If there is one thing birth workers know almost nothing about – it’s marketing.
By definition, marketing is the act of reaching and retaining customers.
Sounds so blah, right? But it isn’t! In fact, it’s thrilling. Think about it…
What the heck is more exciting than creating tangible results, from boldly putting your offer out into the world?
It certainly doesn’t have to be the cold, manipulative sales pitch that throws so many of us off. For a long time, I too, avoided this part of my business like the plague. The marketing aspect of my Doula work, REALLY scared the crap out of me. In fact, anything sales/marketing/networking intimidated me. I was giving things away for free, till people wanted to pay me.
Riggggggggggggght. (Spoiler alert – it didn’t work!)
When I look back at the kind of approach I employed, I am completely mortified. And you know what? Many birth workers are making this exact same mistake. Many birth workers are operating with that same mentality.
Because the fear of rejection is real and it holds us back.
Because the fear of disappointing a paying client is real and it holds us back.
Because the fear of fu*king up and being called out on it is real and it holds us back.
Because putting ourselves out there, means being uncomfortably exposed; and that too, holds us back from putting our offer out into the world.
There are still many women who believe their life’s calling cannot be classified as work. It is really hard for these women to believe that their work is worth something or worth of any financial transaction. So naturally, the idea of marketing something, of which they don’t value themselves, makes them feel like absolute frauds. And feeling like a fraud is a sure fire way to feel apprehensive about any marketing at all.
Marketing challenges don’t come exclusively to new business owners, either. Those of us with existing businesses may find it particularly difficult to move past what we haven’t been doing successfully, even though we have been doing it for years without the results we want and hope for. It is important to let go of what isn’t working, to try something new.
On top of it, marketing and networking means effort. It takes guts, and it is hard work. Work that is intimidating to the best of us. Most of us want to believe that our clients will magically fall into our lap. True, sometimes they do (thanks, manifesting mojo), but almost all of the time; our success relies on the effort we put into interaction & impressions.
All of the above are examples of classic money blocks; self-sabotage at its finest. If you, too, are feeling overwhelmed at the idea of moving forward with marketing, consider this…
When I finally realized I was holding myself back…
When I finally realized the people who needed my help didn’t have access to my services because I was too afraid to be seen; a huge shift happened within.
It became less about me and my insecurities and more about the importance of reaching my tribe. If I got my offer to them, I could positively impact them. If I didn’t market, how could I reach them?
I would love for you to say these out loud and accept them as truth…
You can be compassionate and strategic.
You can live out your life’s purpose and make a profit.
Your perfect customer is out there waiting, aching to be found by you. They need you.
There is nothing remotely manipulative or unkind about marketing your product or service.
Putting yourself out into the world, is saying YES to abundance.
It is saying YES to success.
It is saying I have something special to offer, and I am here to offer it with pride.
Feeling vulnerable? That’s good, darling. Vulnerability yields the sweetest kind of growth.
Ready to rock those Mick Jagger Marketing Maven moves?
1) Get your business recognized locally. Being actively involved in the community, as well as reaching out to local groups, will really help you in your mission to establish your presence in your town or city. The idea is you want to start warming the public up to who you are, and what you have on offer. Don’t know where to start? Introduce yourself and your business when the opportunity presents itself. Join Facebook Groups (relevant to your industry or market) that meet up regularly in your area. Volunteer at schools, offer to speak at events, set up at markets, or use ads from Facebook to target the peeps in your city.
2) Getting your brand & business recognized nationally or internationally. Keep the momentum going! Take the same principles you used in establishing a presence in your community, and amplify them. The idea is broadening the horizon, expanding your reach & market, solidifying your brand authority, and building up your persona & credibility. If you want your brand awareness to reach national and international proportions, you are going to have to seriously think about getting your amazeballs message out to the masses. Don’t know where to start? Network your face off, collaborate, submit articles, contribute your work to other blogs, be a part of other people’s podcasts, speak at events, use targeted ads, connect on social media, and focus on reaching a global audience through marketing techniques below.
3) Search Engine Optimisation. May sound Chinese to some of you, but it is pretty straight forward. It’s basically the methodology of using clever strategies or techniques to draw more visitors to your website, by getting your business ranked higher on big name search engines. The idea is that the people who search products or services, are more likely to commit to purchasing from the first 3 rankings on the first page of that particular Google search. SEO is a whole other ball game, but have no fear. What you need to know is this: search engines use algorithms to sort the crap from relevant good stuff. From there, they use popularity to decide what gets higher rankings (better SEO). There are some pretty simple ways to improve your ranking right now. Don’t know where to start? You want your page to be easy to find. Make sure your domain, home page, indexed pages, images, and text are CLEAR, AND KEYWORD RICH. It is also important that you are producing fresh quality regularly, and driving traffic from the various channels you use. Being seen on search engines like Google, is hugely important, because it gets you seen!
