How Check City Generated $136,458 In Free “Slap-Proof” Traffic Using Upviral

Check City is a short-term loan company that has been thriving in the financial industry since 1986. Now Check City has more than 70 locations across the states and offers a variety of convenient financial services. 🏙️💵

As a short-term loan company, Check City comes across unique challenges in the financial services industry. 💪


The Hurdles that Held Check City Back


When Check City began searching for a referral marketing solution we had two main hurdles we wanted to overcome.

☑️ First, we needed a way to secure “slap-proof” traffic, especially from social networks.

Making your company “slap-proof” means to protect your company from algorithms and restrictions that will keep you from running ads. The financial industry has many restrictions that can cause platforms like Facebook to stop running ads for loan companies like Check City.

Check City was running into this problem a lot and needed a slap-proof solution. We needed a way to get likes, shares, and traffic from social media networks after their algorithm updates slowed the organic reach of our posts to a crawl and after they took away our ability to boost posts and advertise in general on their networks.

☑️ Second, we needed a way to encourage our customers to share our business via social media.

Social sharing can be a really difficult task to achieve in the short-term lending industry. The short-term lending industry doesn’t really lend itself naturally to social sharing, unlike the restaurant or clothing industry where people tend to organically share pictures of their latest meals or clothing hauls. Loan customers are a lot less likely to share that they just cashed a check, sent a money order, or got a payday loan to cover an unexpected bill.

After giving it considerable thought, our marketing team decided the best way to overcome these hurdles would be through scaling our giveaways.

For years we’ve done quarterly giveaways in our stores where we give prizes including Ipads, PlayStations, Xboxes, and even $500 gift cards to Walmart or Amazon. However, we’ve always run these giveaways in a very low-tech way—filling out a traditional paper entry form and entering it into one of the boxes in our 70+ locations.

We decided that even though people are unlikely to share via social media that they just used one of our services, they might be willing to share a giveaway our company is doing. This would provide a non-threatening way for people to share something about our company with their social media followers. In turn, their followers would be introduced to our brand and our company.

But knew that the old paper entry form wouldn’t allow us to scale these giveaways like we wanted to. So we started to look for technology that would assist us in scaling our giveaways online while also growing our social media interactions. 📈

Eventually, our search for a referral marketing solution led us to Upviral. 💎



Prior to signing up with Upviral, we spent a lot of time going through the case studies on the site and were particularly interested in the ​video interview​ with Mathew Longley. The main part that piqued our interest was when Matthew said he’s been running a lot of contests in the electronic cigarette industry.

The fact that Mathew is marketing in the electronic cigarette space didn’t interest us because we’re in the same industry, because we’re not. But if you’ve ever spent time researching the ad policies of the major ad networks including Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, etc., you’ll see that products in the electronic cigarette industry are banned from advertising in pretty much all of the major ad networks. This same ban applies to payday loans and other short-term loans. 

Advertisers in these restricted and prohibited categories need ways to generate additional traffic that isn’t reliant on paid traffic from these ad networks.

Check City has been running giveaways through Upviral for two years now. While we haven’t seen the volume of leads that Mathew mentioned in his video case study, we have seen that we can rely on the giveaways we run through Upviral to send a consistent flow of traffic to our site.

The best part is that by embedding the Upviral form on our website, we’re able to remarket to all of the referred traffic that was originally introduced to our company via Upviral giveaway links. This remarketing is crucial because our customers have a unique customer life cycle. They don’t always have a need for us and there aren’t always unexpected bills they need to pay. Our goal is to always stay front-of-mind so when that need does arise, we’re there to help them out. 🤝


To put an exact value on the amount of slap-proof traffic Upviral has delivered for us, we decided to take a look at the number of referred visitors we’ve received through all of the different campaigns over the past two years. We’ve tallied it up to 24,676 visitors who have been referred to them through people’s Upviral links. We count this as unique traffic that we wouldn’t have received without having Upviral in place.

Keep in mind the bulk of that is social traffic that we couldn’t pay to get even if we wanted to since we’re in a restricted market. But if we multiply that traffic (24,676) by the average cost per click we’re paying on ad networks that do let us run ads ($5.53) that comes out to a grand total of $136,458.28 in the worth of traffic Check City has received by using UpViral! 🎉

It’s safe to say that UpViral continues to more than pay for itself year after year. And that’s just one way we justify the expense of using the Upviral software. That’s not taking into account how many of those referred individuals end up becoming customers or telling their friends about our company. 🧑🏽‍🤝‍🧑🏼💎


How Check City Giveaways Work with UpViral

Check City has an email database of several hundred thousand previous customers that we use to kick start each new giveaway. Then, we launch each new giveaway by sending out an email blast to our existing email list and posting the giveaway to our social media accounts. 💻

We send all of the initial giveaway traffic to a page on our site with a HubSpot form built into it.



