free birth business consultation with Sarah Juliusson
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I’m happy to introduce all of you to Gladis & Emily of The Fourth Trimester, providing home-centered lactation support in Tampa Bay, Florida.  I was drawn to their vision for bringing a new approach to lactation support in their community, and their creativity with partnerships & marketing. Emily and Gladis of Fourth Trimester Lactation Emily & Gladis of Fourth Trimester

You work as a team – I’d love for you to share more about how your partnership took shape and the decision to work together.

When we first began to conceptualize The Fourth Trimester, most of the lactation support people in private practice in our area were working independently. We hatched this idea to work together and it has turned out to be a genius move- it’s one we are happy to see other people considering now. Together, we accomplish so much more than we could individually.

You’ve done a great job of creating a clear mission for The Fourth Trimester, truly defining what makes you unique.  What inspired this clarity?

When we started The Fourth Trimester, our goal was to move beyond the “this certification versus THAT certification” conversation that runs so rampant sometimes, at least in our community. And we had to take a leap of faith, asking ourselves “can we DO this?” By putting aside the fear of not being good enough, tapping into our natural abilities and talents, honing in on what our specific message is as lactation professionals, and passionately employing evidenced-based care we feel that we have really created something unique. Emily and Gladis of The Fourth TrimesterAnother unmet need we saw was a lactation support business that was easy to find online and was clear about what their service offerings and pricing were. Breastfeeding professionals were out there but they seemed to be hard to locate or required a game of phone tag to find out the most basic information. We knew that moms of babies with feeding issues could get discouraged by this and end up going without much needed help. So we designed our website to be transparent. There was some brief anxiety about “competitors” seeing our pricing, but in the end we decided that our vision for our mamas was easier access to lactation services. If other people in the same field want to know our pricing structure too, then we’re alright with that. Our main responsibility is to the mamas and babies we serve and this is one way we are meeting their needs. And we really credit this paradigm shift to you, Sarah, because without the right support to move beyond that way of thinking, it is easy to get sucked into a competitive mentality.

On your website, you include an invitation to health professionals to enhance their breastfeeding support for families by having you as a part of their clinic team. How has this worked for you?

It has allowed for some great conversations. The heart of what we do is in home support directly for clients – not in office support, but we wanted to be sure to include other health professionals in the dialogue that is our website. We’ve had some amazing and productive discussions with midwives and pediatricians in our community, and while we can’t say that it’s because of the invitation for clinical collaboration, it certainly hasn’t detracted from these relationships.

You have the beginnings of a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” directory on your site – what is your vision for this and how is it being received?

The Florida breastfeeding law allows for moms to nurse their babies, covered or uncovered, anytime and anyplace they choose. While it’s fantastic that our state has such a law in place, it means nothing if the local business community doesn’t know that the law even exists. Our vision for this advocacy project is that mothers and babies in our community will be able to nurse wherever they want to and never be asked by an employee to cover up or move. Breastfeeding Welcome Here is a grassroots initiative to make breastfeeding in our community not just acceptable, but normal, by educating business owners, organizations, and their employees. It’s been done in Australia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas and we felt like the Tampa Bay Area could benefit from this. Supporting nursing moms really is good for business.

You mentioned your interest in developing creative ways to market your practice and meet community needs.  Tell us more!

Our marketing story has developed to be a mix of both the conventional and the creative, and it’s something we’ve had a lot of fun with. We spend time producing original content that supports our practice, like our collection of memes, blog fourthtrimesterlactationposts, and infographs. We’ve found that it’s really important to use relevant social media and work in collaboration with birth professionals, which is no surprise to you or your readers. Our branding is whimsical and geographically relevant- we are definitely not using a stock logo from a business card template. It was actually a dream-vision we shared, and we contracted a local doula/graphic designer to make it come true for us. We have also taken our branding out of social media and into the physical world with nursing mermaid vinyl clings and a gorgeous printed book that we use in our prenatal classes. Our nursing mermaid logo is easily recognized and has given us a lot of visibility in our community. Hosting events, such as The Big Latch On, networking events for birth professionals, or getting involved in volunteer work is another creative way to get your name out there in the birth community. For us, this means serving as board members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network, a local non-profit, working to create a community that promotes natural birth and parenting in the Tampa Bay area. The Network’s special events have been a great way to meet people, build relationships, and give back. Providing information and support outside of the “birth world” is yet another step we’ve taken. This spring, we’ll be presenting a workshop on the prevention of early weaning at a conference for local childcare providers and therapists who work with babies from birth to two years old. These are practitioners who we normally do not cross paths with in our network of birth professionals.

