Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Massage Therapist Edition

Massage Therapist Danielle Ratliff is the owner of Serenity Now Massage Therapy, and has built a very successful business over the past six years.

Last year she incorporated a relationship marketing system and strategy that has provided more of a personal connection with her clients. Danielle will go into detail how the effectiveness of a tangible touch relationship marketing program has improved the way she markets her business…

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to a new version of our Relationship Marketing Weekly show. I think this is another first for this industry. We’re talking massage therapy today and this – I’m really excited for our guest that we have on the call today.

So without further ado from Cornelius, North Carolina, please welcome Danielle Ratliff. She’s the owner of Serenity Now Massage Therapy. Welcome to our show Danielle.

Danielle Ratliff: Oh, thank you so much. Happy to be here today.

Kody Bateman: Well, we’re excited to have you. You’ve got an incredible story and you’re an amazing entrepreneur. There are a lot of things – not only do you have the massage therapy business, but you host your own radio show. Can you –?

Danielle Ratliff: I do. I just started that.

Kody Bateman: Maybe we will start there. Tell us a little bit about the radio show because I think it relates back to your other business.

Danielle Ratliff: Yes, it does. They’re all intertwined. So the radio show, it’s on a local station WSIC, but it can be streamed from anywhere and the focus of it or the title of the show is Serenity Now: Holistic Approaches to Health and Happiness. But the focus of it is to really bring about awareness to some mental health issues that I think a lot of people struggle with. You know, mental health is something where everyone may have things that they have a hard time with, but they’re not comfortable speaking about it because there’s such a stigma against it.

I won’t necessarily go into my entire story today because I don’t want to “waste” our time talking about that. But basically, I’ve struggled with mental health stuff most of my life and have found holistic ways to overcome this and so really what the radio show is about is bringing on licensed holistic health practitioners or just people who have a motivational story to inspire other people.

Kody Bateman: Well Danielle, I will promise you this. You would never waste any of our time by telling your personal story. You have an incredible personal story and you’ve overcome incredible challenges in your life and people relate with that because people listening on this show, we all have challenges. I mean of different types, of different things. So I just appreciate the fact that you’re willing on your radio show as well as here to share your story.

Danielle Ratliff: Yeah. You know, a 50,000-foot overview is basically that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was 10. I’m 35 now and when I was 27, unfortunately, I was sexually assaulted and that led me down a bad path mentally or even worse, I ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder and three months after the assault, I tried to OD on my medications.

So that really changed my life. At that point, I knew I had to do something different. I was working as a registered dietician in the weight management field and was just not satisfied there. So I went back to school for massage therapy and lo and behold, had the opportunity to purchase a failing massage studio. This was six years ago and now I have an amazing practice with 10 other massage therapists and really a pillar in the community for holistic health options and for being a voice and a face for mental health adversity.

Kody Bateman: OK. So now that you’ve set that up to our listeners who understand that you have overcome insurmountable obstacles and turned it around to create great – a great contribution to our society and great success. So first of all, I want to congratulate you for that.

Danielle Ratliff: Oh, thank you.

Kody Bateman: It means a lot. I want to talk about how you did it. There are different things you did. At some point, you made a decision that you were going to take some big challenges in your life. Use that as an experience that you could go out and help other people and you’ve been doing it ever since.

Your massage therapy business, wow! You bought a failing studio and really turned it around. In fact one of the things I noticed in our notes is it says that you are generating 100 referrals per quarter.

Danielle Ratliff: Pretty much.

Kody Bateman: That’s what I get. So a quarter, that makes – so every three months, you’re generating 100 referrals for your studio. That seems like a lot. That seems like –

Danielle Ratliff: Thirty new referrals a month and that’s just from word of mouth from our current clients. So we track those when we give those clients a $10 credit for every referral that they send us. So we’re able to track that and it is about 30 a month, 100 a quarter.

Kody Bateman: Wow.

Danielle Ratliff: Four hundred a year.

Kody Bateman: So how much of your business comes from these referrals?

Danielle Ratliff: I would say a lot of it. Most of our clients hear about us from other clients. We’re just a pillar in the community now and people know that we’re the place to go for a therapeutic massage. We still get some off – you know, the internet and Google and those kinds of places. But for the most part, we are word of mouth business at this point six years later.

Kody Bateman: Now how many people work in your studio?

Danielle Ratliff: I’m sorry. Say that again.

Kody Bateman: How many people work in your studio?

Danielle Ratliff: Oh, I have 10 therapists and 1 studio manager and then myself. So there are 12 of us.

Kody Bateman: Boy, you really do have quite an operation there. That’s fantastic. That’s great. So talk to us – you know, obviously everybody here is interested in how you’re generating those referrals. You have the radio show, which is a contribution to our society by talking about some core important issues like mental health and how holistic – how do you say that? Holistic –

Danielle Ratliff: You said it right. You got it, man.

Kody Bateman: Holistic therapy.

Danielle Ratliff: Holistic.

