The Doula Darcy is your go-to guru for a flourishing doula business!
With a background steeped in a decade of advertising and marketing prowess, Darcy seamlessly transitioned from corporate to caregiving, serving as a postpartum doula since 2010. Sales funnel
Having three babies in just four years ignited a spark in her. With her unique background in marketing & advertising, Darcy was able to replace her corporate income in record time as a new doula. This magical blend of business acumen and heartfelt care sets her apart. Sales funnel
Now, as the mastermind behind a thriving doula agency, Darcy dedicates her days as a Doula Business & Marketing Coach, ensuring other doulas find success and satisfaction. Sales funnel
Book a free discovery call to learn how you can become a Certified Sleep Consultant here.
On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
The Doula Darcy is your go-to guru for a flourishing doula business. With a background steeped in a decade of advertising and marketing prowess, Darcy seamlessly transitioned from corporate to caregiving, serving as a postpartum doula since 2010.
Having three babies in just four years ignited a spark in her. With her unique background in marketing and advertising. Darcy was able to replace her corporate income in record time as a new doula. This magical blend of business acumen and heartfelt care sets her apart.
Now as the mastermind behind a thriving doula agency, Darcy dedicates her days as a Doula Business & Marketing Coach, ensuring other doulas find success and satisfaction.
Jayne Havens: Darcy, welcome back to the podcast. I always love doing these interviews with you.
Darcy Sauers: Oh, thank you for having me. I always love coming on. Any chance to get to talk to you is always good.
Jayne Havens: Love it. So the idea for this podcast episode came about because I have been noticing that my Center for Pediatric Sleep Management graduates are feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to create sales funnels for their businesses. The whole concept of creating a funnel, I think, can feel really daunting. It seems that some people aren’t even really sure where to start. And if I’m being completely transparent, I actually didn’t even know what a funnel was, until I hired a team to help me launch CPSM. I actually don’t even really use a sales funnel to help me sell my one-to-one consulting services through Snooze Fest.
That being said, I know the value of building out these systems, because I’ve done it for CPSM. And I thought we could use this episode to talk about the steps to create an effective sales funnel for a sleep consulting business. Shall we?
Darcy Sauers: Absolutely, yeah.
Jayne Havens: Before we discuss how to build a sales funnel, we should probably start by defining what a sales funnel is. Do you have any interest in tackling that?
Darcy Sauers: Absolutely. I think even just with the doulas that I coach and talk to every day, I hear this same thing — that sales funnel sounds big and fancy and scary, and so they just don’t do it. But the bottom line is, especially for sleep consultants and doulas, if you’re going to have a virtual coaching business, you need to have an audience. You need to have people to sell to. That’s really at its most basic what a sales funnel is.
If you think of what a funnel looks like, it’s big at the top and small at the bottom. The idea of a sales funnel is, you’re getting a lot of people into your world. And to your audience, you’re starting a conversation with them. That narrows down. Then by the time they get to the bottom or the spout of the funnel, a smaller percentage of your audience is who actually ends up hiring you.
Jayne Havens: I love the visual, which is I think where the term comes from, right?
Darcy Sauers: Right.
Jayne Havens: I love the visual. Because when I’m talking to people who are interested in starting a sleep consulting business, or they already have one, and they’re trying to figure out how to grow it, one thing that I always emphasize is that in order to grow a successful sleep consulting business, you have to be talking to a lot of people. It has to start big. Because not everybody you talk to is going to turn into a paying client, right?
Darcy Sauers: Exactly.
Jayne Havens: There’s more people in your audience than who eventually become your clients. That’s why the funnel is important. It’s to have a process for taking these people through the journey.
Darcy Sauers: Exactly. Then the reverse of that is that you can’t have a successful sleep consulting business if your message is only getting out to 20 people. Because all 20 of them are not going to hire you. You need more of an audience than 20 to make a go of this.
Jayne Havens: Actually, before this interview, I Googled what is a sales funnel, because I wanted to be able to have some sort of definition. What I found online is that a sales funnel is a marketing term used to describe the journey that potential customers go through from prospecting to purchase. They are interested in you. They’re going through a journey down that funnel, from wide to narrow, and eventually, hopefully, they purchase.
Darcy Sauers: I like to think of the funnel as kind of your way of guiding that big audience down through to eventually hiring you. So if you think of it, if you’re a sleep consultant on Instagram talking and posting and getting seen by thousands of tired parents, or Facebook, or anything, or on a podcast, your funnel is what you set up to capture the thousands that see you and guide them over to your world, to your business. There’s a bazillion ways that you can do that.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, so I was thinking about how are we going to explain to people who are listening what that journey looks like. I’m always sort of inclined to use my own business as an example because it’s what I do. I was thinking about for Center for Pediatric sleep management, because I have a funnel for CPSM, the top of my funnel — actually, maybe I have several now that I think about it — one is the podcast. Let’s just use that as an example.
