Identifying our Ideal Doula Client
It probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard the term “ideal client” or “target market”. It’s something ALL businesses talk about, a big part of every business plan, and has been discussed a lot recently in the doula community.
Your ‘target market’ is a precise description of the people who are most likely to become your clientele. I like this article that gives 5 steps to defining it and may be helpful to you.
Who IS our ideal customer?
I can’t tell you exactly who YOUR ideal customer is, but I can tell you what it ISN’T. It’s NOT every pregnant person you see in the mall. Why not? Because not every pregnant person wants a doula.
Yes, yes, I know….if they knew more about doulas maybe they’d want one. But that’s not the current reality and that’s maybe a discussion for how to advance our profession….perhaps another blog post some day.
When I ask new doulas who their ideal target market is they always start with “pregnant people”! Then I explain as above and they still persist in saying “but I’d work with ANY pregnant person”. It may be true that you’re WILLING to work with anyone, but you won’t be the right doula for everyone. That’s sometimes a bit tough for our egos to accept, but it’s a really important part of establishing who our ideal target market is. I tell myself regularly “There’s a right doula for everyone, but I’M not the right doula for everyone”
Identifying our ideal client
One of my favourite business gurus is Marie Forleo (check out her blog linked here). She has such a wonderful spirit and is a great business coach who targets a very specific type of business owner. She calls it the “customer avatar”. An avatar is that little icon that represents a character in video games. Imagine if you had one of those that represented your ideal customer?
Grab a piece of paper and draw out your ideal customer. Give them a name, write down everything they like. Not just relating to being pregnant or a new parent. I mean EVERYTHING. What’s their favourite colour, what radio station do they listen to, what shows do they watch, what are their hobbies, what is their hair colour, eye colour, etc. Go on and on and on.
What if I don’t know?
If you’re not sure what the answers are, then you might need to take a different approach. Maybe instead think about someone you know that you would LOVE to work with as a doula. What is it about them that makes you want to work with them? Sometimes if we flip the task it becomes easier. Maybe you could ask that person for a coffee and actually ask them the questions to create your avatar. Tell them you’re just starting/growing your business and you’re interviewing some people and you’d be honoured if they’d give you 15 minutes of their time.
But what if that isn’t the only person I want to work with?
Of course that’s not the ONLY person you want to work with, and surely you’re capable of working with many more, but when we define it, we can use the information to help build and grow our business effectively. When you’re targeting Sarah, it doesn’t mean you won’t work with Gabrielle. But if Sarah is your IDEAL client, then you want to find more Sarahs.
What do I do with my avatar?
Once your avatar is complete you will use it to guide ALL of your planning and marketing activities. From what colours to use on your site, to what pictures you choose, to the wording in your copy. Remember you’re NOT creating a website that YOU love. Your goal should be to create a website that will catch Sarah’s attention and get her to call you.
Having an avatar will make SO many of your decisions easier. Because you won’t be conflicted about what to choose, your avatar profile will guide you.
Hope some of these ideas will help you to define your ‘ideal client’. I’d love to hear your ideas and anything else that worked for you.
Good luck my lovely doulas. I would love to hear what has worked for you and any other ideas I’ve missed here. There are surely a hundred more.
#WorldDoulaDomination #DoulaClient #IdealClient #TargetMarket
About the Author
Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.
Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program at the Scarborough Hospital.
Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.
Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.