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Your Internet Presence

I realize that at this moment in time (having ignored my website for the better part of four years of nursing and midwifery school), I am not in any position to be a model of good internet marketing.  However, I do see a lot of birth professional websites due to the work of the Natural Childbirth Directory. I see a lot of what not to do, but I didn’t realize how confusing it could be to potential clients until my daughter started doing the directory updates for me.

You see, she had questions.  The exact questions I know readers have as they check out the websites.  The exact questions that have moved me to have such strict guidelines for putting a website into the directory.  The exact questions that many birth professionals don’t understand because they don’t see their website or their business as a potential client does.

I decided to spend a few days helping you see how an outsider views your business based on your internet presence, and hopefully help you fix any gaps that may exist.   So today we will begin with the first and most important concept:

If it is not listed as a service on your website, I cannot hire you to perform that service. 

Even birth professionals understand this about other industries, using websites to determine if a store caries a particular brand, dates for specific movies or what classes are available at a local school.  But when it comes to their own website many birth professionals forget to list everything they do.

As an example, consider Jane.  Jane is a doula who does private childbirth education for couples. On her website she lists her doula work, being sure to highlight that she does belly casting.  When she submits to the directory she indicates she does doula work and childbirth education. When I check the listing, all I see listed is her doula work (with childbirth education listed as part of the doula service package).  Nowhere does she list that I can hire her for private childbirth education without hiring her as a doula.  As a potential client, I assume she doesn’t offer this service and I search elsewhere for a childbirth education class.

I’ve heard many reasons why professionals choose not to list a service they are willing to provide.

“I don’t want too much business, I mostly get doula work from my childbirth classes.” 

“It’s just a side job for me, I don’t advertise myself as a childbirth educator.”

If either of these are true, you shouldn’t be listing yourself in the undesired role on web directories. Usually, the birth professional simply did not realize they had not listed all their services on the website – perhaps because in their mind they are so linked.  They think, “I’m a childbirth educator, of course I would do doula work for my students.”  The problem is outsiders (potential clients) don’t think that way.

The trick is to have someone else look at your website and have them tell you everything they can hire you to do.  Make sure that list accurately reflects all the things you are willing to be hired for, and then ONLY advertise yourself in those roles on internet directories.

 

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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