Dealing with the Dead Week

Dec 2, 2013

Dealing with the Dead Week

I’ll always remember my first experience with Dead Week.

I was just starting busting my chops on online marketing. I was running some mid-sized Adwords campaigns in the travel space. Doing everything you’re supposed to do: tweaking the keywords, reviewing the bids — the usual Adsense process.

Then one day, everyone just stopped coming to the website. Traffic went to nearly zero.

I started freaking out: what happened? Did I accidentally make the bids too low? Did I accentally put in some broad negative that disqualified almost every search?

My mind would sometimes go to the more extreme ends: did some chunk of the Internet of the country go out somewhere, somehow?

Googling and googling around, asking around on forums, I eventually figured out what happened:

It’s Dead Week.

What is Dead Week?

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years — where everyone just stops using the Internet. That’s an exaggeration — but only a slight one.

I would estimate that, consistently, traffic levels are about 50% of what they are during an average 7-day period for the rest of the year, during Dead Week. Plan accordingly!

This is the lowest traffic week per year that I know. The second lowest week is the final week of August, before Labor Day. Traffic that week is probably 75% of what it is during a standard week week.

So, what should you do to deal with that week?

Here are a few tips:

1.) Remember the old G.I. Joe advice: “knowing is half the battle.” Just being ready for it calms you down a lot!

2.) If you want to take a vacation — that’s the best time of the year! Seriously. When you’re a workaholic, as you need to be in order to make your campaign a success, it’s easy to work 24/7. But now’s the right opportunity to force yourself to clear your mind, to take that “step back” and see everything with perspective.

3.) Don’t run any tests or experiments during that time. Or if you do, expect that you’ll be getting data much more slowly than you would otherwise. Remember, the amount of data you usually collect — you’ll need twice as long to get the same information!

4.) Use that week to catch up on all of the “important but not urgent” work that you keep on putting off. For example, writing articles for awesome websites like this one! Everyone has a whole list of things they need to do but never find the time to. THis is all of the less urgent campaign tweaking options: have you reviewed your search queries in a long time? Or your placements? Now’s the time to dig in! Once it gets busy again, you’ll stop finding time!

5.) Try marketing messages that are appropriate for that week. “Not doing anything this week? Try our product!”. In other words, let your creativity rip! Don’t expect to get much data in response — but, since so little is happening, you may as well enjoy yourself!

6.) Read two books: one about online marketing; and one about a topic that has nothing to do with work or the Internet. The first is to help you see your work from details that you don’t learn when you’re so immersed in the everyday details. The second is to help you see things from another perspective and spark your creativity.

Just remember: nothing’s going to happen that week–so you may as well take advantage of it!

About the Author: Morgan F. is the CEO of The Marketing Scientist.

Photo credit: Orthosynetics