🚀 Launching during the holidays

I don't know about you, but to me, the last 6 weeks of the year are a weird time and attention dilation. Stress, attention, and time are all expanding and contracting in weird ways that don't quite match the rest of the year.

So it's not surprising to me when folks ask us about launching their products or even shipping new marketing during this season.

Here's a few of the things that I like to keep in mind:

Know your audience

If you create mostly for professionals, it's a pretty safe bet that MOST of them will tend to unplug during an official or widely celebrated holiday.

That can work to your advantage, or to your disadvantage!

If they're mostly employees, I'd avoid launching on holidays and even on the weekend. If they're mostly self-employed or entrepreneurs, those weekends and holidays can actually be better.

Never underestimate a "buying" mood.

Folks have all sorts of opinions about Black Friday sales, but the evidence is clear: even if you aren't a deal-hunter, a LOT of people are. Offering a no-brainer price point or bonus during this holiday can be one of your best effort-for-income ratios of the year.

Consider this: even if you run the exact same sale during Black Friday weekend and again during another random period of time during the year, I've regularly seen results that are between 2x and 10x higher during Black Friday. I wouldn't believe it if I haven't seen it myself.

How much have you invested in the thing you want to ship?

Most business decision making isn't a matter of "right or wrong" - but about managing risk. You can't really control or predict outcomes, but you can make decisions that limit your downsides and make space for potential upsides.

For example: if you spent the last few months (or longer!) working on a brand new product or feature, would you ship it in the week surrounding Christmas when a large portion of your audience is probably more focused on wrapping up work so they can spend time with their families?

Probably not...

But maybe:

  • If it's something that helps them wrap up their work faster, this might be the perfect time since they're acutely feeling that pain!
  • If it's something that you very intentionally want to soft-launch for a very limited audience, and the limited response won't take the wind out of your sails.

Also, if you're working on a low investment, low risk idea and want to experiment creating something "on the fly" the holidays can be a great time.

For example, I wrote a Twitter thread that eventually became my book The Tiny MBA during the days leading up to Christmas.

That thread made a huge splash, with hundreds of interactions and well over a million impressions, in spite of the holiday. It's even possible that the holiday helped, given the bite-sized lessons and my potential readers lounging around casually scrolling on their phones.

But the risk was basically zero. I hadn't spent weeks or even days planning and prepping - I was writing it "just in time." Even if my thread hadn't made a big splash, I wouldn't be out anything. I was just getting stuff out there.

Final reminder: Launch isn't a single day

Contrary to popular belief, you get WAY more than one shot to launch your thing.

The trick is looking at launch from the perspective of your audience.

You might be showing the world your thing for the first time, but the entire world won't see it at the same time even if you do an amazing job.

But for everyone who hasn't seen your new thing yet, every subsequent launch will be somebody's first.

Know your audience. Consider their buying mood. Cap your downsides. Keep launching and relaunching.

And don't forget to enjoy the holidays yourself  🎁!