Cultural Competence in Legal Marketing: Tailoring Your Approach for Spanish-Speaking Audiences with Hugo E. Gomez

In his pursuit of justice, Hugo has received recognition from various entities. He was named Marketing Professional of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was given the prestigious Trailblazer Award by the National Association of Minority Attorneys. 

Having achieved significant success in the marketing world, Hugo remains grounded and committed to his mission. He believes in the power of leveraging digital innovation to help law firms reach untapped markets and to bring justice closer to those who need it. 

Join us as we delve into the world of Spanish legal marketing for law firms with Hugo E. Gomez, a visionary who is rewriting the rules of legal marketing and ensuring that no community is left behind.

Want to watch instead? Check out the video below!

Do you prefer to read? Read The Transcript Below.

Interview Transcript

Casey:

Hi, I’m Casey Meraz from the Lawyer Mastermind podcast. Today I’m very thankful to be joined by someone who’s an expert in helping attorneys reach Spanish clients. Hugo Gomez is the founder of Abogados NOW, a national Spanish marketing agency that helps attorneys advertise to underrepresented communities. Hugo, thanks for joining us today.

Hugo:

Thanks for having me, Casey. Super happy to be here.

Casey:

Awesome. Well, again, thank you for taking the time and I hope today we can cover all things Spanish legal marketing, and I want to start off with a stat here that I found and just to get your opinion on if it’s accurate. But according to Rosetta Stone, basically about 42 million people in the United States or about 16% speak Spanish. Is that accurate?

Hugo:

Yeah, that’s right. And closer to 20% of the whole country is of Hispanic origin, so not an incremental audience anymore. This is slowly becoming a majority in the next generation, more or less.

Casey:

Okay, got it. Yeah, I mean, that’s interesting. And I’ve worked in a lot of different markets where I’ve seen a lot of Spanish advertisers, probably some of your work, a lot of that in California and in some other states. Are you finding, for example, with your clients, is this something that you’re working with? Are you working with clients in every state, I guess is what I’m asking?

Hugo:

Yeah, so low hanging fruit are the top 10 states that have the highest Hispanic populations that make up three quarters of the entire Hispanic population. So California, Texas, Florida. Certainly we work in these states. However, according to the last census 2020, the most significant growth in percentages came from the Dakotas, Montana, Kentucky. So states that would otherwise not be associated with having high Hispanic populations. In fact, Kentucky right now is having a renaissance in their population growth of Cuban Americans. So it’s moving very quickly. The demographics are changing across the board, across the country, and the fastest growth is coming from states that aren’t normally associated to having huge Hispanic populations. Oh,

Casey:

That’s interesting. And when you’re talking about marketing towards these audiences, are there different dialects or things you need to be aware of? Is it that nuanced?

Hugo:

Yeah, so I’m a big fan of keeping it super localized. So for instance, in California, we have heavily Mexican high population of Mexicans in California, it’s not the same in Florida where it’s Puerto Rican, Dominican Cuban in New York, jersey, it’s a melting pot of all Latin American nations. So the way I describe it is much less dialect, more so cultural awareness. It’s talking to Hispanics in those local communities the way the Hispanic community speaks to one another in those markets. So we try to keep it fairly local. We try to keep it super specific. We try to first understand the local immigrant makeup of an area before we make a marketing strategy recommendation. So there are a few more steps to going live in a campaign with our type of program than the general market, but it pays off. It’s just a few more days of research and work, but it pays off hugely because the ads that we run on behalf of attorneys, they end up being more trusted and they end up being more bought into because the Hispanic community can see whether or not this is an authentic outreach attempt or if this is just kind of a cash grab by translating some ads.

Casey:

Yeah, I think we can all relate to that. I don’t know about you, but I get tons of emails from other marketers or solicitors, things like that, where people are saying, here, buy my service. And you can definitely tell if English is their first language or not, and it may or may not be a turnoff for some people. So I totally get that now with what you’re doing. Does the medium change a lot when you’re talking about this targeting as well, depending on the demographic?

Hugo:

Yeah, I think so. So just generally speaking, Hispanics are not a monolith, as they mentioned, there’s so many Latin American countries, Latin American cultures. The value sets from US Hispanics is largely going to be determined by what generation they’re part of post coming into the country. It’ll be influenced by how you came into the country with documentation without documentation, whether or not the country you came from has really good diplomatic relations with the United States. All those things factor into what kind of experience a Latin American Hispanic will have in the United States. However, one thing we found is quite true across all bodies of Hispanics, pew Research Center has concluded that the mobile market is most consumed by Hispanics. So Hispanics over index on mobile phone usage than any other audience segment in the us. So if you want to reach Hispanics, run mobile ads. Second, Nielsen ran another study on Hispanic consumer behavior in that they found that Hispanics over index on consuming streaming video content than the general market by 13%.


