As a SEO Organic Specialist, which sounds more like a Whole Foods distributor than a digital marketer, you never know where or when you will get your next link. This was the case for this SEO professional after meeting Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson – a former NBA All-Star – at a cocktail party for an at-risk children’s basketball camp. One of the sponsors, Inspirations for Youth and Families, is the company where I work in the digital marketing department.

ImageThis SEO specialist drove nearly 200 miles for the mere chance of securing an inbound link

To give you the 411 on Michael Ray – at the peak of his glorious playing days in the late 70’s and 80’s – he appeared to be a shoe-in to enter the NBA Hall-of-Fame. Unfortunately, he hit a dead end and started abusing drugs. In 1986, Richardson was banned from the NBA for failing his third drug test – which is also referred to as the death sentence. On his downward spiral, he would often disappear for days from his NBA team, the New Jersey Nets.

Fast-forward to June, 2014, when a SEO guy thought he scored the best link of his digital marketing career by convincing Michael Ray to be interviewed for a guest blog post in a prominent and high authority online basketball publication. An interview time, date, and location was established between the SEO practitioner and Richardson.


The link deal would go down at 9 a.m. at the Double Tree Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens. Florida. Despite the fact that it was almost a two-hour drive from the initial destination in downtown Miami and fell on a beautiful South Florida summer day; there was no doubt that this interview and potential link was a no-brainer for the journey-man link-builder.

Well upon arrival to Palm Beach Gardens, firm plans started becoming murky. And murky plans turned into plan B’s and then C’s. The final result was another disappearing act from the master – Michael “Sugar Ray” Richardson – ala 1986.

ImageMichael Ray Richardson (left) and Scott Brand (right) Apparently, I was not number one on his list for an interview

When it was all said and done, the link builder retreated in defeat and went back home southbound on I95 to Miami. While feeling disappointed, when asked if the opportunity presented itself one more time, he un-hesitantly replied that he would do the same thing all over again.

About Scott Brand

ImageScott Brand is a digital marketer – specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – for both teen and adult alcohol and drug rehabs. He has been published in a number of noted publications including Slam Magazine and Social Media Today. Scott holds the following certifications: PMP®, Online Marketing, PPC, SEO, and Web Analytics. He is currently working on a book entitled Triple Threat which instructs project managers on how to integrate social media and digital marketing into their project for optimization.


Company Spotlight: Inspirations for Youth and Familes

Company Spotlight: Inspirations for Youth and Familes

Inspirations for Youth and Families, otherwise known as Inspirations Teen Rehab, is a nationally-renowned adolescent substance abuse and addiction treatment centre for teens ages 13 to 18. Troubled teenagers come to Inspirations to learn the skills necessary to restore direction in their lives

Inspirations carry out a range of marketing, but until recently have had little visibility of the success of each individual channel or campaign until they started using ResponseTap in August of 2013.

Inspirations capture

Why use ResponseTap?

“We have had little to no analytics at the keyword or campaign level for some time until we brought in an integral member of our digital team, Rick Maggio, who contracted ResponseTap within his first week,” stated Scott Brand, from the Inspirations for Youth and Families marketing department  “We were looking to tighten up our marketing and with ResponseTap’s call tracking, integrated with Google Analytics, we were able to accurately attribute all conversions to the campaign and keyword they originated from.”  

How has ResponseTap helped you?

Overall we’ve managed to gain much greater visibility of how our marketing is performing.  One problem we have had in the past is that we have been carrying out a lot of display advertising, which we were not able to measure the results of.  By using web analytics alongside call tracking, we quickly became aware that whilst our display advertising was driving traffic to our website it was not driving conversions.  Using this insight, we cut the amount of display advertising we carried out, which meant we were able to redistribute this marketing spend elsewhere.

 “We have managed to reduce our overall marketing spend by around half,” said Rick Maggio, director of Internet Marketing.  “We have increased efficiency with accurate attribution and distributing our marketing budget to the most effective channels, campaigns and keywords.”

How are you planning to use ResponseTap in the future?

We are looking to carry out a much more robust implementation in the future, utilising more call tracking and handling features, and integrations with Universal to gain greater visibility and make further efficiencies.

We will also continue to develop the use of call tracking technology on other websites within our company; Ocean Tides, such as the Cove Center for Recovery, an adult rehabilitation centre in South Florida.