4) Set up profiles with the big honchos – Google, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, and Instagram. They are excellent tools when it comes to connecting to likeminded people, professionals, and prospective clients. While you are at it, ensure that your ‘handle’ is identical (or very similar!) for each of them. Not only will it give you extra SEO brownie points, but it makes you easy to find. (You will hear me say this a million times, but it really is important!)
5) Create a newsletter and attract subscribers with your irresistible free opt in. Email lists are the bee’s knees. The ultimate commitment and budding friendship. When someone voluntarily gives you their email address – you’re in. Get a collection of emails, and you’ve got direct contact to people who chose to keep in contact with you. But even more importantly is email lists equals sales. This is a fact. Let’s say you have 100 people on your list, usually 2.5 of them will turn into some sort of sale. This is what we call a conversion rate (we will chat about that another time!) If at some stage you are looking to create passive streams of income; you want this list. If you want to build a database of loyal followers (and buyers), you need this list. If you want to connect with other passionate birth workers, and make sure you are keeping in touch with people who matter to you…you need this list. Catch my drift? Don’t know where to start? There are a few really fantastic options available online to get you started. I use MailChimp and LOVE it. Could not live without it. Once you set that up, your next task is to start building that list! How are you going to do that? Opt-ins! You are going to make your visitors an offer they can’t refuse. It could be a graphic, a small EBook, a worksheet, art – get creative. You want to keep your list alive and well. Ensure they are engaged, they stay interested, and that you have a call to action in every update. You can find more information on email lists online, too.
6) Physical Promotional Materials. Stickers, car magnets, bumper stickers, business cards, flyers, tee shirts, key rings; whatever your choice, be mindful of one thing. Physical promotional materials can either be the best decision you have ever made, or the worst. They cost money, and don’t come cheap. If you are going to try it out, I recommend testing the waters first. I.E Testing a small amount of product in a small segment of your specific market. Weigh up the costs & effort, vs your return. Trial and error is best in these scenarios. Oh, and be frugal when it comes to unnecessary spending. You don’t need to give out 5000 stickers to get people’s attention. You would be much better off paying for Facebook advertising! Don’t know where to start? If you do want to get some promo materials made, have a gander on Google. There are dozens of companies and products to choose from! My advice – be creative. And make sure that your promotional materials are coherent with your branding & message!
7) Your Own Podcasts or being a guest on someone else’s podcast. If you have the time to create continually great content, have access to a fair amount of bandwidth, are enthusiastic, passionate, and a pleasure to listen to; you might want to consider creating a Podcast. It is an AMAZING way to connect to a niche market. Online radio is being listened to on a daily basis, in some pretty big ways. The time people spend listening to podcasts, has doubled since 2003. For example, ITunes has over a BILLION people listening into audio podcasts. Hosting a regular podcast is a great way to communicate who you are, what you believe in, and what you offer. It is also a platform where you can share your what you know; which helps enormously in establishing expertise and building trust with your clients. The human voice holds so much more emotion than text, which keeps people engaged and invested for longer periods of time. Podcast audiences typically spend an average of 22 minutes listening; which is a hell of a lot more time than 1 minute visitors on your website! Your listeners get the option to subscribe, so they get automated bleeps on an RSS feed to let them know a new episode is ready. Which is great, as it saves you the hassle of creating an invitation email for every show you make. If you don’t have time to make your own – no worries! Hunt down the email addresses of the people who host Podcasts that you LOVE. They might be experts in the field, personalities, artists, mothers. Reach out to them and offer to guest speak on one of their episodes. This gives you an IN to established audiences who share the same interests
as you. (Free publicity, anyone? ) Don’t know where to start? You don’t need any specific technical experience to be able to launch a killer podcast. A quick search will let you know exactly what you need to make it happen. Keep your content exciting, clear, and consistent. Have fun! For more stats on Podcasts, head on over to Nicolette Beard’s blog http://www.toprankblog. com/2014/01/podcasting-content-marketing/
8) Your Blog – Your blog has the potential to draw serious traffic to your site, as well as lock thousands of names into your email list. Plus, if your content is kick-ass; you’re looking at changing lives & making sales. Blogs are easily shared, so when linked on platforms like Facebook, there is the potential to reach MANY people. When sharing blog on your social media platforms, only include a small highlight in the caption. Firstly, because you want people to follow the link to your OWN Facebook page. Secondly, you want to encourage your readers to click through to your website and read the rest there. More traffic to your website, more people getting offered an opt in, more people subscribing to your email list, more people finding out about who you are & what you offer. Which means more clients. If you include the entire blog post on Facebook, they won’t have reason to visit your site! My favourite part about blogs? They get archived and become a one stop hub of incredibly valuable information for your clients!!! Don’t know where to start? Write about what comes naturally to you! About what you are passionate & knowledgeable about. Zone of genius type stuff, nothing less will suffice. Writing about something you aren’t personally invested in, will come across to the reader. Keep it around the 600-word mark, because even your biggest fans have short attention spans. Not sure what to write about? Consider sharing your own personal experiences – people want to connect to you. Pepper in some heartfelt emotions, epiphanies, beautiful images, honestly, love, a dash of controversy, a call to action and a link to an offer or event…and voila! The makings of a share worthy blog that reaches your people. Be yourself, just don’t exaggerate and don’t be boring – finding that middle ground is important.