So pretty substantial a reach. So don’t just run mobile ads, run mobile video ads, and on TruVision who has a huge network of syndicated networks and radio stations and shows, they do a lot of marketing in Spanish as well. They ran a study that shows that US Hispanics trust social media more as far as what they read, more than the general market by I think 11%. And so we go back to, the reason I rattle them off the top of my head quite quickly is because those are the kind of the three truths that we built our business on. It’s not to say that Hispanics aren’t watching radio, TV, print, there’s still a market there, but it’s decreasing. It’s like a slow burn generationally, it’ll be completely extinct I think in the next 50 years, more or less. But digital is growing year over year. So we’re focused on the emerging markets. And so when you ask technically how to reach these folks, I always say mobile ads, video ads distributed on social at scale, in Spanish, localized marketing, that’s how you win no matter how you slice our program. That’s our North Star no matter how you come into our program.

Casey:

Okay, got it. So it sounds like digital is the way, and I think it makes a lot of sense too in the way that the demographics are changing. People are getting older, younger people we know are on their phones all of the time. So with that, you mostly mentioned ads. Do a lot of the firms you work with have websites and are they participating in any traditional SEO or is it mostly ads? What’s the mix there?

Hugo:

Yeah, it’s all in. And so admittedly, when we started in 2017, late 2017, I wanted to create the quickest path of entry for attorneys in the Hispanic market by creating, let’s call it a dedicated landing page, a dedicated domain, and maybe a dedicated Spanish Facebook page. And we experimented a lot that first year, admittedly, lots of experimentation. All the experiments were done in that first year. I’m sure you could probably relate, right?

Casey:

Absolutely. Always testing.

Hugo:

And so we were just trying to find the right product market fit. We knew that there’s this massive market, but it’s disconnected largely from the legal vertical. So we were experimenting with what’s that connection? How do we make that connection? So what we found was that shortcut of just buying a Spanish domain, having a dedicated lander or two, maybe some variance of that landing page, and that Spanish Facebook page just wasn’t enough. So what we did was then we added a video and then click-through. Rates went up, more conversions went up. Then we added photography of the attorney with Hispanic clients. Then things just moved up more. Then we added pictures of bilingual staff, and then that moved up more. Then we created Spanish websites. Then everything went up. So we just kept adding more to the stack to the extent that we said, okay, well if someone wants to crush it in Spanish, they can’t just experiment or dip their toe in the water, they have to go all in going all in means working with us. We’re going to build, this sounds like an ad now, but I promise you it’s not an ad. It’s really the

Casey:

Star. No, I think it’s important. Yeah,

Hugo:

You need to develop and establish a brand in Spanish or a brand position in Spanish that influences your website in Spanish. That’ll influence the type of photos we take in your website. That’ll influence the type of videos we take. That’ll influence the look and feel of your social media profiles, which will then influence the type of content we’ll be regularly updating, which will influence the type of ads we run, which will influence the type of calls you receive. So it’s like we’re full funnel end to end, and we found that those programs are the ones that work the best. So generally speaking, nine times out of 10, we get an attorney that says, Hugo, I need you to run a lander. I’ll give you $50,000 a month for a year. I’ll tell him, keep your money. You’re just going to burn it. If you just want to roll it into a landing page, that’s not going to do that much for you. Realistically, that’s not how, if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it, right? Yeah. So we just found that dedicated all in approach works on a technical level, but more so on a community level. If the Hispanic community sees that you’re not just running an ad, but you have this essentially new online Spanish business that only addresses them directly, you win, you win in that market. Full stop.


No, over-complicating this. It’s the more reach you have, the more spokes you have in your marketing wheel, the more wins you’re going to get.

Casey:

I love that. And you covered so much. There’s a lot to unpack that I want to elaborate on. But I think one of the things that really stood out to me is actually kind of a story or a story that I see regularly. And what I see commonly is attorneys that want to get involved in Spanish marketing, and so they dabble and maybe they will do the landing page, or maybe they’ll have their staff translate a page, but there’s an important distinction that you made intentionally or subtly or whatnot. But basically it’s still marketing too. There’s one thing that’s just like translating copy, that’s not really any marketing, but getting in front of the right audience where they’re hanging out on all of these levels that are going to connect with them. You’re talking about these law firms actually building a Spanish brand and going all in and not just doing the little dabbling here and there, because that never works every time. I’ve never seen that work. I dunno.