At first blush the above Infiniti At Your Service Sweepstakes Car Giveaway promotion looks like it connects on all cylinders:

  • There is a call-to-action asking potential entrants to provide their highly coveted contact information
  • There is a compelling Grand Prize – An Infiniti jX, M, or G convertible
  • It is targeted efficiently to owners or past owners of Infinitis as well as prospects
  • The Web site features a stunning and clever 3D Design
  • The contest is multi-dimensional – offering varied levels of prizes, such as a VIP trip for two to a Formula One race in the city of your choice
  • There is a Direct Mail campaign, where an eye-catching brochure with two discount service cards, is sent out to Infiniti nation

The promotional home page is inviting with a gorgeous design and innovative theme

So what is missing from this masterpiece promotion.

The inclusion of the number one Social Media site in the universe – Facebook – now 955 million strong.

Infiniti should have required that each contestant LIKE Infinit’s Facebook page in order to enter the contest.

Infiniti’s Facebook page could have played an integral role in the promotion

We all know that when someone likes your Facebook page all their glorious posts stream through your newsfeed for the life of your friendship.

By overlooking the power of Facebook, Infiniti’s missing out on tons of free publicity that can potentially continue long after the promotion. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if Infiniti’s Facebook page is starving for likes with an impressive 522K following, but the more the merrier is always the case.

And Infiniti should also have considered slapping on a QR Code for Smartphone owners to automatically enter the contest when they receive the Dmail piece.

To sum everything up. Just like a salesman should always ask for the order, an Internet marketer should always ask for the Facebook Like.



Through my Social Media travels, I fell upon a Social Media/QR Code success story about the use of one by Kadlec Health System (KHS), a national Primary Care Provider. KHS ran an advertorial in a popular Mom’s magazine. The QR code went to a form for moms to fill out for free sunscreen. It was then redirected to the KHS’ website for its primary care docs.

KHS plans to give the respondents information to the practice manager for the corresponding zip code and have them send out a follow up postcard or thank you note – also reminding them if they are in need of medical care, that KHS is here to take care of them.

Now for your homework assignment.

Determine if your company is taking advantage of the QR Code to fit your business model?


Everyone is quite familiar with direct mail. We receive it in our mailbox everyday and mostly toss it into the nearest receptacle. Seems like a tragic waste considering Direct Mail’s fairly exorbitant price tag. It is also a case in futility due to the fact that Direct Mail is more costly, time consuming, and the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) take too long to come in.


The Cost of Direct Mail Campaigns Continue to Top the Charts

Now that Direct Mail has been appropriately dissed – don’t fret. There is still a time and a place for it in the overall marketing mix, but the consummate marketer should have other weapons in their arsenal – namely Social Media tools.

Instead of investing hard spent dollars that you may not have on Direct Mail, why not try – are you ready for a new term – Tweet Mail.

Now you ask what in the world is Tweet Mail. It sounds made up. Well it kind of is but it is still a viable option to Direct Mail.

You can embark on a Tweet Mail campaign by test-driving the Social Media tool du jour- Twello?

Twello caption

Well, how does it work? Here’s an example to illustrate Twello’s place in the universe. Perhaps you are a psychologist and the life-line to your business is doctor referrals. With Twello you can create a highly targeted Twitter handle list of doctors within a 10-mile radius and tweet amazing content to your new following in an effort to establish a business relationship.

Why not give Tweet Mail and a go and tweet me @ScottBrand to let me know how it went.

If you are wondering why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is making headlines on a Social Media blog – the reasoning is simple – SEO is the heart behind Social Media.

You can have your Facebook fan page, Twitter Profile, LinkedIn Network, and YouTube Channel all neatly lined in a row on your Web site homepage, but if unique visitors can’t find it through a crafty SEO plan – they’re not worth their

But what exactly is SEO. Surprisingly there is a whole universe of Web site owners who do not have a clue what SEO is and it’s not the latest health malady syndrome acronym

Here’s a video that clearly unravels the mystery of SEO:

Image  —  Posted: November 6, 2011 in Business
Tags: , ,

Tweeting the Friendly Skies

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Business

Passenger surpised to have Morton's Porter House Steak waiting at airport for him

So if you think when you Tweet it is a one-way conversation – think again. After airline passenger Peter Shankman tweeted to Morton’s Steakhouse this:

A Morton’s Social Media Community Manager intercepted the tweet and instructed a waiter from it’s Morton’s Hackensack New Jersey restaurant to transport the tweet order to the airport. When Mr. Shankman arrived to his limo he received this:

Shankman’s dinner order awaiting him at Newark Airport

So what is the moral of the story. Businesses should man their company’s Twitter streams on a daily basis. Thar’s gold in the hills and possibly fires to put out.