Being a marketer at heart, I'm a huge fan of leveraging events or holidays that may fall into the nontraditional category. If you think about it, it's a great way to stand out.

Everyone and their brother are engaging in e-mail marketing around common holidays, but say your company gets on board and decides to celebrate Star Wars Day. (That's May 4, if you didn't know.) I bet you'll have a bit less competition in your subscribers' e-mail boxes, and your offer will certainly be more memorable!

Why should you consider this approach? Many of your subscribers might not even be aware such a day exists, so they may stop and think, "Huh! That's fun!" Also, their inboxes won't be full of 20 other offers with similar subject lines and promotions at the same time as yours.

My e-mail marketing company,VerticalResponse, recently put together a guide with 50 unique examples to inspire you.

Two of my favorite companies are pros at leveraging these nontraditional events or holidays: Virgin America and Uber.

I've written about what you can learn from Uber's National Cat Day promotion. One of the key takeaways from that promotion was that even if your business has nothing to do with the holiday (Uber really doesn't have anything to do with cats, do they?), you can still do an effective and memorable campaign around it.

The same can be said for e-mail I got in my inbox this week from another company I use a lot, Virgin America. They're running a promotion to coincide with Star Wars Day. The promotion, simply called, "May the Points Be with You," promotes double points on flights. It's the creative copy and imagery that reeled me in.

The promotion has a secondary element that encourages folks to take a selfie on a Virgin America flight dressed as their favorite Star Wars character on May 4 and tag it with the hashtag #StarWarsSelfie. In keeping with the theme, winners will get "Jedi" status for a year and a Star Wars-themed swag bag.

How can your business get inspiration from these two creative examples for your own nontraditional promotion? I'd love to hear in the comments or see it in my inbox!

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