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You can increase your readiness and your security team’s confidence by moving beyond static incident response plans. Instead, you should use transitory crisis simulation training to closely mimic real-world attacks.
A little prevention can go a long way when it comes to cybersecurity. According to the Cost for a Data Breach Report 2023, businesses created an incident response plan and tested it using simulations or exercises.
These companies saved approximately $2 million, but these savings were due to the fact that they didn’t take necessary steps to secure data.
Many cybersecurity attacks today are targeted. Threat actors spend a lot of time gathering information and searching for opportunities to strike.
There has been an alarming increase in the sophistication of malicious activities over the years. This is something that has never been seen before.
To increase your security team’s readiness and confidence, it is important to go beyond static incident response plans. Instead, use transitory crisis simulation training to closely mimic real-world attacks.
How to Protect Your Enterprise from Advanced Attacks
According to the new Osterman Research Highlights, not all preventive measures or cyber crisis preparedness strategies are created equal.These are key steps to help you achieve your goals. Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)
Gartner defines cyber threat intelligence as “evidence-based information, including mechanisms and context, implications, indicators and actionable recommendation about an existing hazard/menace to assets that can help to make informed decisions regarding the subject’s response to that hazard/threat.”
It involves the gathering and processing of data about threat actors and their methods for defense purposes.
Cyber threat intelligence solutions often include machine learning and artificial Intelligence and integrate other security options to ensure data processing is precise.
CTI solutions allow organizations to understand their cybersecurity threats and create powerful defense mechanisms. This is a way to cyber resilience.
Cyber threat intelligence allows IT and security teams to better manage and prevent exploits. They are constantly alerted to potential vulnerabilities.
CTI relies more on human actors than automation. Practical CTI requires more than just the right tools. It also requires trained and intuitive analysts.
There is also a challenge. According to the CTI Practitioners’ Survey by Cybersecurity Insiders 85% of respondents received very little or no training in Open Source Intelligence techniques and risks.
Also read: Top 9 WordPress Lead Generation Plugins in 2023Endpoint Protection
Protection and endpoint security are key priorities. This means that organizations can be negatively affected if they fail to protect their endpoints. The endpoint security situation was bleak in 2023. According to Endpoint Safety Research by Delta Risk
34% of companies experienced more than one endpoint attack on their IT infrastructures or data.
55% of companies experienced an increase in endpoint security risks.
67% of respondents believe that it is reasonable likely or very possible they will fall prey to a cyberattack within the next 12 months.
Endpoint protection solutions are typically client-server based. However, some can be provided as SaaS. Although virtual private network (VPNs) and firewalls are important in breach prevention, these solutions are not the same as endpoint protection.
You can also set up a VPN using one of two methods: the manual configuration or the app-based. Manual configuration is the most difficult method of setting up a VPN and requires technical knowledge. Manual configuration can be used if you are unable to download or connect. The app-based approach, on the other hand, offers fast and secure connections with an easy to use interface.
Also read: The Five Best Free Cattle Record Keeping Apps & Software For Farmers/Ranchers/Cattle OwnersCyber Breach Response Plan
Many enterprises could do more to reduce their vulnerability to . The Cyber Security Breaches Survey (2023) shows the most frequent responses.
Giving people specific roles and responsibilities
Finding the source
Logging formal incidents
Only 21% of companies perform the four above, and 30% do not. This shows that companies’ responses to data breach are not always comprehensive or foolproof. 64% of businesses avoid future breaches.
Without the ability to properly analyze and respond to incidents, how resilient and flexible can a plan for avoiding threats be?
Here are some tips to help you develop a strong breach response plan.
You should have a plan of action for a crisis to protect your business from any serious incident.
Create a response plan that includes a risk assessment, alert levels for various incident types, as well as responsibilities and roles for each person involved
You can gauge the impact and effectiveness of your plans after an incident to determine lessons learned and potential threats.
Also read: Top 10 Trending Technologies You should know about it for Future DaysOnline Crisis Simulation Training
It is urgent that you provide more effective crisis training than the one you currently offer. Another great way to be prepared for any impending threats is online crisis simulation training.
