One of the hardest things about running any small business is marketing. Creating a consistent flow of clients and making enough money to pay the bills is no easy feat. Is it just me or does it seem like successful business owners keep their marketing techniques a secret? Being a doula is an especially challenging business to launch and keep steady. I don’t see other doulas as competition. There’s a right doula for everyone. Can we share what helps sustain doula work? Will you share your marketing tips with your fellow birth workers? I sincerely hope this helps your business thrive. I would love to see doulas everywhere flourishing and becoming more common in our culture. If you have any additional marketing techniques, please comment below.
Considering that marketing can be quite expensive, there are money required rankings at the beginning of each marketing method.
($) - free
($$) - low cost
($$$) - it’s going to take some money
($$$$) - expect at least $100 investment
Exposure: letting people know you and your services exist
($$) A website is a must. It needs all the necessary information including a way to contact you. All links should be working. It has to navigate well and flow nicely for people to continue browsing. Free stock photos can be found at Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. If you can afford to buy stock photos, check out the photography organization “Birth Becomes Her”.
($) Social media is a necessary part of marketing any business in the modern world.
($$) Get business cards. Give some out to family and friends who you know will share them. Tack them up on community message boards.
($$) List yourself on doula directories.
($) Add your business on google maps.
($$$) You can run ads on several different social media platforms.
($$$) You can buy ad space on popular websites or in their emails.
($$$) Good old fashioned advertisements in local papers, magazines, and any products for moms.
($$) Send letters in the mail to local childbirth educators, midwives, OB offices, birthing centers, and hospital labor and delivery units.
($$$$) During nurses week send some gifts to your local hospital’s maternity unit as a thank you from the doula.
($$) You can also reach out to local pregnancy resource centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, rehabs, etc… and let them know about your services. Some may not have the budget for a doula, but there are a lot of people who use community resources who do have the money to hire a doula.
($$$$) Attend rallies and events for maternal-infant health care.
($) Attend parenting events.
($) If you have young kids, play groups and mommy meet-ups are a good way to meet people.
($$$) Wear promotional items such as a t-shirt that says “doula” or a tote bag.
($$$) Use your car to advertise your business with a static cling for the rear window and/or a car magnet for the side.
($$) When you do events, have them listed in the newspaper and any local websites that list events in your area.
($$) Sometimes parents will invite their doula to their baby shower. Come wearing your doula shirt with business cards in tow.
Engagement: talking to people about what you do
(Note that all methods of engagement also count as broadening your exposure.)
($$$) Host a meet the doula event.
($$$) Host a fundraiser for something baby related and make sure people know it’s also a welcome avenue to meet and greet the doula. For example, throw a community baby shower to donate baby items to a local crisis pregnancy center or charity.
($$) Be a speaker at local childbirth classes explaining what doulas do.
($$) Give a presentation in your community about the career field of doulas and birth work.
($$$$) Set up as a vendor at baby fairs and any vendor event where there will be a lot of families. Have an information table with activities or games. Here are some ideas.
Offer multiple services related to birth work. If you teach childbirth education classes, you are already engaging your students. Make sure they know you’re available for doula services too. Many doulas are also trained in lactation support. What can you add to your birth work services?
List out areas, events, and activities that often have a lot of young families. How can you engage them?
Identify your target audience. Create a plan of how to connect with them.
($$) Do a doula reunion every 2 or 3 years. Invite all your former doula clients to get together. Have a picnic at the park.
Connection: getting hired
($$) Offer a free consultation at no obligation.
Be prepared to answer frequently asked questions from parents to doula during an interview.
During your consultation, also interview the parents and show an interest in customizing your care to fit their needs. Demonstrate some of the ways that you can care for them.
Be authentic. Be the genuine you. If you’re a good fit, great. If it doesn’t work out, that could lead to something better.
Be confident in your work and what you have to offer. Nobody wants to hire someone that seems desperate for clients.
($$) Have a welcome folder to give to new clients.
Mention resources for your clients. Do you have anything such as handouts that you reserve exclusively for clients?
Offer a discount for repeat clients.
Consider doing a military discount.
($$$$) Add to your credentials and trainings.
Word of mouth is by far the most influential marketing tool. Are your current and former clients giving reviews?
Reviews and recommendations
($$) Give clients a feedback form to email to you at their convenience.
($$) At the closure of your services, give them a sheet with ways they can leave a review. They can add some stars to your social media page for your doula services. They can write a short review for your website possibly with a photo of the baby or family. They can do a guest blog on your website if they like to write. Video testimonials are also an option.
($$) Give clients a magnet for their fridge so they’ll have your information in easy access when they want to recommend it.
($$) Send thank you cards to your clients after services have ended.
($$) Send a yearly Christmas card to all your clients.
Incentives to spread the word
Offer a referral bonus. For example, $50 awarded to the family and friends or previous clients who connect you with a paying client.
($$$) Do contests.
($$$) Giveaways on social media always get shares. Giveaway a gift basket for a family with a baby on the way.
Do special sales and discounts. Mother’s Day? Sign up for doula services during the week of May 6th – 12th and get 10% off.
Networking with other birth workers
($$) Meet up with local doulas and childbirth educators.
Find your tribe.
Refer to each other when your month is full or a client would be better suited for a different doula.
If you are a birth doula, get to know some postpartum doulas. You can refer to each other.
If you have birth photographers in your area, perhaps you can refer to each other.
Join organizations for birth related things.
Attend continuing education workshops and seminars. You never know who you’ll meet. It’s always nice to meet people who have a similar passion.
If you can think of any other ways to promote doula services and have a successful business, please comment below.