Your law firm’s marketing strategy is tailored to resonate with the types of clients who you want to reach and attract. However, an award-worthy marketing strategy for an American audience can fall short when simply translated verbatim to another language.
Achieving a successful multicultural and/or multilingual campaign requires extra legwork and a different approach to ensure your messaging hits its intended mark. Otherwise, you stand to quickly lose potential clients.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Michelle Calcote King talks with Liel Levy, the co-founder of Nanato Media and award-winning author of Beyond Se Habla Español: How Lawyers Win The Hispanic Market. They discuss best practices for marketing to a Hispanic audience, the common mistakes firms and attorneys make when they’re first starting out, and what lawyers can do to keep these new clients once they have them.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn
Why marketing to Hispanic and Latino clients is different from marketing to a U.S.-born or English-speaking client
Why translating messaging verbatim from English to Spanish is an ineffective strategy
Hispanic consumer habits
Best practices for connecting with potential Hispanic clients
Common mistakes law firms make when working with non-native English speakers
About our featured guest
Liel Levy is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestseller Beyond Se Habla Español:
How Lawyers Win The Hispanic Market and co-founder of Nanato Media, an Austin-based
marketing agency focused on helping law firms dominate their Hispanic market. He is also the
producer and co-host of "In Camera Podcast: Private Legal Marketing Conversations" and has
been published by multiple legal publications of note, including Law.com, Law360, Marketing
the Law Firm and ABA Journal.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Sponsor for this episode
This episode is brought to you by Reputation Ink.
Founded by Michelle Calcote King, Reputation Ink is a public relations and content marketing agency that serves professional services firms of all shapes and sizes across the United States, including corporate law firms and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms.
Reputation Ink understands how sophisticated corporate buyers find and select professional services firms. For more than a decade, they have helped firms grow through thought leadership-fueled strategies, including public relations, content marketing, video marketing, social media, podcasting, marketing strategy services and more.
To learn more visit www.rep-ink.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Liel Levy [00:00] You want to make sure that you’re digging a little deeper and see what things are important to their culture. What do they value? Is it family? Is it sports? Is it food? And these are just some of the very, very upper layers. You want to dig deeper down there and really showcase things that matter to the community.
[MUSIC AND INTRODUCTION] [00:20]
Michelle Calcote King [00:40] Hi everyone! I’m Michelle Calcote King, your host, and the Principal and President of Reputation Ink. We’re a public relations and content marketing agency for law firms and professional services firms. To learn more about us go to www.rep-ink.com.
We’re now in Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a celebration of the histories, cultures and achievements of Hispanics and Latinos. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, for this episode, I’m going to talk to an old friend of ours about how law firms can effectively market to their Hispanic population — and also how they can get it wrong.
My guest today is Liel Levy. He’s the award-winning author of — and this is going to show how bad my Spanish skills are — Beyond Se Habla Español: How Lawyers Win The Hispanic Market and he’s also the co-founder of Nanato Media, a marketing agency focused on helping law firms dominate their Hispanic market.
Liel, welcome and thank you for sitting down to chat today.
Liel Levy [01:44] That actually sounded great. That’s really good pronunciation. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here and to have an opportunity to chat with you again.
Michelle Calcote King [01:54] To start, tell me a little bit about Nanato Media, what you guys do and why you founded the agency.
Liel Levy [02:03] Nanato Media, we’re a multicultural marketing agency. We’re bilingual and our goal is to help particularly law firms because the go-to law firms for their local Hispanic market. How Nanato Media came to exist was basically as a solution to a need that's been there for decades.
Latinos have been part of U.S. culture and society since the beginning of the existence of the nation. Before lawyers, they used to primarily rely on strategies that were run through lead generation companies where they would relegate their marketing efforts for the Hispanic community to other parties that did not necessarily market their own brand — the law firm brand. Many times, it wasn’t really something that they were specialized in.
So, obviously, this generated frustration, particularly amongst law firms that deeply care about the community and want to have the same quality of marketing that they have for their English-speaking market for their Spanish-speaking market. For us, it became very clear that there was a massive gap there. And this is what we’d been doing pretty much all of our professional marketing careers. It was a very natural pivot for us to move from doing the marketing from a big lead generation organization that was focused on the Hispanic market to doing it for law firms that are interested in building their own brand — and we’re talking here about consumer-focused law firms.
