I bet you’ve wondered, at least once or twice, if you should start a newsletter. My answer is, without hesitation, a strong “YES.” I think it is SO important for doulas to have an email list. Let me tell you a story.
I have a doula friend. Let’s call her Sherry. Sherry is an amazing birth doula. For two years straight she filled her schedule for months at a time. She had a dozen inquiries per month. She had gotten to a point in her career where much of her clientele came from word of mouth so she spent very little time on marketing.
One day, she realized she was not fully booked for the next month. She was slightly concerned but decided it was just a blip. However, this trend continued for several months. After thinking about it, she realized that two of the care providers she had forged great relationships with had moved out of town, so she was no longer getting referrals from them. Also, in the last few months there had been an influx of new doulas and there was now more competition. In the hopes she would get more inquires, she emailed a few doula friends to ask them to refer her to clients they could not take and she posted on her facebook, Instagram and TikTok accounts (which only had a few “likes” because she had never built them up). Neither of these actions resulted in any clients and she had to go back to full-on marketing and networking just like she had done at the start of her career. It was a huge time commitment.
If Sherry had had an email list, she would have been able to utilize this tool and perhaps spend less hours marketing when her client load dipped. Instead, she had to go back to basics and invest a lot time and energy marketing and networking….again. Incidentally, many of the people she wanted to network with she done so years ago when she had started her business. But since they hadn’t heard from her in a while, they had forgotten about her and she had to reintroduce herself.
Another big reason to have a list is that if you ever decide to add a service to your practice (there are SO MANY doula side hustle businesses) it will be easy to tell everyone about it. These may include placenta encapsulation, teaching childbirth education classes, doing workshops, etc. It will be so much easier to spread the word with just a click of a button.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind to create a successful list:
Get as many care providers on your list as possible. Click with a doctor, midwife or nurse at a birth? Ask for their professional email to refer your clients to. Also ask if you could add their email to your mailing list (do not add someone to your list who hasn’t opted in...it’s bad business ethics). If your inquiries ever dip, you can let your mailing list know. They’ll be reminded of your services and your name will be familiar since they see it in their inbox on a regular basis.
Be regular with your emails. You don’t have to send one every week, but do have a regular interval you send it on (every 2, 4 or 6 weeks).
Make the content useful. It’s challenging to know what to write about. Here are some ideas.
*Share an interesting birth related article.
*Share a birth story from one of your clients (get permission first!). Humans are naturally drawn to stories - it's how we learn! A great story will stick in people's minds.
*Write about something new and exciting happening in your practice or an offering you are adding.
*Give some info on pregnancy/birth/postpartum related events happening in your community.
*Do a professional spotlight on a birth expert in your community (acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, midwife, doctor, etc). Bonus: when you ask these professionals if you can put them in your email letter, they will LOVE you and most likely refer clients to you as well.
One last note about newsletter technology (which is a major deterrent for some folks). Services like Mailchimp or ConvertKit have made newsletter creation easy. I promise you that once you get it up and running, it will be well worth it. And you may even have a little fun doing it.