8 April Fools’ day email ideas that’ll have you laughing all the way to your revenue goals

Profile photo of author Marissa Petteruti
Email marketing
January 8, 2023
Image shows 2 women laughing at their phone.

April Fools’ Day is always on April 1, and it’s not exactly up there with BFCM or the new year in terms of national shopping holidays.

For marketers, it can be a tough day to advertise.

Will your audience be receptive to an April Fools’ Day joke? Will their inboxes be so flooded with bad jokes that they will just send your well thought-out email straight to the bin? Would it be off-brand for your marketing emails to joke at all?

If you’ve found your way to this article, chances are your marketing team is already strategizing April Fools’ Day email ideas.

Read on for:

New research from Klaviyo: April Fool’s email + SMS campaigns

New research conducted by Klaviyo shows it’s worth the effort: top performing Klaviyo customers attributed an average of almost $300k to email automations and campaigns alone.

Image shows a chart indicating top performing Klaviyo customers on April Fools’ Day email campaigns
Source: Klaviyo

And it’s not just email. Top performing Klaviyo customers earned high click rates—an average of over 10%—and were able to attribute an average of over $20k to SMS sends.

Image shows a chart indicating top performing Klaviyo customers on April Fools’ Day SMS campaigns
Source: Klaviyo

But for ecommerce businesses sending out April Fools’ email campaigns, it can be hard to get the messaging right.

The cheekier your brand voice is, the more it might make sense to do something really over the top. But a jokey email that pulls an April Fools’ Day prank on your audience really isn’t right for every brand.

Even brands that don’t typically crack a lot of jokes, however, can still run really great marketing campaigns for this silly day.

April Fools’ Day marketing strategies are not all that different from marketing for any other holiday: You’ve got a discount or some other enticing offer to share, you’ve segmented your email list so you’re not spamming your audience, and you’ve got some smart copy, some clear and beautiful email design, and a directive for your audience.

Let’s take a look at how a few brands have executed successful April Fools’ Day marketing—and see if you can get inspired by their email examples, too.

April Fool’s Day marketing ideas

1. HOMAGE takes on politics

Image shows an April Fools Day email from HOMAGE with new products
Source: Homage/Klaviyo Showcase

Politics have pervaded our lives, and if this is especially true for your consumers, then a campaign like this one from HOMAGE might be right up your alley.

What’s so special about this email copy is that it mimics the content of a political campaign letter, but once you scroll down, it’s obvious that the email is talking about retired football quarterback Bernie Kosar—not U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

2. ScanCafe invites their audience to compare

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from ScanCafe
Source: Milled

ScanCafe, a photo scanning and restoration company, includes a link to a comparison tool in this April Fool’s Day marketing email. A move like that exudes confidence, and helps build trust between the audience and the brand.

In addition to including a blurb that succinctly explains what they’re offering, ScanCafe also empathizes with their audience, calling the process of digitizing photos “daunting” and offering links to two direct resources for support.

And that’s not all: The headline—which is prominently featured in the design, with no distracting copy around it—emphasizes that the 60% discount they’re offering is not a joke.

3. Capsul invokes Black Friday with big sales

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from Capsul
Source: Milled

Every American knows we can save big during Black Friday sales. Capsul Jewelry, a brand that sells custom jewelry, invokes the autumn holiday in spring, after April Fools’ Day.

Here’s what makes this is such a smart move:

  • It’s simple. Capsul is offering 50% off—a significant discount. Invoking Black Friday, a holiday where big discounts are the name of the game, is bound to grab the audience’s attention.
  • It creates urgency. The advertised sale not only has an imminent expiration date—this email went out the day the sale ended—but also reminds the reader that they’ll have to wait 6 months for another discount this big if they sleep on this deal.
  • It helps subscribers manage the urgency. Capsul gives their audience the option to customize their jewelry later on, while still reserving the 50% off discount. So, if you know you love the brand, you can save now—and worry about how to customize your purchase later.

Capsul rounds out their email with social proof, including starred reviews and photos.

4. Pearson asks for forgiveness and offers useful content

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from Pearson
Source: Milled

Lots of brands send out practical joke emails on April 1. And some of those pay off, going viral and building brand awareness and credibility, with whoever thought of it getting the last laugh. Others, however, simply irritate your subscribers—and can even erode trust.

