Father of 4, Husband, Entrepreneur
International Speaker | Marketing Genius | Growth Expert
Depesh is one the world’s most prominent Facebook marketing experts helping business scale-up fast through expert marketing execution in the online world. He’s invested well over $30 million in profitable global ad spend over the last 5 years in E-Commerce, Lead Gen (digital products and services), Affiliate Marketing, Mobile Apps, Local Business and more. Over the last decade he’s been responsible for driving in excess of $100M in revenue.
He shares his knowledge from stages worldwide driven by his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to punch above their weight in the online world.
He’s also an advisor and advocate for Facebook, supporting Facebook with speaking at external events and internal team days, providing regular feedback on ways Facebook can improve business growth for small and medium-sized businesses to further his own mission.
His agency, SMC, helps high 6-figure and 7-figure businesses scale faster, and through his training programs, helps entrepreneurs and marketers of all levels scale up faster, through Facebook ads and other marketing channels with a core focus on his unique BPM System – Brand-driven, Performance Marketing.
Now we’ve done the formalities, let me talk to you direct ?
Part 1 – The Formative Years
My entrepreneurial career, if you want to call it that, actually started when I was around 10 or 11. I really wanted a pair of Reebok pumps. All the kids in school had them, brand new of course. But we could never afford anything like that and I’d never ask my parents as I knew we didn’t have money. So me and a friend, we started washing cars for money. At first, I did it for my dad as I enjoyed it. Then my uncle asked if I’d wash his and he’d actually give me a few quid (that’s £2 for non-Brits). Idea! I could go knock on neighbours doors see if anyone else would be interested in this – and they were!
Me and my friend, John Ward we’d go knock and see who’d be interested. We’d charge £2 and really put our heart and soul into cleaning the cars real good – we cared, not just for the money, but in getting them to pay us again in a few weeks time – yep, we started a subscription offer too ?
But then something happened. School – it taught me that the way to make money was to go through education, get a degree and that was the route to a high paying job. My dad did everything to push me to go Uni – I didn’t enjoy learning, even if I may have scraped through most exams – I REALLY enjoyed playing Football and Music – DJ’ing and Music Production. Oh and of course video games – many hours lost on Gran Turismo, Championship Manager (thanks Gary!), Fifa, NHL Hockey and many other classics. The first console I owned was a SEGA Master System I, for reference of my humble age…
Part 2 – The Career Years
I got through Uni, worked a few jobs part-time and ended up at a banking software company full-time. Not the most exciting job but had the amazing time with the people there. But it was just a job. Project Management, doing some web based stuff, creating web portals etc until in 2005 an opportunity came to join a hotel company as a ‘Website Project Manager’ – the modern day position would probably read ‘Conversion Rate Optimiser’ (CRO).
They needed someone to own the website, the analytics, landing pages, user insights, journeys, checkout funnel, tags etc etc – within a few months I had developed a tool that helped to show the latest offers, LIVE (without needing to hard code offers every day into a static HTML table) using some PHP and JS scripts – which helped increase sales – I was hooked into the world of MMO! (Make Money Online). I spent 4.5 years helping them grow online sales from around £5M to well over £12M in the 55+ niche when many said that age range wouldn’t buy online. In fact we went all ‘omnichannel’ by helping the business move away from ‘online vs offline’ and marrying the two channels together, giving the customer the best choice to book their hotel break with us.
Part 2 – The Transformational Years
In August 2009, disaster struck. After moving into a new house a few years before, with a mortgage we could barely afford, and 1 month before our 2nd child was due, I was let go, alongside half the business, thanks to the global financial crisis which kicked in around 2007-2008. For 3 months I couldn’t find a new job, despite my talent which had since covered not just CRO but SEO, Paid Search, TV advertising, Email/CRM, Affiliate Marketing and a whole lot more. I felt lost, lonely and depressed. What pulled me out changed my life forever.
A few years back I spent a lot of time with affiliates making 5 and 6 figure monthly revenues and learned from them. I always had that in the back of my mind that I could do this too – after all I had learned all the traffic secrets and knew how to build high converting sales funnels but never got the kick up my butt to do something with it… so now was a good time right? For sure it was, in the space of 2 years I hit 7-figures with affiliate marketing. All was great and I was ready to move from bedroom affiliate and 9-5 worker to full-time entrepreneur!
That was until 2012 when, after being 100% reliant on Google organic traffic, Google changed the game. I lost 99% of my rankings and my traffic pretty much zero’d. From driving hundreds of thousands of visits to my merchants to pretty much zero. Made some big mistakes. But what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger right? It’s true, but it should say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eventually. It took me some years to get over that.
But the silver lining was this: in 2012 I needed a new fast traffic source. I was running paid ads but the cost was too high (CPC:EPC ratio…) and I stumbled across Facebook ads. For the next 18 months I tested, for a legal lead gen service, Ecom, my own affiliate sites… then in 2014 I struck GOLD.
Part 3 – The Facebook Years
I joined a scrappy startup on a freelance basis – 10 people with a print-on-demand book and a bold vision. What proceeded was a business that went from $800k to £8m in revenue in just under 12 months – through my Facebook ads skills. I say skills, I was learning as I went. What took 18 months of failure and losing (or investing) thousands in figuring out how Facebook ads DON’T work, I finally figured it all out.
By the time I left end of 2015, that year we sold over 1 MILLION units (books) around the globe. In fact what started as a UK business selling in the UK, had US and Germany as the two biggest markets. That was around $26.5M in revenue. All enabled through Facebook ads. It was an insane, adrenalin pumping time that included the business becoming the poster child for Facebook in Europe, with me talking on stages for Facebook and in some way, joining the ‘inner circle’ including an expenses trip to Menlo park to talk about how we did it and meeting with product and engineering teams.
We were doing stuff well ahead of most businesses, including, at peak, spending over $200k per day in ads (2.5-3X ROAS).
Part 4 – The Agency Years
When I left that business, with over 100 staff and an 8-figure annual return with investment from the likes of Google Ventures, as much as I enjoyed where they got to, the thrill wasn’t there. I wanted to see if I could help other businesses find fast growth through Facebook ads.
After freelancing at numerous businesses, in 2017, over lunch at Facebook’s London office, I openly addressed Facebook’s account support for the majority of small and medium sized businesses with some senior execs, including my biggest advocate at Facebook, and trusted friend, Olly. What he said then changed my focus completely. He mentioned how they had a big task to recruit AND train enough people to keep up with the increase in advertisers and advertiser spend. We talked about Jon Loomer, THE defacto name for many when it comes to Facebook ads. They said ‘we don’t have anyone like Jon Loomer here in the UK – someone we can work with that can have a big impact like Jon has had in the US in particular’. He looked at me and said ‘you should become the Jon Loomer of the UK!’.
I laughed it off but then it got the cogs whirring. He then said ‘listen, if you can, with your expertise with Facebook, support hundreds of businesses, we’ll give you whatever support you need’. In 2017, SM Commerce, previously my affiliate marketing business, which had since become a ‘growth marketing consultancy’ switched to becoming a ‘Facebook ads agency’. My view was, rather than me freelancing for one company at a time, as an agency, we could support more businesses.
We’ve had successes and failures alike. Learning how to run an agency was a steep curve but we did it and were proud to hit a 6-figure MRR (monthly run rate) however it wasn’t enough…
Part 5 – The Mission-Driven Years
Late 2018 we realised the agency model was a ceiling for the solutions I wanted to build. I needed to reach more people and build the tools and systems to help them breakthrough barriers. December 2017 I launched a Facebook group, Facebook Ads Experts Academy in response to the high number of people contacting me via messenger for support – why? Because I dropped a knowledge bomb from the $26.5M case study.
In 2017 I also began building training my for my agency into what eventually turned out to be a training program others would eventually benefit from too.
So the start of 2019 we changed our path and went back to our vision and mission. How could we impact tens of thousands of entrepreneurs to enjoy the same success if not better than I’ve had the last 10 years in the online space?
Right now the vehicle is Facebook advertising as the fastest and most efficient way of scaling for new businesses. What that looks like in future, who knows.
I’ve scaled via SEO, Paid Search, Affiliate Marketing, Content Marketing, TV advertising and of course Facebook ads. A business built on one ad platform is on shaky grounds which is why I advocate diversifying once you’ve found your growth.
My mission is to leave a lasting legacy through helping others grow their business to achieve their goals and dreams
Will you be a part of it?