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Optimizing ROI for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, breaking even and earning a profit are likely the two most important goals of your business plan. But the path from putting your company on the market and gaining traction to paying all of your expenses and coming out in the black is a hard battle, especially at the start. One of the ways you can get a head start is by maximizing your marketing ROI and building on the engagement that brings.

What’s ROI? 

Marketing is one of the primary ways of getting your prospective customers’ eyes on your product or service. But it’s also overlooked by many small business owners due to the idea that it’s not worthwhile or too expensive. However, knowing how to make the most out of your marketing budget will help you see a better return on your investment, or ROI. 

Your ROI is determined by measuring the goals of your campaigns and the money they’ve contributed to the company against the investment or money your company spent on the campaign. Although the particular calculation varies depending on your goal and the type of marketing campaign you’ve deployed, whether it be through social media, email, or other avenues, you’ll want to consistently check on the profit your campaigns are making and make improvements. 

Ways To Improve ROI

But how do you make those improvements? By analyzing the data on how your campaigns are doing and optimizing as needed. There are several tools and methods you can use to determine if a campaign is performing to your benefit. 


One of the best tools at your disposal if you’re running paid ads is to use Google Ad Manager. It works in tandem with Google Ads to show your advertising campaigns on the Google Display Network as well as search pages and Youtube and provides a hub for your team to manage these ads and optimize them. A big advantage is that you can have multiple manager accounts, and with its conversion tracking feature you’ll be able to easily track your ROI as you’ll be able to compare the data and determine how much revenue you’ll likely gain from your campaigns. 

A simple yet incredibly effective marketing channel that you may be underutilizing as a smaller business is email. It’s known as the most effective marketing channel, able to deliver the most ROI out of all channels. A tactic you should be employing is building your email list, as that allows you to build a solid base of both prospective customers interested in learning more about your product or service and those who are already customers and can be turned into repeat buyers. 

But it’s not as simple as sending out emails with text-only, unless that’s proven to work with your list, about sales and company news. You’ll need to dedicate time to figure out what information your customers and would-be customers want to see, and segment your list accordingly. 

Determine if You Need To Optimize

Email marketing works best when the right messages are being sent to the right people at the right time. But to do so you’ll have to follow a few steps to optimize your ROI for this channel:

1. Determine if the campaign is meeting the core metrics, which for email include clickthrough rate and conversion rate. If people are clicking on the links and performing the action you want, that’s a good sign.

2. Consider whether the channel you’re using, i.e. ads, video, etc, is the proper channel for the campaign. For email especially, you may poll your list to find out if there’s a channel that they’re more active on or prefer to read updates from your company on. If your target market isn’t on the channel you’re using, you’re less likely to get the traction and sales you’re after. If your competitors are utilizing the channel effectively, perform market research to find out how you can improve your campaigns and reach your prospective buyers. 

3. A main point of marketing is testing, so a third step is to conduct A/B testing. While your campaign may be performing well as is, using A/B or split testing to find out if your customers react more positively to a different call-to-action, landing page copy, or subject lines can easily boost your ROI. This is especially useful in email marketing as you have to entice your recipient into clicking on a link, and then continue to bring value and/or information so that they’ll convert. 

Optimize for the Future

Optimizing for ROI not only sets you on a better course to increasing profit and scaling your business, but allows you to focus on the correct market and offer them the correct content which improves their trust in your brand. Using Google Ad Manager and email marketing to your advantage can set you apart from your competitors and make it easier to implement changes and adapt as the market shifts which overall makes for a more stable business model.

Don’t Get Caught Without a Plan: Why You Need Ransomware Recovery

Ransomware is on the rise and it’s not going away. In fact, it’s only going to become more common as cybercriminals find new ways to exploit businesses and individuals. If you don’t have a ransomware recovery plan in place, you could be in for a world of hurt when your business computers get infected. Here’s what ransomware is and why you need to get prepared for ransomware recovery.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your computer files and holds them hostage until you pay a ransom to the cybercriminals who infected your system. This can be a devastating blow to a business, as it can lose access to important files and data. In some cases, businesses have had to pay the ransom and still not regained access to their files. In other cases, businesses have refused to pay and lost all their data. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation.

Ransomware is on the rise because it’s an easy way for cybercriminals to make money. All they need is a few computers to infect and they can demand a ransom from each one. And, because ransomware is so effective, it’s only going to become more common.

So, what can you do to protect your business from ransomware?

Do Some Research

You need to know what you’re dealing with before you can create a plan to deal with it. So, do some research on ransomware and find out as much as you can. This way, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it if it does happen to you. Your research could include case studies on attacks that happened to other businesses, and how they dealt with them.

