We had the great pleasure to interview Boston Based Internet Celebrity, Tech Entrepreneur & Philanthropist Scott Levy CEO of Fuel Online. The CEO of one of the Top Rated Digital Marketing Agencies in the country, and best selling author of the book Tweet Naked he's appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, Fox News, Radio shows on SiriusXM, and more. He always has outstanding business and marketing advice and this interview was no different.
1. How did you get started in digital marketing?
A: It all started with SEO. It was approximately 1997 and I had launched a Free Homepage Service which was all the rage back then and one of the few options for people to get a website or presence. The 1000lb Gorilla at that time was Geocities which was owners by Yahoo, they were my major competition. I of course doing what I do built a better product, with a beautiful gui backend for site design and gave people twice as much free storage space for their site. Search engines at that time (Excite, Infoseek, Webcrawler, Hotbot, Lycos, Yahoo ) were what we called meta search engines which primarily based search results on actual page text and very few other factors.
A couple of search engines at the time had basic algorithms and tweaked and tuned their results. Long story short I wanted my startup to out rank the competition. So I was on a mission and spent day and night dissecting how and why specific pages ranked where they did. I'd download copies of pages back then, make them live on a test site and then start changing text on the page to see if I make this change, it effects x ranking. Through 1000's of hours, all nighters, multiple test environments etc I wound up being VERY VERY good at SEO.
Infact I wound up ranking #1 on many search engines for Free Homepage type keywords and gave Geocities a run for their money in their own (Yahoo) search engine. There were no guides, videos, or how to's.. SEO didn't really exist at that point. That's when I knew I had a skill, and knew then the value of the SEO and where the future was. My SEO agency was then born after I sold my first company approx 1999 I think it was, and the rest was history.
2. What makes your Digital Agency different?
Our approach. We are one of the best digital agencies in the world for a reason, I won't accept any less. For starters I shoot straight, we don't over promise blow smoke and sell people the moon. We tell them exactly what is possible with their budget, and if we're not a good fit then we're not taking it on. More importantly everyone who works for us is a top tier engineer level marketing veteran. We don't do interns or outsource to other countries. We are data driven, analytical and very science based. From an SEO agency perspective we own almost 1000 test sites, we use to monitor every single google algorithm factor and many experimental ones. We have this live test environment so we know first hand what is happening, what's working, what's not versus the others who just read about it, which is often out dated data. As for social media our approach has always been to provide value. Not to just sell, or exist. Our clients social media presence MUST provide value to their base, with tips, news, ideas, how to's,, transparency, and expertise. It works! As for social ads, and PPC, at this point we have hundreds of millions of dollars in ad spend we've executed on, and there's just no substituted for that knowledge and experience. As an entrepreneur and owner of many companies, I preach to my team how imperative it is to extract awesome ROI and conversions for our clients if we want them to grow.
3. You're known for being outspoken & very real. Why do you take that approach?
(He Laughs) That's just me. I don't have time for BS or to pretend to be someone I'm not. I believe in honesty, cutting to the chase, and telling you what I think or know without beating around the bush or sugar coating things. I have no problem telling a company their site sucks, or their marketing approach is all wrong. 90% of the time they LOVE that and appreciate it. The 10% that don't well they aren't for us lol.
4. Why relocate your Digital Agency from NY to Boston?
I Love Boston. Boston has an incredible tech scene, amazing talent, a great vibe and work ethic. Being a die hard Patriots fan where else could we be? It's also tough to compete with the Billion dollar NY Business consultancy's that overnight morph themselves into digital agencies & bill themselves as experts, frustrating actually. We're right where we should be, and we're super proud to be the top Boston digital agency, and the country.
5. You're known for being a true Leader, any advice for others who want to step up their game?
I truly believe that to be a leader you need to practice what you preach. You need to be able to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches and show your team that you're not just a talking head but really know your stuff. I love to be involved with every single one of our clients and campaigns. Lead by example right? How do you expect your team to respect you and follow your lead if you don't know how to perform yourself? If you don't have these expertise either consider hiring the right leader or 110% DIVE in and spend every waking moment becoming that subject matter expert they need leading them.
6. What's Next?
Of course still very passionate about digital marketing, and the work we do at Fuel Online. But also working on some really cool things. Have a Stealth Startup in the works that will be an absolute game changer, truly epic. Aside from that philanthropy is important to me. Right now helping Veterans is very important to me. They sacrifice everything for this great country, and come home to nothing very often. I feel they are mistreated. I'm working on starting a couple of different Foundations & Charities with some of my celebrity friends. Some really cool stuff in the works, we're truly excited and just want to make a difference.
Scott's Digital agency Fuel Online can be found here: https://FuelOnline.com
You can follow Scott on Twitter @FuelOnline & Instagram @RealScottLevy