How Your Business Can Win at Pokémon Go

July 22, 2016

1:15 pm

Like it or not, Pokémon GO is a huge deal. The weeks-old augmented reality app has already broken the record for the most-downloaded app in history. It functions as a virtual scavenger hunt, where users collect the mythical “pocket monsters” for points.

While the current mood seems to be one of annoyance with the craze, smart local business owners can use the trend to their advantage.

I’ll walk you through a few tactics you can use today to start attracting more foot traffic into your business. Each requires little effort, and even less money.

Look for PokéStops and Gyms

The first thing you’ll want to do is download the app for yourself. Within the game, there are two types of pre-determined locations.

PokéStops are places where players can drop in and pick up virtual in-game items they need for play. Gyms are places where players hold virtual battles in order to gain control of that location.

Both types of locations can be anywhere— churches, parks, even businesses like yours.

So check to see where the closest PokéStop or Gym is to your location. Populated areas tend to have many of them, so you should be pretty close.

“Lure” in Customers

Within the app, anybody can purchase “lure modules” which are designed to lure Pokémon characters to a given PokéStop or Gym. Other players can see when a lure has been dropped, so they will show up as well. So by simply purchasing lures and using them at your nearest location, you can dramatically increase the amount of people passing by your business.

Now how do you turn them into paying customers?

Offer (and Advertise) Special Offers to Players

You’ve purchased some lures, and you’re ready to go. Ideally, you’ll want to pair that with a special offer exclusively for Pokémon GO players to entice them to stop inside.

Get the word out in advance. You could go analog and just put out a chalkboard sign, or go big with highly targeted Facebook ads.

Here are some more ideas you can use to take advantage of the craze:

  • Host a Gym tournament. If your nearest location is a Gym, give discounts to any players who win and move on to become “gym leaders.”
  • Offer team discounts. Players have to join one of three teams (Team Instinct, Team Valor or Team Mystic.) Join one of those teams yourself, and offer specials to members of your team.
  • Social sharing. Get the word out that anyone who shares a screenshot of a Pokémon inside your location (and tags it) will get a special offer. This will spread your brand online, and encourage other players to come to your target-rich environment.

Tie it to Your Website & Social Channels

These types of promotions only work if people know about them, so use the resources you already have:

  • Your blog. Run a short post describing your offer, as well as the when and where.
  • Facebook ads. Run highly targeted ads alerting people to your participation. Start by targeting users in your zipcode, under the age of 35. The bottom end of the age range would be determined by the type of business.
  • Email marketing. If you have an email list, use it to your advantage. Again, let people know exactly what you’re offering, and when.

Image credit: Matthew Corley / Shutterstock.com

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Wes McDowell works as the head of web strategy for The Deep End, a digital web agency in Chicago. He is also an avid blogger about all things web design, ux and digital marketing.

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