Day 5: MORE Marketing ideas

On the Fifth Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to Me….MORE Marketing ideas!

I see new and seasoned doulas alike asking about how to market a birth business. Did you know that most businesses thrive and survive

based on repeat business? It costs a LOT more (some say up to 10x more) to get a first-time customer than a repeat customer. But if you’re a birth doula, then you’re in the business of ALWAYS getting the FIRST-TIME customer. That means that we need to work SMART in our marketing and we definitely need to be cost

conscious. Here are some of the ideas I recommend for marketing a doula business. In our next blog post I’ll share an excerpt of our Doula School Business Program Module 3, which is ALL about marketing.

Before I share some ideas, I want to remind you that…

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there!”

BEFORE doing any work on marketing make sure you’ve done a thorough job of creating your goals (SMART goals) and of defining your TARGET market. There is no point in continuing until you’ve done that.

Here are some ideas to consider. I added what I think in terms of priority, cost and time investment. Now, depending on where you’re at in your business you may have a different priority level or time investment. Sometimes it takes a LOT of time to do something the FIRST time but then takes much less for subsequent times. I hope this gives you some ideas. Let me know what works for you!

Marketing ideas

Idea Priority Cost Time investment
Brochures Low High Medium (may need outside help for graphic design)
Workshops (ie comfort measures) Low Low High (need outside help)
Networking High Low-Medium Medium (should follow-up with people you meet)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) High Low Medium to high
Social Media Depends Deplends High if done yourself
Prenatal/Baby Show Low High High
Online advertising High Depends Low to medium
Newsletters Low-Med Low Low to medium
Reciprocal advertising High Low Low to medium
Online advertising High Depends Low to medium

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Day 4: Marketing Ideas

On the Fourth Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to Me….Marketing ideas!

DONA trainer Stefanie Antunes shares some thoughts about marketing a doula practice. She shares some excerpts from her Doula School Business Program. Watch till the end for some other ideas in addition to what she shares from the business program.

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Day 3: What’s in the Doula Bag?

On the THIRD day of Doula School my Trainer gave to me….

In this video blog, Stefanie goes over the most common items to include in your doula bag. Have a peak in the bag and share your own favourites in the comments!

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

 

Day 2: Living the on-call doula life

On the Second Day of Doula School my trainer gave to me….

We’re doing our FUN 12 Days of Doula School again this year. Over the next month we’re going to answer 12 of your burning doula questions!

Day 2: Doulaing with young children

In this video blog, Stefanie goes over the most common issues with being a doula while your kids are young. She shares her own experiences and creative solutions to making it all work so you can follow your calling.

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Day 1: Doulaing with Young Children

On the First Day of Doula School my trainer gave to me….

We’re doing our FUN 12 Days of Doula School again this year. Over the next month we’re going to answer 12 of your burning doula questions!

Day 1: Doulaing with young children

In this video blog, Stefanie goes over the most common issues with being a doula while your kids are young. She shares her own experiences and creative solutions to making it all work so you can follow your calling.

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Certification Series: Should I Certify?

Why Certify?

In our Certification Series we’re exploring thoughts around certification, how to make it easier, how to get it done. Today I wanted to go back to ground zero and consider “why certify?”. See more of my video blog posts on the Doula School YouTube channel here. 

I always like to do a brainstorm before I write a post, and when I started thinking about why certify, it just flowed and flowed. Here were my thoughts. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Certification Series: Filling Out Client Forms

In this video blog, Stefanie goes over the most common pitfalls and mistakes people make with their certification documents. She reviews the birth reports and all the terms included in them to help you fill them out correctly the FIRST time.

 

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

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 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.

Certification Series: Top 3 Most Common Mistakes

I had the privilege to spend time this past weekend with the amazing Jenn Fontaine. She’s a DONA Birth Doula Trainer, but also is one of THE busiest certification package reviewers for DONA International.

When you complete all your requirements and you send in your completed certification package, it gets reviewed personally by an approved ‘reviewer’. I thought I’d ask Jenn about the top 3 most common mistakes she sees so I can help you to avoid them!

Here they are:

1 – Arrive at the onset of active labour

DONA wants to make sure you’ve been able to spend enough time with your clients in labour to be able to gain some valuable experience. For this reason one of the rules for your birth experiences is that you arrived at ‘the onset of active labour’. What this means is that if you met your client at the hospital and they were 8-9 cms dilated, this birth won’t count. Now let’s say you met your client at their home and then you spent 5-6 hours with them there and THEN followed them to the hospital where they were found to be 7-8 cms upon arrival. There is a very logical assumption that you were with them at the onset of active labour, even though there wasn’t a vaginal exam performed at home. Most births are long, so this doesn’t usually occur, but don’t submit a birth if you weren’t with them during active labour. Do another birth for more experience.

