Acquiring Foreign-Born Clients: Marketing Legal Services to a Growing Niche
Copyright © by Nina Ivanichvili, CEO, All Language Alliance, Inc.
Advertise in Ethnic Media
It should be noted that five areas of the law-personal injury, bankruptcy, criminal law, family law, and workers' compensation-account for 95 percent of all legal ads in the Yellow Pages.25 However, traditional Yellow Pages advertisements, as well as advertisements in mainstream national and general-interest magazines and newspapers, may attract only a marginal number of non-English speakers. Foreign-born clients are more likely to respond to culturally relevant marketing messages they hear on "in-language" television and radio stations, see in the ethnic print media or ethnic Yellow Pages (for example, Iranian Yellow Pages) in their own languages, or even in English-language ethnic newspapers.
Law firms committed to becoming visible and to being perceived as worthy of trust by foreign-born clients need to identify media outlets that, although seemingly obscure, are viewed by the prospective client base as "credible." This is not an easy task. Besides national in-language print media available to the ethnic constituents by subscription only, metropolitan areas are likely to have several local in-language publications, targeting the same ethnic group. Such publications also can be found in ethnic stores and restaurants, and some of them may have online versions. Thus, a law firm that wants to market legal services to the Russian-speaking or Chinese-speaking population in the Denver metro area may discover that there are several local Chinese-language and Russian-language weekly newspapers to choose from. Law firms need to analyze all available publications before deciding where to invest advertising dollars. For maximum visibility in the chosen ethnic market, it may make sense to advertise in all the in-language publications, targeting the chosen niche in a specific geographic area.
Advantages of ethnic newspapers are that they are less saturated with advertisements from competing law firms, are fairly affordable, and have a longer shelf life than mainstream English-language newspapers. Moreover, due to their limited circulation and unique content, ethnic weekly or bimonthly papers often are passed around and even consulted in lieu of Yellow Pages in the markets where ethnic Yellow Pages are unavailable. The law firm's return on its investment for advertising in a niche publication can be outstanding.
To increase response to the law firm's advertisements, consider placing ads with attention-grabbing headlines, such as "Ten Secrets You Should Know About . . . (the area of law firm's expertise). Call this phone number . . . for a free booklet." When foreign-born prospects call the phone number in the ad, they should hear a welcoming, pre-recorded message in their language, giving them reasons to request a free booklet. Once they leave their mailing address and phone number on the voice mail, the law firm should mail them the promised free booklet in their language and, from then on, can continue to market legal services to them directly.