Creative Ways to Use Pokemon Go to Bring New Customers to Your Business
- According to a Survey Monkey report, on 12 July, Pokemon Go recorded over 21 million active users in a single day and became the most popular game ever created, beating Candy Crush.
- Pokemon Go has acquired more active users in less than a week than Twitter has in the past 10
- In less than a week, Pokemon Go added $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s market value. In the US alone, the company is making $1.6 million per day from the iPhone alone.
After Saturday’s (Aug 6) launch, hordes of Pokemon Go fans are journeying around the streets of Singapore to catch Pokemon at PokeStops or to conquer Gyms.
The urban environment and the small size of the Republic mean that gyms and PokeStops – places where players gather to catch Pokemon and battle other players – are never far away.
And now, smart business owners are catching up to the Pokemon Go phenomenon too. Since Pokemon Go players are traveling around in their towns in search of Pokemon, local restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and other business types are taking advantage of this opportunity.
They are driving foot-traffic and converting into customers with simple adpurchases and creative marketing campaigns.
To drive those Pokemon players around your business and convert them into your new best customers, you have only to know how to play the game.
Here is how:
What is Pokemon Go, exactly?
Pokemon Go is a mobile game app developed by Niantic and The Pokemon Company on July 6 in the US and is available for both iOS and Android users.
Pokemon Go is similar to its original computer game. Simply open the app on your mobile phone, allow it to access your GPS coordinates and phone camera, and you are ready to go.
Pokemon had been there for years, in many variations, since it was launched in Japan in 1996, coming to North America 2 years later.
Tiny creatures inhabit the world, and you are asked by a professor to collect as many of them as you can so he can study them.
You use Pokeballs – a unique capsule – to catch them. Once a Pokemon is caught, you can train them to become even stronger, give them new abilities, and use them to fight other Pokemon or even other players.
The biggest difference between the previous versions of Pokemon and the new Pokemon Go version is the new version uses the AR, also known as Augmented Reality.
So, instead of using the joystick to move around the virtual world to chase these little creatures, you move around physically in the real world using your phone.
The game uses your phone’s GPS and mapping algorithm to place Pokemon, gyms (the place where you fight with other Pokemon or players), and other items of the game in your area.
You will walk in real life to make your character move towards objects in the game, and when they are in your range, you can tap on them to interact with them.
The ultimate goal is to catch as many Pokemon as possible, like the game’s motto says, “Gotta catch ‘em all.”
Now that you know what Pokemon is, let us look at how you take advantage of this amazing opportunity to bring people to your business. This is suitable for restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, cafes, gym, or others, allowing you to engage them to turn into new customers using creative marketing strategies (explained at the end).
How Small Businesses can Play Pokemon Go to Bring New Customers to Their Stores?
1) Know if your business is near a Gym or PokeStop
The first thing you should do is find out if your business is a Gym or PokeStop, which are venues where Pokemon players gather or travel to battle with other Pokemon or even Pokemon players (Gyms) and gather Pokemon in public spaces (PokeStop) such as libraries, parks, fountains, etc.
Gyms and PokeStops bring much foot-traffic without any effort, as players gather to capture rare and valuable Pokemon and fight with others. If you do it properly, you can leverage this opportunity to make massive sales to your business.
- To locate Gyms and PokeStops, first download and install the Pokemon Go app (free) from either the Google or Apple
- Once installed, check out the map and sign in using your Google account (only takes few minutes to set up everything).
- Once everything is set up, you will be shown a world map where you can search for different “portals” – each portal either being a Gym or PokeStop in Pokemon Go.
If your business is near a Pokemon PokeStops… place lures, sit back, and watch customers pile up in front your store
Pokemon Go offers many apps you can purchase, but the one you require is Lures.
Lures generate Pokemon in the area around PokeStop where they can be placed for 30 minutes. Pokemon are rare, and therefore, can become a powerful tool to lure in people (potential customers) near your businesses.
Just read what people are saying on this Reddit thread.
“We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. Hoooly s#&@.”
“I own a pizzeria that’s a PokeStop, and I literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.”
Did You Know: Lures are extremely affordable?
For a dollar an hour, you can bring dozens, if not hundreds, of new customers to your store.
You just have to:
i) Tap the Pokeball at the bottom of your HUD (head-up display)
ii) Then tap on “Shop”.
iii) Then scroll down to locate the purple-colored rectangular box Lures and purchase. Next, you will be redirected to the payment system.
iv) Once back in-app, tap on the red Pokeball again to tap “Items” option.
v) Finally, touch the purple-colored Lure to activate.
The returns are insane here. If your business is near a PokeStop, this is something you must absolutely do. (Read those earlier comments.)
If your business is near a Pokemon Gym… Drive, engage, and convert foot-traffic into customers using these creative marketing strategies
Gyms differ from PokeStops because there, youdon’t have to place Lures.