These exercises can be tailored to address specific company issues. These teams are often overlooked in larger-scale simulations and practical sessions.
This approach is much easier than tabletop exercises. Online crisis/emergency scenarios can create an augmented buy in across the company, even among staff who aren’t proficient with technical stuff.Ensure Essential Skills
As a discipline, cybersecurity is constantly evolving. This keeps the field dynamic and exciting. Unfortunately, many companies are not able to protect themselves from potential threats because their employees don’t know about them. Training and preparing employees are essential to ensure your business is prepared for any data security threats.
Cybersecurity personnel need to have the basic skills of communication, problem-solving and critical thinking. These are essential skills that are fundamental to their daily work.
Training employees in security basics, writing protocols, creating action plans, as well as developing them with the ability to write them, is a must. These skills can be combined with technical knowledge to help prepare your employees, particularly the IT and security team, to tackle the issue competently.
Employees should be knowledgeable about data security and have the ability to apply their knowledge.
Also read: How to choose The Perfect Domain NameConclusion
A robust plan that emphasizes core skills, readiness and attention to emerging cyber security concerns is essential for your business’ success.
You can make your organization more secure by being proactive and sufficiently informed. To increase data security in the company, employees need to be able to tell how and when they can change privacy settings.
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Reformatting and restoring a PC is not fun–in the way spending 2 hours in the dentist’s chair is not fun. You have to back up all your data (and pray that you haven’t forgotten anything), reformat the hard drive, install Windows, track down missing drivers, find and reload all your software, restore your data, and pull out clumps of hair over the things you inevitably neglected to save. (Firefox plug-ins, anyone?)
If you’re smart, however, you’ll look upon this as an opportunity–not only to return your PC to its former out-of-the-box glory but also to make it better than it was before. I’m talking about implementing a bulletproof backup system to thwart future disasters, organizing your folders and desktop to keep clutter at bay, cutting performance-clogging security software to a bare minimum, and making sure that if you ever need to reformat and restore again, the process will go a lot easier.
In other words, you’ve cleaned house. And now it’s time to get that house in order.Create an Image of Your Newly Restored System
Windows installed, updated, and personalized to your liking? Check. Important apps loaded? Check. Drivers working? Check. Now step back and bask in the glow of your perfectly configured, smoothly running PC. Don’t you wish you could capture this moment forever, and even preserve it for the future in case something goes awry?
You can, by creating an “image” of your system as it exists right now. An image is essentially a full-system backup, but one that contains all the extra stuff that gets added after a fresh Windows install. By making that image your go-to restore source, you can save a ton of time if you ever need to do another system overhaul. (Remember, however, that an image isn’t intended to preserve your data; that’s an entirely different kind of backup.)
Countless drive-image utilities are out there, but I’m partial to Macrium Reflect Free. It’s easy to use, and it can save your image file to an external drive, a network drive, or even CDs/DVDs. It’ll also build a bootable rescue disc for restoring the image, just in case you’re trying to resurrect a seriously compromised system.Add a Linux Partition
This is the perfect time to create a dual-boot environment, to devote a chunk of your hard drive (a partition) to Linux. When you’re finished, you’ll be able to choose Windows or Linux every time you boot; it’s like turning one PC into two. And in the unlikely event something goes wrong during setup, no major harm done: You could just whip out the drive image you created earlier and restore the system to its previous pristine state. (Read our Linux Line blog for more tips and news from the Other Side.)Set Up an Automated Backup System
No more excuses! Your data has survived this far, but you’re computing on thin ice. A devastating malware attack or hard-drive failure might be just around the corner. The time has come to start making backups on a regular basis, just as you always promised yourself you would.
Second, enlist an online backup tool such as Carbonite or Mozy to save your most crucial data (Office documents, financial records, etc.) to the cloud. I’m partial to Mozy, which gives you 2GB of free backup space, a highly automated backup utility, and the option of making a local backup in addition to the cloud version. It’s a great set-it-and-forget-it choice.