Because people who are listening, maybe they found me on the podcast. Maybe they were searching Apple podcasts for sleep consulting related content, and they came across my podcast. They binge some of the episodes. Maybe they’ve read the show notes, and it gives them an opportunity to opt in to my emails or to book a call with me.
Darcy Sauers: Or join your Facebook group.
Jayne Havens: Or join the Facebook group. I have a lot of little directions that people can go in, but it’s all opportunities for them to learn more about what I do and eventually to have a conversation with me or to enroll in Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.
Darcy Sauers: Yes, this is why sales funnels work. No offense, Jayne. But no one’s going to binge three or four episodes of your podcast. I don’t want to say no one. A limited number of people will binge three or four episodes of the podcast and then sign up for CPSM.
A funnel is the fact that you say, “Oh, hey, I also have this free Facebook group,” or, “You could head to my website and get my free guide,” or, “You can book a call with me.” You have these other ways of providing them help really, and starting a conversation with them that are free. That is the beginning of a funnel. The more traditional model that is taught and used because it’s effective is the traditional lead magnet.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk about a lead magnet with respect to a sleep consulting business. So what’s an example of a lead magnet for a sleep consultant?
Darcy Sauers: A sleep consultant could have a lead magnet like, “Head to my website to download my 10 tips for establishing healthy sleep hygiene for a newborn.” You want your lead magnet to be something that’s early on in their journey. As a sleep consultant, you don’t necessarily want a lead magnet that’s like, “Get my tips on helping your toddler not climb out of the crib.” That would work eventually. We can talk about that. But ideally, you want one that’s more like newborns or while they’re still pregnant.
Jayne Havens: Can I give you a thought? I’m wondering if, let’s think outside the box here. I see what you’re saying about you want to start at the beginning of the journey, so you’re talking about newborn sleep. But what if you were a sleep consultant that really primarily focused on toddlers and preschoolers, and you don’t work so much with newborns? Then could it maybe be like, “How to establish a more peaceful bedtime routine with your toddler?”
Darcy Sauers: Absolutely, yes.
Jayne Havens: Because you’re really not necessarily talking about the middle of the night shenanigans. It’s like, let’s start with the easy stuff. Let’s just make bedtime better again, right?
Darcy Sauers: Yes, so you want your lead magnet to ultimately tie in to whatever you’re selling. So yes, if you’re a sleep coach focusing on toddlers, yes. If your niche is helping people through the four-month sleep regression, that’s what you do all day long, all your clients, then yes, your lead magnet should be about ’10 tips to set yourself up to not go through those four-month sleep regression.’
Whatever your niche is, your lead magnet should focus on the customer’s journey a little bit before so that they download. A lead magnet is sometimes called an opt in or a freebie. It’s usually something that you give away that has value in exchange for someone signing up for your email list.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Let’s talk about the email list. Because I think that’s really overwhelming for people, right?
Darcy Sauers: Yes.
Jayne Havens: First of all, it’s like you got to figure out what platform your emails are going to be on. You got to figure out what you’re going to say in those emails. That all feels really scary, right? But it’s not.
Darcy Sauers: It’s not. When you break it down, there’s 700 ESP platforms you could use. But MailChimp, MailerLite, Constant Contact are three of the most user-friendly. They’re also free for the first — I know MailChimp and Constant Contact are free for the first 2,000 email addresses. So you really have a chance to learn them and use them before you’re paying anything, which is awesome. And if you can get over that hump of learning how to set it up, then it is automated, then you have a way of continuing the conversation with people.
The bottom line is, a recent study shows people check their email an average of 15 times a day. When I read that, I was like, what? Then I thought I checked mine 100 times a day? I go over to my inbox — everybody has email. Everybody. As a marketer, you want to be talking to people in a variety of different ways. You want to be in their email box. You want to be there when they’re scrolling Instagram late at night, in the middle of the night. You want to have people in your community, their friends recommending you.
You need a lot of different touch points, which is why it’s great for you, Jayne. You have this podcast. You have your Facebook group. You have your email that you give away. There’s multiple ways for people to learn from you. Then the idea is like, “Wow. I just got these 10 tips for free that really helped me. Imagine what I would get if I paid.” Then another piece is like, “Wow. I’m going to keep reading. The next time she sends me an email, I’m going to read it again.” You start to build the know, like, and trust factor. No one is going to hire you to be their sleep consultant until they know, like, and trust you. That is something that you can build through writing emails to them.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, it’s so valuable. I say this as somebody who never did it. But it’s so valuable. And if that’s where I was putting my energy right now, I would be going back and doing it. Because I recognize there are so many people. I still think about this. Because I still support families through sleep training. I still have probably 10 or 15 clients a month on average. I don’t keep stats on this. Everybody always asks me what my — I don’t keep stats on anything. I just put my head down and work.
