Doula School alumni will often ask “what’s the best way to get new clients?” and our answer is almost always the same – email. It’s the most effective way to connect with people and become a regular part of their lives. On a social media platforms like Instagram or Tik Tok, you’re competing with hundreds if not thousands of accounts – all vying for someone’s limited attention. Conversely, once you get into an email inbox, you go right to the top each time .
There are several ways to build your email list. It can include past clients, freebies (like guides or offers), advertising on Google or Facebook, opt-in forms on your website, and so much more. Today we aren’t talking about BUILDING your list, we’re looking at how to get the most out of the list you do have. Whether you have 20 people or 2000, having an email list that is working for you can make all the difference in your doula career. Below are 10 ways to optimize your emails and improve your sales.
Use an Email Platform
There are SO many different platforms out there for managing your email list. Some of our favourites are ConvertKit, Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact. Even if you have a small list, it’s important to be using a professional email platform. This allows you to set up automations, send emails in bulk, manage unsubscribes, and so much more. The good news is that most of these services offer a free version you can start with. Perfect for doulas starting out with a small marketing budget.
Most email providers will offer the ability to “personalize” messages. So when you get someone’s email address, you can make sure to get their first name as well. That way when sending out an email it will start with “Hi Marie” instead of more robotic or impersonal openings. Research has shown that adding personalization can help improve results from emails and make readers feel more connected.
Ask for Reviews
As birth workers we sometimes feel uncomfortable asking for support or feedback from clients. But we’re here to tell you it’s ok! Clients will be excited to share their testimonials, especially if they had a great experience working with you. Reviews on your website, social channels, google, and in emails can make a huge difference to sales. Future clients are always looking for “social proof” that you’re a trustworthy person and a doula they want to work with.
Use Images of Yourself
You know when you’re on a website or Instagram page, you can always tell when someone is using a lot of stock images. There is nothing wrong with using images you bought online now and then, but you’ll find that your emails and social content does better when it feels personal and real. Don’t be afraid to use photos of yourself in action. Maybe have a friend take some nice pictures of you at the park, or snap a couple of you working with a client (with their consent of course). Over time you can create a catalogue of images to use in a bunch of places.
Improve Your Subject Lines
The average email is only going to have an open rate of 30 or 40%. That means most people on your list may never even read the content! That’s why the subject line is so important. It’s your one chance to make an impression and get the reader interested. The best lines tend to be short and punchy, creating a sense of urgency for the reader. For example, something like “5 Baby Proofing TIPs from a Doula.” Most email platforms will let you test multiple subject lines per message, so you can start to understand what works best for your followers.
Only use ONE Call-to-Action
Have you ever gotten one of those BUSY emails with like 7 different places to click? They can be overwhelming and hard to understand. The key to a good email is keeping it simple. Don’t be afraid of white space and making it easy for a reader to follow. You do this by having only ONE call to action. If the email is about your overnight doula services, then make sure that’s the only thing you’re asking people to click on.
Don’t always SELL
Having someone’s email address is a big deal. They’re letting you send them information that goes directly to the top of their inbox. That’s a privilege. And it’s a privilege you can lose quickly if you abuse it. Every email you send can’t be a sale or a product or a doula service. Make sure you’re adding VALUE to your readers. This could be through tips and tricks, personal anecdotes, birth stories, interesting videos, or anything. By providing value, your readers will be more open to receiving the odd sale or product offering.
Have a Plan
We talk to some birth workers who feel overwhelmed by creating content and email newsletters. I don’t know when to send it? How many should I do a month? What kind of content? It can be a lot to manage, especially when your focus is working with clients. One way to simplify this is to have a plan. If you’re going to send a newsletter every 3 weeks, then set that schedule and stick to it. It will also help your readers start to expect your content on a regular basis.
Designing things is fun. It’s especially fun if you have a bit of design know-how in photoshop, or adobe, or just got your new CANVA account. You might feel the urge to constantly be creating NEW and innovative designs to use in emails (and on social media, the website…etc). However, new designs can be confusing for readers and clients. They want to know what to expect. And seeing a consistent color, font type, and design will allow them to start recognizing your doula or birth brand. Where possible, try to pick a standard look and feel that you can maintain.
Automate Where Possible
You might be reading all this and thinking “I barely have time to reply to clients, when am I going to write additional emails?” That’s ok, it’s a lot! The good news is that you can automate a lot of things through email platforms. For example, maybe when someone provides their email address, they are automatically sent 2-3 emails that explain your doula services, what they cost, your availability, and more! It will take a bit of time in the early going to set up automatic email funnels, but these can save you a TON of time in the long run.
Make sure to check back with the blog next month, as we’ll be sharing more doula marketing and sales tips.