10 April Fools’ Day ideas for small businesses to run

For small businesses, it’s important to take part in trends, or celebrations. April Fools’ Day is the perfect time to share your humour and show the person behind the business.

10 April Fools' Day ideas for small businesses to run. Black cat sticking out tongue.
Credit: iStock

April Fools’ Day presents an exciting opportunity for small businesses to engage with their customers in a playful and memorable way. Whether you’re looking to inject some humour into your marketing efforts or possibly even go viral. It’s a great time to share your personality. Take away the serious mask that you often present as a business owner.

Limited-time “miracle” product

Introduce a tongue-in-cheek “miracle” product or service that promises outlandish benefits. For example, a “gravity-defying coffee” that claims to make customers feel weightless for a few seconds after consumption. Have fun with the product description and visuals to capture attention. Don’t make it too believable, otherwise you could have unhappy customers.

Prank email newsletter

Send out a humorous prank email newsletter featuring fake announcements, absurd product launches, or hilarious anecdotes. Make sure to clearly mark it as an April Fools’ Day edition to avoid confusion. Remember, as with any idea, you don’t want your customers feeling put-out that they aren’t able to access the product or feature you’ve mentioned.

Mystery discount codes

Offer mystery discount codes to customers making purchases on April Fools’ Day. Instead of revealing the discount upfront, customers have to enter the code at checkout to discover their surprise discount, ranging from 10% to 50%. This isn’t a prank. Everyone gets a great deal out of it, however some will have more than others, which is where the joke comes in.

Fake “out of stock” notices

Playfully announce that your best-selling product is “out of stock” for April Fools’ Day, causing a momentary panic among your customers. Follow up shortly afterward with a light-hearted email or social media post revealing the prank and offering a special discount as consolation. This could work to your advantage. Customers appear more interested in something limited.

Employee swap day

Announce a one-day “employee swap” event where staff members switch roles within the company. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses on social media throughout the day to showcase the fun and camaraderie among your team. Show the struggles of one person trying to carry out another person’s job role and not succeeding.

Whimsical product rebranding

Playfully rebrand one of your products with a silly or absurd new name and packaging design. For instance, transform your classic chocolate chip cookies into “Unicorn Droppings Delights” for the day. Try to think outside the box. Keep it ridiculous. The more stupid, the better as your customers will find it funny rather than confusing when searching for this fake product.

Interactive social media pranks

Launch interactive social media pranks such as polls, quizzes, or challenges related to your brand. For example, create a “guess the fake product” quiz featuring outrageous inventions alongside your real products. People love interactive posts. It’s fun to join in a game or quiz. Utilise Instagram’s poll option and add quiz questions there.

Fake product recall

Issue a fake product recall notice for a fictional and entirely harmless product. Use humour in the announcement to assure customers that it’s merely an April Fools’ Day prank. If you make the reasons for the recall so ridiculous, then people won’t believe it enough to be upset by it. You don’t want to cause panic, but simply have some fun.

Remember, the key to a successful April Fools’ Day prank is to keep it light-hearted, humorous, and in line with your brand’s personality. By embracing the spirit of fun and creativity, you can strengthen your connection with customers and leave a lasting impression that goes beyond just a day of jokes. It could lead to growth.

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