Christmas and New Year ideas for independent software vendors (ISV)

Add an “Easter egg” feature into your software

Your users will be pleasantly surprised when your application unexpectedly congratulates them and wishes them a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. This may be a specially decorated splash screen or logo graphics, funny animation, music, or video with your wishes to your users. For instance, VLC Media player puts up a red Christmas hat icon as an Easter egg in 2009 festive season.
Moreover, you may hide this secret feature deep in the application interface and hold a contest on your website with prizes for those who will find the “Easter egg” feature first.

Make and publish a video about how your team is celebrating these holidays

Show to your users that there are good people with positive attitude behind your product. Tell them a holiday story about your team. Find a good idea for your story to make your video remarkable and viral, so people would re-share it via social networks. This will give additional exposure to your products. Don’t be afraid to be slightly sentimental. People like touching stories.

Hold a holiday sale

Christmas and New Year eve is a season of sales. These days people are hunting for big discounts and special offers. It’s time of impulsive purchases. Don’t miss this opportunity to increase your customer base. Offer a time limited discount and announce it on your web site, blog and newsletter.

Hunt for special offers yourself

It’s not only you who must offer discounts for the holiday season. Other vendors and professional services do the same. So, if you need to purchase development tools, to order copywriting or design services for your business, go to their web sites now and you’ll likely find lots of Christmas offers there. Use this chance to pay less. For example, iSpreadNews PR agency that helps developers to promote their applications for iOS and Mac offers today discounts for everyone who announces some Christmas-related specials for iPhone/iPad or Mac application through their service.

Create a special Christmas bundle with products of another vendor

It’s not a secret that other ISVs are also looking for good Christmas ideas and opportunities for their businesses. Offer them a partnership. Make a Christmas bundle of your products and offer it for a special holiday price. If you both promote this bundle on your websites then this will double the product exposure, cut the promotion costs, and will increase sales. Cooperative bundle is a good way to quickly increase your user base.

Become Santa. Give away something for free

In the festive season most people expect to receive a gift from Santa. Become Santa for your users and offer them something for free. This may be a handy add-on or extension for your core product or just a part of it. For example, icon designers from Aha-Soft offer several icons from their commercial icon sets for free.

Create a holiday special edition of your product

December is a month of Christmas decorations. Before holidays we decorate our home, gardens, and offices. Decorate your application as well. Create a special holiday edition of your program or an add-on. For example, this might be a set of Christmas icons or backgrounds, a special Christmas level for your game, a skin with snowflakes for your utility, or document templates with Christmas ornament for your editor. Offer such extension as a freebie and watch your web site traffic and number of downloads explode.

Decorate your web site for holidays

Web site is a place that you must decorate for holidays in the first turn. Update your logo and background. Add special elements like bells or Christmas balls to make your web site, blog, or on-line store remarkable and charming. Creating custom Christmas balls with your original design, text and logos is easy and fast.

It took just three minutes to make such animated ball with TBS Cover Editor.
Watch the short video about how to create such Christmas ball graphics.

Design a remarkable flash postcard and virally spread it through your users

Also help your users and clients to congratulate their friends and pals. Create a viral flash postcard with an interesting story for them. This card must include a humble mention of your product or service and it must be customizable. Your clients must be able to insert name of a recipient and add their personal wishes before sending it. So, everyone who receive and watch such flash postcard could insert a name of another person and resend it to his or her friend as well. If the postcard’s idea and design are interesting and creative then people will virally resend it to each other and your company will receive great coverage and numerous mentions.

Tell about your achievements and progress in the past year

People like both success and failure stories. People like truth. So, if you have a blog tell your subscribers the truth about your results in the past year. Tell what you did to grow your sales, to improve user experience in your products, and to increase conversion. Disclose how you build your business. Share your experience about various approaches: what worked and what failed. Publish real figures and I promise your post will get very popular. For example, Patrick McKenzie, an author of Bingo Card Creator application, does this every year and his “Year In Review” posts attract many visitors to his blog.

Disclose your plans for the next year

Another way to attract many readers to your blog during the holiday season is sharing your plans for the next year. Tell about products you’re going to release after the New Year, about projects you’re going to launch, and about ideas you’re going to implement. Spread the words about your upcoming projects now and attract early adopters even before official release.

Send gifts and souvenirs to your key partners and major clients

Don’t forget about your key partners who helped you and your business in the past year. Send them original souvenirs. This shouldn’t be an expensive gift but it must be a physical thing sent via regular mail. For example, a remarkable hand made souvenir would be a perfect choice. Strong and mutual relationships are invaluable. Appreciate your business partners and be thankful to them.

If you know other Christmas ideas for ISV then please tell us about it in comments.

We wish you happy holidays and all the best in the New Year! Cheers!

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