Michelle Calcote King [3:53] Yes.
So, we know each other because we worked together to help publicize your book. And it’s not just translating materials to Spanish, right? Tell me a little bit more about how marketing to the Hispanic and Latino population is different. Why does it go beyond translating materials into the Spanish language?
Liel Levy [4:25] Sure. Translation as a baseline doesn’t work. The way that you actually create and compose sentences and paragraphs, and organize ideas in one language is not the same as in Spanish. Also, for those who are Spanish speakers, they probably already notice that in Spanish we speak and use more words than we use in English.
What happens when you’re using translation as your main method of creating messaging in Spanish is that your message ends up getting lost in translation, literally. So it’s not effective. It doesn’t fulfill the purpose of actually helping you communicate to your audience exactly what you want them to know.
Beyond that, it’s ineffective because your message that was created thinking of the English speaker in mind is not necessarily one that’s going to resonate with your Latino speaker. It’s not just about the language being really compatible — the words that you’re using in English being compatible with the Spanish language. It’s more about, is what you’re saying to your English speaker potential client the same that you would want to say to your Latino speaker? You may say, “Well, it is,” but at the end of the day, are you customizing or personalizing these words to be even more relevant to the Latino speaker? Are you actually showing them through the messaging that you are seeing them, that you’re hearing them, and that you care about them? If you’re not, then that’s where you’re missing a big opportunity.
Because here’s the thing about being a “minority” — and I say minority in brackets here because Latinos are by no means minorities in markets like Texas and California. Just last week, a new census report showcased that in Texas the Latino population is now the largest demographic group, so more Latinos than white non-Hispanics, and that same milestone was achieved a couple of years ago in California. So, when you’re using the term “minority” for Latinos, in some areas and states — some of the biggest states in the United States — it’s no longer applicable. But, generally speaking, when you’re a minority, the general message of a brand doesn’t necessarily feel that it was created for you.
Michelle Calcote King [7:00] Can you give me some examples of those differences? I know by even asking for examples that is sort of pigeonholing it, but can you give me some examples of what some of those differences might be for people?
Liel Levy [7:15] Absolutely. Just the idea — especially talking about law firms — when you are putting yourself in the mindset of the Latino, especially the one that is Spanish-speaking, if Spanish is their mother tongue, then chances are that they actually immigrated recently within the last ten or maybe twenty years to the United States. What’s on their mind? What are the concerns that they have? How do they think about things? Where do they live? What do they have access to and do not have access to? When you actually start talking and seeing things from a mindset that they can understand, then you’re going to become more relevant to them.
Language is a fantastic way of doing it where you’re targeting an audience that is likely to be Spanish speakers first. But, when you’re looking at U.S.-born Latinos, you want to make sure that you’re digging a little deeper and see what things are important to their culture. What do they value? Is it family? Is it sports? Is it food? And these are just some of the very, very upper layers. You want to dig deeper down there and really showcase things that matter to the community. That’s why we always think that the best marketing you can do for yourself is actually getting involved in the community, doing community outreach. As you’re getting involved in the community, showcase the stories of what’s happening there in the community because nothing will speak better about your brand and your law firm than showcasing the people you’re having an impact on. I think there are tons of examples where we see law firms doing this, and their results are astonishing.
Michelle Calcote King [9:06] Wow. That makes a lot of sense. It’s understanding the consumer that you’re targeting, what they care about, their concerns and their needs. Are there differences between the kinds of technology Latinos use or how they search for services like law firms? Are there differences in that as well?
Liel Levy [9:31] Yeah. This is already widely known, but for those who may just be discovering the Hispanic market, Latinos are considered mobile power users. What does this mean? That they heavily rely on their mobile devices for all kinds of connectivity. This is for infotainment; they watch and listen to basically everything you would stream traditionally on a TV, but on their mobile devices. Or some of the things you would do on a desktop, they would do on their mobile devices.