Here is a CV I received for a position of “Research scientist” some time back:
Sadly, the person who applied for the CV had very little chance of getting the position. I am not saying this after looking at the skillset of the person. Instead, I am instead telling this by just glancing through the person’s CV. The first half a page on CV doesn’t tell its reader anything about the person or his / her skillset. No wonder, this was a 3 page CV for a person with 2 years of experience!
Here is another instance – a cover email which led to rejection of the candidate even before his CV was opened.
His “Exceptionall” skills were clearly at work here! Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, poor typesetting, illogical sentences – you name a mistake and this email would likely have it!
Here is a tip which can save you from a lot of trouble:
A good CV might not be sufficient to get you selected,
But, a bad CV can be sufficient to get you rejected!
This article aims to provide you with some thoughts to make your CV stand out from the stack of CVs for any data science role.Step 1: Get the basics right
Here are a few tips to get the basics in place. I am just listing the tips here as most of you would know these or can find better guidance on basics on the web.
The length of your CV should be ideally one page or a maximum of two pages. Any thing more than that is likely to be skimmed through, rather than being read.
Make sure that every point you are mentioning in your CV is crisp and clear. Avoid using long, complex, technical statements.
Attach clear (business) benefit attached to each and every project you mention or call out why the project you are mentioning stands out.
The purpose of the CV is to showcase your work from past. Hence, you should emphasize on what you have done and not what you can do.
Highlight skills relevant to the role (more on this later)
Take review from a few experts in the industry. This is the acid test to check whether your CV is still up to the mark or not.Step 2: Tailor your CV
Once a basic version of your CV is ready, you can start thinking “How to can tailor your CV depending on the role you are applying for?” Emphasize and highlight projects which showcase the skills required in the role you are applying for. There are broadly two classes of roles available in analytics industry currently:
Technical data science roles: These roles require you to spend time working on / leading data science projects. You need to slice and dice data to come out with insights for your customers / stakeholders. If you are applying to these roles, here are a few tips:
Focus on showcasing few key projects: Identify a select group of project (5 – 10) and focus on mentioning them only. Highlight the key benefits or uniqueness of each of these projects.
Illustrate depth of knowledge: There roles require you to possess deep knowledge on a topic.
Showcase technical skills: You should mention the types of tools you have worked on and your expertise with them.
Get (meaningful) certifications and add them to your profile – Lookout for courses running on platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX and complete them along with their assignments.
Create a GitHub profile and share your work from past – Share whatever work you can share on GitHub (e.g. projects done while doing courses on Coursera, edX etc.), codes from Kaggle competitions, tutorials and blogs you have written in past
Non-technical data science roles: I refer to the roles, which are either client facing or related to sales of analytics solutions here. If you are applying for jobs like these, you don’t necessarily need to showcase your expertise on a language. What you need to showcase are the skills which are critical to that role. For example, a client facing analytics consultant would need to be very good at structured thinking. A pre-sales person would need skills to influence people basis data based stories. Here are a few tips to make your CV stand out for these roles:
Emphasize the business impact from your previous engagements: This could be the biggest sales you made, the number of clients you consulted or any metric, which directly impact the top line (or bottom line in some rare cases).
If you have written blogs / views on the subject, you should include them in your CV.Step 3: Stepping up the game
By now, you should have a basic CV ready and you would have emphasized the right skills for the role. Next, I would mention a few examples and techniques to take your CV to the next level. Consider these examples as High risk, High return strategies. You should not attempt them until your basic CV is ready.
If you do these things well, you can get a very high return. However, if you do a bad job in executing these things well, these things can backfire. The main purpose of these techniques is to distinguish your CV against the bunch of CVs, which employers get for good positions.Example 1: Create an Infographic about yourself
Here is a good example of an infographic designed by a graphic designer. He has highlighted his skills and knowledge of tools.
Why does an infographic like this work? This works because creating this shows that you can take a lot of data and represent that in a nice and effective manner – a skill every data scientist or manager needs to possess.Example 2: Creating a dashboard / story in the tool of your choice
Consider your CV as your real estate for showcasing yourself in a limited space – something similar to what you need to do in business dashboards. So, if you can create an interactive dashboard about yourself (with drill downs), you can again drive your CV home. Here are a CV from Dmitry Gudkov, which was available on the internet:
You can also use story-telling features from QlikSense or Tableau. This not only shows that you can visualize data effectively, but also that you know about the latest features in some of the tools.
Here is another example of a CV, which an applicant created while applying for a Digital marketing manager. Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool for digital marketing. So, he created his CV in form of a dashboard, which resembles Google Analytics dashboard closely.
With these examples, you would now understand what I mean by high risk, high return strategy. If you do pursue to create something like this, you will need to spend a lot of time thinking what information should come on CV and what should go off. However, that is time well spent.
After all, if you do create a nice visualization about yourself, it will definitely set you apart from the league.End Notes: If you like what you just read & want to continue your analytics learning, subscribe to our emails, follow us on twitter or like our facebook page.
With Windows 10’s new features, the productivity of users has increased leaps and bounds. That’s because Windows 10 introduced its approach as ‘Mobile first, Cloud first’. It is nothing but the integration of mobile devices with the cloud technology. Windows 10 delivers the modern management of data using cloud-based device management solutions such as Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). With this, users can access their data from anywhere and anytime. However, this kind of data also needs good security, which is possible with Bitlocker.Bitlocker encryption for cloud data security
Bitlocker encryption configuration is already available on the Windows 10 mobile devices. However, these devices needed to have InstantGo capability to automate the configuration. With InstantGo, the user could automate the configuration on the device as well as backup the recovery key to the user’s Azure AD account.
But now the devices will not require the InstantGo capability anymore. With Windows 10 Creators Update, all Windows 10 devices will have a wizard where users are prompted to start the Bitlocker encryption regardless of the hardware used. This was mainly the result of users’ feedback about the configuration, where they wished to have this encryption automated without having the users do anything. Thus, now the Bitlocker encryption has become automatic and hardware independent.How does the Bitlocker encryption work
When the end-user enrolls the device and is a local admin, the TriggerBitlocker MSI does the following:
Deploys three files into C:Program Files (x86)BitLockerTrigger
Imports a new scheduled task based on the included Enable_Bitlocker.xml
The scheduled task will run every day at 2 PM and will do the following:
Run Enable_Bitlocker.vbs which the main purpose is to call Enable_BitLocker.ps1 and make sure to run minimized.
In its turn, Enable_BitLocker.ps1 will encrypt the local drive and store the recovery key into Azure AD and OneDrive for Business (if configured)
The recovery key is only stored when either changed or not present
Users who are not part of the local admin group, need to follow a different procedure. By default, the first user that joins a device to Azure AD is a member of the local admin group. If a second user, who is a part of the same AAD tenant, logs on to the device, it will be a standard user.
This bifurcation is necessary when a Device Enrollment Manager account takes care of the Azure AD join before handing over the device to the end-user. For such users modified MSI (TriggerBitlockerUser) has been given Windows team. It is slightly different from that of local admin users:
The BitlockerTrigger scheduled task will run in the System Context and will:
Copy the recovery key to the Azure AD account of the user who joined the device to AAD.
Copy the recovery key to Systemdrivetemp (typically C:Temp) temporarily.
A new script chúng tôi is introduced and runs daily via a scheduled task called MoveKeyToOD4B. This scheduled task runs in the users’ context. The recovery key will be moved from systemdrivetemp to the OneDrive for Businessrecovery folder.
For the non-local admin scenarios, users need to deploy the TriggerBitlockerUser file via Intune to the group of end-users. This is not deployed to the Device Enrollment Manager group/account used to join the device to Azure AD.
To get the access to the recovery key, users need to go to either of the following locations:
Azure AD account
A recovery folder in the OneDrive for Business (if configured).
For more information on how to enable the Bitlocker encryption, read the complete blog on Microsoft TechNet.
Data mining is the process of examining vast quantities of data in order to make a statistically likely prediction. Data mining could be used, for instance, to identify when high spending customers interact with your business, to determine which promotions succeed, or explore the impact of the weather on your business.
