Marketing: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.
Blech. For most birth professionals and other holistic health practitioners, the traditional sales-oriented marketing techniques just don’t feel like the right match for our style and values. In addition, most of us don’t have a background in business training or marketing and with so many options for print and online marketing it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Here’s the catch: While you may feel uncomfortable with traditional marketing and not want to “push” your services on local families, you also need to earn a living as a practitioner! What to do?
Here are the core principles of holistic marketing for doulas:
1. You have to Want people to know about you!
This means believing in the power of your work to make a difference. If you feel confident in what you have to offer then it will be so much easier to put yourself out there for clients to find you. Yes, confident – even if you are Brand New at this – consider the whole of who you are as a person, and all you have to offer. It’s not just about how many births you’ve attended.
2. Love your Work & Find Your Voice
I happen to know that you love what you do. This makes it far easier to “sell”, because you shine when you talk about it. Allow that twinkle in your eye to shine through your website, brochures, phone calls with prospective clients… Be infectious! And figure out how to convey the heart of what you do in a way that opens conversation and engages.
3. Consider Your Ideal Clients
Who are you reaching out to? Not every pregnant woman in your community – only a certain % will be the right match for your practice. Know who you are marketing to, and shape your language, colors, imagery in your marketing materials around this.
4. Redefine Marketing – own it!
I believe that our approach to marketing needs to match our approach to clients. As a birth worker how do you support your clients? How can you make your marketing feel like your model of care? In this way you are selling your model of care, your way of being with clients – rather than your services.
5. Take your Time
So often I hear from birth practitioners who put up some posters and drop brochures off at the doctors office and feel deeply frustrated that nobody has called to sign up for care. While posters and brochures and a website and a facebook page and a newsletter and free community talks and birth fairs are all good ideas for marketing, it is rare for any single one of these to lead directly to a client. Take your time, allow relationships to build, answer all of their questions, offer them varied ways to get to know you, and know that if your practice is the right match for them, they will indeed sign up for care. Check out Tad Hargrave’s excellent blog post on Slow Marketing to explore this further.
While traditional marketing holds sales as the ultimate goal, I would suggest that your first and most important goals are to ensure that ideal clients can find you through a variety of means, and that when they do find you, they will recognize your practice as their “home”. You want ideal clients? Absolutely. Guess what? They want to find their ideal support system in this precious time. Your challenge in marketing is to help those ideal clients find their ideal support 🙂