Pokemon players automatically converge on Gyms to fight against with other Pokemonand even Pokemon players to gain control of the gym for team Instinct, Valor, or Mystic.
To find out if your business is near a gym, you can:
- Check the Ingress map, or
- Open your phone and search the in-game map for taller structures. They are easily found on the map because they are the biggest structures on the map.
Once you know your business is near Gym, you can use these creative marketing examples to drive and engage droves of people standing near your store and convert them into customers:
- Offer exclusive discounts, deals, and giveaways – Order and customize Pokemon badges from a local supplier and offer them as gifts when people show up near your business. To know what you need, simply Google “Pokemon Gym badges.”
- Keep up with the scores – Put up a board outside your business announcing the current winning team controlling your Gym, and reward each member of that team with special discounts. Ask people to inform you about the latest winning team, so you need not worry about always staying updated.
- Become social– Take screenshots in-game and post them to your social media profiles where you are active the most. Also, use hashtags such as #pokemon and #pokemongo to get your message to potential new customers.
If your business is neither near a PokeStops or a Gyms, get moving:
1. Take your business to the streets
If you are a fashion retailer, load up your van with the latest arrivals and hit the streets. If you are a restaurant, grab your barbecue and find a spot in a park where Pokemon are found. This strategy to meet new customers works because Pokemon are everywhere.
You have only to find a spot where there are clusters of PokeStops and park yourself in the middle of it and lay down Lures to attract potential customers.
2. Share rare and valuable Pokémon on Social Media
Another way to get people excited to visit your business is to capture images showing off rare and valuable Pokémon popping in your area and sharing them on your social media profile.
Check out this useful rarity chart to know what you should look for.
3. Run a Referral Program
Ask Pokemon players to post screenshots of any rare Pokemon popping up near your business area by paying for their Incense in exchange.
Then, ask them to upload those images and tag you on social media, so their followers know about your business.
Finally, advertise that you are rewarding players who try to find rare Pokemon near your business.
If you do this right, soon you will turn your store into a viral shopping center.
4. Promote Your Pokemon via Facebook Ads
Maybe you do not have a good fan base on Facebook. Alternatively, perhaps you are looking to bring even more new customers. In such a case, we highly suggest you perform Facebook advertising.
Create a Facebook ad targeting only those people who live near the geographical radius of your business. This way, you will promote Pokemon popping up in your area to only those who are more likely to enter your store to purchase.
Use easy to use a tool such as AdEspresso to set different targeting criteria – geographic (1 mile around your business), interest-based (only to those who “like” Pokemon Go on Facebook), or demographic (people of ages 15 to 25, for example).
5. Engage your audience
Or, you could allow anyone to enter your shop to catch Pokemon and cleverly put special deals to catch their attention while they are inside.
You can even promote by announcing that specific Pokemon can be found in your shop and welcome in people walking past it to catch the Pokemon.
6. List Your Business on Yelp
So, make sure your business is already on Yelp. If it is not, list your business there as soon as you can.
Once you’ve listed your company on Yelp, you can go a little bit further by promoting special offers on your Yelp’s page.
7. Blog about it on your site
Alternatively, you can be even more creative and blog about rare Pokemon and PokeStops scattered around your shop. Photograph them next to your pieces of art and displays, just like the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art from Bentonville, Arkansas did on their site.
8. Offer Free Internet (Wi-Fi) Services and Charging Stations
Here is a nifty way to get Pokémon players play at your shop: offer them Wi-Fi and mobile phone charging stations. You can advertise these services on your social media post to let people know that you offer them both,so they will feel comfortable enough to play.
9) Encourage Pokemon Players to Check in While Playing
If you want to boost your social engagement and Facebook page credibility, encourage Pokemon players to check into your business while they are playing.
We hope this strategy will either lead to more players flocking to your business or at least you will attract new reviews on your Facebook fan page.
10. Encourage people to share with Snapchat
Encourage players to share images of catching Pokemon inside or near your business using Memories and their phone camera.
Can Local Businesses in Singapore Apply to Become a Gym or PokeStop … IF They Aren’t Already?
A recent comment made by Niantic CEO John Hake to the New York Times confirms that yes, the company will announce more details about “sponsored locations” inside Pokemon Go shortly.
Well, that might not be the precise answer we were expecting, but it clarifies that Niantic Labs realize opportunities for generating additional income by forming partnerships with the local community to create a win-win situation.
This could lead to local businesses that are not already in the game listed as Gyms or PokeStops would be added in the future.
Update: We just recently found that local businesses in Singapore can submit a request to have their locations considered as a Pokemon GO Gym or PokeStop through the Niantic support page.
Over to You
What do you think? Do you know how to use Pokemon Go to lure customers to your business? What strategies worked and what were failures? Were you successful in adding your business as a Pokemon Go Gym or Pokestop? Please comment below!