Ok, so you’ve completed your Doula Course and your fabulous doula business is up and running! You’ve got yourself a business card, a fancy logo, leaflets and even a website. You’ve set up your Facebook page, registered your business with Google to get your SEO started and you tell all your friends and family about what you can do and how much you can help.
And then your first ever client books in, hurray! You’re off to a flying start. And then another and another….
But then… a lull.
You market yourself some more and you wait…
You nab a few clients, but you notice that getting more doula bookings is becoming harder and harder.
You’re spending more and more time and money on marketing that isn’t bringing you enough clients.
You start to wonder… what’s gone wrong?
You stress and you worry. This self-employed malarkey is so much tougher than you thought it would be!
Don’t panic lovely doula. It doesn’t have to be like that. You have amazing talents; you just need to make a few tweaks to get those clients flowing into your booking diary.
To get you started, here are 5 important things that might be stopping you getting more bookings.
1. You’re throwing your net too wide
As the talented doula you are, you can probably help with many things, you might even offer other services such as placenta encapsulation or sleep consultancy BUT marketing yourself this way could actually be losing you clients. People tend to shop for one solution at a time so if you’re trying to sell them several at once then you risk overwhelming them. Coming across as a jack of all trades and a master of none might not be the best way to convince potential clients of your capability.
Getting more doula bookings comes down to three simple marketing rules… be super clear about who you want to help, what they are struggling with and how you can make it better.
If you offer multiple services, make sure your marketing of these is clear cut and not jumbled up together. Be mindful of what stage your potential client is at and focus on the service that best suits her needs at that time. Help her at the stage she is at NOW and save the upsells for later down the line.
Once a client has bought from you once they are much more likely to choose you over a competitor in the future. Get them booked in before you start to throw a list of services at them.
2. You’re focusing too much on the letters
So, your doula training and registration with professional bodies is SUPER important. But ironically, focusing on these in your marketing could actually be putting potential clients off. Your training and CPD is important because it’s what makes you the talented doula you are, but will clients really know what that training is? Or which of your long list of services they need to help them with their thing?
In most cases, all the client wants to know is that you can make them feel better.
Your training and qualifications is your toolbox. You carry it everywhere because it helps you to do your job. But it isn’t what makes you great at your job.
Think about it this way. Every doula out there is carrying around the same toolbox as you… So how are you going to stand out?
How are you going to take your clients from the place they are in now where they are feeling overwhelmed and under-supported (otherwise they wouldn’t be looking for a doula in the first place) to that place they wish they could be, where they feel informed, empowered and positive about pregnancy and birth.
That’s what you’re selling. A great way to do this is to feature customer testimonials and case studies in your marketing. These help your potential customer to recognise herself and her worries and start to see how you are the perfect doula to support her.
3. You’re expecting customers to jump too soon
You spend hours at your computer crafting that perfect Facebook post, you post it, you might even pay to boost it and you sit back and wait for all those new clients to get in touch… But nothing happens.
Is Facebook broken? Are you rubbish at marketing? Is anyone actually reading anything you post?
It might be that you are expecting clients to jump too soon.
Marketing is a journey. It’s so much more than just social media. It’s being on different social media platforms, it’s blogging, it’s having a website that connects with clients, it’s having case studies that showcase your excellent doula talents, it’s building your mailing list, and nurturing and building your relationships with potential clients and other local businesses.
All of these things help to lead potential clients to your diary.
So, posting on social media and then expecting that post to turn into paying clients is asking people to make a HUGE leap. You need to get those marketing steps in place so, through regular contact they can get to know you, like your stuff and trust that you are the person to help them. Only then will they make that booking with you.
4. You’re blending in, rather than standing out
Do you know how many doulas there are in your local area?
Let’s say there are loads… Does that mean you should give up and get a day job? Absolutely not! What it does mean is that you need to stand out in that sea of doulas, because if you blend in you will struggle to get clients to notice you.
The easiest way to start standing out is simply to be you. Yes, there are loads of doulas out there, but there is only one you. Potential clients can be drawn in or put off by your personality, the way you talk, the language you use, even the way you dress. You can’t attract everyone, so use your personal skills to really stand out to those who get you.
No more hiding behind a logo or a brand. Use photos of yourself in your social media and on your website. Create videos of you – yes, it’s scary but it’s a great way to stand out. Don’t be afraid to find and use your voice – there is no ‘right’ way to speak or be as a doula and every woman out there is looking for a doula that fits with who she is too! Your vibe attracts your tribe they say so if you are being you, you’re more likely to attract clients who really value what you do and how you work.
5. You’re staying local
As doulas we are often taught that the client relationship should be a face-to-face one, but that limits you to those people who live in your local area or align with your working hours.
Does all support need to be given face-to-face? If not, why limit yourself when there is a whole world of people out there who could benefit from your help? If you can’t provide a whole support package online then which services could you bundle up and offer remotely?
As well as remote consultations and support you might also consider creating online products; taking your doula skills and turning them into an online programme that clients can buy and use without you even needing to see them one-to-one.
Online products enable you to help more people and allow you to earn an income even when you’re not working. Yay!
So, no more struggling to fill your diary and build the business of your dreams! Just making a few tweaks to the way you work and market yourself could make a massive difference for you. Why not give it a try!