Make A Plan Before Something Happens

The best way to protect your business from ransomware is to have a plan in place before something happens. This way, you can be sure that you have a way to recover your data if you do get infected. The first thing you should look at is investing in some form of ransomware protection. Find an option that suits your business and your budget, and most importantly, takes a robust approach to helping resolve ransomware issues when they arise.

Back Up Your Data

This is one of the most important steps you can take to be fully prepared for dealing with ransomware. You need to have a backup of your data so that you can restore it if you do get infected. There are a few different ways you can back up your data, so find the one that works best for you and make sure you do it regularly. If you work with a ransomware protection company, look for whether they do immutable backups. These are backups that can never be overwritten, meaning original versions of data remain intact and unharmed.

Encrypt Your Data

Another way to protect your data is to encrypt it. This way, even if cybercriminals do manage to get their hands on your data, they won’t be able to do anything with it. Encryption is a great way to protect your data, but you need to make sure you have a way to decrypt it if you do need to access it.

If you work with a ransomware protection company, find out how they secure, store and encrypt data. Look for things like multiple check points to validate there is no malicious intent before they release data, as well as innovative encryption procedures.

Quick Recovery Process

When you do get ransomware, you need to be able to quickly and easily recover your data. As such, you’ll need to make sure you have the technology in place to restore your data and systems once the threat has been dealt with. One benefit of working with a ransomware protection company is that they should have a process for virtually restoring your data. Having backups of your data stored virtually or on the cloud gives you an extra layer of protection, as well as an easier way of restoring everything you need.

Train Your Employees

One of the most common ways that ransomware gets into a business is through phishing emails. These are emails that look like they’re from a trusted source, but are actually from cybercriminals. They often contain attachments or links that, when clicked, will infect your computer with ransomware.

Make sure you train your employees on how to spot phishing emails and what to do if they receive one. You should also have a policy in place for dealing with suspicious emails.

Ransomware is a serious threat to businesses, but it’s one that you can be prepared for. By following the steps above, you can create a ransomware recovery plan that will help you get your business back on track if you do get infected. And, by investing in ransomware protection, you can help to prevent an attack from happening in the first place. Don’t wait until it’s too late, get prepared today.

4 Affordable Diamond Engagement Ring Alternatives (That Are Still Gorgeous)

Choosing the perfect engagement ring and popping the question is an exciting milestone in any relationship. Whether you choose a ring with your significant other or he picks it out and surprises you, the majority of women dream of a diamond engagement ring. No matter what your style is or how big or small of a ring you prefer, there’s a diamond ring for everyone. It’s a timeless stone that’s perfect for symbolizing a lifelong love story.

If you and your SO are looking at rings or talking about engagement, you’ve probably noticed that natural diamonds are very expensive. For some, spending that much money on a ring isn’t possible, while others prefer to save the money for something more important, like a down payment for a house. Although it can be difficult to part with the idea of a traditional diamond engagement ring, there are many affordable options that are still stunningly beautiful. If you’re looking for a diamond alternative, check out some of the options below.

1. Lab-Grown Diamond

If you can’t settle for anything besides a genuine diamond ring but don’t want to pay the price of natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds are your best option. It’s impossible to tell the difference between a lab-created diamond and a natural, mined diamond, but the price tag is considerably different. Lab diamonds can be up to 50% cheaper than natural diamonds. While still expensive, that’s a considerable discount for essentially the same stone.

The only difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds is how they’re made. A lab diamond, as the name implies, is made in a lab using advanced technology to simulate the natural conditions in which a diamond forms. The end product is identical to a natural diamond. You can buy lab-grown diamonds with any color grade, cut, shape, size, and clarity that you prefer. They’re also more ethical and sustainable than their natural counterparts.

2. Moissanite

Moissanite is a gorgeous stone that is similar to a diamond but has its own flair. Moissanite is known for its sparkle, as the stone is even more brilliant than a diamond. Although its color is similar to that of a diamond, Moissanite produces a fiery rainbow-like sparkle that is unique to the stone. It’s also the second hardest gemstone, next to the diamond, so it’s durable and can withstand daily wear. 

Moissanites are considerably cheaper than diamonds. You can buy a 1-carat stone for $200 to $600. If you love some sparkle and want a big rock without the huge price tag, Moissanite is a great choice.

3. Morganite

Pink-hued engagement rings have been trending, and morganite is the perfect choice if you’re in love with all things rose-gold. Morganite has a beautiful soft pink tone that you can wear with anything. They have an enchanting glimmery sparkle that’s similar to a diamond. Morganite is not as hard as a diamond or Moissanite, so you’ll have to be a bit more careful with this stone.

Morganite is a significantly cheaper stone option in comparison with diamonds. 1-carat morganite stones can range from $100 to $300. If you adore the look of pink diamonds but don’t love the price, a morganite ring might be the best choice for you.

