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The elements of a top-notch April Fool’s Day email

As marketers, April Fool’s Day is one of our absolute favorite holidays. It gives brands the perfect opportunity to get creative and show off their sense of humor, and it usually leads to some super hilarious campaigns. But that doesn’t mean you can just get away with anything. You should really think about what you’re doing before you press “send” on an April Fool’s Day email.

For instance, while internet retailer ThinkGeek drummed up a great response from their April Fool’s Day send in 2015, West Elm experienced a lot of backlash from theirs when it rubbed their subscribers the wrong way. So it’s important to be sure your prank will hit the right note with your specific audience.

Here are a few tips to craft a light-hearted April Fool’s email your subscribers will enjoy – and boost your brand’s engagement, social media love, and conversions while you’re at it!


1. Make it VERY clear it’s a joke.

April Fool’s Day isn’t the time to go subtle. So when choosing your messaging for the holiday, pick something absurd and really go for it – that way, you won’t risk people missing out on the joke and getting confused or worse, angry. In this example, Redbox sent an April Fool's mailing promoting their new “Petbox” option and used it as a way to get punny with all sorts of popular movie titles. It was crystal-clear it wasn’t for real, but it did a great job of showing people that their brand doesn’t take itself too seriously.


2. Extend a sale.

If you already have a sale going on, April Fool’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to surprise and excite your subscribers by extending it a little longer (like in this example from Jonathan Adler). This year’s holiday is on a Friday, too, so consider extending whatever promotion you’re offering right now over the weekend for a quick and easy April Fool’s play.


3. Get goofy.

Your April Fool’s mailing doesn’t have to be used to sell anything – anything real, that is. If you’re a more lighthearted brand – especially one in the retail world – it’s a great chance to create a fake product promo for something you know will make your audience giggle. And with a subject line like Boden's “Introducing the Marylebone Man Skirt”? You’re pretty much guaranteed clicks.


4. Give back.

In this email, American Eagle doesn’t just pull a prank on their subscribers by introducing their new line for dogs, “American Beagle Outfitters.” They also use it as an opportunity to spread the word about an awesome cause and encourage their subscribers to give back. It’s a one-two punch of humor + philanthropy, and it’s incredibly effective.


5. Or, take the anti-April Fool’s Day route.

If April Fool’s jokes aren’t your thing, you can also opt to keep it real with a message like this one from J. Crew. It might prove to be a welcome change of pace if your audience is already getting a ton of prank and “we fooled you!” messages from your competitors.


Gotten any great (or not-so-great) April Fool’s email in your own inbox? Tell us about it in the comments!