How to Market your Doula Business

market doula business

How to Promote your Doula Business

An initial stumbling block to marketing my doula services involved a deep-seated distaste for selling. I began to feel more comfortable with the idea of selling myself and my services once I understood the importance of articulating the VALUE I bring to my clients. Consider the following questions:

  • What is the value for the family of having a doula involved in their care? How do we help? (Be specific. Give examples.)
  • What problems/challenges are your prospective customers facing that you can help address? (Speak to the emotions.)
  • How is their experience potentially different/better because a doula is involved? (Include a client testimonial.)

Once I reframed “selling” as “education,” it was much easier to proceed. Focusing on value makes it less about me and more about them. What do they need? 

Doulas as Educators and Advocates of Informed Choice

How do you sell to someone who doesn’t even know your profession exists, let alone how greatly they might benefit from doula support? The first step is to at least recognize that many prospective doula clients don’t have the first clue regarding the questions they should be asking.” Whether you are planning for the upcoming birth of your first baby, choosing a healthcare provider or insurance plan, or navigating the journey with a loved one suffering from dementia, it’s normal to be in a state of ignorance. We have all said at one time or another, “If only I knew then what I know now …” [things would be different]. As a doula trainer over the last 24 years, I can tell you that I hear this lament often from doulas in training. When our eyes are opened, we start to connect the dots and perceive how choices and consequences are interconnected.

With my first baby, whatever happened felt normal to me. What did I know? When things happened that weren’t ideal, it all just felt like a random series of events—this happened, and then this happened, and so on. These events (indeed consequences) were all interconnected, but I couldn’t perceive the connections. And this led me to recognize …

We don’t know what we don’t know.

How can doulas reach that person who, with knowledge of available options, might make a different choice, perhaps choosing a non-mainstream (but nevertheless valid) alternative, but they don’t know what they don’t know, so they are not even asking the most important questions? 

When my mom was declining in her dementia, I did what many of us do—I made it up as I went. It occurred to me that I should read a book about how to best help her and relate to her, or take a class. If someone had put the “right” book in my hands, I surely would have read it. Short of that magical solution, I struggled to keep up with visiting her (a one-hour commute one way), managing my business, self-care, and the needs of my family. I didn’t feel I had the luxury to educate myself so I learned a lot of things the hard way. 

Marketing your Doula Services

In order to market our services, we need to create a compelling marketing message. How can you save your clients from learning what they need to know the hard way? What stresses are your prospective clients experiencing and how can you help? What are they in short supply of (time, money, key information, resources, mental/emotional bandwidth)? How do you make life easier? Come up with some good answers and you have a marketing message you can use to reach folks and promote your doula business.

Learn more about marketing theory and methods in my book, The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum, or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition. And here’s an another blog I think you will enjoy, Marketing Message: 5 Easy Steps to Creating a Winning Marketing Message.

Patty Brennan

Patty is the owner and visionary force behind Lifespan Doulas. For 40 years, she has been a doula, midwife, educator, author, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. Patty has personally trained over 2,000 people to become doulas. She is the author of The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition.