How I Started A $500K/Year Digital Marketing Agency From India

Published: October 6th, 2023
Devjeet Singh
Founder, Conversion Perk
Conversion Perk
from Mohali
started July 2018
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! My name is Devjeet, and I'm the proud founder of Conversion Perk, which I launched in 2018. Hailing from Purnea, which is a district in Bihar, one of the most underdeveloped states in India, I have always been motivated by the challenges that surrounded me. After completing my Bachelor of Technology in 2010, I spent close to a decade working with various agencies.

With an initial investment of just ₹2.5L (equivalent to roughly USD 3,500 at the time) and no godfather in the industry to guide me, I bootstrapped Conversion Perk. I took the risk, fueled by my passion and experience.

Today, I am incredibly proud to say that within just five years, we've achieved significant milestones and today we are generating a monthly revenue that is many-fold more than the initial investment.

We are now recognized as partners by some of the industry's leading names, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft Ads, Klaviyo, Semrush, and Hubspot. Today, we are rated one of the top 3-4 PPC Management Agencies in India by many 3rd party websites like Clutch, WebFX, TheManiFest, GoodFirms, AgencyVista, and VisualObjects.

All of this was accomplished with dedication, hard work, and a relentless drive to provide unparalleled service in the digital landscape.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

The Great Recession of 2008-09 hit just as I was wrapping up my education, a time when I was supposed to gain hands-on experience through a 6-month industrial training program. Despite countless attempts, the economic downturn made it nearly impossible for me to land an opportunity with any reputable agency in the technology fields I was initially interested in.

That's when I found an unexpected detour that changed the course of my career—Digital Marketing. A few of my college seniors had begun their journeys in this field and encouraged me to explore it as a viable option for my industrial training. Given the circumstances, I took their advice and enrolled in a Digital Marketing training program.

The experience was transformative. Initially, my interest was piqued by SEO; the art and science of it fascinated me. As I delved deeper, I found myself engrossed in every facet of Digital Marketing, from social media advertising to content strategy.

Looking back, not landing a traditional tech internship during the recession was a blessing in disguise. It steered me towards a field I may never have considered but now cannot imagine my life without. Sometimes, good things come from unexpected places, and for me, the Great Recession became the catalyst for a career I am passionate about.

After immersing myself in the world of digital marketing, I climbed the professional ladder, transitioning from junior roles to more senior positions in various agencies. However, as I delved deeper, a recurring theme became evident: many of these agencies were jacks of all trades. Their core competencies lay in software development and web and mobile applications, and while digital marketing was just a part of their portfolio, it was never the star. This realization gnawed at me, propelling me towards an ambition I hadn't previously considered.

With a burning passion and a gap in the market clear as day, I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey. I envisioned a firm where digital marketing wasn't a mere footnote, but the main story. Thus, Conversion Perk was born, a testament to my belief in the power and potential of focused digital marketing strategies.

When I tendered my resignation to embark on this new journey, my savings would only last me another 5 to 6 months. Yet, with resolute determination, I invested half of it into birthing my agency. It was a gamble, but one I believed in wholeheartedly. I had started with a small office and 4-5 team members (most of them were entry-level) and I was managing most of the other work including checking and correcting their work to ensure everything was as per the expectation.

Since they were entry-level they were cheaper but not qualified enough to work independently so I was deeply involved in almost everything to meet the client’s expectations. It was the period where I had no other options. I would like to share a picture of the initial days.


Describe the process of launching the business.

Launching Conversion Perk was both an exhilarating and daunting experience. With the vision of establishing a firm exclusively dedicated to Digital Marketing, I reached out to my network on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Although many hesitated or declined, a handful expressed interest. These early discussions were filled with negotiations, and I often found myself offering additional services at no cost just to establish trust and demonstrate our capabilities.

Since most of them were small business owners (from healthcare to small eCommerce or detailing service providers) getting something for free was a deal breaker for them since they had a limited budget.

Parallel to these efforts, I set up an account on Upwork, a popular freelancing platform. The online freelance market is competitive, and to gain a foothold, I once again found myself offering complimentary services. However, perseverance paid off.

Among the early clients I secured, one in particular stood out not just in terms of the work, but also in their willingness to provide consistent financial support. Their payment covered essential overheads, ensuring I could afford office space and staff salaries. Initially, we started with only 1 employee and it took us about 2 years to get the first 10 employees. Now, we are a team of 25-30 (keeps varying) at any point in time.

Referrals soon became a lifeline. The relationships I had nurtured over the years started to bear fruit, reaffirming my belief in the power of networking.

On the digital front, I took a hands-on approach. Leveraging my rudimentary coding skills, I developed the first version of the Conversion Perk website. It was basic, but it was mine, crafted out of necessity because hiring a developer was beyond our budget at that stage. It was a purely WordPress website with a WP-Bakery theme builder.