Data analytics and the growth in both structured and unstructured data has also prompted data mining techniques to change, since companies are now dealing with larger data sets with more varied content. Additionally, artificial intelligence and machine learning are automating the process of data mining.
Regardless of the technique, data mining typically evolves over three steps:
Exploration: First you must prepare the data, paring down what you need and don’t need, eliminating duplicates or useless data, and narrowing your data collection to just what you can use.
Modeling: Build your statistical models with the goal of evaluating which will give the best and most accurate predictions. This can be time-consuming as you apply different models to the same data set over and over again (which can be processor-intensive) and then compare the results.
Deployment: In this final stage you test your model, against both old data and new data, to generate predictions or estimates of the expected outcome.
Data mining is an highly effective process – with the right technique. The challenge is choosing the best technique for your situation, because there are many to choose from and some are better suited to different kinds of data than others. So what are the major techniques?
This form of analysis is used to classify different data in different classes. Classification is similar to clustering in that it also segments data records into different segments called classes. In classification, the structure or identity of the data is known. A popular example is e-mail to label email as legitimate or as spam, based on known patterns.
The opposite of classification, clustering is a form of analysis with the structure of the data is discovered as it is processed by being compared to similar data. It deals more with the unknown, unlike classification.
This is the process of examining data for errors that may require further evaluation and human intervention to either use the data or discard it.
A statistical process for estimating the relationships between variables which helps you understand the characteristic value of the dependent variable changes. Generally used for predictions, it helps to determine if any one of the independent variables is varied, so if you change one variable, a separate variable is affected.
This technique is what data mining is all about. It uses past data to predict future actions or behaviors. The simplest example is examining a person’s credit history to make a loan decision. Induction is similar in that it asks if a given action occurs, then another and another again, then we can expect this result.
Exactly as it sounds, summarization present a mode compact representation of the data set, thoroughly processed and modeled to give a clear overview of the results.
One of the many forms of data mining, sequential patterns are specifically designed to discover a sequential series of events. It is one of the more common forms of mining as data by default is recorded sequentially, such as sales patterns over the course of a day.
Decision tree learning is part of a predictive model where decisions are made based on steps or observations. It predicts the value of a variable based on several inputs. It’s basically an overcharged “If-Then” statement, making decisions on the answers it gets to the question it asks.
This is one of the most basic techniques in data mining. You simply learn to recognize patterns in your data sets, such as regular increases and decreases in foot traffic during the day or week or when certain products tend to sell more often, such as beer on a football weekend.
While most data mining techniques focus on prediction based on past data, statistics focuses on probabilistic models, specifically inference. In short, it’s much more of an educated guess. Statistics is only about quantifying data, whereas data mining builds models to detect patterns in data.
Data visualization is the process of conveying information that has been processed in a simple to understand visual form, such as charts, graphs, digital images, and animation. There are a number of visualization tools, starting with Microsoft Excel but also RapidMiner, WEKA, the R programming language, and Orange.
Neural network data mining is the process of gathering and extracting data by recognizing existing patterns in a database using an artificial neural network. An artificial neural network is structured like the neural network in humans, where neurons are the conduits for the five senses. An artificial neural network acts as a conduit for input but is a complex mathematical equation that processes data rather than feels sensory input.
You can’t have data mining without data warehousing. Data warehouses are the databases where structured data resides and is processed and prepared for mining. It does the task of sorting data, classifying it, discarding unusable data and setting up metadata.
This is a method to identify interesting relations and interdependencies between different variables in large databases. This technique can help you find hidden patterns in the data that that might not otherwise be clear or obvious. It’s often used in machine learning.
Data processing tends to be immediate and the results are often used, stored, or discarded, with new results generated at a later date. In some cases, though, things like decision trees are not built with a single pass of the data but over time, as new data comes in, and the tree is populated and expanded. So long-term processing is done as data is added to existing models and the model expands.
Regardless of which specific technique you use, here are key data mining best practices to help you maximize the value of your process. They can be applied to any of the 15 aforementioned techniques.