But for better or for worse, it’s just the truth. I don’t convert. Every single discovery call with a prospective client, I don’t convert all of them. I have plenty of calls with tired moms and dads who do not hire me to support them through sleep training. And if I had a system in place after we spoke — to send them a follow-up email, and to keep them on my email list, and to send them opportunities to get on a monthly Zoom where I did a group coaching call — if I had systems in place to continue to nurture them, then perhaps they would sign up down the road, right?
Darcy Sauers: Right. Well, that’s the beauty of email. It’s because that’s completely normal to have discovery calls where you’re not hired 100% of the time. But you want to stay. We call it ‘top-of-mind awareness.’ Okay. They didn’t hire you this time for whatever reason. But a month down the road when they’re even more sleep-deprived, you want them to get an email from you. They’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, Jayne Havens. Yes.” Versus, “Who was—”
That’s the thing for sleep consultants. You’re dealing with really sleep-deprived parents who can’t remember things, can’t keep things straight. So if you’re showing up in their email box once a week, once a month, whatever, with some tips, maybe they also see you on social media, Facebook, and Instagram, you’re coming to mind when they get to that point where they’re ready to pay for a sleep consultant. That’s really what a sales funnel is. It’s the funnel of the conversation that you’re having with potential clients.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and it’s carried on for longer. If you think about someone can live on your email list for months or years. I have proof of this inside of CPSM. I have proof of this. I have people who enroll in CPSM who have literally been on my email list since 2020. The time is right, and they decide to enroll. I’ve had the same thing with sleep clients. I actually was just hired by a family who literally spoke to me months ago. I recognized that that’s a shorter time span. But when your child is up all night long, even if you’re waiting six months to work on it, that’s a lifetime.
Somebody, just the other day, emailed me out of the blue and said, “I’m finally ready to get started.” And you know what? She probably would have been ready to get started earlier had I been sending her emails once a week or once a month. She probably would have been ready earlier, because she would have been reminded of me. Who knows what reminded her of me? Because I don’t have those systems and place. But if you can get your act together and do it, it makes a world of difference.
Darcy Sauers: Then with parents, as a sleep consultant, you have a short window of time. Actually, as sleep consultants, you have a couple of years. But if someone out there is listening and thinking, “Well, why would I start an email newsletter? People will only hire me for a certain window,” but even if they don’t hire you but they stay on your email list, maybe they’ll hire you for their second baby. This is what I find as a doula. I have people that are like, they contact me. They’ve been on my email list for a while, and they want it to be better the second time. So I’m sure it’s the same for sleep consultants.
Jayne Havens: It is, 100%.
Darcy Sauers: The other thing is, even if someone’s done having babies, they might stay on your list. Your newsletter is what reminds them to tell their friends that they need to hire a sleep consultant. So it really makes a lot of sense to have that email list and that communication going.
Jayne Havens: For sleep consultants who are listening to this who are like, “Okay. Obviously, I need to do this. It feels really overwhelming,” I sort of want to just recap what it might look like. I’m just going to run through it, and tell me if I’m missing anything. Okay?
Darcy Sauers: Sure.
Jayne Havens: So the first step is, you need some sort of freebie, a way for somebody to get something that they want from you that’s valuable, that’s free, in exchange for their email address. So they download a free guide to teaching your baby to sleep through the night or whatever it is. In exchange, they’re on your email list. From that point on, maybe you have what’s known as — if I’m going to get a little techie here — a nurture sequence. A nurture sequence might be a series of seven or eight emails that they get over the course of however long you decide. Maybe you send emails every other day or every three or four days that just sort of give you an opportunity to talk to your prospective client, give them information every few days.
Then maybe we’re going down the funnel a little bit further. The next step is another sort of business term, a call to action. There’s a call to action. Maybe the call to action is to book a discovery call with you. They book that call or they don’t, either way. And if they book the call, and they sign on to work with you, that’s the end of the funnel. That’s a conversion. If they book a call and don’t hire you, they still stay on your email list. Then they’ll continue to receive communication from you for however long. At that point, either they hang out there, or they unsubscribe, or they forward your email to a friend. Or, who knows what happens? But some sort of smaller percentage of people who are receiving your regular communication would become paid clients. That’s the end of the funnel.