4. Sapphire

Sapphires are another classic stone that is perfect for engagement rings. They come in a variety of colors, from white sapphires that appear similar to diamonds to deep blues, vivid purples, and warm yellows and oranges. It’s an elegant stone that also allows for a more unique ring with a different color than your typical colorless diamond. Blue sapphires are the most common and make for a dazzling engagement ring.  Sapphires are hard stones so you don’t have to worry about them chipping or scratching. A quality stone will be sparkly and brilliant, but you’ll have to find a reliable jeweler. Sapphires are not as regulated as diamonds, so the quality may vary considerably depending on where you buy your stone.

Sapphire ring costs can vary greatly depending on how rare the color is, the quality, and the carat weight. But most sapphires cost less than diamonds, and you can find sapphires for as low as $500 per carat.

Finding the perfect engagement ring can be tough; after all, it’s a ring you’ll live with for the rest of your married life. But it doesn’t have to be an extravagantly expensive purchase. If you and your partner aren’t interested in going into debt over a ring or prefer to use your money on something more important, there are plenty of options besides the traditional diamond engagement ring. Look for rings with the stones mentioned above, or choose another inexpensive stone that matches your style. You’ll find that you can still buy a gorgeous ring without breaking the bank.

Having Problems With Studying? Try These 6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Study Sessions

Whether you’re pursuing professional or academic knowledge, you’ve likely found that you eventually hit a wall where your previous studying techniques just don’t work. It can be especially stressful if there’s a big test coming up or the material is linked to understanding how to perform your job better. But instead of trying to keep studying with your old methods, here are a few ideas on how you can revamp your studying and learn more efficiently.

Use the Spaced Repetition Technique

It might sound a little futuristic, but you’re likely familiar with spaced repetition. It’s a technique where you study more difficult or newer topics more often than you study ones you’re more familiar with or that you find easier over an extended period. It’s basically the opposite of trying to study too much material in one session, as it instead spreads it over multiple study sessions. 

Using flashcards is a great example of this, as you have to recall each term or definition every time they come up. Spaced repetition takes this one step further by bringing up the concepts you haven’t learned yet at specific time intervals that grow longer over time, which encourages long-term over short-term retention. An app or web-based software is incredibly useful for this, as you don’t have to rely on your own memory or schedule to allow you to come back to the terms since they’re brought up automatically.

Read & Explain The Material Aloud

Something you may not realize about reading in your head is that you’ll start to skip over words or concepts in favor of ones you understand. However, if you’re studying something with particularly difficult jargon or detailed techniques, it doesn’t help you learn if you skip over them. Reading the text or problem aloud can help a lot with this, as you make yourself not only learn what the words or ideas sound like in relation to how they look if it’s a physical concept but also helps you understand how they relate to the other ideas you’ve learned. 

And you can take this one step further by explaining the concept to yourself or another person. This way you not only have to have a basic grasp, but you’ll be able to properly explain its significance. 

Set Specific Goals

Studying without a goal is one of the biggest mistakes that both students and professionals can make. Without a goal, you’re simply reading or practicing without a way to put it all together or an idea of how it would fit into your daily life or understanding of the concept as a whole. Instead, if you make a specific goal, even if it’s as simple as going over the concepts in chapter 1 of your textbook or course, you’ll be able to put it into context with the rest of the material. 

Link The Material to Something You Know

A great feature of our brains is the ability to recognize patterns, and you can use this as a study technique too. If you’re having trouble with a concept from one course or another, you can try to find a link or connection that it has to something that you’re knowledgeable about. Whether that’s pairing up the terms or definitions with a physical action or another similar concept from a topic you’re fond of is up to you, but it’s a great way to learn the material using something you already know. 

Try a Different Study Spot

Coffee shops and the library can be great locations to do some studying, but that doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. If you find yourself distracted by the hustle and bustle of a busy coffee shop or find the quiet of a library too uncomfortable, try changing up your study spot. If the weather’s warm you might find a nice table outside to set your materials on, or for the colder months finding a sofa or lounge chair on campus or around town where you can stay for a while may give you the new place you need to learn. 

Don’t Slack off on Less Busy Weeks

You’re likely used to the ebb and flow of the semester or your organization’s workflow, where you can tell where you’ll have less work assigned or have fewer tasks on your plate. This is prime time to study, rather than take a break. You’ll have more time to dedicate to your studying without a lot of other pressing tasks and if you play your cards right you’ll still have some well-deserved downtime to enjoy. 

Set Your Study Sessions on a New Course

Studying ultimately isn’t a one-and-done situation, it requires reconfiguring and constant and focused effort to learn the material. Using these techniques, you can set yourself up for that promotion, ace your next test, or simply gain a better understanding of the material so you’ll be able to use that knowledge in the future.