Karma Codes Customer EngagementGoldstar, which helps more than five million people discover and purchase tickets to concerts, comedy shows, sporting events, and more, wants to spread good karma and more live entertainment nationwide with an entirely new kind of referral program.

Officials at Goldstar must be fans of the late John Lennon’s 1970 hit single, “Instant Karma,” because the company’s new referral program, Karma Codes, has been an instant hit. Karma Codes, which rolled out to Goldstar’s entire membership base in late April, gives members the opportunity to send up to three friends $10 to use toward a specific event on Goldstar.

While most referral programs feature kickbacks benefiting only the originator, it’s the recipient of the Karma Code that is rewarded, getting introduced to an event thanks to their friend with $10 to apply toward that purchase.

In beta since January, Karma Codes tested extremely well. With more than 20,000 Karma Codes sent to date, the program now accounts for 30% of the company’s total member referrals. Members who have joined through Karma Codes also generate four times greater revenue than its previous refer-a-friend program.

Goldstar CEO Jim McCarthy talked to Loyalty360 about the quick success of Karma Codes.

What factors prompted the creation of Karma Codes?

People rarely go to live events alone. They might watch TV or listen to music alone and be perfectly happy, but very few people like to go to a concert, play or game by themselves. That’s why we created Karma Codes, because they create an opportunity for people to connect and bond over an event they find interesting.

How does Karma Codes work and what makes it unique?

It’s simple. If you see an event you know a friend or family member would enjoy, you can send them a Karma Code that allows them to save $10 on that particular event--spreading the love while showing just how much you know them.

For example, I have a friend who is a huge fan of the musical, Les Miserables. I noticed that a new production of the show was coming to town and immediately thought of him. So I sent him a Karma Code. That’s not only a cool opportunity for him, but also a connection point. We exchanged two or three emails about the show and generally reconnected. It’s a great promotion, but it’s also a great way to get people talking about events that we’re selling.

Each member starts with three Karma Codes they can send, but the more your friends use them, the faster we give you new ones. What makes it unique is that members don’t have to purchase the event in order to share it. It’s all about spreading good karma, and as I mentioned, it’s a great way to reconnect with friends. We also love that events are at the heart of it. It’s not just a typical refer-a-friend.

What are your goals for Karma Codes from a customer engagement/customer experience perspective, and how has it been received?

The results have been pretty spectacular. We’ve had more than 30,000 people use Karma Codes, and members referred from the program now account for more than 36% of all member referrals on Goldstar, which is well above the level of the program that Karma Codes replaced.

But it’s not just bringing in more new sign-ups. It’s also bringing in more valuable sign-ups, new members with high lifetime value. In fact, members who sign up based on Karma Codes are two times more valuable than our average new member and more than double the average of other referral programs and sources.

We’ve also noticed that a lot of the usage of Karma Codes is among single people. I find this fascinating because although we never thought of Karma Codes as a tool to get a date, it looks like a lot of people may be using it that way!karma codes customer engagement

Marketers seek simplicity now more than ever before. How simple is Karma Codes for participants?

It’s very simple to use Karma Codes. When you log-in to Goldstar.com and see an event you think a friend or family member would like, click on the event and scroll down to “Send Karma Code.” From there you enter the person’s name and email, and there is an optional box where you can add a personal message, such as why they deserve good karma. We’re excited to get Karma Codes in the hands of even more people this month, when they will be available on mobile. 

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