Of course, there are lots of little directions that they could go in. If you have a podcast, you could say in your emails, “Check out my podcast. If you’re anxious about your baby crying during sleep training, here’s the link to my podcast.” Or, “If you would like to meet other moms who are also struggling with sleep, join my free Facebook group.” There are lots of places that you could direct your prospective clients who are on your email list to learn more from you, until they’re ready to work with you. Right?
Darcy Sauers: Yes, absolutely. I say, every email, there’s some small call to action. Just, “Follow me on Instagram for more tips on sleep. Follow me on Facebook.” Or, “I’m teaching a free class next month. Here’s how to register.” “Reply back to this email with a question that came up based on what I sent out.” Encourage dialogue.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I actually love that one. The ‘reply to this email,” I actually think that’s gold. Because if you are sending mass emails to tired parents and you say in your email, “Reply to this email with one specific question. I’m happy to answer it for free,” and somebody replies back and says, “My two-year-old is waking up at five o’clock in the morning, and I don’t know what to do,” then all of a sudden, you get to have a conversation with them. I personally think you should give that free advice because you said you’re going to. I think that giving always leads to receiving. So I think I love that. Reply to this email with a quick question. Then you’re having a one-on-one conversation. Then you can invite them to a phone call or whatever.
Darcy Sauers: Or a blog post you’ve written on that subject that they’re asking about. Yes, it’s very powerful because it also makes you human. Humans can help people. I think sometimes parents are scrolling the internet — again, middle of the night while they’re trying to soothe their baby or toddler back to sleep — and it’s like you see these fancy sleep consultants. It’s kind of like, oh, I don’t know. Is that real? But if I’m in an email conversation with you or a DM conversation on Instagram, suddenly, it’s like, “Oh, wait. This is a real person that will help me.” So those conversations are where you get clients from.
Jayne Havens: I’m glad to hear you say that. Because I think that when people think of a sales funnel, that they think that you’re just automating the conversation. I think to some degree, that’s a little bit true. But also, what you’re doing is, you’re automating the process to get to the real, actual conversation.
Darcy Sauers: Yes, because you’re speeding up that initial get-to-know-you phase.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, sometimes if you have the conversation with somebody who’s not ready to sign on to work with you, that conversation is sort of — I don’t want to use the words that it’s a waste of time. It’s just like, they’re not ready yet. They haven’t learned enough. If you can educate them on the front-end of the value that you offer through a series of emails, through them following you on Instagram, through a free Facebook group, and they can really learn to, as you said, know, like, and trust you, then when they get on that call with you, they’re ready. Because they’ve been reading about you, and they’ve been learning about you. They fully understand the value that you bring to the table. Then those conversations are way easier.
Darcy Sauers: Yes, and I want to say one more thing. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you’re listening and still feeling overwhelmed, your sales funnel could be — if you’re on Instagram and you love Instagram, it could be, “DM me for more info.” That’s a sales funnel. That’s actually a really beautiful way to start a conversation.
The other thing is there’s other — not to get even more overwhelming, but there’s other ways to automate. I can’t think of any of the names of the programs. I don’t even use a program. But sometimes, on my Instagram post, I’ll say, “Comment with the word marketing if you want my free cheat sheet on this.” Then I just manually respond to anyone. That’s a such a great way to, first of all, get a lot of comments on your Instagram posts but also start lots of DM conversations.
So if Instagram is not your thing, if you’re hanging out on Facebook, it’s the same thing. “Join my group. Send me a private message.” Even if you haven’t created a lead magnet yet, just the link, like “Sign up for my monthly newsletter.” Tell them what they’re going to get. Give them some incentive. “Sign up for my monthly newsletter where I’m giving sleep tips for zero- to two-year-olds,” something like that. Then you can eventually go to Canva. Make a free, beautiful PDF of the 10 tips for this, that and the other thing.
I think another thing that’s overwhelming about a sales funnel is, people think, “Oh, I need something that they can download, and then a 10-email nurture sequence, and then this and that.” Just start. Just start growing an email list today. Then roll all that stuff out as you have it, and you will be so much better off instead of waiting till you have a big, fancy funnel.
Jayne Havens: Even as somebody who’s been in business for many years at this point, I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to use my own email marketing. I use ActiveCampaign. I find it to be incredibly scary and really not user-friendly. But I’m too far in at this point. My email list is too big to try. Moving somewhere else, it just feels too scary at this point. But I’m still figuring it out. I’m many years into this.
You got to start somewhere. You just send off that first email, and then you tinker around. You figure out how to send two without actually sending off the second one. The first one triggers the second one. Three days later, then you feel like got a real boss. And you just keep going.
