Birth Business

This Is What I Might Say To Anyone Who Wants A “Birth Business”

2 Comments 23 April 2012

No matter what you sell (yourself, your skills, your services, your products, your consulting, etc) you’ll sell it to a person with a very specific problem.

So you must ask yourself…

“What Is Their Problem?”

This will always true, no matter what you sell.

But here’s what happens:

Most people start to think who they’re selling to in terms of demographics. For example, they might think, “My ideal customer is a 25-year-old Portland, Oregon woman who wants to have kids in the next year.”

That may very well be true, especially if what you’re selling revolves around baby planning.

Let’s say you’re a doula, a person who provides non-medical and emotional support during the process of labor.

Your audience largely includes women who have…

  1. heard of doulas,
  2. are planning to have children soon, and
  3. like the idea of having emotional support in addition to medical support (or something like that).

You could probably narrow it down further to those who are likely to favor home birth or birthing at a birth center (or in a hospital, etc).

Narrowing it down doesn’t help you. Narrowing it down actually makes it harder to sell what you offer.

Here’s Why?

Your ideal customer isn’t looking for services for women that fit her description.

She’s looking for help.

That help probably addresses people who don’t fit this demographic at all.

For Example…

What you want to offer is a different kind of experience.

You’re offering comfort. You’re offering emotional support.You’re offering your experience in the birth process to mothers who need it at that time in their lives.

So… the problem you’re addressing is the problem of fear.

Your ideal customer is thinking,

“I’m excited about having children…
…and I’m terrified it’s going to be a bad experience.”

She’s not thinking, “I’m a 25-year-old woman living in Portland, Oregon who is thinking about having children, and when I do, I want it to be a home birth.”

By the way, expectant mothers aren’t the only people who feel that way about birth. Their husbands are scared. Their mothers are nervous. Their sisters are worried too.

Everyone might be skeptical that this woman they care about might not have a good experience of birth. They won’t say it (or they will)… but in the back of their mind, they think about it. A lot.

Your audience isn’t even confined to first-time mothers. Some women turn to doulas even if their first birth was as traditional as they come because they had a bad experience and they’re afraid they will again.

If you target your largest demographic, you risk leaving all those other potential customers out in the cold.

If you speak to exactly what you offer to each one of those demographics, you alienate your largest demographic to get a handful of little ones.

Damned if you do; damned if you don’t. Right?

Wrong: speak to the fear – speak to the problem – and you can talk to all of these people without changing your message one bit.

Which brings me to a little exercise I thought you might want to try:

Identify the Problem

  • What’s your audience worried about?
  • What’s their biggest fear?
  • What’s the problem that your offer addresses?

It could be that they all feel left out of the loop. Or that they don’t know how to solve a particular problem. Or that they’re embarrassed to admit they have this problem.

People in your target audience all have something in common.

Get pencil and paper, and write down every potential fear each of those potential customers have in common.

Then apply accordingly.

Does what you’re doing, whether online or offline or both (I’d recommend both) address that fear?

If it doesn’t, now you know what you can do to start.


If you think this blog post might help someone who has a birth business, or a birth professional, share it with them.

about the author:

Eric Walker is “BBH Dad” ’round these parts. He operates a stay at home “kitchen table” marketing business. Eric LOVES profitable “for purpose” marketing. He’ll be blogging more about your birth business. He wants birth practioners to get paid more for the work they do. He believes, as the birth movement grows, the marketing will have to mature. You can visit his personal blog here.

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Steena says:

    I recently heard a woman say that when creating a birth affirmation you should identify your biggest fear and turn it into something positive. This post is right up that alley. Identify the fear and seek to change it into something better! Great post!

  2. elly says:

    useful tips thanks! it’s nice to see the marketer’s strategy being explained in a wholesome context. I tend to think of this sort of thing in regard to cosmetic companies tapping into the common fear that ‘if we do not have lovely skin people won’t like us so cover up your blemishes with this slop’ or cococola tapping into the fact that ‘people fear not being cool enough’ so if they make their brand cool people will desperately buy it to feel better. I suppose these two examples are what I’d call ‘unwholesome’ or ‘shallow’ marketing because while they successfully tap into a fear to sell their brand, they sell a false promise and obviously do not deliver the goods – they also breed fear rather than allay it using subtle but effective means of telling us we ‘aren’t good enough as we are’, because without fear they wouldn’t sell nearly as much of their products.

    so tapping into fear is a skilled and useful way to sell a product, but i think it is a power that needs wealding carefully. yes one should aim to address fear, but to remain ethical should refrain from encouraging fear as a means to widen one’s market.

    just a thought, hope this makes sense, am in a bit of a rush!

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