How A Self Taught Programmer Built A Digital Marketing Agency [In Egypt]

Published: September 14th, 2021
Peter Mikhael
Green Mind Agency
from Cairo, Egypt
started March 2014
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Hello! Who are you, and what business did you start?

This is Peter Mikhael, Founding Director of Green Mind Agency, a digital marketing agency in Cairo, Egypt.

We are delivering our services to B2B, we found a gap in the Egyptian market and we fill this gap with our experience and straightforward KPIs, we are delivering services like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Marketing, SEO, Social Media Management.



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

I started using the computer at the age of 12 in 1995 when Windows 3.5 dominated devices. My use of the computer developed and I learned Excel and Word and managed to do small things using Excel.

After that, up to Windows XP, I was able to install the Adobe version, which contained Photoshop and Dreamweaver, which enabled me to create the first website in 2000. I was 18 years old at this time and it was a very important step for me.

With the encouragement of my parents in this field, I won the third-place award for a religious website and stayed ahead of strong competitors for my age at the time.

During my university studies, I self-taught some programming languages ​​such as PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which greatly improved my level in developing WordPress sites easily in 2007. After I got the job, I was very involved in meetings and discussions with clients, which helped me to understand the requirements of the clients and how to implement them. It was a golden opportunity for me to get the experience of communicating with clients and drawing up the required agreements and making modifications.

At the beginning of 2008, I was able to get a job at Tarek Nour Advertising, which enabled me to expand from a website designer only to enter and gain experience in the world of digital marketing. I got to know many aspects of work, and this success earned me the silver award in 2008 for creating the best website in the field of Advertising in Egypt.

In 2010, I joined Link Dot Net and also expanded my range by designing some games, creating motion graphics videos, and designing ads used in Google Display. This year I managed to get three awards for three different sites.

In 2011 I was able to get the ideal job in the global company Yahoo, and for the first time after entering Egypt; I was able to learn how to manage the team, learn how to think about developing the field, organize the workflow, accelerate the process, and find suitable opportunities for customers. I learned a lot from that position. I also learned from my co-workers and managers, especially one of my managers, Mareike Schumacher. From her, I learned how to develop my performance and strategic thinking.

2014 was the year of transformation in my working life, as all the employees were laid off by Yahoo, and I took advantage of this opportunity to establish a company called Green Mind Agency.

After the establishment of the company, I got acquainted with a new level of how to run an entire company and how to get clients. I also learned how to find job seekers to work in the company, and how to create a system that generates leads every month.

Not only that, but how to deal with Taxes, governmental papers, and license checkups. It was an important part of my development.

The goal is always unified, which is to find the best chances of success in the Digital marketing field and deliver it to our clients.

After the Corona pandemic, some companies turned to digital, creating great opportunities for us to develop new services and ideas.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The field of digital marketing is a service and not a product, and this should be conveyed to your customers in the first place. In the first stage of building the company, we wanted to find the fastest way to get the tasks done.

For example, the creation of websites, a special WordPress system was built and developed to be a stable template that can generate more websites in the future for potential clients.

The same idea has been applied in other services we provide, we think like a customer who will buy from our company, and we need to provide the level of services expected from us.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The Green Mind Agency website was the first step to launching the agency. I personally gave it a priority as I knew it would reflect positively in the long run. While the focus was on designing the website, we also gave attention to establishing social channels across different platforms.

We found our first client by recommendation, it was Union National Bank in Egypt, we started this project in March 2014, the same month we opened the agency. Our agency selected other agencies to build a website for the bank, we pitched the latest technologies related to website design and development and won the deal.

We signed contracts also with user clients, most of them recommended our company to handle their digital marketing projects.

As an individual, you need to continue improving yourself beyond university and beyond work.

Quality over quantity was always the go-to since the inception of Green Mind Agency. Admittedly, the B2B clients weren’t many, but they always valued our input and our service. They usually had an enjoyable experience working with us, considering the time and effort dedicated to their project and our constant communication with them.

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

If we are speaking mainly about B2B business, then Google Ads helped tremendously in reeling in more clients. However, during 2014 and 2015, Facebook and Instagram were all the rage. Although we were always trying to target B2B, these booming platforms at the time were almost exclusively B2C.

Our presence on these platforms was a no-brainer, but getting B2B clients out of them was almost impossible considering the nature of their audiences. We put up content regularly and boosted the content with paid ads geared towards B2B content to try and work around this issue.

We understand it was a long-term plan to generate B2B customers, and we can’t rely on only one social media channel or paid ads, we got to use all of them, in the beginning, to be able to mentor where we can spend effort.

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

As of today, the world is starting to realize all the activities we do can be digitized. Not just the functions and services Green Mind Agency has to offer, but even the regular day-to-day activities. You can now order food from the comfort of your home, clothes from online stores, toys from Noon, and so on.

At the same time, businesses are recognizing the need for a strong digital presence for B2B communication. This created two opportunities:

The first is opening the doors to digital marketing agencies around the world to thrive, regardless of position, with only quality of service in mind. This made the digital marketing agency market much more competitive as you can work with anyone from around the world as long as they ensure the quality of the service you desire.

The second point would be the shift towards the quality of services before quantity. Your delivery of one service, but excelling at it over the rest of the market is more important than offering 50 mediocre services.

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

The good decisions we make in the company are the ones that keep Green Mind Agency in business. The thorough selection of both employees and clients ensures a clear workflow, a strong foundation, and an encouraging atmosphere to work in.

We don’t necessarily have to accept any client interested in working with Green Mind Agency. There are industries we don’t engage in and have the freedom to turn them down. Even clients themselves have a responsibility towards us beyond our service.

Based on contracts between our agency and clients, we are keeping our policies clear, the client can’t delegate the responsibilities written down to another company or management department without our period written approvals.

For example, Green Mind Agency does lead generation for clients if requested. However, if they don’t have dedicated personnel filtering through them and acting upon them, then our efforts were of no use.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use a plethora of tools really. In terms of project management, we use Todoist to keep track of the tasks assigned for people within Green Mind Agency. It has recurring tasks as well to act as a personal reminder on routine submissions. This includes anything from reporting and posts going up on schedule every week.

We use other systems as well, including WordPress for example. We use this for the administration aspect of the Green Mind Agency website. Through it, we get to share the blog posts we put up on the website for all visitors.

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

Whenever I wish to learn a new skill or gain new information, YouTube has become my go-to resource. Either YouTube or Google naturally. There are other platforms as well that are useful to gain information. The most recent example is Clubhouse, where you get to interact and engage in conversations with like-minded individuals.

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

I will only speak about the digital marketing field where I am best experienced. You need to have experience and passion for it. You can’t enter the field only for the sake of seeing a trend going towards it. We are even starting to see a shift in adopting digital marketing as a dedicated undergraduate program.

As an individual, you need to continue improving yourself beyond university and beyond work. The effort you put into gathering this information and then executing upon it for better results is the fruit of all that you did.

Like I mentioned before, the online nature of all functions right now allows you to gain experience even from European, North American, and digital marketing agencies around the world. What are their practices, how differently do they handle social media, and how do they operate, etc.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Of course, we are always looking to expand. Feel free to check out the vacant positions available on our Green Mind Agency website and apply through the Careers page.

Once you’ve applied and sent your application, it will go through our screening process and we will contact you if you are a suitable candidate.

Where can we go to learn more?

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