April Fool’s Day Email Strategy

MailCharts saves you the trouble of secretly subscribing to your competition’s emails and then spending hours trying to find something actionable.

Below you’ll find the canonical reference for April Fool’s Day email planning. From email examples to specific promotional strategies, we’ve included everything you need to ace your campaign.

April Fool’s Day
Email Examples

April Fool’s Day Email Campaign Planning

Use the calendar below as a starting point to plan your email campaigns.

This Twenty20 email calendar is based on Twenty20, who sent 0 emails for April Fool’s Day in 2018.
Want to see a specific company’s email calendar?

April Fool’s Day Email Marketing Statistics

Day-by-day volume distribution

Will you simply send one email on April Fool’s Day or will you send a few emails leading up to it, including a “last chance” email once the event is over?
Emails sent before April Fool’s Day
Emails sent on April Fool’s Day
Emails sent after April Fool’s Day
Based on 134 emails mentioning "april fools", "april fools day" in the subject line.

April Fool’s Day promotional strategy

April Fool’s Day
Discount Analysis

Discover the most popular types of promotions used for April Fool’s Day.

Note: One email might contain more than one type of promotion — this is why these totals may not add up to 100%.

Distribution of Promotions

Understand how steep a discount companies offer for April Fool’s Day. You can toggle between Dollars Off and Percent Off.
Be prepared for every holiday with the
perfect cadence and discount strategy.

April Fool’s Day Content Strategy

Ace your April Fool’s Day email content with these ready-to-implement strategies. Enjoy!

April Fool’s Day can be a great hook for an email campaign. It humanizes your brand, builds likability and engagement and can get people talking in positive ways. But there’s a big caveat: You must know your audience well enough to trust they’ll get the joke. You also need the creative chops to design an email message that provokes laughter and sharing instead of groans and eyerolls.

Most importantly, you want to avoid offending your customers so much that they not only unsubscribe but also expose your gaffe on social media, thus damaging your brand.

The below strategies can keep you out of the Email Hall of Shame.


Strategy #1: Know your audience inside and out

“Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard.” Ever heard that? That’s one of the first rules of comedy-writing and the reason why so much humorous writing falls flat.

Know who your customers are – age, gender, location, plus some good guesses about what they like and don’t like. You probably can’t zero in too closely on whether they appreciate being pranked, but do your products appeal to people with a flexible sense of humor? Are they kind of quirky and thus more likely to attract quirky people?

A good April Fool’s joke can be a little edgy. How well do you think your customers will react? If the idea makes you a little nervous, then start with something subtle.


Strategy #2: Be authentic

Just as you need to know your audience intimately, you also need to stay true to your brand voice and culture. All of the emails featured in our gallery above use humor that springs from truths about the products, the brand or the kind of customers who flock to those companies.

The worst thing you could do is to fake a brand of humor. This goes double if the people who create your emails aren’t like the people who buy your products. Get second or third opinions from people not on the marketing team if the prank or joke veers too far away from your day-to-day messaging.


Strategy #3: Play it straight

Some of the best April Fool’s Day emails we’ve found in the MailCharts database look like any other messaging until they take a distinct left turn. The Barkshop email in the gallery above is a gold-medal example.

But you don’t have to be funny to create a guffaw-inducing message. See the Kelty email in the gallery above. The creators use their knowledge of camper culture to help Kelty’s customers prank their friends, which can be just as much fun and less likely to offend.

Both Barkshop and Kelty’s clever concepts are true to their brands and executed with a straight face.


Strategy #4: Reveal the “gotcha” on the landing page

Many campaigns shout “April Fool!” in the subject line, but why telegraph your gag before you’ve even started? Since your email’s job is to drive traffic to your website, save your punchline for a custom landing page — one that tips your customers off the moment they arrive.

If you do prefer to insert the “gotcha” in the email, try spooning out your nutty premise gradually so your customers remain intrigued longer than the second or two it would otherwise take them to catch on. The Stonewall Kitchen email in the gallery at the top of this page shows you how to build a silly hoax effectively before letting your recipients in on the joke.


Strategy #5: Invest some time to create a memorable campaign

A half-hearted attempt to capitalize on April Fool’s Day won’t get your emails noticed. Remember that every other brand is going to slap on a subject line that’s a variation of “No fooling ….” or “It’s no joke …” or something similar.


Happy fooling!