5 Old School Marketing Tactics for Doulas

When starting your doula journey and growing your business you’re going to be looking for marketing ideas. In the year 2023 it makes sense that a lot of those ideas will be based in the digital world. Whether it’s google ads, Instagram posts, tik tok dances, or websites, online feels like the place to be when it comes it birth work. But have we gone to far in overlooking traditional marketing?


Traditional marketing encompasses things that predate the digital age – television, radio, magazine, word of mouth, physical retail stores…etc. You’re probably thinking “sure I’d love to do a TV ad, but who has money for that??” It’s true that SOME old school marketing tactics will likely be out of your price range. But there are a few that could make a big difference for your business. In today’s blog we’re going to cover 5 traditional tactics that you should consider.


Outdoor Billboards

Outdoor advertising can feel intimidating at first. You see those massive billboards in Times Square or sticking out over highways across the country. But there is a smaller scale of billboards that are more accessible to small businesses like us doulas. The next time you’re out and about look at all the bus shelters, billboards, and signs in your area or town. Odds are there are A LOT of options. Some of these will be purchased by large companies as part of their million-dollar media plans, but others will be for smaller organizations like a local realtor, lawyer, dentist…etc. If you’re in a small town there may only be 2 or 3 prominent outdoor ad locations that nearly everyone in the area will drive by on a weekly basis. You can investigate the cost of having your message posted there for a few weeks or a month. And don’t worry about the design cost, you can use a free tool like CANVA to help with developing some fun creative.


Direct Mailer

You know those annoying flyers you sometimes get in the mail? That 15% sale at the local hardware store, or an opportunity to buy a cottage timeshare somewhere up north? Yes, they can be a bit intrusive at times, but there is a reason this particular old school marketing technique has persisted over so many years – it works. Getting your product or service in front of people through the mail (even if some people discard it) is a great way to stay top of mind. As a doula, you could send out a mailer to a very specific area (pick a postal code that is in your town) that talks about what you offer. Something like a brochure or a fridge magnet works best, so potential customers can keep it handy or give to a friend on their pregnancy journey. This tactic can certainly get expensive if you send out too many mailers. However, if your area is small and targeted, it’s an effective way to reach people en masse.


Radio Ad

When we think about radio ads we imagine HUGE marketing budgets and companies like Wal-Mart, Nike, or XBOX running nationwide campaigns. And while that is certainly part of their advertising mix, there is a smaller form of radio ads that are accessible to small businesses like yours! Local radio stations are still super popular across the country (maybe not as popular as they were 20 years ago) and are always looking for advertisers to purchase space. This is a terrific option if you live and work in a smaller town. For example, if you live in Collingwood, you could buy airtime on one of their local stations. That way you know the ad spend is hitting people in your area. Additionally, most stations will record and create the ad for you as part of the agreement, so you don’t have to worry about hiring a marketer or freelancer to create the audio. Give your local station a call and see what their options are.


Partner with Local Business

Partnering with local businesses is great because you KNOW that the customers shopping there are in your target area. Are there any local shops that will allow you to market your doula practice? Some businesses like cafes and coffee shops will have a specific area where you can leave brochures or business cards (just make sure to check with them first 😊). Or there may be a business that caters to a similar target market as you. Is it possible to partner with them to co-promote your doula services? For example, a local yoga studio may help promote your businesses to their followers, for a 15% commission fee on each sign up…etc. Next time you’re out and about, start making a list of businesses that you want to connect with.


Word of Mouth

This is one that we can easily overlook when starting out. Of course you’ll tell your close family and friends about your burgeoning doula practice, but have you made use of your entire network? If you have a day job, have you told everyone about doula work and your new career? Have you encouraged family and friends to share with their professional and personal networks? Have you updated your LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social handles? The odds are you’ll be able to get your first few clients just from word of mouth and leaning on the people who already know and believe in you. There is a reason ‘word of mouth’ is the oldest form of marketing – because it works 😊.


Make sure to check back in the coming weeks as we share more marketing ideas for your doula and birth business. Are there any old school marketing tactics you’ve found helpful in growing your practice?

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