Some professionals may have an idea, but for many others, the answer is not entirely clear. That’s why Dickson Lam created a company with a mission in mind. Join Dickson and Doug C. Brown as they talk about using SEO in an e-commerce business, mission as a critical component to your business, building value, and much more.
Dickson Lam is the founder of EFFYDESK, an ergonomically minded furniture company famous for its standing desks, which are created with business professionals in mind. He is based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Visit his website: EffyDesk.ca
Check out EFFYDESK’s products at www.effydesk.ca and use the code EFFY10 for a 10% discount store-wide!
I have a great guest from Canada. His name is Dickson Lam. He owns a company called EFFYDESK.ca. I was excited to talk with him because he started his company in 2019. He grew it rapidly. He is on his way in 2021 to break eight-figures. That is a good deal from a startup company that was organically funded and going through growth. We talked about how do you get the growth to work when you are scaling up rapidly. A lot of companies, when they have that, it’s chaotic or frankly, they implode. He is continuing to grow the company. We focused a lot on SEO, Pay-Per-Click, things of that nature because that is one of the main ways they drive their leads. We talked about it in the way that people should understand how online marketing works before they start spending money on online marketing. If they don’t know, they can easily spend a lot of money and then find out, “Not the way to go.”
We also talked about selling on value. That is what he does. He positions value intelligently through the whole customer journey. This is something that a lot of people don’t do. It is a success trait for what he does. I loved his beginning. I asked him after our call. I said, “What got you moving originally?” He said, “I used to sell things on Craigslist. I took the same concepts that I had on Craigslist, which was a successful system making money. I brought it to EFFYDESK.” I was thinking, “Somebody started out on Craigslist. They have gone on now to build a company, which I predict will be at minimum multiple eight-figure companies.” It was an interesting story. Without further ado, let’s welcome, Dickson Lam to the show from EFFYDESK.ca. I know you are going to learn a lot from this interview.
I have an amazing Canadian on the line with us, a smart guy. I have been chatting with him. His name is Dickson Lam. He owns a company called EFFYDESK. Dickson, welcome to the call, sir.
Thank you for having me, Doug. I appreciate your time.
EFFYDESK, I was checking out your website. I love what is on there. I spend a lot of time in the office. I can see you have ergonomic things and all these cool things to help people be more comfortable. If you could sum up what EFFYDESK does, just so our readers know. I could sum it up but I would like to know it from you.
We believe in the word health. The majority of the workforce now spend upwards of 5 to 12 hours on a computer. We believe sitting in one position is bad for your health. We have started to sell this ergonomic office furniture, such as standing desks, to help promote better posture, to prevent hip injuries, to promote better back health, neck health. We also found that being able to alternate between sitting and standing, your productivity also goes up like a number of folds. That is the reason why we started EFFYDESK is trying to help the public become healthier in their work lives.
It’s a mission. That is a good thing. A lot of times people don’t think about the mission. They think about, “I’ve got to sell.” That’s nice but when you sell with a mission, it’s a lot easier. I heard a quote, “Sitting is the new smoking.” I have a stand-up desk right behind me over the left of my view. I alternate in between those. You will be far more productive when you get up and move around. You will be far more comfortable when you sit back down again. You have better mental clarity. I do, every day, when I do this. If you are looking for elegant, affordable and quality ergonomic office furniture, go to EFFYDESK. You started this company in 2019, you are having fast growth.
We owe it a little bit to COVID where everyone is working from home. In the office, you all have this expensive fancy furniture. When people working at home, they do some makeshift desks and offices where they are in an uncomfortable position. We saw a lot of sales boost when people started to realize, “We need proper ergonomic furniture at home also.”
You are having fast growth for a company that just started in 2019. I understand that circumstances change, COVID, Zoom. They were, “Who’s Zoom?” We have this Webex. We have GoToMeeting. We have all these other things. Now, I don’t even hear Webex, GoToMeeting. I hear, “I’ve got to Zoom with my buddy.” It’s like they have replaced the video conferencing with the brand, Zoom. A lot of that was to COVID-19. Where you have an online presence, a lot of times COVID-19 has helped out many companies because a lot of people are here. You have done some other things that are key to your growth. I know when we did an article, you said Search Engine Optimization or commonly known as SEO is one of the biggest sales strategies and one of the things that most people starting seem to forget or take too lightly. I used to own an SEO company. I understand the value in that. About 70% of the people who used to come as clients were already with an SEO company and not getting results. If you are going to give someone advice on what they should focus on so that they use their time wisely when it comes to SEO, what would you recommend for them?
SEO worked perfectly for us. Even before ads, I already knew how important SEO was. The mass majority of people buying desks are going to Google standing desks in the Google search optimization. We found that this was one of our most important marketing aspects in the business. In the beginning, we didn’t have that much of a budget so I tried doing it myself. I was able to do a little bit but I found quickly that it was a little bit over my head. I decided to look online and found a small SEO company in Vancouver. Within two months, we already saw our rankings, first top two ranks, top two pages in Google, we saw revenues started skyrocketing from there. We found the importance of SEO.