Hugo:

Yeah, it doesn’t work. Not in Spanish market, but in anything, in any part of your business, you can’t just give your new fractional CFO 15 days. You need to make it work. Yeah, exactly. You need six months to a year to see their strategy, how they manage your books, how they tactically run the spreadsheets and build models. Same thing with SCO. You’re not going to see results for 3, 6, 9, 12 months at the minimum. And those depending on the market. So yeah, I empathize with that viewpoint because I always look at it as a business owner myself, that this isn’t just a marketing function is like what we do is critical to the growth of your business. And it should be not just a marketing experiment, but it should be a line on your p and l that drives value. And one thing I tell attorneys all the time is we’re just not in the miracles business.


If you’re looking for some quick wins, they just don’t exist. You could buy leads, but who’s to say a lead buyer can just cut you off for good to the next highest bidder happens all the time. So if you want to own a part of the market, you have to go all in and you have to submit to the idea that there is no, in very rare cases, you can get some amazing results very quickly in a quarter, two months to a quarter. But generally speaking, you have to give a six months plus in any experiment. Hiring, marketing, biz dev sales, just running your own business. I feel like six months is a threshold for anything to marinate and you hire. So yeah, no different in marketing.

Casey:

Everything takes time to implement, refine, and it’s an investment in your firm, right? That’s like think the big disconnect that I see with, well, it’s just probably more immature business owners, when you’re first starting off your business, you’re like, Hey, I need leads today. That might be the mentality that hunger hunt, I need to get this. And you’re not really investing, you’re spending money to buy those leads like you mentioned, or do an activity that can disappear at any time. Whereas if you invested in a resource and kept building it, building this brand, what’s going to pay time and time again? Totally. Any marketing of good marketing anyway is an investment. But I think one of the hurdles that I also hear people say is, Hey, that’s something that I want to do. How do I do it? You’re asking me to write content. Even like attorneys want to practice law, not write content. I know you mentioned to me earlier, how can attorneys have an effective marketing without taking the attorney’s time to create all these resources?

Hugo:

I think it just comes down to you have to work with marketing partners, not vendors. You want a partnership with the marketing company, a long-term relationship with your account manager or CEO that has experience specifically if not exclusively in legal. For instance. There are a lot of local shops that might be really good at running local service ads or running a couple thousand bucks on PPC, but they couldn’t write a 200 word blog on what is a deposition and what would one experience in a deposition. And so just really high level 1 0 1 level stuff that I would argue the vast majority of agencies can’t do. And so for those attorneys that are struggling to find marketing vendors or best partnerships that can fulfill in that type of content on your behalf, you need to work with someone that works either in majority or exclusively and legal.


It’s a non-starter. I think. For instance, I’m an agency owner for Abogados NOW, when I work with other folks who help me grow my business, I want to know that they’re working with other major agencies as well. I don’t want them to experiment with me. I don’t want them to experiment with my business. I want to know that there’s some track record, even if it isn’t a decade long, just want some track record that says, I know how to crack this code for you. I know how to help these problems that you’re solving or solve these problems. So I think for attorneys, it’s just default to folks that work in legal. It is just that simple and vet out their work. I love when attorneys ask for samples of our work because it speaks for itself and just, do you want to want to swim upstream or downstream? Go downstream, work less, pay a bit of a premium to work with someone who’s going to make you work 10 hours less a month. That’s my position.

Casey:

Yeah, I love that. With anything, if you hire a business coach or you’re working with somebody in that capacity, like you’re wanting to hire somebody that’s an expert in what they do to shortcut your performance so that you can get there quicker. Right. And with that, do you have any tips for maximizing return on investment through Hispanic marketing solutions?

Hugo:

Yeah, if you’re running, so first off, one does not need to speak Spanish as an attorney to leverage our programs. In fact, overwhelming majority of our attorney members don’t speak any Spanish. But what they do come into the program with is understanding the value of having an authentic presence in the market, which they can translate to business results. So how to leverage that, you need some type of Spanish or speaking staff that could be a virtual paralegal, virtual case manager. That could be someone in-house that speaks Spanish. That is the most critical because you want the Hispanic client, your customer, to have a real relationship with the firm. And so the promise that we make is to Hispanics that are browsing your website as an attorney is that you must be able to guarantee that when the Hispanic client calls in that someone who speaks Spanish will 100% of the time answer the phone in Spanish.