There are actually a couple of things here that are important to point out. They really like to search on Google. 93% of Latinos in the U.S. have expressed that Google is their preferred search engine of choice. They go there to find answers when they don’t know the answers to things. The other thing that is also very interesting about the U.S. Latino consumer is that they're 20% more likely to interact with ads. Whereas you may think that every time that I do complete a search query on Google and I get to the search results page, I skip through the ads because I don’t care about ads. Well, when you’re looking at your Latino consumer, that’s not the case. Most of the time they actually do pay attention to the ads.
Why is that? Well, it's because there's not a lot of great content on your organic search results in Spanish for potentially what they're searching for, especially if they're searching in Spanish. So, ads tend to be more thoughtful. Not just that, but especially when you’re looking at law firms, it also offers a more viable and faster solution to what they need.
The other thing about mobile users is that you’re not going to spend as much time on the device as you would on a desktop. Desktop has a bigger screen and is a different experience; you can spend more time researching, reading reviews and maybe watching videos or doing comparisons. On a mobile device, you’re probably not going to want to read through the long text that is on practice area pages and that sort of thing. You’re also more likely to initiate a conversation, and it will most likely be a phone call faster. Latinos most likely need a fast answer to try to troubleshoot the problem that they’re going through.
That’s kind of a lot about Latino consumer behavior there.
Michelle Calcote King [12:10] That’s fascinating about the ads, but it makes complete sense that once they get to the organic search results, they’ve learned there’s not a lot there that really resonates because it’s more built for an English-speaking audience.
Liel Levy [12:25] What you encounter a lot on the organic search results is — you’d be surprised how many times pages that are not even in Spanish get to rank, even on the first page of search results. But, even the content that is in Spanish oftentimes is not really that great. It’s literal translations of pages that were first created in English. They just have terrible user experience (UX) and user design (UI). To scroll on them is not really pleasant. Ads are a more efficient way of finding quick and fast information about what they’re looking for and allowing them to take the next step in a way that doesn’t require a lot of effort from their end.
Michelle Calcote King [13:19] Interesting. Once you’ve captured their attention through the ads, is there anything different about that funnel they’re going through that is different from an English-speaking audience? Do they interact with chat boxes? Is there anything different at that stage of the funnel?
Liel Levy [13:37] I love that question because yes, it’s very different. It really is gonna depend a lot on your practice area. We’ve noticed that, for instance, personal injury phone calls will be very popular. However, other types of law, for instance, immigration, the users are going to be more open to having conversations via messaging.
I will tell you definitely that your best option to connect with the Hispanic market through text is not through live chat, but it’s actually by enabling business WhatsApp on your website as a way of being able to start conversations with them via text. It’s just from a user-experience standpoint much better. The conversation opens up on your WhatsApp app, right? And there are two very powerful things that are actually achieved when you do that. Number one, you already become a contact on the WhatsApp app. Now you’re a lawyer that sits there and you’re going to be a conversation on their WhatsApp until they consciously decide to remove you. The other thing is that it allows them to get back to you whenever it’s convenient to them without necessarily having to go back through the whole journey of searching for you on Google, clicking on your site and getting to the live chat session. From a user-experience point, it’s better, but Latinos love WhatsApp. They use it a lot.
Michelle Calcote King [15:13] It seems like most of the world uses WhatsApp except for the U.S.
Liel Levy [15:17] And it all goes back to the fact that — you need to remember that they're on their mobile devices. WhatsApp is an app that was built for mobile. So, it doesn't get much better than that.
Michelle Calcote King [15:29] Got it. Once lawyers in these consumer law firms have Latino clients, do you see any mistakes firms are making or challenges they have in terms of actually working with these clients?
Liel Levy [15:48] Yes. One of them is investing in marketing and putting efforts in place to generate Latino clients, but then not having Latino experience thought up. What happens there is that it basically generates frustration from the client standpoint. They are calling call centers where there are no Spanish speakers who can actually help them. They’re being sent contracts that are not in a language that they can understand. They also encounter that the intake agent was able to speak Spanish, but then there is no other person inside the law firm when it comes to communicating with the legal team that actually speaks Spanish. All of those things are roadblocks. If you fail at any of those points, you’re taking a risk of losing the client. That’s one of the issues that we see law firms face oftentimes is that they do want to enter the Hispanic market, but they’re not structured internally to be able to provide a good quality experience for their Spanish-speaking clients.