Kody Bateman: How does holistic therapy help with these issues?

Danielle Ratliff: Holistic health is nothing more than just a mind-body-spirit approach. So instead of throwing pills or pharmaceuticals at a situation, you try to look at the root cause. So my ultimate vision for Serenity Now is to eventually turn it into a multidisciplinary holistic wellness center. So to have counselors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopath, all under one roof.

Right now, we’re just massage therapy and I’m limited by space because commercial real estate in Lake Norman, finding the space that I need has been difficult. So that’s my limiting factor at the moment.

But we try to just provide a safe space for healing where we’re not going to push pills or supplements on you. It’s going to be a matter of getting into the tissues and working with your body and providing it some necessary healing. You know, stress relief, chronic pain relief, those kinds of things.

So the holistic healing is more of a long term goal for me and my studio. Right now, we’re strictly focused on the massage. But you asked how did I create this business or how am I at the point where we’re generating about 100 word of mouth referrals per quarter. Really it comes down to relationships at the end of the day.

It’s getting out in the community, networking, being seen, doing things for people, from a charitable perspective, knowing that you may not see a return right away.

That’s where SendOutCards has really come into play for me within the past year, just being able to have that touch point in between sessions for either clients or for people I meet in the community networking, who might be referral partners or somebody that I want to partner with down the road because they think the same way I do in regards to health.

Kody Bateman: So when you say you go out and do networking, are you like a member of a BNI chapter or anything like that or –?

Danielle Ratliff: Not BNI. I’m a member of a few local networking groups, Lake Norman Small Business Network, BLOC which is Business Leaders of Charlotte. I used to be a member of Executive Women of Lake Norman. But really, I just try to get out into these groups and find the people who think along the same way as I do and who might be a good referral partner or an asset or somebody who’s just starting out with their business and I may be able to help them and provide some guidance. You know, knowing that again, I may not see a return on that investment right off the bat. But eventually, they will remember that oh, she helped me or this company is a great company and they will send people to me.

So it’s kind of, you know, you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.

Kody Bateman: Right. So you’re out networking. You’re giving referrals to other people and that’s a source of referrals for you. You’re also the queen of follow-up. So there’s a lot of follow-up that you do to generate or create relationships, genuine relationships with people.

You mentioned SendOutCards. So tell us how do you use it. How do you use –?

Danielle Ratliff: So basically everybody who walks through our doors, if they’re a new client, they’re going to receive one of the snail mail SendOutCards within a week or two. It depends on how quickly my manager can get it into the system.

But we do try to do a touch point with our new clients. You know, email is nice but a tangible card that they can hold just means a lot more I think personally. Then the people who I’m friends with on Facebook, it’s not that I stalk their pages but I keep an eye on people and if I see that oh, they won an award or they had a grandchild born or something special, I use that and pull a picture off social media and put it in the card and mail that card to them, if I have their address.

Kody Bateman: We call that a lifestyle celebration. It’s what we call that and we really teach that in all of our courses. We really teach the importance of doing what you just said and yeah, we don’t want to use the word “stalking”. But –

Danielle Ratliff: Yeah, yeah. I don’t like that word, but yeah.

Kody Bateman: But you’re seeing people.

Danielle Ratliff: Keeping tabs.

Kody Bateman: I mean it’s only normal. I mean we all scan our news feeds on Facebook and Instagram and whatever. So we see people’s lives. We see their accomplishments and it’s a great opportunity. What’s the importance of the tangible? Because you can comment back on Facebook. I mean you could post something on your wall. What’s the difference between that and the tangible touch that you do? What do you think is the difference there?

Danielle Ratliff: Well, I think receiving a card in the mail with a picture on it, you know, of you or of your family member, that goes on your fridge.

Kody Bateman: Yeah.

Danielle Ratliff: You will remember that.

Kody Bateman: Yeah.

Danielle Ratliff: You know, a comment you read and then you just move along. But a card, you really – it’s just a stronger touch. It’s a stronger touch point.

Kody Bateman: I heard someone say once, you cannot put a frame around a post.

Danielle Ratliff: That’s great. Yeah, that’s true.

Kody Bateman: You can put a frame around a card and hang it on the wall. I notice there’s a frame right behind you on your wall. It’s probably not a card.

Danielle Ratliff: Yeah. No, it’s not a card.

Kody Bateman: But people do that. I mean these cards mean – especially when you’re celebrating somebody. You’re capturing an accomplishment of somebody, putting it on something tangible, sending it to them in the mail. It absolute – you know, just imagine yourself receiving that. I mean it means a lot. Another thing I’ve noticed is no body is exempt from the incredible feeling they get from that.

A lot of times, we have the tendency to think that people who’ve had lots of success or whatever, they’re kind of beyond the need for that. Nobody is ever beyond the need for feeling appreciated. Nobody ever.