9) Contributing your writing to another person’s Blog. Here in lies the same ideas behind being a guest on someone else’s podcast. This is a perfect way of getting your name & message out to different audiences. It also really helps builds up your reputation and expertise in the field. And it attracts traffic to your own site! Do you have any favourite blogs? What do you love about them? Don’t know where to start? Reach out to professionals and people whose content you are totally smitten with. Do you share the same market? Offer a collaboration that will benefit the both of you.
10) Press. The potential with press is truly remarkable. Get something shared on big wig sites like Huffington Post, Buzz Feed or The Daily Mail and you are looking at WILD amounts of traffic coming your way. Firstly, this does WONDERS for your ranking on Google. Secondly, with a great opt in, you have the possibility of nabbing thousands of new subscribers to your email list. Which in turn, would open up your passive income sales pool by SO MANY more folks. Thirdly, being featured in the press gives your brand incredible authority. Especially with birth work, it is so rewarding to see incredibly important conversations taking place around the world, all because relevant images and stories are being share on major sites. Don’t know where to start? Sites like Bored Panda, Design Taxi, and Buzzfeed allow you to secretly submit your own articles and work. Make sure the articles follow the recommendations above for Blog posts. Short, sweet, easy to read, make impact, are informative, and have great visuals! If they get shared or picked up from these sites, watch them spread their wings and ffffffffffly.
11) Contests or Giveaways. These are both great ways to get your business noticed. It also helps gain the interest of followers who have the potential to be your perfect customer. Facebook just tightened their rules on Giveaways, so be sure to read the fine print on what you can and cannot do. Don’t know where to start? Consider teaming up with a business or professional to give away a special bundle. Use both your platforms to share and garner interest. Make it obligatory for people to tag 3 friends and repost the image with link back to your page. Alternatively, you can link the entry to the contest on your actual website. A perfect way to collect the email of the person entering. Keep contest open for 1-2 weeks, as people lose interest very quickly. You might want to give away 5 secondary participant prizes that could involve promo codes for your services or product.
12) Collaborating with other businesses. Locally or Globally – this is such a great way to network AND build brand awareness. Don’t know where to start? Midwifery clinics, Midwives, Hospitals, Obstetricians, and basically any other Perinatal Professionals can be the gateway you need to reach your people! Sometimes it is good to give them incentive to get them to commit to meeting you. For example, a photographer friend of mine offered use of her birth images for free in a Midwife clinic, if they agreed to recommend her to all of their clients. She included a promotional offer to entice said clients to contact her. And this clinic had use of a ton of gorgeous images to create a warm, inviting space. Winning! Sometimes collaboration comes in the shape of sharing communal work spaces with fellow birth workers, or including product from other companies to include in your own packages. Collaboration with the right people is so rewarding and beneficial! Word of mouth is a powerful thing in these instances, too.
13) Speaking Events. Talk about a brilliant way to command respect and good vibes in your field! Speaking events are a fantastic way to network and build up your expertise levels. They are also a fantastic learning experience as they push you to communicate clearly and confidently. A great platform to consider! TedTalk anyone?! Don’t know where to start? Host an informal information session to test your content and practice speaking your message!
14) Webinars and Video Blogs. I am slightly obsessed with these two. The power of face to face marketing is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Video is proving to be a game changer for a dozen different reasons. The ultimate way to connect the people who matter most to you. All the while picking up subscribers to your list, showcasing your special sauce, sharing your knowledge, and building your brand/business. I owe the growth of my birth biz directly to Webinars and Video Blogs. I use them to show the real me. I regularly record Webinars, even if no one is there. I like communicating my beliefs and message, over and over again, until I am confident it is clear and can create impact. Adding archived Webinars or Video Blogs to your existing packages, adds value and information. You can get them turned into transcripts, which you can then turn into Ebooks or graphics. Honestly, what are you waiting for. Do it now! Don’t know where to start? I use Zoom (paid service) but will be moving to Easy Webinar. Go To Webinar (Citrix) offer 30 days to try it for free. Afterwards, it’s a paid service. There are plenty of free or cheap options available! A Video Blog is easy and just requires a smart phone or webcam to get started. Please make sure quality is not sub par. You want good lighting, good clear sound, and no distractions. Put some great content together and watch your people interact! Ask questions and get people involved.
Like what you see? You can find this and more over on Heart & Hustle, an epic business course I created specifically for passionate birth professionals. I designed this program specifically to give both new and established perinatal professionals the business savvy and confidence they need to kickstart the business of their dreams.