Yet, the real challenge emerged when I ventured into the hiring market. Convincing seasoned professionals to join a fledgling agency was harder than I had anticipated. Their reservations were understandable, but this hurdle was unexpected. Over time, through persistent dialogue and showcasing our growing portfolio and vision, I managed to shift perceptions and build a dedicated team.

Understand your audience deeply. Tools, platforms, and strategies evolve, but at the core of every successful campaign is a profound understanding of who you're speaking to.


Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

1) Digital Landscape Mastery: The foundation of Conversion Perk's customer attraction strategy is built upon mastering the digital landscape. We didn't merely utilize social media; we dug deep into its algorithms. Facebook ads, for instance, can be incredibly effective, but not if used haphazardly.

Our team spent hours analyzing audience behavior, creating specific target groups, A/B testing our ad content, and refining our strategy based on performance metrics. Here's a screenshot from our Facebook ad dashboard, showcasing a particularly successful campaign that resulted in a 21X ROAS resulted in over €62K in revenue right after spending under €3K with ads.


2) SEO – The Long Game: For us, SEO wasn't just about ranking on search engines; it was about establishing authority. We focused on producing quality content that provided genuine value to our readers, optimizing both on-page and off-page elements. But what truly made a difference was our consistency.

We understood that SEO is a long game, and with patience, we started to see our organic traffic grow exponentially. A peek into our Google Analytics dashboard paints a clearer picture of this journey. We initially focused on “Hire” related keywords which were easy to rank but had a huge conversion rate. We are still working well for many hire-related keywords like “Hire PPC Expert” or “Hire Instagram Ad Experts”.

3) Upwork: Initially we did work on some small projects just to get some initial feedback and reviews from the client. When we got 10 reviews (with all 5-star ratings), we started bidding on competitive projects and since I had experience working on such complex projects, things became easier after the interview round.


4) Email Marketing – Bringing Customers Back: Retention, for us, was equally important as acquisition. Rather than just sending promotional content, we made it a point to share industry insights, updates, and often, exclusive offers tailored for our subscribers. This personalized approach kept our subscribers engaged and often led them back to our services. Many clients are generating over 30% of their total revenue through the email marketing campaigns we are running.

5) Amazon - A Double-Edged Sword: We ventured into Amazon as a sales channel with optimism. While it offered unparalleled reach, the competition was fierce. We ran strategic ads and maintained a keen eye on customer reviews to adapt and refine our offerings. However, the tight margins and intense competition made it challenging. Would we recommend Amazon? Yes, but with a cautionary note: It's not a set-and-forget channel. Here's a screenshot of one of our Amazon accounts that saw decent success.


Advice to Aspiring Founders: In retrospect, one lesson stands out: understand your audience deeply. Tools, platforms, and strategies evolve, but at the core of every successful campaign is a profound understanding of who you're speaking to. Tailor your messages, be genuine in your approach, and always prioritize value over sheer promotion.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, Conversion Perk is in a position that fills me with pride. We've been profitable from day one, and that profitability has consistently risen. Operating with a commendable net margin of about 15% post all expenses and taxes is no small feat in the volatile world of digital marketing.

Our diversified acquisition channels have proven beneficial: 30% of our customers come through Upwork, another 30% directly from our website, and a whopping 40% are through client referrals. The website, in particular, boasts an impressive conversion rate; with 1 in every 3 leads turning into clients, it reflects the trust and value we offer.

Marketing expenses have always been lean. Apart from a nominal $250/month, I invest in a sponsored list, our organic website rankings, bolstered by strong ratings and glowing client feedback, serve as our primary marketing tools. Moreover, we firmly believe in aligning our business practices with ethical considerations.

As part of this commitment, we have made a conscious choice to not promote any gambling websites or apps, despite the lucrative offers they bring. Every time we receive such inquiries, we stand by our principles and respectfully decline.

Looking ahead, our short-term goal is to expand our organic reach further and optimize our client onboarding process to enhance the customer experience. In the long run, we envision Conversion Perk as a benchmark in ethical digital marketing, leading not just in performance but also in principles. We also have plans to initiate community-based digital literacy programs, thereby contributing positively to society at large.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Starting Conversion Perk has been an enlightening journey, both in triumphs and tribulations.

One of the most pivotal lessons I've learned is the irreplaceable value of supporting and showing unwavering faith in your team. During the peak of the pandemic, when the world was steeped in uncertainty and many companies were resorting to lay-offs or salary cuts, we made a conscious choice. Despite being in our nascent stages, we didn't cut salaries or leave any employees on the bench.

Our commitment to employee welfare was unwavering, even to the extent that we ensured timely appraisals. This wasn't just an act of generosity; it was a strategic move rooted in the belief that a motivated and secure employee is an asset. Their comfort and sense of security are reflected in their performance, commitment, and dedication to the firm.

