» Google’s New Search Results

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘Google’s New Search Results’ as part of our monthly webinar series. Each one hour webinar for upgraded WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny helped listeners learn:

  • Details about recent Google search algorithm changes
  • Why Google+ does or doesn’t matter
  • How to optimize your business’ content and social interaction
  • What you need to do to ensure potential clients easily find them online

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. Stay tuned for our next webinar in March!

» Top 5 Free Online Tools to Help Run Your Business

At WeddingWire, we are always looking for new and effective tools to help companies run as smoothly as possible. From finances to surveys, see below for some of our favorite free tools to help you stay organized, engaged with your audience and on top of your business!

Mint.com

Mint.com is a great online tool for financial management. You can sync your expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more to keep track of your spending, funds and budgets. Mint automatically categorizes your transactions and keeps you updated on how you are spending, as well as providing assistance to set your budget and savings goals.

Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notepad service that enables you to save, organize and share notes, images and ideas for future use. You can keep your notes in organized categories,  and they can be shared  with others. You quickly and easily can access Evernote from your computer, internet browser, and mobile application from your smartphone or tablet.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a tool designed to help you manage your social networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Simultaneously, you can track your followers, mentions and personal accounts all in one place, in real time. Multiple team members can manage the social media accounts, without having to share passwords and login information. You can also tweet and post directly from HootSuite, so no need to go back and forth between your accounts or miss any important mentions! HootSuite conveniently allows you to schedule outgoing messages, so you don’t always have to be online to be posting relevant information and connecting with your audience.

Prezi

Prezi is a dynamic web-based powerpoint presentation tool designed to create a more engaging presentation experience. Self described as “a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides,” this tool is perfect for a creative presentation. You are able to add in multimedia features to highlight your business or show video from a recent event which adds color and personality to your presentation. Prezi is an “idea” based blank canvas, so you are not limited to traditional slides. The tool compiles all your ideas, which enables you to organize and control the direction of the slideshow.

SurveyMonkey

Looking for quick feedback on a recent event or interested in conducting business research from your clients? SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that enables you to create quick, customized surveys online that you can distribute and track results in real time. SurveyMonkey also provides convenient tools to help you analyze your results such as charts and filters.

 

Have you used any of these tools for your business? Are there any other free online tools that you would suggest? We would love to hear from you!

» Washington Post Live’s What Works Recap

We wanted to share a few photos and thoughts from today’s Washington Post Live panel discussion, Ideas and Innovation, featuring DARPA Director Dr. Regina Dugan, Google VP of Research and Special Initiatives Alfred Spector, WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi,  and Moderator, Mary Jordan (Editor, Washington Post Live). The three discussed a range of topics applicable to small and large businesses alike and how urgency often inspires greater innovation. Jordan posed the question, what one phrase or mantra do you keep on your desk and try to keep in mind during your day. The answers?

 “We don’t encourage failure. We discourage the fear of failure.”

–  Dr. Regina Dugan,  Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

“Try very hard to say ‘yes’.”

– Alfred Spector, Google

“And if you’re going to fail, fail fast.”

–  Timothy Chi, WeddingWire

 

While there were many takeaways from such an intelligent and experienced panel of speakers, some key things to consider and apply to your business:

1. Urgency inspires greater innovation.

2. A team increases the likelihood of success.

3. Innovation isn’t always a linear process.

 

Photos thanks to Ralph Alswang Photography

 

» American Competitiveness: What Works

Join us on Tuesday, February 14 as WeddingWire’s CEO, Timothy Chi, participates in Washington Post Live’s (the live journalism division of The Washington Post) 4-day summit (Feb. 13-16), American Competitiveness: What Works.  Tim will be among local and national innovators, leaders and executives from Google, JetBlue and Honest Tea, discussing forward-thinking in American Manufacturing, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, and Workforce, Veterans and Reservists.

If you’re in the area, start your Valentine’s Day with us at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium to observe Tim’s panel discussion, Ideas and Innovation, with Dr. Regina Dugan (Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Alfred Spector (VP of Research and Special Initiatives, Google) and Moderator, Mary Jordan (Editor, Washington Post Live). If you can’t make it in person, we encourage you to join the conversation via live stream, available here on Tuesday.

Click here for more information and to register. Registration is free but, space is limited.

» Do You Pinterest? Optimize Your Pins

Pinterest has been spreading the nation like wildfire, allowing users to ‘pin’ photos and inspiration of their favorite recipes, clothing, hair, designs, and more! Many brides (and hopeful-brides) have been using Pinterest as a new way to organize inspiration for their weddings!

Take advantage of this new social vertical to spread photos and links from your website and blog. It is important to keep a few SEO (Search Engine Optimization) considerations in mind. Here are three areas to make sure you are optimizing your photos on Pinterest for SEO:

Description – When you set up your profile, consider including some of your relavent keywords and details in your Pinterest description, make sure to include your category (i.e. Photographer, Florist, DJ) and the word “weddings” if this is your primary business! This way, when potential clients are searching (on Google or Pinterest) you can increase your chances of showing up as a result.

Boards – Choose the title of your ‘Pin Boards’ carefully! This is another area to include keywords, consider doing so both in the title and description of the boards where you organize your types of photos.

Images – Ensure you are using the proper direct links to the photo from your website or blog so that you get the added benefits when your photos go viral and those who share your images are properly directed back to your site.
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» See WeddingWire at The EPIC Summit!

Join us in March at The EPIC Summit in Lodi, NJ!  On March 30, 2012, wedding and events professionals, from near and far, will come together at The EPIC Summit: Luxury Wedding and Events Industry Business Conference for a day stocked full of education, inspiration and ideas. The conference features cutting-edge marketing, branding and communications strategies, plus culinary, catering and design innovation from industry experts.

All attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry leadersmeet with wedding and events experts and network with other Pros.

We invite you to:

  • Listen to Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s CMO, present The Tech Report: The Future of SO-LO-MO
  • Meet and mingle with industry leaders
  • Gather tips and tools for success in marketing, branding, communications and more

Space is limited | WeddingWire Pros receive a special ticket price by using the code FACULTY20 

Click here to register or get more information. We hope to see you in March!

» The #1 Rule of Twitter

Twitter is a rapidly growing social media site that allows you to connect in real-time with people on the web, anyone from your past clients to Beyonce. The point of Twitter is to network, connect, and share with others in a way that wasn’t possible before. While it could eventually help bring in business long term, that is not the main goal.

Build relationships now, sell later.

Think of Twitter as the start to a conversation. You are saying hello, not beating potential clients over the head with your latest discount or special. It is important to let your contacts know what is going on with your business and keep them informed, but keep it to a minimum. It is always a good rule of thumb to act as you would in a real life conversation. While Twitter can later on lead to referrals and potential business, the only way you can accomplish that is by first fostering a relationship with your followers.

For some perspective, imagine you see a brand on Twitter you have heard about before but don’t know much about. They tweet about relevant information to your industry or even about your favorite football team’s win last night. You have the ability to connect on a new level. These types of relationships can help you build a positive frame of reference with others, so when they know someone who needs a photographer or florist or DJ, they might say, “Oh, I know someone you should check out!”

There is a growing potential for your business to create real relationships on Twitter and build your referrals later on down the road. For more ways to maximize Twitter, read this article.

» KISSinsights: An Easy Way to Get Answers

Analytics and tracking can be confusing and trying to figure out how customers are finding you can feel impossible.  How often have you asked a potential client, “Where did you find us?” and the answer was, “The Internet.” How do you know where your customers ACTUALLY found you?  Google? Facebook? One of your online ads?

KISSinsights is a free and easy, two question, unobtrusive survey that you can add to your website or blog.  You have the ability to customize the questions to make sure they are relevant to your advertising and marketing efforts. There are also upgraded options to allow for even more personalization.  KISSinsights prides themselves on their questionnaires being private, targeted, and polite.

If you’re interested in learning more about this easy way to track your direct leads, click here.

» See you at ISSE Mexico!

See WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, and a wide variety of other industry leaders speak at ISSE Mexico in Riviera Cancun, Mexico from December 5th through December 8th at the Now Sapphire. ISSE Mexico offers many speakers and breakout sessions promised to inspire and educate you! Not only will you get a break from the cold weather, you’ll have the opportunity to “network and hang out with like-minded wedding entrepreneurs during relaxed general sessions, parties, and breakout sessions on the beach!” Click here for more event details.

There are a few spots left! Want to join in the fun? Email stacie@inspiresmartsuccess.com to register!

General Sessions and Breakout Sessions include:

  • Effective Goal Setting & Selling your Value
  • What you Need to Know BEFORE spending your $ on Advertising
  • Defining your Identity and Perfecting your Brand
  • Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creating that Work/Life Balance
  • Staying Relevant through Social Media & Mobile Outreach
  • Getting Published and Getting on TV
  • Elements and Designs for Stylized Photography
  • Behind the Scenes of Wedding Planning
  • The Secrets of Successful Blogging
  • Taking your Paper Company to the Next Level
  • Florists and Designers: Bringing your Vision to Life
  • Special Private Session for ISS Mentoring Members
  • And MUCH MORE

» Sonny’s Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Technology

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players, said, “A good hockey players plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” The same goes for our businesses and the impact of technology. A good wedding business plays where technology is today. A great wedding business plays where technology is going to be!

Here is a quick recap of my Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Technology:

» Prediction for the Future of Technology #10

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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We live in a world like never before. In the last five years, we have shared the details of our lives with our friends, family and sometimes strangers on sites like facebook and twitter. The challenge is that we have no idea what repercussions will be down the road.

College students who share their photos on facebook may one day want to run for political office, but all the details of their lives will be accessible to the media and to the public. We will start to care more about our privacy and what gets shared with our different circles. There will be more privacy controls in the future, but we will also change our behavior to be less in the public eye.

» Prediction for the Future of Technology #9

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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This year, for the first time more smartphones will be sold in the U.S. than laptops and desktops combined. This is a signal for 5-10 years down the road where our main computers will actually be our cell phones.

As mentioned, cloud computing will allow us to access our information anywhere and from any device, which will make our small smartphones more powerful than today’s very best computers. You will no longer need to drag along a heavy laptop or have an unsightly computer. Your phone will be able to connect to any monitor and access your information easily.