Preserve the data. This should be obvious. Data must be maintained militantly, and it must not be archived, deleted, or overwritten once processed. You went through a lot of trouble to get that data prepared for generating insight, now vigilance must be applied to maintenance.
Have a clear idea of what you want out of the data. This predicates your sampling and modeling efforts, never mind your searches. The first question is what do you want out of this strategy, such as knowing customer behaviors.
Have a clear modeling technique. Be prepared to go through many modeling prototypes as you narrow down your data ranges and the questions you are asking. If you aren’t getting the answers you want, ask them a different way.
Clearly identify the business problems. Be specific, don’t just say sell more stuff. Identify fine grain issues, determine where they occur in the sale, pre- or post-, and what the problem actually is.
Look at post-sale as well. Many mining efforts focus on getting the sale but what happens after the sale — returns, cancellations, refunds, exchanges, rebates, write-offs – are equally important because they are a portent to future sales. They help identifying customers who will be more or less likely to make future purchases.
Deploy on the front lines. It’s too easy leave the data mining inside the corporate firewall, since that’s where the warehouse is located and all data comes in. But preparatory work on the data before it is sent in can be done in remote sites, as can application of sales, marketing, and customer relations models.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are just around the corner.
It’s a bargain hunter’s dream, and dedicated shoppers are already prepping their wallets.
For Shopify stores, it’s the most important time of the year to position your offer right and make the most of the spending spree.
As an ecommerce brand, you’ve been sowing all year. Your brand has pumped iron, studied opposition movements, put hundreds of hours on the field fine-tuning movements, and now you’re ready.
Q4 is the time to reap your harvest. Don’t be shy about it.
In 2023, stores on the Shopify platform generated $6.3 billion in sales.
These are not numbers to balk at. It’s not uncommon for some brands to generate more revenue in November than they have all year. Don’t you want your share?
Shoppers are looking for a bargain, and it’s your chance to get your brand in front of them and drive some impressive sales numbers.
Here are some final Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) tips to help skyrocket your sales.1. Make Your Offer Simple
Don’t make it a complicated math project for customers to work out their discount. Make a clear and simple offer that’s irresistible.
Use automatic discounts rather than requiring customers to enter a coupon code.
Here are the pricing strategies that are most effective:Flat Percentage Discounts
This is the most common discount offer, and for good reason.
Customers are well-accustomed to, and even expect, this kind of sales offer. It’s predictable and leaves no room for nuance.Flat Dollar Discounts
Some brands may do better to stagger their dollar discounts based on total spend amounts.
The more you spend, the more you save. For example, “Spend $50, Save $10” or “Spend $100, Save $20.”
It can entice customers to spend more in order to save more.Set A Minimum Order Value To Qualify For Free Delivery
Rather than offering free delivery on every order, which quickly erodes your profit margins, set a minimum order value.
This is a great way to increase your average order value.
It encourages customers to spend just a little bit more to qualify.Offer A Free Gift With Orders Over A Certain Amount
If you have a low-cost product that complements another product (like shoe polish for leather shoes or an ink refill for a fountain pen), offering a free gift with certain products or minimum order values is a great way to increase conversions.
Sonoran Spice used the offer of a free gift in one of their previous Black Friday sales:Buy One, Get One Free Or Half Price
A Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) offer is a marketing strategy that attracts customers by offering them an incentive to buy two or more items.
The price of the second item is usually discounted or offered free.
Only use this offer for items of equal or lesser value. You do not want to cut into your profit margins on higher-value goods and only offer when inventory levels can be guaranteed.
It’s a great way to move stagnant or out-of-season stock.2. Create A Landing Page To Attract Email Subscribers
While this tactic is a must for every Shopify store, it works particularly well if you have a large following on your social media channels but are lacking in numbers on your email list.
Email remains one of the most powerful tools to leverage during the BFCM weekend.
You have complete control over the messaging, timing, and who gets to see your emails.
Several weeks before BFCM, create a landing page with an email sign-up form suggesting people subscribe if they want to be notified about your BFCM sales.
Then, share this on your social channels and drive those sign-ups.
