How to Build Community and Increase Engagement with Your Wellness Resources

Learn how a partnership with Wishroute can create 18x more engagement than the average health app
Karyn Stonis

Meet them where they are

Motivating people to prioritize their health and engage with your wellness resources can be a challenge, especially during the cold winter months. The Esplanade Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to community engagement surrounding the Charles River Esplanade, knows all too well the challenge of getting people to participate in activities in Boston’s freezing temperatures. To engage the local community, the Esplanade Association (EA) partnered with Wishroute to create and facilitate the month-long Esplanade Virtual Wellness Challenge as part of their Frost Fit Winter Fitness Series Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). This month-long challenge encouraged participants to take advantage of EA and BCBSMA resources (including the Charles River Esplanade, outdoor exercise course, and Bluebikes public bike rentals) and to reinvigorate their wellness routines. 

Instead of traditional engagement methods such as email or social media, Wishroute allowed EA and BCBSMA to actively engage the community through our unique wellness accountability and human support via text message. Wishroute created a month of daily inspirational, healthy habit-forming messaging which promoted EA and their partner’s rich wellness content focused on outdoor activities around the Esplanade. 

Attracting a diverse audience

The Esplanade Virtual Wellness Challenge included a broad range of participants across all age groups and fitness levels. 

  • Roughly 50% of participants worked from home, while the other 50% included stay-at-home parents, commuters, retirees, health care workers, unemployed workers, and students.  
  • At the beginning of the challenge, most participants were in need of a boost -- 60% of participants reported having “fallen off track” or were “getting the hang of staying on track” with their wellness goals

Wellness accountability in action 

During the 30-day challenge, Wishroute facilitated daily, motivating conversations. Wishroute texted participants an inspirational tip each morning and then an evening check-in text asking how they prioritized their health that day. Whether it was encouraging participants to find a park bench on the Esplanade to practice mindfulness, explore the Esplanade’s 5 miles of paths on a walk or bike, or inspire them with a recipe for Meatless Monday, Wishroute focused on and celebrated all aspects of self-care throughout the 30 days. The evening check-ins encouraged participants to text back, whether it was a great day or not. If participants completed a wellness-related activity, they earned a point towards fun incentives. During the final week of the challenge, participants had the opportunity to win double points, upping the ante on the challenge, increasing engagement, and adding some fun! If they didn't do an activity, Wishroute provided judgment-free support to help them through any road bumps and make a plan for the next day. Participant responses to evening check-ins ranged from:

  • I did an early morning walk on the Esplanade before work, day is off to a good start! 
  • Even though I spent all day at home, I got out of my pj's and ate 2 healthy meals😊 
  • I grazed on leftover treats all day unfortunately but i’m committed to getting moving tomorrow
  • I did the workout you sent this morning by the docks -- here's a picture of the view! 

And, Success!

90% of participants engaged throughout the month-long challenge, with 70% of participants reporting a healthy activity 3+ days per week. Compared to industry drop off averages, this challenge had 18x more engagement than the average health app - wow!  The power of Wishroute's methodology is that it’s simple, achievable, and human. Did you know that when you feel accountable to another human, your chance of success increases 6.5 x over

High engagement = high impact

  • 95% of participants reported that Wishroute had a positive impact on their mindfulness, healthy eating, or exercise routine
  • 94% of participants who reported at the beginning of the challenge that they had “fallen off track” with their wellness goals reported being more “on track” post-challenge
  • 90% of participants reported that the challenge improved their mental and emotional well-being

Hear from participants first hand!

“This is just what I needed to get me back on track and held me accountable. I looked forward to the texts each day and at the end of the work day when I didn’t feel like exercising I would get up and move because I knew I would be reporting back to Wishroute later!”
“In these weird times, external validation has been more helpful than I can say. Wishroute does an exceptional job of combining ideas and encouragement, mixing up activities and suggestions, and making positive change feel possible”

Wishroute’s wellness accountability and support stand outs by: 

  • Making it Simple - With support via text, consumers are using something that's already part of their daily life. No need to learn anything new!
  • Making it Achievable - With daily inspiration and goal setting, Wishroute helps people build healthy, sustainable habits around your wellness resources
  • Making it Human - with 2-way texting that consumers prefer, consumers get the support and accountability they need to be successful  (75% of consumers get frustrated when they can't respond to automated SMS messages)

Partners benefit from increased engagement & quality insights

With Wishroute’s daily conversations over text message, EA and BCBSMA were able to effectively engage with their community and generate activity with their wellness resources. How do they know? The data collected from our daily conversations provided valuable insights to EA and BCBSMA on interest level and activity surrounding their resources and the impact on the community’s well being (as represented in stats above!). For example, the number of participants that mentioned using Bluebikes or shared their excitement about using Bluebikes, the number of participants that reported taking their workouts outside on the Esplanade’s pathways, and examples of participants who shared photos of being on the Charles River Esplanade. These types of insights help our partners determine what’s going well, where they need to improve, and where they should focus more investment (by demographic if applicable!). 

Building on success

The incredible success of this challenge is inspiration for additional partnership opportunities that can help drive community engagement around building healthy habits. This type of program demonstrates the power of providing an accountability team in the palm of your community’s hand to help them prioritize their health and uncover the vast wellness resources that you provide. If you are looking for ways to increase engagement around your product,  here are some unique ways that Wishroute can help:

  • Provide ongoing coaching to increase retention: Wishroute can provide the daily support and encouragement your users need to form healthy habits around your specific product and/or resources and help them achieve their goals, including hosting periodic challenges for participants like this one!
  • Improve engagement during your onboarding process: Wishroute can complement your onboarding process to increase engagement up-front to reduce drop-off and increase retention
  • Improve your free trial conversion rate: Wishroute can complement your product’s free trial to increase engagement during that key time, drive loyalty and brand connection and increase your free trial conversion rate 
  • Identify key user or product insights: Wishroute can provide valuable insights on the use of your product through our daily conversations with your users 

We’d love to hear from you on how you’re tackling the challenges of sustaining engagement with your wellness product. What’s working/not working for you today?  

            If you’d like to learn more about working with us,      text "Wishroute" to (617) 553-6613 and we’ll be in touch!

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