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Hispanic Law Firm Marketing

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					Marketing Your Law Firm to U.S. Hispanic
Consumers
Today, law firms have a unique opportunity to tap into one of the fastest growing consumer
segments in the U.S. marketplace – the Hispanic population. Effectively targeting this group can
help lawyers expand their client base and increase revenue. The Hispanic market carries
significant buying power that law firms cannot afford to ignore. By 2007, Hispanic buying
power is expected to reach an estimated $925 billion, which is three times the growth rate of
non-Hispanic consumers. These statistics, coupled with the fact that the Hispanic population
continues to grow at a rate of nearly 5.4 percent annually, illustrate how critically important it is
for law firms to implement marketing strategies specifically tailored toward Hispanic
consumers. However, successfully reaching Hispanic audiences requires that law firms shift
gears from their traditional marketing efforts and engage in a new way of communication. It is
also vital that law firms understand the cultural differences that make the Hispanic population so
unique from other consumer segments.
Defining the Hispanic Market The first step in expanding your law firm practice to reach
Hispanic consumers is to understand who the "Hispanic" and "Latino" markets encompass. The
term, Hispanic, comes from the Latin word for "Spain" and is a broader reference that includes
all Spanish-speaking people. Whereas, "Latino" is a more specific term and applies only to
persons of Latin American origin. These descriptions do not refer to race, but rather define
ethnicity or national origin. In general, this distinction is of little significance when referring to
residents of the United States. However, depending on the geographic location of a law firm,
some ethnic groups more closely identify with one classification over the other. For example,
California residents prefer to be called "Latino" as opposed to Texas and Florida residents, who
identify more with the "Hispanic" reference.
Understanding Your Hispanic Clientele Regardless of the diversity within the
Hispanic and Latino populations, the culture as a whole does share a few common traits that
lawyers should consider when trying to effectively communicate with this particular consumer
segment.
Language Language and cultural barriers often prevent many law firms from targeting the
Hispanic consumer. If your law firm hopes to compete in this market, you must be willing to
"habla español" – at least in your print and online marketing initiatives. In fact, communicating
in Spanish is extremely important because even bilingual Hispanics express a preference for
making purchasing decisions in their native tongue. However, try to avoid using automated
translation services to convert your marketing messages from English to Spanish. Translation
mistakes can embarrass lawyers and result in lost business, not only from the client who initially
read the translated information, but also from all the family and friends that person tells. An
example of a failed translation is as follows: the translation of "we specialize in white-collar
crime" resulted in "we specialize in the white crime of the necklace." Invest in a good translator
who specializes in the legal industry--it will be marketing dollars well spent.
A Family Affair As lawyers, it is your job to carefully guard the privacy of your clients. But,
when dealing with Hispanic clients, remember that they are extremely family-oriented and do
not always value privacy and/or confidentiality in the same manner as you. In addition, these
strong bonds often extend beyond the nuclear family to include grandparents, uncles, aunts,
cousins and other family friends. Therefore, it should not be surprising to have a client attend a
meeting with several family members in tow and it’s critical to not ignore any of them, as many
or all may be involved in the decision making surrounding a legal issue.
How to Effectively Reach Hispanic Consumers Once you understand the unique
characteristics of the group you are targeting, the next step is learning how to effectively
communicate your legal services to them. As the Hispanic population continues to explode, your
potential opportunities will only increase. Those who succeed in tapping into this market will do
so because they have developed a marketing strategy that clearly speaks to the Hispanic
audience. Effectively reaching Hispanic consumers does not have to be complicated. In fact,
there are a few basic strategies you can implement to help ensure that your marketing messages
are heard: Learn the demographics of the Hispanic community in your area. Whether the
Hispanic population in your community consists of new immigrants or an already assimilated
group makes a big difference in the services you provide and your methods of communication.
Use Spanish whenever possible. Create a marketing campaign that taps into the general core
values and traits of Hispanics, such as family, tradition, cultural pride, etc. Make your
marketing communications entertaining, interactive and colorful. Try to incorporate a fair
number of pictures. Humor and laughter also can help you connect with the Hispanic audience.
Partner with the local media, such as Spanish-language community newspapers, local radio
programs and cable television, to help establish your law firm.
Taking Your Marketing Messages Online In addition to using print, radio and
television to communicate with Hispanic consumers, the Internet also presents another effective
means to reach your intended audience. It is estimated that there are more than 50 million
Spanish-speaking people online worldwide. Of the 50 million online, 28 percent live in the U.S.
That means that if you are not making Spanish content available on your website, you are
missing a tremendous opportunity to connect with your target audience. The average Spanish-
speaking Internet user spends an average of 9.5 hour per week online, which is one hour more
than U.S. residents in general. They typically use the same search engines, such as Google and
Yahoo!, and also tend to use the same queries as their English-speaking counterparts. However,
when Hispanics are given a choice between an English or Spanish website, more than 80 percent
said they would prefer to visit the Spanish language site. Given this statistic, can you really
afford not to update your website with Spanish content? Once you’re ready to add Spanish
content to your site, there’s two methods to consider. One option is to find a translator and
translate English content from your site into Spanish. The second option is to write new copy in
Spanish. Either option is a fine choice, but the most important thing to understand is that unless
the new copy is optimized for search engines in the Spanish language, it may not be found or
ranked within search engine results. It’s also important to choose someone who has Spanish
legal expertise, search engine marketing experience and someone who understands the online
searching habits of the Hispanic population. With such an impressive number of the Hispanic
population online and engaging in e-commerce activities, the next step is determining how to
drive them to your law firm’s Web site. To achieve this, you must learn the demographics of the
Hispanic community in your area; make sure you understand the issues they are facing; create a
culturally relevant marketing strategy; and then position your law firm as an expert in these
areas through compelling Spanish language content. As the Hispanic population continues to
grow, law firm marketers will be challenged with finding new ways to effectively communicate
with consumers. However, the firms who are willing to devote the time and effort it takes to
capture the attention of the Hispanic market will have a significant advantage over the
competition.

				
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