Sweeten the offer by offering exclusive offers to email subscribers or access first to sales before the wild rush so they don’t risk missing out when stock levels dwindle.
This will ensure your sale offer lands directly in the lap of those who want to see it.3. Create A New Sales Collection Targeting Keywords
One handy SEO tip is to keep a generic collection or landing page URL slug that can be reused from year to year.
That is to say, do not use the year in the slug. This will allow you to re-use the collection for each BFCM and capitalize on any hard-earned backlinks you may gain over time.
Over the years, the SEO performance of the page will only compound.
This page can specifically target Black Friday and Cyber Monday keywords for brand and niche-related keywords.
Each year, you can then simply edit and update the collection or page name to coincide with the year.
When the sales period is active, add a nice big sales banner to your homepage and a link from your navigation menu, linking to this collection page.
When BFCM ends, remove the navigation link and take down any homepage banners.
Leave the collection indexed, but remove products from the collection. You can then reuse it for next year.4. Promote Your Sale To Affiliates
It’s a chance for them to cash in on the sales period while promoting your offers.
You can take it one step further and give them exclusive first access to sales. Some VIP treatment never goes astray.
Sweeten the deal by offering an additional commission for hitting sales milestones or prizes for top affiliate sales.5. Get In First Before The Rush
Consider using the same BFCM strategies but launching your sales early.
The intent behind this is to get in before the rush. It’s a ninja strategy to attract customers waiting in anticipation of the sales.
A preliminary sale also has the benefit of beating the postal rush.6. Be Bold In Your Messaging
Now for a little pep talk.
Too many brands are passive. They don’t want to announce their sales on their social channels for fear of saturating feeds or being too overbearing.
They don’t want to email their list for fear of annoying people.
They might send out one email announcing the sale, but it comes across as lacking confidence and sounds like, “Hey, customer, maybe you want to buy from us. Here’s our offer, but don’t worry, we won’t be offended if you don’t. Maybe you’ll opt to buy from my competitor instead. That’s okay. Can we still be friends?”
Those emails may convert some, but you’re leaving so much potential on the table.
Don’t be that kind of brand. Plan, be bold in your messaging, and execute as if your life depends on it.
You’re in business to keep your brand alive with people who want to buy from you.
An important distinction needs to be made here. Being bold does not mean being sleazy or manipulative. Be sincere and earnest in your communication.
There’s a lot of noise around sales at this time of year, and you’re competing against the big guys who have near-infinite marketing budgets.
But there’s a high chance people follow you because they already like your brand and what you stand for.
Be bold in that.
There are customers who are genuinely interested in you, your brand, and what you have to offer, and are seriously just waiting to hear from you and spend their money with you or support your cause!
Don’t take their loyalty for granted, but also don’t underestimate it.7. Email, Email, Email
Email is still one of the highest-converting sales channels.
When done right, your email list can be a goldmine. But don’t wait until the eve before Black Friday to email your list.
If you haven’t been emailing your list consistently over the course of the last several months, now is the time to warm it up.
Tell your subscribers and customers what’s to come.
If you’re worried about overwhelming your existing email list with too many emails, send an email so they can opt-in for sales updates. This will then tag them for incoming emails and save spamming those customers who aren’t interested.
Your email schedule should have, at minimum, one pre-launch email in the week leading up to BFCM. Two is optimal.
Share a story about your brand, recent news, and new product updates – and get your list excited. Don’t leave them to guess.
Be different by being transparent. Give your customers the opportunity to fill their carts and have their credit cards ready.
Over the course of the BFCM weekend, send emails both in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
This is to capture and remind people what’s on offer, so your emails don’t get overlooked. Be clear in your communication about your sales start and finish times.
Final countdown emails work well to announce when the sale will end.
Make sure you adjust the timing of your abandoned cart reminder emails.
It’s crucial to give customers the opportunity to finalize their purchase before the sale period ends.8. Make Your Email Subject Lines Stand-Out
Ask yourself the question, “Would you open this email?”
It’s all too easy to do what everyone expects.
Make your emails stand out and use subject lines that snatch attention.