Simultaneously, the importance of client satisfaction became increasingly clear. In the service industry, clients are your lifeblood, and maintaining their trust and happiness is paramount. This doesn't merely mean meeting their requirements but going above and beyond, delivering your absolute best. The mantra I've always lived by is clear: there's no alternative to hard work and unwavering dedication.

But, like every entrepreneur's journey, mine too had its share of obstacles. One particularly challenging episode was facing an unwarranted police complaint filed by a previous employer, alleging deceit on my part. Such accusations were baseless, and subsequent investigations vindicated me. Yet, the incident taught me the significance of being prepared for unforeseen challenges and the importance of maintaining one's integrity, even when faced with adversity.

In sum, every experience, be it positive or challenging, has molded Conversion Perk and me. The blend of unwavering commitment to employees, relentless dedication to clients, and resilience in the face of challenges has been our formula for success.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Well, not all tools are 100% perfect. You will have to find a way by combining data from multiple tools and this is what we have been doing for all our clients. Some prominent tools we have been using:

Pay Per Click (PPC):

  1. Helium10: Primarily for Amazon sellers, it offers a suite of tools for product research, keyword research, listing optimization, and more.
  2. SpyFu: Allows you to spy on competitors' keywords and ad strategies.
  3. JungleScout: Essential for Amazon sellers for product research and market data.
  4. SEMRush: Comprehensive tool for keyword research, competitor analysis, site audits, and more.
  5. Ahrefs: A versatile SEO tool, but also great for analyzing PPC keywords and ads of competitors.
  6. AdEspresso: Great for managing and optimizing Facebook and Google Ads.

Email Marketing:

  1. Klaviyo: My favorite tools (since we are a Klaviyo Partner :P) Particularly popular with e-commerce brands, Klaviyo offers advanced segmentation and automation capabilities.
  2. ActiveCampaign: Known for its automation features and CRM capabilities, making it great for email marketing and sales follow-ups.
  3. Mailchimp: A go-to for many beginners and small businesses for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive email marketing features.

E-commerce (Shopify-related tools):

  1. Oberlo: Dropshipping app that allows you to find and add products directly into your Shopify store.
  2. Privy: Helps Shopify store owners with email capture and on-site pop-ups.
  3. Klarna: A payment solution offering customers flexible payment options.

WordPress Tools:

  1. Yoast SEO: A must-have plugin for WordPress SEO, guiding on-page optimizations.
  2. Elementor: A drag-and-drop page builder that works with most themes, great for designing without code.
  3. WP Rocket: A caching plugin that speeds up WordPress websites.
  4. Akismet Anti-Spam: Essential for blocking spam comments on WordPress sites.
  5. Moz: Offers tools for keyword research, link building, site audits, and page optimization insights.
  6. Ubersuggest: Neil Patel's tool for keyword suggestions, site audits, and content ideas.
  7. Screaming Frog: A desktop-based site crawler, excellent for in-depth site audits.
  8. Google Search Console: A free tool by Google, indispensable for monitoring site health, indexing status, and search queries driving traffic.

General Productivity and Integration:

  1. Zapier: An automation tool that connects different apps and services to streamline work processes.
  2. HubSpot: A robust platform offering marketing, sales, and service software solutions. Its CRM is particularly popular.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I’m hardly getting time to read books these days. However, I always watch videos on YouTube and some of the channels I follow on YouTube are:

  1. Neil Patel: As a prominent figure in the digital marketing world, Neil Patel's channel provides actionable advice on SEO, content marketing, and general online marketing strategies. His tutorials and case studies are particularly insightful.
  2. Brian Dean - Backlinko: Known for his in-depth SEO knowledge, Brian Dean's videos offer step-by-step guides on topics ranging from keyword research to advanced link-building techniques.
  3. GaryVee: Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur and marketing guru. His channel is filled with motivational content, interviews, and practical marketing advice, especially around social media and brand building.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is both exciting and challenging. For those just starting out, my foremost advice is to cultivate a mindset of resilience and adaptability. The world of entrepreneurship is full of unpredictability; there will be highs and inevitable lows. Embracing failure not as a setback, but as a learning opportunity, is crucial.

Moreover, while passion is a driving force, it's essential to couple it with diligent market research. Understand your target audience deeply, validate your idea, and be prepared to pivot when necessary. One thing I always felt lacking in my journey was proper mentorship so surrounding yourself with mentors, a support system, and continuously investing in self-education can make the difference between merely surviving and thriving in the entrepreneurial landscape.

Always remember, that consistency and persistence, paired with a willingness to learn and adapt, are often more valuable than perfection.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We're on the lookout for a passionate and creative Brand Manager to join our dynamic team. If you have a knack for understanding market trends, creating compelling brand strategies, and ensuring consistent brand messaging across various platforms, we want to hear from you!

At Conversion Perk, you'll have the opportunity to shape and nurture our brand voice, ensuring we stand out in the market and resonate authentically with our audience. Reach out to us and let's explore the possibilities together!

Where can we go to learn more?

  1. Website
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Instagram
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Email

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!