That is the most important thing you had to promise. It’s not that the attorney went to Brown and settled 425 million in cases over the last decade. We found that those data points are too superficial. They don’t move the needle in the Hispanic market. What moves the needle in the Hispanic market is cultural awareness of the market, the copy’s good and making the promise that one can always speak to a Spanish speaking staff member. And so I think to leverage the market, you must have that in-house or virtual bilingual staff. And that’s so critical as well with intake. You need to be able to answer these calls in Spanish. So I think knocking those two requirements out, you’re going to crush it in the Spanish marketing campaign.

Casey:

And just while we’re on it, what are your thoughts on answering services just in general for Spanish speaking? Are there any that have blown you away or have you had other experiences?

Hugo:

Yeah, I think they’re 50 50, right? And the reason they’re 50 50 is because you’re dealing with people. And so the reality is that someone that works in a call center, especially a virtual call center, may not have the best day ever and may just blow it on a commercial truck accident call,


Whereas the next day they might treat every call like gold. So I just think that the fact that call centers are still so rooted in human nature, make them volatile. Thus, why I think that they’re kind of a 50 50 coin flip, but they’re necessary. They are necessary, especially to scale. If you want calls to be answered a hundred percent of the time, you have to invest in a call center or you have to develop your own in-house intake. But generally speaking, we’re big fans of the model where you as an attorney have some people answering calls all the time during office hours, and then for in-office hours, rollover calls or after hours, definitely defer to a call center, but just know that there’s breakage and you need someone to audit those calls. And we see it all the time. I’m sure you’ve seen it where it’s like you do an audit of intake on, let’s call it not the best month of performance, and you find that really qualified calls just slip through the cracks happens all the time. And so you need someone to scale and you need someone to, well, you need redundancy in answering calls, but you also need the ability to do quality assurance on it regularly, if not daily, at least weekly.

Casey:

Yeah, that’s good. And working with some agencies, I know that’s something that they do. It was funny, I was talking with legal intake pros, Yani Smith recently, and she was basically covering a lot of that too, where some firms think they have a lead problem, but it could be tied just to that. Anyway, it just reminded me of that conversation, and that was interesting. So another burning question. We did talk that you guys do SEO and you do ads and kind of have a full suite of products. And I guess you already answered this. You said basically do everything. But I was going to just kind of put you in a corner and say ads versus SEO, who wins

Hugo:

Ads. Ads all day. Okay.

Casey:

All right. There we

Hugo:

Go. My hot take is Google doesn’t make money from SEO. Google makes money for ads. So’s true. Their attention is always going to be on revenue generation and figuring out new products, new ways to make it easier for companies to advertise. So it’s not to say that SEO is irrelevant, but most attorneys that we talk to need results. They need phone calls, they need incremental growth, or they need substantial growth. And so we just are very honest in that conversation. We tell people that if you’re going to pay a premium for phone calls, which is pay to play in the Google space, in the meta space, Facebook, you may as well put your best effort, your best at creative, the best chance at talking to this community authentically with high conversion potential. Because if you’re just going to experiment, you’re just going to burn your ad dollar. So I’m in on ads all day, but I think it’s not exclusive from being away from SEO. You need both. You absolutely need both.

Casey:

Yeah, I mean, and different things work for different firms too. But since you’re so big on the ads, do you have any advice, let’s say somebody that has already started doing this themselves. What are the main reasons you find that their digital ads aren’t working if you’re auditing a campaign or they’re new to this, et cetera?

Hugo:

I actually had a conversation yesterday with the work comp firm in LA about this, and I was walking her through one of her entry level ad programs, and she’s like, oh, well, I don’t think ads. PPC doesn’t work. And so as opposed to going on the offense and talking about why does I just dive deeper? I’m like, okay, let’s pause here. Why do you think it didn’t work? And she’s like, well, I ran it. I’m like, wait, hold on. Let’s just stop there. You’re a marketing director. And she said, yes, I’m marketing. I’m like, you were running your own ads by yourself. So she said, yeah. And I said, okay, well, do you think that there might maybe an issue just with that statement alone? And she couldn’t really unpack it. And she was a super seasoned marketing director, and I told her what I tell everyone.