Danielle Ratliff: It’s nice to be recognized and appreciated and the thing with the cards is we’re in a day and age where we don’t print pictures anymore. I can remember going to Walmart and you drop your little – you know, you roll a film off and then you go on. You look at the pictures later. I’m a little bit older than I look. But I remember that day and age and we don’t print pictures anymore. So it’s nice to have – it’s kind of like a picture printing service in a way.

Kody Bateman: Yeah. I used to joke all the time. I don’t so much anymore because a lot of people don’t relate to that. I used to joke about the fact that what happens when you go to the store and pick up that package of pictures that were taken whenever and you go home and I ask people, “Do you like pictures of yourself?” and almost everybody says, “No, no. I don’t like pictures of me.” I said, “Then how come when you pick up those printed pictures and you’re thumbing through the pictures, what are you looking for?” You’re looking for …

Danielle Ratliff: Looking for yourself.

Kody Bateman: … a picture of you.

Danielle Ratliff: Yeah.

Kody Bateman: And everybody does, everybody – well, of course now, they do that on their – you know, digitally or whatever.

Danielle Ratliff: Right. It’s all on the phone.

Kody Bateman: But you’re right. With the SendOutCards system, we have a way to bring back that tangible impression, which I think is real powerful. Not only that – and I want you to talk to this. We talk a lot about the lost art of letter writing.

Back in the day, you talk about famous people like – you know, that made huge impact, like Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln – you know, a lot of what we have from his leadership today came from letters he wrote to loved ones.

I mean he was a masterful letter writer. He wrote all the time. So that was the art of letter writing back in the day and with SendOutCards, we’re kind of bringing back the lost art of letter writing, which is powerful. I know that you have experience with this. What is it about writing your thoughts and sending them to somebody?

Danielle Ratliff: I think it’s just – it’s more special that way. Like you said, you can write a comment on somebody’s wall and not put a lot of thought into it. But when you are writing those letters, you’re forming complete sentences that time and you’re not using text jargon that all the teens and the kids these days – you know, it’s just a more formal approach that I think people appreciate.

We check our mail and it’s mostly junk mail these days and advertorials and things like that. They get thrown right in the trash. But when you get that card, someone is going to open it and look at it. They’re probably going to put it on their fridge. It’s just something that’s more special than a quick email or a comment on somebody’s page.

Kody Bateman: Absolutely. Well, there you have it everybody. Danielle Ratliff, she’s the owner of Serenity Now Massage Therapy. She took a failing therapy studio, completely turned it around now to 10 active therapists or – do you call them therapists?

Danielle Ratliff: Yeah, yeah. You got it right. Massage therapists.

Kody Bateman: Therapists. Enjoying over 100 referrals per quarter, has a successful radio show where she talks about holistic healing. We just really appreciate your contribution to society.

What you send out in life is what comes back to you and you’re having that success because you’re serving your community and kudos to you for that. We always like to close our show by having you just give us any final words of wisdom, whether it’s business, personal, whatever. Anything you would like to share. Act on your prompting right now and share whatever you feel like this audience needs to hear from Danielle. Go ahead.

Danielle Ratliff: OK. Well, my big thing is that personally, I associate with the phoenix, which is the mythical bird that rises from the ashes and I think that my kind of classic quote is that, “We can only rise from the ashes if we rise together,” and the goal in life should be to A, be a good human and B, spread positivity. So if you live by those two quotes, being a good human and trying to spread positivity where you can, it’s going to come back to you. You know, karma is real.

Kody Bateman: Yeah, absolutely. Well, there you have it. Danielle, thank you so much for being on our show today. We really appreciate it. Those of you who want to know how Danielle does that incredible follow-up with the tangible touch, get back with the person that shared this show with you. They can probably show you how she does that.

Again, thank you very much. Thanks everybody and by the way, we’re going to be transitioning this show to a podcast format. So we’re going to be moving to podcast. So next week, we may be taking off and we’re going to be making some announcements on how this show is going to be turning into a weekly podcast show. Danielle, I may have you come back and be a guest on the podcast.

Danielle Ratliff: That’s terrific.

Kody Bateman: Because at the podcast, we’re going to be able to get – spend a little bit more time on each show and get into a little bit more in-depth stuff. I would love to interview you more on your holistic philosophies.

Danielle Ratliff: Absolutely.

Kody Bateman: And how it’s helping things. I think that would be really cool. So thank you very much. Thanks everybody. We will see you when the podcast gets started. Take care now.

Danielle Ratliff: Thank you.

Kody Bateman: All right.

Danielle Ratliff: Have a good one.

To secure your best year yet, you may consider using a service like SendOutCards. In just minutes, you can create a custom card, add a personal message and picture, and do it all right from your mobile device!  You can even include one of their many gift selections like their amazing brownies, their new premium line of chocolates, you can even include a Starbucks card!

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate a Relationship Marketing Strategy in your business, feel free to call or text me at {LEAD_OWNER_PHONE|}I will answer all your questions and help you build relationships, increase referrals, and make an amazing impression on all your clients, friends and family!

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