SEO works great when you have a clear target. You seem to have a very clear target. One of the places that SEO falls down is the SEO company doesn’t, I will say this nicely, force the client to get very clear on the target. Therefore, they are buying keywords or they are doing whatever on their behalf. They are not getting the results there. What I heard from you is, you get a very clear target, standing desk, whatever it might be. For those who don’t know what SEO is, some people reading might be, “I heard about that,” do you want to give them a definition of what you believed SEO to be for you?
SEO, in my own definition, it’s setting your website to be in a way where Google can read your website and see what your website is selling. When you hire an SEO person to help your business, you are telling them to set up your business so Google can read it. You are telling them which keywords you are actively going after. When you are going after, let’s say Vancouver standing desk and someone Google Vancouver standing desk, you are going to be one of the first ones to pop up if you are doing that SEO correctly.
It depends on the keywords that were being used in certain things. I know things change over time. You did a highly intelligent thing because you are like, “I tried this out. I did okay. I learned some stuff.” Google and all the other search engines are constantly changing their rules and algorithms. Those of you who are considering SEO, want to find somebody that can explain to you what they are doing and why they are doing it. Put your thinking cap on and say, “Does this make sense for your business?” Are you using the organic search or are you using Pay-Per-Click and things like that too?
At the beginning of our journey, for the first six months, we started SEO only. We saw a huge return. After that, we couldn’t keep up with the inventory. We didn’t even look at ads. Another 3 or 4 months later, we doubled down on inventory. We started running PPC for Google and Facebook and we saw another major return there. They work hand in hand, PPC and SEO. This worked magic for us.
My company is called Business Success Factors. You did a success factor here, which is you started with the organic. You learned a lot from organic, I bet. That helped you better target paid traffic. I don’t want to sound like I know everything about this because I don’t. It changes so much. What I see is you did the right paths. I talked with a gentleman one time at a live event. He said, “I can’t make Facebook work for me on the paid ads.” I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I spent $100,000 this month. It’s my first month. I didn’t get one lead, none, zero.” I asked him, “Why is that?” He goes, “I don’t know but this month, I’m going to spend $120,000.” I said, “Can I ask you a couple of questions?” He goes, “Yeah. First, before you ask me the question, what do you think of that?” I said, “It’s not a smart play. I hope I’m not being rude to you, sir.” I asked him one question, “Do you have a company that is charging you a percent of your spend on the number of ads that they are placing every single month?” He said, “Yeah. They are getting 10%. Why do you ask?”
I said, “In six months, you are going to be spending $200,000 a month because that is how they make their money.” He took my advice. What he did is he went back and started with organic to figure out the market better. He stopped the $100,000-month bleed. For those of you reading, the reason we are telling this story is that we have made the mistakes so you don’t have to. Start with SEO first, then go to Pay-Per-Click. That is the best strategy. I also recognize you said, branding is everything. Could you let everybody know here, what does branding means to you?
Branding is the face of your company. As an eCommerce store, you don’t have a storefront. We don’t have people to talk to. The only thing and what you tell people to see in you are branding. In short, branding is a storefront, like your website, demeanor, customer service, the look of your company is your storefront. That to me is what branding is.
I will add something. Jay Conrad Levinson wrote a book series called Guerrilla Marketing. I had an opportunity to do some work for Jay early in my life. He told me this and I never forgot. He said, “Marketing is everything that touches the senses of your client and so isn’t your brand. The brand is what are they thinking about when they are thinking about you or your company when you are not around.” I always took that to heart. I think exactly what you just said is so accurate for people. They don’t think about their daily activities or the clothing they wear or how their website looks or the vehicles. They don’t think of it as a brand. People judge people and companies often brand. What would you recommend to others about building their brand so that they can scale to a multimillion-dollar, eight-figure company?
What I would recommend it for your own company, in your own business, let’s say you bought your own product. What do you want people to think of you when you are using your own product? To me, that is what branding is. Once you understand what kind of brands that you want, you solidify that or it touches all senses or points of contact, whether it be customer service, look, the color of your website.
You said something highly brilliant that I don’t think a lot of people are going to catch. I’m going to go back and unpack this. You said something to the effect of, what do you want when your people are using your product or service? What do you want them to be thinking? That starts with the end in mind. One of the biggest mistakes I see with companies when it comes to creating a brand, marketing, even creating a great customer experience so that the sales channel has it easier is they forget to begin with the end in mind. They think the end in mind is the sale. The reality is, there is much more to the end in mind. When we think like what you just said, then it helps us reframe that whole original frame that we have. It can’t help but I have to look at it differently. For you guys, did it come on the first try? Did you adjust as you went along?