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Thank you to both Emily & Gladis for their thoughtful responses to my questions!  There is real value in taking a step back to reflect on the foundations of your birth or postpartum practice, and your unique role in the community.  If you are interested in contributing a guest post to Birth Your Business, find out all the details here. Check out our last featured guest – Birth Doula Jodi Green.

Want to connect with Emily & Gladis at The Fourth Trimester?  Visit their website.  Follow them on facebook.  Join them on Google+.  Check out their Pinterest page and on Instagram. Photo Credit Kim Turner Photography Newborns – Birth – Maternity

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I enjoyed a great call with many of you this morning exploring tips & tricks on building your business presence on Pinterest.  The call recording is being released on Monday – if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do so and you will receive a link to the recording via email.  REGISTER HERE.   It includes plenty of guidance around how to create an effective Pinterest page for your birth practice, and creative ways to use it to better support the families you serve.

For those of you who are brand new to Pinterest, here are the basic steps you need to get started>>

pinterest-101-birth-practice21. Create your Business Profile

Go to http://business.pinterest.com to create your business profile.

The steps are relatively straightforward here, but if you already have a personal profile on Pinterest you may find that it won’t let you use the same email to sign up twice.  Either choose a different email account, or if you have gmail you can actually just add a period or 2 to your name and it will still work and forward to your main gmail account.  For example, if you have already used marysmith@gmail.com, you can change it to mary.smith@gmail.com or even mary..smith@gmail.com, and pinterest will accept this.  Thanks to doula Darla Sparrow for this tip.

Add a profile picture or logo that is 600×600, or 165 x 165 (larger images will be resized by Pinterest).  When writing your profile description, be sure to include your name, services, and city or region served.

2.  Verify your website

Go to your profile page and click on the pencil icon at the bottom-right corner of your header.  Then enter your website URL and click on “verify website”.    This will allow your website address to show on your profile, and you’ll have access to the pinterest analytics to track which pins are doing well to help guide your activity.  From there you will need to download the verification file.  This will then need to be uploaded via ftp into your”public_html” directory.  If you don’t have a CLUE of how to do this – contact your hosting provider and they should be able to talk you through it.

Alternative Verification Method:  You can also select to download a meta tag and insert this into the header code on your website.  If you are on weebly, you will go to Settings, select SEO, and paste the code in the box for header code.  Here is a tutorial.

Finally, go back to to the Pinterest window and click “complete verification”, and you should see “site verified” next to your URL on your profile.

3.  Build your Boards

When building boards, be sure to give them specific names that are keyword rich and of interest to your ideal clients.  For example, a board about water birth safety will be far more effective than a board titled “Birth” that includes pins about water birth, home birth, and breech birth.  Don’t build more boards than you can fill!  Make sure any board you create has a minimum of 5 pins to start, and ideally 10 or more.  You want visitors to check out your boards and immediately get a sense of all the great resources you have to offer.  Check out some of the great examples of birth professionals on pinterest I have gathered for inspiration.

4.  Add Pinterest to your Website & Social Media

doulaholidayPerhaps the most important step to building your presence on Pinterest is to have some of your own content pinned on your boards.   This means having images on your website that are easy to pin, ideally images such as the one at left that have your URL included. Let your mouse hover over the image at left to see how a hover button will work.  While anyone can add a pin it tab to their browser, it is best if you have a pin button actually on your website to encourage pinning.  If you are on wordpress, there are many great plugins to choose from, such as the Pinterest Pin It Button.  On weebly and other template sites this is a bit trickier, but you can get custom code from the Pinterest Widget Builder and paste it on your page using a custom code box wherever you want the pin it button to appear.

pinterest_badge_redThere are lots of creative ways to link to your pinterest page via your website & social media platforms.  On your business facebook page you can include a pinterest app.  Be sure to include a pinterest button in your social media links on your website.  If you want a higher profile for your pinterest page, you can include a widget in your side bar that will feature recent posts on the board of your choice or your profile.  If you are on wordpress the Pinterest RSS Widget is a great option.  If you are on weebly or another DIY website site, you can use the options shared on the Pinterest widget builder page and paste these into a custom html box.  You might also consider using the widget builder to insert boards onto web pages and blog posts as a resource for clients, such as Birth Kelowna has done here with their lending library.

You can also, of course, add links to your profile in your email signature, business cards, and client handout package.

6.  Enjoy!  And Be Careful…

Basically, if you love pinterest, you’re going to Love Pinterest.  It can be very easy to spend far longer than you ever intended to spend exploring all the great content you will find there.  Because it can be addictive, be sure to set limits for yourself.  Besides, it’s best to not add too many pins in one day….you don’t want to overwhelm your followers!

Also be sure to check out my post from earlier this week on why you should have a business profile for your birth practice on Pinterest. Visit the Birth your Business pinterest boards for more ideas & inspiration!


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