It’s like if you run a really quality high converting PPC campaign, you’re not just finding the geographic area and your target or your total adjustable market. You’re doing the keyword research, then you’re building the landing pages, then you’re building the frontend ad copy for those landing pages. Then you’re building the call tracking numbers for tracking purposes. Then you’re connecting those services to your CRM or your MarTech tracking all this. You’re doing quality assurance on the ads every day. You’re monitoring your quality scores, you’re rankings, you’re daily ad budget. So you’re doing all of that by yourself while running a department. I find that when folks say that PPC doesn’t work, it’s precisely because they’re not doing all of those things that I just mentioned, plus the 10 other 20 other tasks required to run really meaningful high quality campaigns. Most people just aren’t doing it the right way. It’s just full. I just think it’s that. It’s to run PPC the right way. It is, frankly, excuse my language, a shit ton of work. It is so cumbersome. It’s why we have teams that do it.


Our ads team is made up of a head of ads, graphic designer, video editor, copywriter, quality assurance reporting person, someone to launch. That’s just seven people just to get the ball rolling. So again, it’s like if you want to do this the right way, anything, especially PPC, which is a high stakes game, you got to do it the right way. You can’t just write off that it didn’t work because you spent 500 bucks and you got one phone call. Sometimes we have to zoom out and look at the complexity of these campaigns. These are super complex tasks. You need professionals, seasoned professionals, spending your revenues, your ad dollars in a high stakes, high competitive game. So probably a hot take, but I just generally think that most people are not qualified to run these campaigns.

Casey:

And we see that I think ourselves every day, but people think, Hey, it’s just an easy button, and Google does just want your money. That is their job. I think, like you’ve already mentioned, they want to maximize their ad dollars for their shareholders. So there’s some hurdles there to be successful. So as we kind of wrap up here, we’re kind of running out of time. I have one more question for you just to get your opinion on just an opinion question. What do you think about the people that want to get into Spanish but have an English website and then just using a plugin and calling it good?

Hugo:

I mean, it’s not the best. So you would think that we would just slam that notion or slam that? That’s

Casey:

What I was expecting. Yeah. This is

Hugo:

Interesting. No, it’s actually the opposite. We’re actually super happy when we see that because we see that as at least there’s an awareness, there’s an attempt at talking to this market that to me says that this is a firm that understands the market. They just don’t really get the nuance of what it takes to reach the market. So they just need some help’s. Not wrong. I mean, in fact, literal translations are super efficient, and they’re oftentimes correct, but they won’t drive meaningful conversions. They will convert. You’ll get phone calls totally. You’ll get some conversions, but it won’t scale. There is limitations to it, and ultimately it will always look like an afterthought to the Hispanic market. That ESP button, that Spanish button on the top right of your website, you’re just looking incremental. So it’s not wrong. It’s just not that efficient. And so we think that that’s a great first step.


So if someone’s willing to reach out to its market, get that Google translate button. It hurts me to say that sometimes, but put in that plugin, put in Google Translate, have some automation. Just know that it’s not going to market you on moss to the Spanish speaking population, but it’s a great first start. It’s a great first start. It’s super low effort, super low cost, maybe a hundred bucks asking your web developer to install it. It’ll have some mistakes, but it’s not going to embarrass you. It’s not going to make you look bad. If anything, it’s just going to make you look better than everyone else that doesn’t have it. Fair

Casey:

Enough. Well, I mean, that’s good to hear. And I think that that will definitely be encouraging for our listeners, those that have dabbled down that route. And Hugo, you’ve had a lot of insight to share with us today. I really appreciate it. Thank you for coming on. I want to kind of just end here by giving you the opportunity to tell people how can they find you and how can you help them?

Hugo:

Awesome. So abogaodsnow.com is where you can find out all about our Spanish marketing services for attorneys. You can book appointments with their sales team. You can email me directly at hugo@abogadosnow.com if you want to meet with me personally, or if you have any questions for me directly. We’re also all over LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, YouTube shorts. And so we love running daily videos, short form 20, 30 second videos that drive education about the market and its relationship to marketing and technology and a law to attorneys. So we’re trying to be everywhere trying to fill in all the spokes. So yeah, so ideally email is the best way to connect with me,

Casey:

Though. I love that you practice what you preach too, which is more rare than I think you would find. You think,

Hugo:

Yeah, you got to market yourself. If you’re in marketing, you got to market yourself.

Casey:

No. Yeah. There’s no benefit in being the best secret, is there? No,

Hugo:

None.

Casey:

Awesome. Well, Hugo, thank you so much for joining me today. I look forward to chatting and again in the future. Thank you so much.

Hugo: 

Thanks, Casey.

Casey:

Take care. Bye.