Refi My Ride loan campaign

Land of Lincoln Credit Union ($225 million, Decatur, Illinois) got members into the summer spirit last spring by offering a cruise giveaway to members who refinanced their vehicle through the credit union.

The campaign, “Refi My Ride Cruise the Sea” sweepstakes kicked off in early April and ran through the end of July. Members who refinanced their vehicle at the credit union from another financial institution were entered into a sweepstakes to win a cruise.

“We haven’t run a campaign like this before,” explains Cayla Hittmeier, Chief Marketing Officer.  “We decided to do something a little different that we could build some excitement around, both for our members and for our employees.” 

“There was no incentive rate, just our existing great rates. Basically, if you refinanced your existing auto loan to Land of Lincoln Credit Union, you were entered into the sweepstakes.” 

The offer was valued at a total of $1,500, and included a $1,000 Carnival Cruise® Gift Card and a $500 Southwest Airlines® Gift Card. 

Hittmeier says the credit union chose to offer a gift certificate for a Carnival Cruise® and for Southwest Airlines® because it would offer the member the most flexibility to book the trip to wherever and whenever they wanted.  

“We researched and found that a typical three- to four-day cruise was around $1,000 for two people, and airfare was around $300 to 500 per person.  So we were attempting to cover the majority of the cost.”

She says that marketing the cruise giveaway was a lot of fun for the credit union.  “We kicked it off on social media with a bang!  We started about two weeks ahead of time with teasers, telling our members that we had a big announcement we would be making live on a certain date.

“Then we promoted it heavily on social media throughout the campaign.  We also supported it with a direct mailer and a targeted e-mail to our service area. Finally, we created a microsite specific to the promotion and purchased some paid Google AdWords to promote the microsite to people searching for vehicles online.  Between the social media and the Google AdWords, we got the most bang for our buck in those arenas.”

Additionally, the credit union involved employees in the campaign.  “We offered an internal contest to our employees for the month of July, which was the last month of promotion, and it really boosted our energy in the home stretch.

“We set a goal of hoping to refinance 100 auto loans from elsewhere.  We hit 81—not quite to goal, but in hindsight, we realized that some people were detoured because they don’t like cruises.  For future reference, we might just offer a short all-inclusive trip somewhere in the domestic states.”

She says the credit union also saw a boost in new memberships during the campaign because people were joining to refinance their loan from other financial institutions. “We saw a membership bump of about 5 percent for the months of the promotion.  The winner was ecstatic and cried.  She said she would never have enough money to treat herself to a cruise and was simply elated to have the chance.  We promoted it on Facebook and are looking forward to her sharing photos from her trip; this will help us build excitement for our next sweepstakes.” 

Source:  Cayla Hittmeier, Chief Marketing Officer, Land of Lincoln Credit Union, Decatur, IL; phone (217)615-3717; e-mail

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