Many expectant parents browse the Internet in their search for childbirth classes or birth-related services. Fortunately, the many website-building tools available make it easy for childbirth educators, doulas and other birth professionals to build their own website and provide instant information to potential clients. However, a poorly designed or incomplete site may hurt your chances of attracting clients. Often, basic information is omitted from websites that could make the difference in helping you generate more business. Here are some tips that we have learned along the way.
1. Include a brief summary of what you offer on your home page. Make it easy for prospective clients to understand your basic services immediately and provide links to additional information on other pages (like an “about me” page, “class description” page or “class schedule” page).
2. Describe (briefly) what makes you or your services unique. When writing this section, think about your personality, your experience and your passion. Be honest about your experience and specific about what you offer, how much it costs and why prospective clients should choose your services over others. You don’t have to go into great detail (such as sharing your 10 page birth story), but you should include information that you are comfortable making public, which can help prospective clients get to know you better.
3. Put the geographical area you serve and your contact information in multiple places on your site. The omission of location is common on many of the websites we have seen, which makes it difficult for prospective clients to know if you are nearby. It is very important for you to provide a quick, convenient and easily accessible way for clients to contact you. You don’t need to put your home address and phone number, but do include the region you serve, have a “contact me” form or set up an email address just for your business that you check regularly.
4. Be prompt in returning phone call and emails concerning your services. Though this isn’t a website design issue, we have found that there are many birth professionals (us included on occasion) who get busy and end up waiting days or even a week or more to get back to prospective clients who contact them. In the meantime, most prospective clients will have continued their search and may have moved on. It can sometimes help to draft a standard email response for general inquiries that you can send out quickly. It also helps to keep track of clients using an app, spreadsheet or notepad, so you can be sure no one has slipped through the cracks.
5. Your design matters. Be sure your formatting is consistent; use the same font and font color throughout the body (main text) of your site. Make sure your font is not too large or too small. Use font colors that are easy to read with your background. Avoid fonts that are too ornamental and may be difficult to read.
6. Proof-read regularly! It is easy for errors to occur when you type, but it can give the wrong impression. Pay special attention to the accuracy of important content like the start dates of classes, course fees, your email address or phone number. Be sure to update this information on a regular basis as well. A class date from 2011 or a disconnected phone number will surely affect your business.
With a little planning you can easily create an amazing website that will make it easier to market yourself, help you attract clients, and be easy to maintain and update.
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