Darcy Sauers: I think it’s fun. Obviously, I’m a marketing nerd. You and I have talked about this before. We love learning the business stuff. I’ve think of it as, oh, all right, if I can figure out this email marketing, I can help more people. I can make more money. I can keep doing this job and not go back to my corporate career. So if I figure out blogging, it goes for everything. If I figure out Pinterest, if I do that. It’s just a never ending—
Jayne Havens: Can I quote you what you said the other day? Do you remember what you said that was so interesting the other day?
Darcy Sauers: No.
Jayne Havens: I’m going to do it. The other day, I was on a call with Darcy. She goes, “I figured this out. Because I’m old, I didn’t know about this stuff before. Now, it’s available now.” Your mindset around that was so perfect. Because most people would say, “I’ve been doing things for one way for so long, and that’s just the way I do them.” But your outlook was, like, “No, I’m older, and I get to benefit from all of these new technologies.” I thought that was the coolest mindset ever.
Instead of feeling like, ‘I’m older, so I can’t learn any of this,” you were like, ‘I’m old, so I get to use this in new ways.’ That’s super interesting. I think I’m trying my best to feel that way too. All of us are on a different portion of our journey. I feel too old for TikTok. But after you said that, I’m like, maybe I’m not too old for TikTok. Maybe I can figure out TikTok.
Darcy Sauers: Oh, my gosh. The sleep-deprived parents are on TikTok, I will tell you. That all stems from my — I graduated college in 1996.
Jayne Havens: So you’re not that old.
Darcy Sauers: No, I’m 49. I worked in advertising and marketing. And if you were a small business with limited funds, there was no internet barely yet, you had to buy ads on your local cable TV station — which cost a ton of money because you had to make a video ad, or buy time on the radio. It was hard — or get featured in the newspaper. And so it was so hard and costs so much money.
Now the fact that we have these phones — I’ll speak to your audience — moms can start a business as a sleep consultant. You do not have to spend any money to grow a big audience on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, email. It’s free. So, to me, it’s magical that we get to do this.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, that we get to be able to do it. Not that we have to do it. I think that that’s the money shot right there, right?
Darcy Sauers: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: It’s not that we have to do this. It’s that, we get to do this. That there are these opportunities for growth that are free and learnable. And yes, they might seem a little bit scary and a little bit overwhelming, but they’re available to us. Instead of fearing it, we should lean in and grow and learn.
Darcy Sauers: Right. Think of where all the tired parents are hanging out. You have a free platform to go talk to them, so I love it.
Jayne Havens: I love it. I had to call you out. Before we wrap up, I know that you have training programs, courses to teach all of this good stuff. Do you want to share where the best place is for somebody to land maybe top of your funnel so that that people can connect with you and learn from you?
Darcy Sauers: Yes, first of all, you can follow me on Instagram. I love Instagram. @thedouladarcy. Shoot me a DM. Tell me you heard this podcast. I have a website just for Jayne’s people, because I just love sleep consultants and I love Jayne so much. So if you go to thedouladarcy.com/jayne.
Jayne Havens: Really?
Darcy Sauers: Yes, I learned how to make a page like that on my website.
Jayne Havens: Oh, my gosh.
Darcy Sauers: You can find my Marketing 101 for Sleep Consultants Class, which goes in-depth on creating your lead magnet, setting up your email list, capturing the power of blogging, Facebook, Pinterest, all these little pockets of the Internet where the tired parents are hanging out, and how you can capitalize on that and get build a big audience for your sleep consulting business. So you can see that there. Anyone who purchases through that special link for Jayne also gets my Instagram for Sleep Consultants 30 posts that will promote your sleep consulting services.
Jayne Havens: How cool is that? I didn’t even know you did that. When we get off this podcast recording, you’re going to have to email that to me so that I can send that out.
Darcy Sauers: I will.
Jayne Havens: And I will also make sure, of course, that it lands on our show notes so that anybody listening can have easy access. I’m so flattered. That’s so exciting.
Darcy Sauers: I just love — well, I love you. All of the doulas, and there are a lot that have gone through your program just raved about it. I think your program is amazing. Your training is amazing, the support you provide. I thought you were going to say when I say to you, I don’t understand why all sleep consultants aren’t millionaires. I just think the potential for sleep consultants is limitless. It is for doulas, too. But I think sleep consultants, even more so. Then doulas who become sleep consultants have that. Anyway, I just love your community. I love being on your podcast. So I want to do this for them.
Jayne Havens: Thank you again for being here. I can’t wait to do it again soon.
Darcy Sauers: My pleasure. Thank you.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode. Sales Funnel