Hey guys! Welcome back to Products Worth Talking About — the show about disruptive physical products and the people who built them.
Today, we’ve got a great episode for you all about pivoting your business and marketing strategies during this unprecedented time. COVID-19 has forced numerous small businesses to shift their brands and businesses during the shutdown. Does this sound like you? Maybe your business is having to market to new clientele or is temporarily closed in order to meet social distancing requirements. Fortunately, we have an exceptional guest on the show that will give you invaluable insights into modifying your business.
In this episode, you’re going to learn about shifting your business and marketing tactics from Brian Angel, CEO and owner of Standing Desk Nation and InMovement. We had an excellent Zoom call with Brian about how his businesses have adapted during COVID-19, and he also gave great advice on staying healthy while working at a desk. Let’s dive in!
Brian Angel is in the business of supplying healthy alternatives to sitting at a desk during work. He co-founded the retail supply online store Standing Desk Nation with his wife, Ali. The company provides various products that encourage movement while working, including standing desks, ergonomic products, monitor arms, and treadmill desks.
In addition to his retail success, Brian is also the CEO & Owner of InMovement, a brand that enables people to stay active during the day through their helpful standing and treadmill desks. InMovement was originally one of Brian’s suppliers at Standing Desk Nation, but he acquired the company within the last year.
As we all know, COVID-19 dramatically impacted the way we do business, and Brian’s companies greatly shifted since the shutdown. His individual sales significantly increased, but his company’s revenue is only up 10%, and the company is currently suffering a net loss:
“You know, we’ve lost all of our B2B business. … Customers that are buying for their offices over and over again … have dried up and been replaced by people … with [a] huge demand to buy their desks at home. … For us on the surface, it sounds great, but it’s actually been a net loss when it comes down to it because … the cost to acquire a customer hasn’t really dropped for us.” – Brian Angel
Although Brian is selling to many new customers, his business clients have evaporated since the shutdown. Before COVID-19, InMovement and Standing Desk Nation’s sales primarily came from offices ordering multiple standing and treadmill desks, but now they’re mostly selling to individuals buying equipment for their home offices. Even though his companies are currently experiencing a net loss, Brian is optimistic about his new customers. He hopes that InMovement and Standing Desk Nation will increase its business-to-business sales once individuals return to their offices:
“Normally, we have a pretty high return customer rate in the 20 percentile range. … We’re less than 4% over the last 30 days. It’s just all new customers coming in. … We may not be able to sell 10, 15, 20 desks at a time in a single order, but if we can create a customer that could turn into ten referrals or a 20-desk order in six months when he goes back to work, I’ll take that as a win, and [I] hope that it pays off in the long run.” – Brian Angel
Even though their order volume has increased by 250% in the past year, Brian’s companies are suffering economically because of the shutdown. InMovement and Standing Desk Nation may not be experiencing a financial boom currently, but they could grow dramatically once their new clients return to their work locations.
We asked Brian how his businesses have pivoted since the beginning of COVID-19, and he expressed that their branding and marketing have shifted with our current moment. His company InMovement has heavily focused on generating traffic through paid advertising on social media:
“Most of our traffic comes from search, right? So we put a lot of effort into paid search. We’re really growing our organic footprint and in our organic traffic. … We’re sort of getting into maximizing the potential of YouTube, which I think … is an interesting place because it gives you the ability to convey emotion like you can [on] Facebook, but it also gives you much more intent-based audiences that you can target. So that’s probably where we’re focused on the most.” – Brian Angel
InMovement has put in a great deal of effort to create engaging video content that draws in potential customers, and you can check out their YouTube page here.
In addition to focusing on creating content for YouTube, Brian has shifted their advertising to reflect individuals’ situations during the lockdown:
“If I’m going to be spending money on ads, they’ve got to make sure that we’re messaging to the moment, where people are working from home. People are stressed and are ridden with anxiety. So it’s changed our pitch a little bit. So that’s been a lot of work, updating all of our Facebook ads and updating all of our search text ads and things like that — even updating our site [to] sort of meet the moment. … The number one thing we’re doing is we’re shifting our content.” – Brian Angel
InMovement updated its website and content to reflect that people are working from home. Brian even filmed and photographed InMovement’s products in his own home because he realized that his company didn’t have home office footage.
When developing written and video advertisements, Brian focuses on creating relationships with viewers. His advertisements focus on being empathetic and helpful to draw in customers:
“I just look at it as, … ‘How can I be empathetic to what’s going on with the person on the other end of the … email, advertisement, websites. … How can I overcome their objections?’ I guess that’s really what it sort of boils down to if you treat it that way. I think [online sales] happen a little bit more organically.” – Brian Angel
InMovement focuses on creating trust with potential and current customers to generate sales. Their marketing strategy revolves around being both relevant and helpful during COVID-19. How are you shifting your marketing strategy during these times?
In addition to being helpful through advertisements, Brian strides to help individuals through his products. He’s thrilled about the future of InMovement and the prospect of helping people stay healthy while working:
“I’m really excited about building my own brand of products. So InMovement is exciting to me. … The focus there is not scaling at a grand level. The focus there is [creating] great products, [and a] sustainable, profitable company that actually does good in the world.” – Brian Angel
InMovement’s products aim to benefit people by enabling them to stay physically active while working. Most individuals engage in prolonged periods of sitting that can create physical problems, and daily exercise isn’t enough to undo sitting-induced issues:
“I don’t think people understand how unhealthy those eight to 10 to 15 hours of sitting [a day] really are for them, and I also don’t think they understand that even if you’re working out for 30 to 60 minutes a day, you’re effectively undoing all that by then sitting for eight hours. … Not to mention all the physiological problems you’re gonna have with … hamstrings and back … and all the potential injuries you’re walking yourself into.” – Brian Angel
The general public is becoming more aware of the harm that sitting has on their health, and as a result, more and more people are switching to standing desks. Standing is undoubtedly healthier than sitting for prolonged periods, but contrary to popular belief, standing desks can also be harmful to your body:
“When you’re standing, you inherently get tired and …. you either lock your knees [or] you stand in bad posture, … and [you] get tired and wear yourself out.” – Brian Angel
Brian encourages people to use treadmill desks to maintain correct posture and remain active throughout the day:
“If you’re walking at a really slow speed, let’s just say one mile an hour, you can’t fall into those [bad posture] positions. So you’re constantly engaged whether you want to be or not, [and] you don’t have to [even] think about it. … Many [customers] will walk for five, six, seven hours a day right after they get it because they don’t feel it. It just happens really naturally.” – Brian Angel
Switching from an inactive standing or seated position to a treadmill desk can help improve your energy levels, productivity, and burn more calories throughout the day. If you find yourself working from home these days, it may be a good idea to invest in a treadmill desk to keep your body healthy and active!
We’re so thrilled that we had Brian Angel on today’s episode! We found his experience navigating his business through COVD-19 and focusing on empathetic marketing incredibly helpful, and we hope that you benefited from his advice!
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Thanks for reading! Until next time—
RT and Tyler