires reaching out to new markets. The Hispanic market in the US continues to experience tremendous growth. Have you tapped into this market?


Second, Maria and I both participate in Entrepreneur Connect, an online business community sponsored by In reading the advice that Maria provides and speaking with her on the phone, Maria exhibits integrity, energy, dedication and the desire to provide value for her customers versus simply pushing a product.



TSG:     Maria, can you give us some facts and figures regarding the Hispanic market here in the US?


LCO:     The Hispanic market is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy in the United States. In 2007, the Hispanic market accounted for more than $800 billion in purchasing power, reaching over $900 billion the following year, 2008. By 2011, it is projected to reach $1 trillion.



TSG:     What was the inspiration to create La Comunidad Online and when did you actually open your doors?


LCO:     We truly believed we could help small businesses increase their visibility in their local community and on a national level. We visualized the company providing support to the community, enabling a medium for local businesses to connect with each other in their local communities, on a bilingual forum, in order to bridge the U.S. and Hispanic Markets. La Comunidad Online opened its doors about a year and a half ago. 



TSG:     If you take the Twitter challenge of 140 characters or less to describe your USP, what would it be?


LCO:     We promote businesses on a bilingual forum enabling them to reach the Hispanic Market, the fastest growing segment, reaching a wider audience.



TSG:     So if a solopreneur wanted to advertise on your site, but doesn’t have the ability to create a banner ad or translate it into Spanish, do you offer these services to assist them?


LCO:     La Comunidad Online offers banner design assistance to its clients for a $35.00 dollar fee. This fee includes a banner in the language of your preference. Additionally, we offer the possibility of creating a banner that includes both languages.



TSG:     How do you advertise your business to make sure that the Hispanic community in the US visits your site?


LCO:     La Comunidad Online advertises itself through bilingual networks, link exchanges, newspapers, radio shows, meet up groups and extensive word of mouth efforts.



TSG:     Are you willing to share with us the volume of traffic you get to your site?


LCO:     Presently, our site receives an average of over 600,000 hits, over 49,000 visitors, and over 180,000 page views a month.



TSG:     Can you give us an example of the increase in awareness and traffic your site provided for one of your customers?


LCO:     We definitely can. For one of our clients, “El Pregonero Newspaper”, we started a banner exchange featuring their news on our web site. When they began working with us their ranking by Alexa.Com was as at 3,260,640 world and 0.00 US rank (not sufficient US traffic). Two months later, “El Pregonero Newpaper” was ranking at 660,443 world and 98,137 US rank. Presently, we are proud to say the newspaper is receiving 82% of their web traffic from our web site.



TSG:     Do you recommend that only companies that have staff fluent in Spanish advertise with La Comunidad Online, or do you find that your readers range in their English speaking fluency?


LCO:     We believe our readers range in their English speaking fluency. Our mission at La Comunidad Online is to promote our client’s business on a bilingual forum (Spanish and English). We work with companies in general that are targeting the Hispanic/Latino Market, providing them with an avenue to advertise their business within a bi-lingual community. Additionally, because of the increase of inquires being received by international companies in both South and Central America, we will soon be offering advertising for companies abroad wanting to reach the US market.



TSG:     Do you get feedback from the Hispanic market as to what types of businesses they would like to see advertised on your site?


LCO:     Yes, we receive emails from the business networks with possible suggestions and emails with inquires on how they themselves can reach the Spanish market.



TSG:     With so many businesses now online, do you offer programs that allow a business to advertise within their state and nationally, too?


LCO:     We offer packages that allow our clients to advertise both within their own local state / community and nationally.



TSG:     Having been responsible for marketing my own businesses and others, I am leery of advertising in publications or with online services where my ad gets lost among the hundreds of others. How do you avoid this with La Comunidad Online?


LCO:     At La Comunidad Online, we avoid this in two ways: one, we give our clients the possibility to position their banner either at the top or bottom of the page, and two, we have a limit established on the amount of banners allowed per state enabling us to furnish our clients with good visibility for their banners.



TSG:     Another key component of marketing is being able to track ROI (Return on Investment). Are you able to give your advertisers click through data to see what impact their ads are having on your site?


LCO:     Yes, we are able to provide them with statistics of web site traffic.



TSG:     Do you have any new, exciting changes coming to La Comunidad Online in the near future that you would like to share with us?


LCO:     As mentioned before we will soon be working with companies abroad. We are also in the process of developing a PR program and a business network model structured specifically for companies situated in the US, South and Central America were they are able to interact, and thus, they will be integrated into La Comunidad Online as an additional service.



Maria, thank you for your time to speak with us today and giving us insight into your business.


If you have been contemplating reaching out to the growing Hispanic community here in the US (and soon to be Central and South America), I recommend that you get a hold of Maria. Here is here contact information.


La Comunidad Online
Maria Smith-Alvira
13017 Wisteria Dr
Suite 252
Germantown, MD 20874
P: (301) 525-9068 / (443) 834-5690


All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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