The activities and success of your midwifery business will depend on numerous organized factors which are being continuously analyzed. One important factor is marketing. Marketing plays a major role in establishing and maintaining relationships between your midwifery business and your clients. However, the scope of marketing activities is rather broad, and the role of various types of marketing activities heavily depends on the characteristics and images of your midwifery business that you want to portray.
The bottom line of your midwifery business as well as other businesses out there is “to make money” and marketing is an essential part to attain that end. Although, most midwives’ goal is to provide the best care services to the mothers, how can we provide the “best” if we cannot finance our business itself? So, it is easier to meet halfway within our goals, to provide the best services to our clients we have to earn income and by earning means we have the capacity to provide the “best” services that we desire.
Marketing is not just about paying fees for advertisement. Marketing is everywhere. You can have it on your own website or through online communities (which is what most businesses use for now). You can also have one on one talk with your prospected clients. Additionally, you may market your business through flyers, brochures, postcards and even in a newspaper, anything that works perfectly fine for you.
Here are 8 steps that you can practice in marketing your own midwifery business.
1. Conduct market research
When starting your own midwifery business, it is essential to conduct market research beforehand. Market research is a key part of developing your market strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customers thinking, and location. “What services do they need the most?” “Where is the best place to establish your business?” “How do you view your competition in all direction?” These are few questions you can study when conducting your market research.
It is clear that market research is vital when developing your marketing strategy before starting your own midwifery business. It provides great insights to your business and on the wider marketplace.
2. Profile your target markets
Trying to promote your midwifery service to everyone can be costly and ineffective. Grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on certain characteristics will help to focus your marketing efforts.
Generally segmentation is based on factors such as:
a. Geography – location
b. Demographics – age, gender, education level, income, occupation
c. Behavior – loyalty, attitude
d. Lifestyle – social class, personality, personal values.
Your target market should have a need for your product or service and be willing to pay for your offer.
3. Develop your business brand
Every business, regardless of size, is likely to need a brand. A brand is more than a logo, color or tagline. A well-articulated brand emotionally connects with your target customers and conveys who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver.
4. Choose your marketing avenues
While there are many available options, consider your target audience when you are determining which to use. Options include a business website, social media, blogging, brochure and flyers, networking events, print advertising, word of mouth, cold calling and letter drops.
5. Set your goals and budget
Marketing goals will help you to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded). You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget will need to include elements such as:
- · Website development and maintenance
- · Search engine optimization strategy
- · Design of branding
- Printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc.)
- Donations and sponsorships
- Employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
TIP : As a general rule of thumb you should spend between three and five percent of your actual or expected annual turnover on marketing. If your business is new you may need to allocate more funds initially to build your business profile.
6. Nurture your loyal customers
Your customers are the key to your success so it is important to look after them and encourage loyalty. Providing exceptional customer service can keep people coming back and set you apart from your competitors.
Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:
- · Communicating regularly with customers through social media, blogs or e-news
- · Providing after-sale follow up
- Delivering on your promises
- Going the ‘extra mile’ and providing benefits that exceed initial expectations
- Using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
- Listening to customers
- Training staff in customer service and basic sales processes.
7. Monitor and review
It is important to regularly monitor and review your marketing activities to determine whether they are achieving the desired outcome, such as increased sales. Initially you should review your marketing plan every three months to ensure your activities are supporting your strategy. Once your business becomes more established review your plan when you introduce a new product or service, if a new competitor enters the market or if an issue arises that affects your industry.
Monitoring activities may include reviewing your sales figures on a regular basis (monthly) or monitoring customer activity during an advertising campaign. You can also access and review free analytic tools to determine the effectiveness of your social media or website campaigns.
The first step is always indeed the hardest part. Hence, you will never go wrong if you know the path you are taking. Take some time to study. Don’t hesitate to look for people who can greatly contribute in your business. You’re on the right track!