2 – Perinatal Health Provider Form

One of the other requirements of certification is to sit down with a perinatal healthcare provider and chat with them about the doula role. Following this chat, there is a form to be completed by this provider. This is NOT to be filled out by a doctor or nurse at a birth you attend. The goal of this requirement is to give you the opportunity to sit down with people and chat about the doula role, scope, benefits, value, etc. Part of growing our profession is that we are getting out there and spreading the good word about doulas. This gives you a structured opportunity to think about what you’d say and practice how to do this. Examples of great people to sit down with are chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, midwives (in their clinic, not at a birth), and anyone else who regularly engages with expectant or new parents.

3 – Watch a Business Webinar

It’s easy to miss this little bit. This requirement specifies BUSINESS but lots of people miss that word and watch another DONA webinar. This requirement is to make sure you’re also gaining the valuable business info that is necessary in running a doula practice. Be sure you’ve watched one of the DONA BUSINESS webinars that can be found here to fulfill this requirement.


Hopefully these 3 ideas will help you to accurately complete your certification the first time so that the first call you get from Jenn (or another packet reviewer) is to congratulate you! Good luck!

In our next installment we’ll discuss other great topics about certification including “why certify?”, “how to get births”, “filling out paperwork”, and much more.

Happy doulaing!
Stefanie Antunes

Doula School #WorldDoulaDomination #DoulaBusiness #DoulaSchool

 

Scholarship Fund Announcement

One of the things brought to my attention a few years ago was how “white” and “middle class” the doula profession was. It’s something I have spent a lot of time thinking about the past few years. As I learn more and more about the disparities within our own borders, I am sickened by the different levels of care women receive in our country, particularly women of colour.

Doula services have the possibility of being elitist by nature, given that there has been little funding for doula services. I have worked to create programs, systems and funding requests to remedy these issues. But I know that clients will hire doulas that they connect with, and having more diversity within the doula community is important to increasing the diversity of doulas clients CAN connect with.

In an effort to create more diversity, Doula School has launched a scholarship fund. Workshop scholarships are offered based on a demonstrated commitment to community service and financial need.

Priority is given to all applicants who increase diversity in the doula profession, specifically people identifying as LGBTQ and Women of Color.

We encourage aspiring doulas to apply and they will be notified of our decision within 30 days. APPLICATION can be found here.

Spread the word!

#WorldDoulaDomination

What I’d say to my younger self

Have you ever wondered what you’d say to your younger (or less experienced self)? I’ve had an amazing opportunity this past year to do something of the sorts. Here’s how my story begins…

A couple of years ago I was doing a birth doula training in Toronto. One of the participants caught my attention as she seemed very experienced. Turns out she was a Lamaze educator from India who had been attending births for some time. There were no doula trainings in India, so when she was in Toronto she was able to finally attend my DONA training. She mentioned at one point that I should go to India to do a training. I filed that comment under “yeah, THAT would be cool” and then forgot about it for some time. Months later I was creating my yearly vision board (which I highly recommend everyone do) to set my intentions for the year. I thought about some of the places I’d always wanted to go and remembered my dream to go to India (probably ever since “Eat. Pray. Love.” lol) A few weeks later I was looking at my vision board and that comment from the woman in my training popped into my head. I scoured my files to try and find her name and email and sent off a message. She was shocked to receive my email because she had JUST written on a to-do list to email me and see if I wanted to come. Planning began to bring me to India and 3 short months later I was training 10 lovely women to become Doulas.

During the training I had been asked if I’d be willing to chat with a doctor at a local hospital about the hospital doula program I run in the Toronto area. I thought that sounded super fun. But you can imagine my surprise when I arrived to see this lovely poster in the front door of the hospital, and in the lobby, and in the elevator! And when I walked into the room to have coffee with the doctor it was a presentation to about 40 people across 4 sites. I was pretty stoked.

What occurred to me was the status of “doula” in India now is very similar to when I began my career 15 years ago. But the difference is I didn’t have anyone guiding me or anyone to tell me how it could unfold and grow into an amazing profession. But this time I did! The doctors and hospital staff showed keen interest in our model and I’m excited to say they have since launched a hospital doula program of their own that is so popular they are sometimes turning clients away!

Because of the interest I was asked to return again to do another training. This time I was able to do a Lamaze Seminar as well as a Doula Training in Bangalore. Each course had 20 people in it! Another hospital in Delhi also brought me in to train all of their nurses! What a wonderful experience this has been and I am humbled and honoured to be part of this exciting movement in India.

Of course I was able to spend some fun time. I chose to recenter myself at a wonderful Ayurvedic Yoga retreat in Kerala. As Doulas, work-life balance and taking time for ourselves is absolutely critical to a sustained career.

What I know now that I’d say to my younger self is “yes, this career is sustainable and it will become something as special as you imagine now”.

If you’re interested here are some pics below.

This profession excites me to no end and I hope you’ll join me in the quest for #WorldDoulaDomination 😉

Stef