Once you complete your DONA International doula training you’ll have all of the knowledge and skills you need to get out there and start serving pregnant people and new families. Then It’s time to find those first three certifying families to support! It can be challenging, so here are some tips on how to get started.
- FRIENDS & FAMILY
Start with the people who know you and your doula heart best; your family and friends. Reach out to people who know you well and who know that you’ll be an amazing, nurturing, and supportive doula.
Tell your friends and family about your new doula career and how you plan to support people in your new role. Ask them to spread the word to their contacts who may be expecting.
Talking to friends and family also provides a great chance to work on your “elevator pitch” – a short and sweet description of what a doula does. The more you talk with your friends and family about your new career, the more authentic, concise and impactful your elevator pitch becomes. Soon you’ll feel ready to expand to talking to people beyond your inner circle!
Marketing tip: Asking friends and family to spread the word is more powerful if you have a website or at the very least, a Facebook business page for them to pass along. Which leads to the next tip…
- GET SOCIAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Start your social media accounts and website ASAP (even if you’re not fully trained or certified yet). Make sure your social media “handles” match your business name so that your brand is consistent and easy to recognize. For example, It’s confusing if your website is www.awesomedoula4you.com and your Instagram is “Darcy_17xoxo”.
The sooner you have a social media presence, the sooner you have somewhere to send potential clients and birth professionals you connect with while networking.
It’s vital that potential clients can find you online. Even if a friend or former client shares a glowing recommendation, each potential client is probably going to check you out online before contacting you. If they can’t find any record of your existence, they’ll be more hesitant to hire you.
Social media is a great way to promote your doula services, but don’t overlook the power of social media as a networking tool. Local birth professionals will see your posts and can share them with their audiences. Connect with and comment on the posts of other local birth professionals that you find on Facebook and Instagram and they’ll be likely to do the same with yours.
- NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK.
Reach out to anyone who is working with birthing people, including doulas, providers, prenatal yoga teachers, childbirth educators, acupuncturists, lactation counselors etc., and ask how they are serving people right now because of COVID. Ask if you can share their offerings with your audience and politely ask if they’ll also pass along your information to their clients.
If you’re a member of DONA International, take advantage of DONA Connect to find all the doulas in your area. Check out the Communities tab and join any that are relevant to you – especially in your region. Be sure to connect and say “hi” to any and all doulas in your area!
- USE FACEBOOK GROUPS
Join the local birthworkers Facebook groups and be proactive about introducing yourself and your services. If one doesn’t exist, create one! Ask if anyone is up for a virtual Zoom coffee date/intro meeting so that you can get to know other providers in your area. After you get to know other birth workers, ask respectfully that they consider referring clients your way and share the best way for them to contact you.
You might also consider joining any local “mom groups”. Be conscious of the group’s rules in terms of promoting yourself. Even without promoting your services directly, you can start to establish yourself as a local expert by answering questions with evidence-based information and a positive attitude.
- JOIN (OR CREATE!) A FREE MEETUP EVENT
Is there a Doula Tea or Meet the Doula event in your area? If so, find out what you need to do to join. If not, create your own. The key to success with meet-ups is consistency. They won’t work if you host one and give up if no one shows up.
To get started, choose a consistent date and place (the first Thursday of the month at XYZ coffee shop). Then, invite other birthworkers to join you and help spread the word. Your meet-up may gain traction slowly, but if it’s a consistent offering you’ll have all the prenatal yoga instructors in town saying “Check out the Doula Tea that happens every month…” in no time!
- WRITE BLOGS & ARTICLES
Write a blog post or article on pregnancy and/or postpartum during the pandemic. As you’re networking with other professionals, ask if you can mention their COVID offerings in your blog post/article. You can post your writing on your own website (if you have a blogging option) and share it on social media. When you tag all the businesses you mention, they’ll be likely to comment and share!
You can also submit articles to local news outlets, local blogs, and local parenting calendars or websites. When you submit your post, be sure to include a short list of your offerings along with an easy way for people to connect with you.
It can be hard to put yourself out there and promote your doula services but, as Michael Hyatt says, “Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.” When you tap into the passion that inspired you to train as a doula, promoting yourself gets so much easier!
The Doula Darcy, PCD(DONA) has 11 years of postpartum doula experience AND 10 years of experience of working in advertising and marketing before her doula career began. For more tips on marketing your doula services, join her FREE Facebook Group: The Doula Marketing Group