“Sorry, we sold out,” “I can’t believe we’re doing this…” or, “If you miss this, you can’t blame us” are some examples.9. Have Your Marketing Material Ready
It’s time to shout your graphic design team (or person) to a few coffees – they should be at their busiest right now!
Website banners, social media posts, email campaigns – there’s a lot of marketing material that needs to be ready to go.
Create consistent marketing material that can easily be reworked and reused according to the channel.
Update your main lead generators like website pop-ups and announcement banners.
Rather than push your standard 10% discount on the first purchase, which will be ignored, the wording can be changed to “Unlock Holiday Sales.”10. Pre-Schedule Everything
The fewer decisions you have to make on the day, the smoother things will go, and the more time you will free up for the unexpected (and inevitable) challenges that might arise.
Check and double-check that your discounts and markdowns are scheduled to go live exactly when you want them to. Get your emails lined up.
Use one of the many social media posting tools to schedule your main social media posts.11. Top Up Inventory
If it’s not already too late, make sure your stock levels are topped up.
It’s frustrating for customers to have their credit card ready to buy, only to find an “out of stock” notification.
Strike while the iron is hot and capture their eagerness to buy by making sure you have adequate inventory in stock. Use past data to help forecast sales.
Lan Ong, owner of 3rd Story, a women’s wholesale fashion brand, provides this insight,
“As a wholesaler, this is also our busiest time of year and it’s no surprise when retailers are desperate for last-minute top-ups for their inventory.
It takes a combined effort along the supply chain to be prepared and to be mutually respectful of each other’s timelines, expectations and limitations.”
It’s not possible to always get it perfect, so be gracious to yourself and your team.12. Prioritise Mobile And Optimize Site Speed
Mobile is still king. Shopify reported that 71% of BFCM sales in 2023 were done on mobile.
If you don’t have a mobile-responsive site or images optimized for mobile, then now is the time to get it sorted.
Imagine, as a customer, shopping on a website that takes ten seconds to load a single product page, viewing product images that don’t resize properly for your mobile device, and then finally making it to the checkout only to have the site crash on you.
Following on from this, make sure your servers have the bandwidth to support the surge in traffic.
The last thing you want is for your online store to crash mid-sales.13. Share Live Updates On Social
Over the weekend, share live sold-out, low stock, and restock updates.
Publicly share answers to common customer questions.
Stories and Reels work great for sharing unique behind-the-scenes footage and live updates.
By doing so, you bring customers along on the exciting roller-coaster ride with you.
Urgency and scarcity are your best friends.14. Track Everything And Double-Down On High Performing Channels
This comprehensive guide to Google Analytics for Shopify will be your friend to help with that.
Find out what sales channels are your high performers and double-down your strategies for those.
Focus on one or two that you can smash.
For ad accounts, know your marketing effectiveness ratio (MER), then compare it in real-time in Shopify to throttle ad spend.15. Fine Tune Your Customer Service
Following the big weekend, take a moment to pat yourself and your team on the back.
It may seem like the hard part is over, but the weeks to follow with fulfillment and customer service are crucial. This will set the tone for your customer relationships moving forward.
Refine your order fulfillment processes to minimize errors.
Make sure customer service emails and socials are being closely monitored. Get your systems ready and in place to assist with returns, order issues, or complaints.16. Do A Post-BFCM Analysis
Congratulations! You’ve survived the highs and lows of what is the busiest time of year for most Shopify stores.
Take a moment to celebrate and take a deep breath.
Then peel yourself off the couch and get yourself back in front of the computer to crunch some numbers.
Now is the time to run a profit/loss analysis to understand your financial position.
Do it while the high is fresh, so you have all the numbers ready and lined up for next year.
This is the optimal time to review what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved on.Conclusion
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales weekend is one of the most exciting yet daunting times of the year for Shopify stores.
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Get your store and team organized now, and don’t delay in fine-tuning your sales strategies.
Even though we’re nearing the end of the year, it’s not too late to still make this your brand’s best year yet.
Featured Image: Farosofa/Shutterstock
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