In the beginning, when we first started the company, the first name before EFFYDESK was Stark Store Deals. As you can have it here, when we first started the business, we didn’t want to perceive ourselves as a value brand because we are selling on top-of-the-line quality and a great product. Having dealt in the name was not something we wanted people to perceive us on. We transitioned the name from Stark Store Deals to EFFYDESK. We changed the brand to become more of a premium look to match the premium quality. That is what we want other people to feel when they purchase from our website. It’s like, “I can rest assured we bought a premium product from EFFYDESK.”
Even the name change to EFFYDESK sounds so much more upscale. It sounds so much more like, “I want this higher-level perception of value.” A lot of people don’t think about value-based sell or value-based sales.
We have to go back to providing that value rather than just trying to put the numbers in your store.
You’ve got to focus on providing value versus just getting numbers into the store. Could you unpack that a little bit for us?
As business owners, all we focus on is making money. When you focus on making money, you forget about all the smaller things that make your company. When you are focused on providing value for people, you put your feet in their shoes where, “If I buy this desk, what will I get out of it?” We try to make it from A to Z. We want to provide that service, quality and value that they are getting. I’m bad at explaining these things. When you are focused on value, you are focused on every aspect of making the purchase a beautiful process. While if you are focusing on the numbers, you are just focusing on, “What my profit and margins are? How much money do I need to put in to get this amount of money?” You are not focusing on what the customer needs and wants. That is where we focus on, which is value.
Value is the perception of the person buying it. Many people come and say, “We provide value.” Even multiple 8, 9-figure companies, are stuck. They are like, “We provide this at the right price.” That will hit a certain value for the market but what is the real value that you are presenting? If people can figure out that and how to put that into a sales story, their sales magically go up. You guys have done that as a master’s on it. That brings me to the question that I wanted to ask, do you ship to the United States? You had mentioned Google and Silicon Valley, are you just in Canada alone?
We have opened our stores accepting US orders. We have finalized on logistics. We haven’t made a specific USA website yet, but we have a wide number of stores to start shipping to the US.
Americans, go to EffyDesk.ca. I love what you had written in an article. You said, “Branding is your face and customer service is your heart.” It is so well said. Could you share some of the best practices that you have that could make other people stand up and go, “Customer service needs to be outstanding?” What other businesses should look like as an example of having customer service is the heart?
When it comes to customer service, a lot of people focus on customer service when you are starting because you only have that volume. As you scale up, you have so much volume. You see a lot of customer service start to go downwards because there is so much volume. There is not enough time. We believe that customer service is not your last point of contact. It is the last point of touch before your product gets there. It reassures them what you bought is what you need. Going back to customer service, it’s the last point of contact. That is the most important, the first touch and the last touch.
For those of you reading, understand that it’s a customer journey. Customer service is part of that journey. When you can make them feel great all the way through, even after they purchased and they are treated with respect and dignity, you will get more referrals. You are going to be able to expand the sale. They are going to come back and buy something again. Essentially, what I teach companies all the time, Dickson, is customer service is also a sales division. We need to think, “What do we provide value? How are we selling value all the way through?” The customer service department, if done right, can be a big boost in productivity and revenue for a company. They can become that extra sales force.
If you look at companies who do this well, GoDaddy comes to mind, I cannot get on to talk to GoDaddy customer service without at least spending $50 or $100 additional, then when I figured I was coming there in the first place, it’s because they are great at this. It’s in a very gentle way. I love it. If branding is your face, customer service is your heart. I want to thank you for being on the show. If people want to get some furniture for their office, if they want to be more comfortable, they would like elegant, affordable and quality ergonomic office furniture, how is the best way to get ahold of your company, you or whatever methods?
Hop on our website and our live chat. We have multiple, amazing, great customer service staff that can help you. If you want to reach out to me directly, you can reach out to me at Info@EFFYDESK.ca. We hope to see everyone there.
Dickson, thanks for being here. I appreciate you being on the show. You are doing great stuff. I love the website and what you have on there. I’m urging people to go there and check it out at EFFYDESK.ca. Thanks again.
Thank you so much, Doug. Thank you for your time and for having me on here.
I enjoyed this interview. It’s nice that when somebody starts a company up, they go to multiples of millions of dollars and beyond and are still having rapid growth because they were doing things right. Sometimes right isn’t always known. Sometimes we run down a path enthusiastically when we find out, “It’s the wrong path.” However, this is not the story for this man. He is certainly doing quite well. What I loved about it is everything is methodically thought through. He focuses on value, the value that he is providing his clients. This is how his company started. If branding is your face, customer service is your heart. That is his motto. The reality is that if you follow the pathway of what we talked about in this episode, I think you will farewell.
He said a lot of brilliant things and then I unpacked them. We talked a lot about online marketing and how he has done that. If you are not embracing that and you need help, let us know. Let somebody know who has been there done that. They can help you, at least advise you, moving you forward. If you liked this episode, please as always go up and rate it five stars. If you have topics that you want to hear about or you have comments or questions, feel free to send them to us at, YouMatter@BusinessSuccessFactors.com. Until the next episode.
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