Local Marketing | 7.15.16
If you haven’t noticed, the world has gotten a little Pokemon crazy within the last week. That’s because a new game for mobile devices was released called Pokemon Go. And it’s a big deal. Millions of people are using the app on a daily basis, transcending rates on popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat.
One of the best features of this game is that is is an augmented reality game that requires users to visit the real world, explore physical locations, and capture little monsters called Pokemon. This has led to thousands of people descending to downtown parks, monuments, and neighborhood areas to get ahead in the game. And there have already been reports that local businesses are receiving an influx of foot traffic due to it.
Some business owners may complain that the game is causing too many loiterers or that employees are playing too much, but Pokemon Go presents many marketing opportunities for local businesses to play along and be part of a cultural phenomenon. Here’s how you can join in on the fun and harness the power of the app to promote your local business.
First, what opportunities does the app present to businesses?
The main goal of Pokemon Go is to capture as many Pokemon as possible and you can only catch better Pokemon by going to different locations. The app forces players to get out and about, visit different areas, cities, towns, monuments, and neighborhoods, which means an increase in foot traffic around your brick-and-mortar stores. Poke-stops offer specific location gravitation. Poke-stops are essentially game hot spots where players can receive free items. Gyms are where players can battle each other. Both hot spots can be even more attractive to players when a “lure” is dropped, which attracts more Pokemon in the area for a limited time. Lastly, players are affiliated with different teams: Instinct (Yellow), Mystic (Blue), and Valor (Red).
1. Find Out if Your Business is Near a Gym or Poke-Stop
Figuring out if your store is near a Gym or Poke-Stop is the first thing you should do. Poke-Stops and Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort – players will flock to them to pick up prizes or battle other players. There isn’t an official list or process for how these spots are set up, but you can check out the map for another game made by the same technology company Niantic, that matches Pokemon Go’s Poke-Stops and Gyms 1:1. If your business isn’t near a Poke-stop or Gym, don’t worry, Pokemon Go says sponsored retail locations may be coming soon.
2. Drop Lures to Attract More Players
Whether or not your store is located in a busy neighborhood that naturally attracts players to your area, if you are near a Poke-stop, you can release a lure for 30 minutes which will attract players wandering nearby. The catch is that lures cost money (about less than $1 each) and are temporary. But if used strategically, it can benefit a restaurant or local business during peak times since players will want to hang around for a while.
3. Capitalize on a Nearby Gym
Gyms are separate from Poke-Stops; you can’t put down lures, but you won’t have to. Players will naturally be drawn to Gyms to face off with other users and players can take control of Gyms for their team affiliation, whether it’s Mystic, Valor, or Instinct. Ways to engage these players coming into nearby Gyms is to offer prizes for winners, such as custom badges with your company logo, sharing photos of winners on social media, or offering discounts to members of the team taking over that particular Gym.
4. Throw a Poke Party
If you can beat ‘em join ‘em, by throwing your own Pokemon Go party at your store. Promote the event on social media and schedule a specific time where players can visit, enjoy refreshments, and receive discounts and prizes for Pokemon caught. Or get involved in activities surrounding the game by providing players with pit stops with free water, sitting area and resting place under the shade. Don’t worry about selling to players right away; instead, start building a customer relationship by offering a place of support.
5. Advertise Pokemon Near Your Business
If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your business and on your Facebook page, spread the word to your followers about the Pokemon that are found around your store. This can be done by setting up a Local Awareness Facebook ad that can attract customers within a mile radius of you physical store area. This could offer an extra incentive for your potential customers and customers to stop by.
6. Offer Charging Stations
With all the app usage, players will need a place to recharge phones. This may present you with an opportunity to invite users to your charging station and setting up signs in front of your business to bring in users who need some fresh battery juice.