When you’re looking at ways to market your doula business, social media often feels like the best and only option. And sure, social media platforms do offer the opportunity to reach thousands of users. But are the majority of those users your potential customers?
Probably not! Many people follow a great social media page but aren’t local enough to be a client, or are simply interested in the information being shared, with no plan to book your doula services.
That doesn’t mean that having a strong social media story isn’t important. It just means that there are lots of other really effective other ways promote your doula business as well. Here are some of our favourites.
1. Harness the power of SEO and optimise your website for local searches
3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day and according to stats, roughly four out of five people use search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to find local services. Optimising your website for local search results can make a huge difference to the number of people who discover your business online. And the best news, SEO is free!
Here’s how it works. Search engine ‘spiders’ (automated site visitors) visit and check out your website on a regular basis and use the content to understand who you are, what you do, where you are based and who you serve. To help them understand these things make sure the words on your website make these things ultra clear.
Here’s an example: <Your name here> is a birth and post-natal doula based in <where you live here>, I offer a variety of pregnancy, birth and baby services, including <a few examples here>.
If you’re a local yoga studio offering pregnancy or baby yoga, make sure Google knows it by using words such as: From gentle pregnancy yoga to bouncing baby yoga classes <Your name or business name> welcomes all to our yoga studio in <your location here>.
Try to think of phrases that people would use to search for you, and make sure they’re there on the page, as early as possible in the text, and perhaps repeated a few times. It’s important to not over-fill the page with the same search term, though, as search engines will see through that! Make the text sound natural, not as though you’re just trying to pack it with keywords. Balance is important.
2. Try out a local networking event
That’s right, it’s time to go meet some actual people! Local networking events are a great place to market your doula business as well as learn some really useful tips on business management. Pick the right meeting and you might also have the opportunity to investigate potential collaborations and even make some fab new business besties.
There are probably several dozen networking groups within your county and whilst not all might suit your personality or your business there’s bound to be a good fit closer to home than you think.
4Networking offers UK-wide events with over 5000 active groups, whilst BNI boasts over 12,000 members across the country.
Female only and mums networking meetings are also on the rise. BizMums offer small meetups across much of the country, as do the Mumpreneurs Networking Club and the Mums in Business Association. Remember, you’re not just speaking to business people, you’re speaking to people. And people have babies! Perhaps there’s pregnant women or people there in the meeting, or maybe they know someone who is pregnant.
Take along a smile and a fistful of business cards; who knows what might come of it!
3. Offer to write for your local rag
There’s no shortage of free and paid for local magazines and newspapers, all looking for great content. If you’re a dab hand with words you might want to consider offering a regular or semi regular short article on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or your particular doula interest. Try to make sure that they include a short bio about you, eg, “Nicola is a postnatal doula covering Guildford. She can be reached on [insert your website, phone number, social media and Nurturing Birth Directory listing!]
These articles are often read by pregnant women and people, or passed to them by friends and family, and you might build a local following of people who then learn more about how your services could be just the thing they didn’t realise they need!
4. Consider advertising in your local paper
Local papers often have a small but very loyal readership which makes print advertising within your local or regional paper potentially worthwhile. If you think your ideal customer might be a newspaper reader, it’s well worth looking into the opportunities on offer. Poppy Rose Matless is an Advertising Agent on the Eastern Daily Press in Norfolk and gave us this advice:
“Local advertising provides lots of great benefits, here at the EDP we reach over 100k readers a day. We treat each client as an individual, when a business buys an advertising slot we’ll design a full colour advert to the exact size they need, free of charge. We feed back to them so they can make changes and have full input in the design process – this service alone can save our advertisers several hundred pounds.”
5. Exhibit at local baby shows
Pregnancy and baby shows can be a great way to get your business in front of local mums and mums-to-be. But they can also be costly. There will be an exhibitor fee to pay and then you have to hire a table. You’ll also need plenty of leaflets, business cards and perhaps a pop-up banner to attract attention.
Before you sign up, do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask the organiser questions about expected visitor numbers. If you know similar businesses who have attended previous shows get in touch and ask how it went for them.
You might be able to offset some of the costs of the stand by offering some pregnancy or birth related merch, if that’s your bag. Maybe you like to crochet or knit and could have beautiful baby hats and bootees to offer. Perhaps you sew nappies or slings, or you’re an artist and you can paint or photograph families and babies. There’s no reason why your stand can’t be multi-functional, while still clearly sharing information about your doula services.
As you can see, marketing your doula business can be so much more than that next Instagram post and local marketing means you’re more likely to connect with people who are actually going to be able to book you as a doula. Let us know what works for you! What helps you most when you’re marketing your doula business?