So, how do you come back from a misfire?

Pearson, a brand that sells bikes, clothing and equipment for cyclists, launched a product on April 1 that was, in their words, “too good to be true.” Not everyone caught the joke.

So, they apologized and tried to make it up to their subscribers, keeping it light: The follow-up email begins, “to redeem ourselves for this foolery…”

Interestingly, Pearson doesn’t offer a discount. Instead, they provide nutrition advice tailored to cyclists, a new ride route perfect for the time of year, and a link to sign up for a workshop.

The email doesn’t try too hard and keeps building community through targeted content sharing.

5. PAWZ forefronts social proof

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from PAWZ
Source: Milled

PAWZ, an apparel brand that donates 10% of their profits to no-kill shelters, sent an April Fools’ sale email with just hours left for subscribers to take advantage of the discount. In addition to a high-quality shot of one of their sweatshirts in the hero image, the email puts social proof front and center.

Each review has 5 stars—why not put your best foot forward? Not only that, each one is short, and easily readable or scannable. This is a great move—no matter how enthusiastic your audience is, the average subscriber is not likely to read marketing emails super carefully.

Finally, the email includes 5 separate shots of their products and no less than 5 well-placed CTA buttons to take the reader directly to their site.

6. OhMiBod shares reviews from iconic magazines

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from OhMiBod
Source: Milled

Social proof—when your current customers recommend your products based on their experience with your brand—makes for highly effective marketing. But if you haven’t collected reviews, or the reviews don’t feel like they accurately represent your brand, you have other options.

OhMiBod, a sexual health and wellness tech company, displays positive reviews from iconic magazines such as Glamour and Marie Claire as well as newer, equally popular sites like Refinery29.

The reviews are presumably written by professional reviewers, and their language is not only a little more articulate than an average consumer—it’s also authoritative.

Observer, Refinery29, and Marie Claire use superlatives to describe the products. And while it’s not clear if the brand or products actually won awards from these iconic magazines, it sure sounds like they did.

The rest of the email gives clear instructions on how to get the discount and makes it easy for subscribers by providing actionable CTA buttons.

7. CBDFx includes a countdown timer

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from CBDFX
Source: Milled

CBDFx, a CBD brand, offers a similar discount to lots of brands on April Fools’ Day: 30% off, with a hard deadline for when subscribers must complete their purchase.

But they also take the urgency one step further: They include a countdown clock.

The countdown clock ensures that, no matter what time the subscriber opens the email, they’ll get an accurate, real-time understanding of how much time is left for them to take advantage of the sale.

Talk about personalization! It may be brass tacks, but it’s tailored to the subscriber’s experience nonetheless.

Learn how to add a countdown timer to your emails.

8. Flock Foods emphasizes that their sale isn’t a joke

Image shows an April Fools’ Day email from Flock Foods
Source: Milled

Let’s face it: Plenty of brands clutter subscribers’ inboxes with poorly thought-out jokes on April 1 every year. It’s basically a guaranteed day for even an active fan of your brand to potentially ignore an email from you.

So, if you’re serious about what you’re offering, make sure you let your customers know. Most of the brands we’ve looked at so far made clear that their sale was no joke, but Flock Foods, a snack brand, drives it home with the clarification in 3 places:

  • Eyebrow copy
  • A subheading
  • Body copy

Even the most distracted reader will get the point and understand that this sale is authentic. The email also features slick product shots, easy-to-find CTA buttons, and a scannable layout.

Ensure April Fools’ Day elevates your brand

April Fools’ Day is as good a time as any to get a message in front of your subscribers. Ironically, it’s a holiday when your marketing message has to be clearer and sharper than ever to cut through the noise.

Klaviyo’s advanced personalization helps you talk to your customers like you know them—because you do.

Done with your April email campaigns? Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Get ready.

Get tips and tricks for your holiday marketing all year long.
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Marissa Petteruti
Marissa Petteruti
Marissa Petteruti is the manager of Klaviyo's Academy team. She leads the creation of content that helps customers learn how to get the most of out Klaviyo. Prior to joining Klaviyo's Academy team, Marissa was the first member of Klaviyo's marketing team. She joined the company shortly after graduating from Brown University. In her free time, you can find Marissa experimenting to find the world’s greatest penne alla vodka recipe.