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How BetterSpaces Landed New Customers Amid a Year of Upheaval

The wellness event and tech company pivoted their in‑person business to virtual spaces and grew their community, thanks to a few marketing tools—and lots of optimism.

BetterSpaces logo


  • Industry: Wellness tech
  • Location: New York City
  • Company size: 15
  • Year founded: 2016

Published: February 11, 2021

Many small businesses moved from in-person to digital in 2020, but BetterSpaces took the opportunity to reimagine their offerings. Founded in late 2016, the 15-person BetterSpaces team helps businesses enhance their company culture through wellness programming, community-building events, and amenities management like rooftop gardens and other spaces for employees to enjoy.

Pre-pandemic, customers all over the East Coast used the BetterSpaces app to access amenity spaces, book rooms, or sign up for programs like yoga or meditation classes. But when COVID-19 hit, all their clients had to close their wellness spaces and programs, and the BetterSpaces team had to find new ways to serve their clients fast.

Navigating unprecedented change and re-imagining their business

Amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing, BetterSpaces began to rely solely on their app to reach their community. To find out what app users wanted in their new work-from-home lives, BetterSpaces quickly sent surveys, interviewed customers, and solicited feedback from their community managers.

They created new content based on what their community needed and began producing videos hosted on the BetterSpaces app.

They also added 20 live Zoom classes every week, with topics that include things like getting better sleep or exercising at home. “One of the upsides of the pandemic is that it's been creatively challenging. And that's been, I think, motivating for all of us,” says Janera Soerel, Director of Business Development and Client Management.

According to Marketing Manager Sarah Lowe, one of the biggest challenges has been transforming these types of hands-on activities to squares on a computer screen. To address that, they connect virtual events to the end user by sending themed kits to employees ahead of time, filled with the activity supplies for events like painting classes or wine tastings.

“The world is an ever-fluctuating space and nothing seems to be permanent anymore. So be nimble, be agile, and have a team that you really, really love working with.”

Janera Soerel, Director of Business Development and Client Management

The marketing challenge: staying connected with their app users

When BetterSpaces shifted their programming to 100% digital, they had to shift their marketing as well. BetterSpaces didn’t know how they were going to keep their community engaged before, during, and after virtual events, and needed a way to ensure that all their communications resonated with diverse audiences. Physical signage, brochures, and postcards became obsolete, and email became the company’s primary marketing tool.

The tools: Signup forms, segmentation, Customer Journey Builder, Creative Assistant

To expand their audience and engage app-users, BetterSpaces uses several features from Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform. “Mailchimp is the marketing team’s best friend. We use it to do almost all the heavy lifting,” says Sarah.

They increased their email list volume through robust use of signup forms, including landing pages with signup options and embedded opt-ins in their app. They hosted virtual “open houses” for new users to try a class, and then used a QR code to download the app and join the mailing list. They also created printed signup reminders in the few buildings that were still open.

Email segmentation enables BetterSpaces to send the right message to the right people, which helps their brand stay top-of-mind. They segment their email database and then send customized messages based on app usage patterns, user occupations, geography, and more.

To help engage and retain app users, the company began using the Customer Journey Builder. They created automations to send reminders, welcome emails, and reengagement emails. With real-time data to see who’s interacting and who’s not, email marketing—and Sarah’s job—is much easier.

Mailchimp’s AI-powered Creative Assistant design tool helps BetterSpaces send on-brand communications on behalf of their clients, boosting credibility and brand trust, while saving time.

“We have a great creative team, but like most startups and small businesses, we’re also strapped for time and resources. The Creative Assistant has been really helpful in keeping everything on brand for all of our different clients—you can create really lovely things in a very short amount of time,” says Sarah.

The results*: More contacts, new customers

  • 5X

    increase in number of email lists

  • 1K+

    new contacts

  • 10%+

    increase in opens

  • 5%

    increase in click throughs

  • 6+

    new clients

Though they’ve had to temporarily close their physical spaces, they’ve matured as a company during 2020. “Our tech was good, but now our tech is great. So we're going to remain a digital first company,” says Janera.

In 2021 and beyond, once everyone is back in clients’ spaces, they’ll offer a hybrid model using digital and physical elements. “Our whole goal is to help people move forward professionally and personally. We want to stay high tech, but also high touch,” says Sarah.

*Estimated results provided by BetterSpaces, not independently verified by Mailchimp

Advice for other businesses

In 2020, the BetterSpaces team focused on their culture—and on adjusting to constant change. “The world is an ever-fluctuating space and nothing seems to be permanent anymore. So be nimble, be agile, and have a team that you really, really love working with,” says Janera.

As a business that focuses on wellness and company culture for their clients, they stay optimistic by taking care of themselves and each other. The team uses meeting time to check in, offer ways to improve mental and physical health, and build great working relationships. “The world around us is constantly changing, so we might as well just embrace it with people that we trust,” says Janera.

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