Michelle Calcote King [17:11] That’s really important, and that’s fantastic that you guys can help these firms with that. It’s not just about capturing the client, it’s making sure that client experience continues. There’s nothing worse than feeling that sort of bait and switch feeling that you’ve been sold to in a certain way and then once you sign on the dotted line you get a different experience. Trust is so important in that attorney relationship.
Liel Levy [17:45] Right and that can break if it’s not kept throughout. They may have had an excellent rapport and connection with the intake agent, but if that intake agent is not going to be leading the case beyond that point, then if whoever takes the role from intake onwards is not connecting with the client in that way, then it’s ineffective.
The other thing I would say is the lack of awareness about what could be the areas of concern to Latino clients. What we know from our experiences is that oftentimes Latinos need a lot of handholding when it comes down to understanding how cases are built and what needs to happen in order for a case to run its path. If you’re not training your staff and you’re not generating awareness about how to educate your clients — even after they’ve already reached out to you, they don’t know everything that you do — assuming that they do is a huge mistake that may leave you without being able to convert really valuable leads into clients.
Michelle Calcote King [19:16] I like that y’all offer that expertise. Let’s talk a little bit about your book. A lot of what we’ve talked about is what people will learn in the book, but if a law firm is looking to more effectively market to the Latino population, what are they going to take away from your book?
Liel Levy [19:44 I think the most important thing that anyone picking up the book, especially lawyers, will get out of it is that it's gonna demystify a lot of the misconceptions that are around Latinos.
Most of the time when people think about Latinos, they say, “Oh, so many nationalities; so much diversity.” We feel that the first thing that someone who's approaching the Latino market should do is not try to categorize Latinos by their country of origin, but more so by the level of acculturation that they have. That’s one of the baselines that the book will give you because once you understand that, you’re going to have a completely different understanding and view of the Latino market.
The other thing I think is very valuable about reading the book is that it’s very easy to get intimidated with the prospect of, “I need to target or create a campaign for a community that I may not necessarily be part of. Where do I start? How do I do it? What steps can I take to prevent making the mistakes that others have made?” I think the book will give you that. It will give you enough of a level of awareness and education so you can at least make good, well-thought decisions about how to approach your Hispanic marketing strategy. Whether you’re going to deploy it on your own with the resources you have in-house, or whether you’re considering bringing a partner to the table to help you out, it’s going to give you enough education and awareness so that you’re not just sitting at the table listening to what others are telling you, but are actually actively partaking in the decision-making in a way that you’re looking after the interest of your law firms and clients. I oftentimes see lawyers completely lost when it comes down to being able to talk and make decisions about their Hispanic marketing strategy.
Michelle Calcote King [22:04] Yeah. Lawyers are all like small business owners. They go into it because they know the law, not because they’re great marketers or great finance people. So they have to find people like you to help them navigate these things.
Liel Levy [22:23] But you’d be surprised, Michelle. Even those big marketing lawyers who we are seeing all the time on TV and in the news and on billboards and such; they may have very good and strong strategies in English, but when you have conversations with them about their Spanish marketing efforts, they’re completely lost. I’ve had a lot of conversations with several of them and I think it’s really interesting to see how much of a vulnerable position they feel like they’re in when it comes down to it. So, I think that’s one of the things that the book does is takes you away from that position.
Michelle Calcote King [23:03] This is great and it’s such a good conversation for us to mark Hispanic Heritage Month. I really appreciate you being here.
We’ve been talking to Liel Levy of Nanato Media. Liel, tell our listeners where they can find the book and learn more about you guys.
Liel Levy [23:22] Yeah! You can get the book as easily as Googling it in Amazon, but I understand that Beyond Se Habla Español: How Lawyers Win The Hispanic Market may not be something that everyone can easily spell. Hopefully, by either searching for me, Liel Levy on Google or Nanato Media, which is the name of our agency, you’re going to be able to easily find your way to a place where you can order the book. Or, if you’re interested in connecting with me or with anyone on our team, we’ll always be happy to talk to lawyers, marketing professionals or anyone who is interested in connecting with their Hispanic audience.
Michelle Calcote King [24:04] Great. And we will post the links as well when we publish the podcast. All right. Well, thank you so much.
Liel Levy [24:11] It’s my pleasure. Thank you very much, Michelle.
<< BACK TO ALL EPISODES