Once customers enter their information into the HubSpot form on our site, we send a follow-up email using the UpViral One-Click Signup Links that we’re able to easily create within the UpViral dashboard. With UpViral’s One-Click Signup, all people need to do is click the buttons in the email and UpViral will grab their information from HubSpot and use that to create their UpViral entry as well as create their unique UpViral link. 🖱️🔗



Once we’ve kick-started the campaign with our existing email database and social media followers, we can sit back for a bit and watch as UpViral does the heavy lifting. We’ve been blown away by the number of social shares we see roll in throughout each giveaway. Prior to using UpViral, the only social media mentions we’d get were customer feedback, reviews, customer service issue. Now we see hundreds of shares each month of people sharing our brand with all of their friends and followers.🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏾🧑🏽‍🤝‍🧑🏼

In addition to kick-starting our campaigns with our internal email and social media followers, we’ve found the following tips helpful in making our campaigns go viral with UpViral:


Use Hashtags #️⃣

When you set up your giveaway in UpViral you’ll have a chance to set up the Social Appearance feature. This is the prepopulated text that appears when people click on your “Share on Facebook” or “Share on Twitter” buttons.

UpViral also gives users the option to edit the text before they post it to their social media accounts. We recommend optimizing this text for each post as much as possible. We’ve noticed that when we use several hashtags in the pre-populated text it helps grow the giveaways considerably. Some of the hashtags you can use are obvious like, #giveaway, #contest, #sweepstakes, etc., but you can also use tools to find the top hashtags relevant to your specific giveaway. #️⃣


Show Previous Winners 🏆

We’ve noticed better interactions across all platforms—including email, social media, and opt-in rates on our giveaway pages—when we include images of previous winners on the giveaway artwork. Most of our giveaway winners are able to meet in person at our locations for a quick photo opportunity. When giveaway winners can’t meet in person we ask them to send a selfie with their prize. Including these images adds legitimacy to your giveaway and helps resolve concerns from people who might otherwise question the legitimacy of your giveaway.



Reach Out to Top Giveaway Sites 💎

Many giveaway sites have found our giveaways organically, but it never hurts to reach out to the top giveaway sites and ask them to promote your giveaway.

Upviral even did the hard work for us and compiled a list of the ​top 101 contest promotion sites.​ All you have to do is work your way through this list and reach out to each site. If you’re not sure what to give away you can even reach out to these sites and ask for insight on what prizes drum up the most interest on their sites. Link Outreach 💎

Since so many companies and individuals use UpViral, there are always several giveaways running on UpViral. Luckily it’s pretty easy to find people who are promoting UpViral giveaways by looking up the shortened URL on Twitter.

Invite people sharing and other referral marketing links. Just go to Twitter and look up “” and you’ll find a bunch of people who are promoting other giveaways. You won’t be able to direct message these people unless they’re your followers, but you can tweet at them and tell them about your giveaway to see if they’ll promote yours too.


Top Referrers  🔝

Another technique we’ve had success with is reaching out to the top referrers from previous giveaways. UpViral makes this list easy to put together by going to the “leads” section of a campaign and then organizing by points from highest to lowest.

We recommend sending these top referrers a personal email when you launch a new campaign to let them know that you appreciate their promotion of your last giveaway and that you wanted to personally let them know about the new giveaway. 📧💻

These top referrers often start following you on Twitter as a result of entering the previous giveaway, so you’ll be able to send them a direct message on Twitter in addition to sending a personalized email.

Here is one of the direct messages we sent to top referrers when we launched a new giveaway. In this case, the person really appreciated it and even liked our message. ❤️

In addition to all of these techniques, there are hundreds of other techniques that we’ve yet to implement mainly due to lack of time.

Some of these other techniques include reaching out to Facebook groups, promoting through email newsletters, promoting with ads, and creating unique giveaways with bloggers and influencers. 💻

We highly recommend going through the other case studies that UpViral has put together because there’s a ton of extremely actionable ideas in each of them that you can start implementing today.


UpViral Helps Companies Grow “Slap Proof” Traffic 📊

UpViral helps Check City solve both their customer outreach and expensive ad problem at once. With UpViral, Check City can reach more people all without having to run expensive ads.

UpViral is an easy to use and organized platform that makes it easy to keep track of every giveaway and giveaway winner in one organized location.

Since using UpViral Check City’s social media engagement and activity have increased. One of our giveaways near the end of 2019 saw the following promising social media stats:

  • 2.505k shares on Facebook
  • 1.97k shares on Twitter

But the viral traffic didn’t stop there. This increase in sharing across social media platforms led to all kinds of great website traffic for Check City:

  • 6,132 Direct Visits
  • 2,794 Direct Leads
  • 6,137 Referred Visits
  • 1,756 Referred Leads
  • 12,269 Total Visits
  • 4,550 Total Leads

This has led Check City’s social media platforms to really go viral and catch the attention of other giveaway sites and giveaway promoters. These other giveaway sites were able to find us all thanks to our UpViral links and started driving even more traffic to our site:

  • 7,355 Total Referred Leads
  • 21,296 Total Leads
  • 55.1k Total Visits



💎 💎 💎 UpViral really does live up to its viral name. With their services, your company can also experience the huge viral boosts that Check City has enjoyed all without paying for expensive ads.💸

We know we’ve only scratched the surface with what’s possible with UpViral and we’re looking forward to the thousands of slap-proof clicks UpViral will continue to bring Check City for years to come.