I’m A Doula – How Do I Find Clients?

find clients online

The #1 question a new doula asks is… how do I find clients?

You’ve heard that old saying about when a tree falls in the woods, right? If no one is around, does it make a sound? Well, what about if you’re a doula that does not have an online presence? If no one is able to find you, can you really have a successful business?

I’m here to tell you that in this day and age, y​ou ​need to be online. That is the answer to the common question, how do I find clients?

Being “online” really involves two things.

First, you have to have a functional, practical website that conveys your brand and your business to potential clients.

And second, people must be able to find that website online.

So let’s start with number one – building a website.

You have several options here. You can pay a web designer to create (and even maintain) a website for you from top to bottom. Or you can do it yourself with one of the many website builders that exist out there. Both avenues have their pros and cons.

The pro to handing all of this over to a professional web designer is of course ease.

Building a website takes time. You need web copy, images, and logos all put in the right place. You need to build each page and create a final product that is appealing to clients and functional too (I mean, have you ever tried to scroll through a website on your phone that is not mobile friendly? Major headache!). If you sit down and think about how much time it will take to build a website on your own, you might just decide that your time is more valuable spent elsewhere.

But the biggest con of a professional web designer is cost.

Having a professional build a beautiful website for you is expensive – worth the investment, but expensive nonetheless. If you are a brand new doula and are trying to build your business on a budget, hiring a professional to do this for you just may not be in that budget.

Luckily there are several quality website builders that you can turn to instead.

The biggest con here is that building your own website takes a substantial amount of time. But if you’re like me – a control freak who appreciates a good challenge – you might just find that the investment of time was worth the savings.

If you are doing this on your own, make sure you go with a company that is user-friendly and prioritizes things like analytics and search engine optimization. In my experience, Squarespace checks all of those boxes.

So now that you’ve built your website, you need potential clients to find it. So we’re back to the question, how do I find clients?

Unfortunately no matter how much you paid your web designer or how many hours you poured into your website builder to create a gorgeous website, it doesn’t really matter if no one can find you online.

This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.

Have you heard of SEO? When you go to Google and enter in a search word or phrase in the search bar, some pretty fancy stuff happens on the back end when you hit enter.

Google has a series of algorithms that it uses to return the websites that it deems most relevant for your search. Long before you even start your search, Google’s web crawlers have travelled far and wide across the internet, categorizing and finding keywords.

So let’s say you search for “doula in Kansas” (those are your keywords), Google already has a slew of websites indexed for those words.

But which ones are going to come up on page one? Here’s the really important part. Page rank is dependent on several factors, but key among those factors are things like existence of keywords, traffic to the website, and fresh content.

So what does this mean? AND How do I find clients?!

When you (or in conjunction with your web designer) write the content for your webpage, make sure you include relevant keywords on every page. Some of those keywords might be short, like “postpartum doula,” or they might be longer, such as “looking for a night nurse in North Carolina.” Make sure you label all of your images with keywords as well because Google’s web crawlers look at both.

And in order to drive traffic to your website and make it appear relevant to Google’s search index, you will need to keep the content of your webpage fresh and up-to-date. The easiest way to do this is to BLOG, BLOG, BLOG.

Repeat after me! How do I find clients? I BLOG!

Blogging drives users to your page and is also a great way to include a ton of relevant short and longtail keywords. And when Google sets out to return those search results for “Doula in Kansas,” they are going to prioritize the websites that are routinely updated with new content and plenty of user volume.

That’s a lot to take in, I know. But break it down into some simple steps:

  • Decide how to build your website
  • Focus on writing some relevant web copy with great keywords
  • Spend some time brainstorming blog topics and then just start writing.

And in no time you will be a doula found on the world wide web!

If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to take the ABT (Advanced Business Training) with the incomparable, Randy Patterson!

Kelly Rutan is a ProDoula Certified Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, as well as a member of the ProDoula Training & Development Team. She is the co-owner of ​Doulas of Raleigh​.