The international phenomenon of Pokémon Go spread like wildfire in the United States in it’s first week of being released in the iTunes and Google Play marketplaces. The app itself has been installed on more than 10 million mobile devices and is eclipsing lnstagram and even Twitter in its percentage of daily active users. Pokémon Go is a one-of-a-kind app designed to boost player engagement both physically and socially by requiring the player to actually get up, go outside, and walk around to “catch” their Pokémon characters.
So, here is how it all works…
Within the game there are locations known as Pokéstops and Gyms. Players visit these specific areas to gather items such as Pokéballs, potions and eggs to help them enhance their standing in the game and enable them to conquer gyms for their respective teams (Team Mystic, Team Valor, or Team Instinct.) Currently, these Pokéstops and Gyms are located around the world near public art, unique architecture or public gathering places.
As Pokémon Go users traverse their towns in search of Pokémon, local stores, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses see this as an opportunity to capitalize on this massive phenomenon to drive huge amounts of foot traffic and conversions both with simple in-app purchases and creative marketing campaigns.
To start turning these roaming gamers around you into paying customers, all you need is to know how to play the game! Our marketing team has put together a few steps to help boost YOUR business from this unbelievable development.
Here at Holbrook, we know how to start turning these roaming gamers around you into paying customers.
But, before we jump into the marketing side of the game, you must first understand how the game works and operates.
So: Download the Pokémon Go App
Take a day or two to play around inside of the game; get to know your avatar, Pokéstops and Gyms. Once you’ve played for a bit, you’ll notice that your XP (Experience Points) will gradually rise, raising the level of your avatar. Once you’ve reached level five, find a Gym and you will be prompted to choose your team! In order to be a player, you need to think like a player! Jump on the bandwagon and join the Pokéhunting Revolution!
Now that you know how to play the game, our marketing team at Holbrook has put together a few simple steps to help boost YOUR business from this unbelievable development.
1.Figure Out if Your Business is a Gym or Pokéstop (Or Near One)
This game doesn’t just promote physical activity, it requires it. The game runs off an augmented reality map of the real world. Players’ avatars explore this map as they catch Pokémon, collect rewards from Pokéstops, battle other users at Gyms and team up to defend their territory.
The first step to boosting your business with this tool is to determine whether or not your business is a Pokéstop, Gym or within walking distance from one. Currently there is no official Niantic map that lists ail of the Pokéstops and Gym locations … YET. One workaround is to use the online map of portals created over the last three years for the game “Ingress,” also developed by Niantic, which maps virtually 1:1 with Pokémon Go’s Pokéstops and Gyms.
If you find that your business is not a hotspot or even near one, Niantic has given the option to submit a request for one here. Currently you will receive a message after the submission reading, “Thank you for your interest in adding Pokéstops and Gyms to Pokémon GO. While we are not currently accepting new submissions, we will pass your request along to our business development team and if they are interested they will follow up directly.”
But they have assured the public that they are reading all submissions and will get to all requests in a timely manner.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a Pokéstop or Gym … you can still capitalize, just go ahead and skip to step 3.
2. “Lure” New Customers to Your Location
Pokémon Go offers a wide range of in-app purchases. The one that is most important for your Small Business Pokéstop is a lure.
Lures increase the rate of Pokémon spawning in the area around the Pokéstop where they’re placed for one half hour. That may not sound that powerful, but Pokémon are actually very scarce and a lure can attract a lot of Pokémon which in turn attracts more Pokémon players. Here is a real example from one of our local Lafayette businesses that has already figured it out! On Sunday, July 17, Lafayette Lanes dropped Lures every hour from 1:00pm to 8:00pm. As an additional perk, all Pokémon Go players got 1 free game of bowling from 1:00pm to 7:00pm with the purchase of a shoe rental, limited to 1 free game per person for the day. Genius right? It’s as easy as that!
For retailers, maybe offer free wifi for a day with a purchase. You can set your own rules on how much someone must spend and if the purchase is refundable or not. The point is to be creative on ways to get Pokémon players into your store not just for the A/C, but to purchase something.
What’s even more incredible is just how affordable dropping Lures can be. We did some simple math that looked a little like this:
For just $20, you can purchase 2,500 Pokécoins.
Lures are super cheap…an eight pack costs just 680 Pokécoins.
2,500 Pokécoins / 680 = 3 eight-packs of Lures
(3 * 8) = 24 lures / 2 (Remember they are only 30 min each) = 12 hours or lure fun
$20/12 hours= $1.67 per hour to lure Pokémon players to your area
3. Go Where the Pokémon Roam and Help Acadiana Map ‘Em All!
Once you know the basics of how Pokémon Go works, you won’t even need to be near a Pokéstop or Gym to capitalize on the traffic they can create. Pictured above, there is a map that depicts most of the areas Pokéstops and Gyms.
Take your business on the Road
One way to make your business a part of the Pokémon Go phenomenon is to get mobile and find a spot from which to implement the Lure or Gym strategies. Since Pokémon are everywhere, you want to go where you have the best chance of finding success and should take advantage of places with a cluster of Pokéstops. If you’re a fashion retailer, maybe this means passing out bottles of water along with coupons inviting them back to your local shop. If you’re a restaurant, maybe this means going to the park and setting up a barbecue or tasting table with small samples of your most popular dishes. It’s summertime, so get creative! *Please make sure to follow all of your local operating and vending laws, along with being respectful of other vendors in your area.
Promote Your Local Pokémon on Social Media
Even if your business is nowhere near a Pokéstop or a Gym, you’re still going to have Pokémon.
Get people excited about visiting your business is to get on social media and show off the valuable or rare Pokémon popping up around you.
Plan an event and create an Official Event Page with details that your Pokéhunters need to know and allow them to share the Pokémon that are found at your event!
Check out Avery Island’s upcoming event, looks like they’ve already caught on!
Here is a handy Rarity Chart to know what you’re looking for:
You could hire a member of your staff to sit on Pokémon Go all day, lay down Incense (an in-game purchase similar to a Lure, but which only gives effects to the person who triggered it), and take screenshots of the Pokémon that they capture.
A better option, though, might be to incentivize play on the part of your customers.
Consider running it like a referral program:
- Have them upload a picture of their Pokémon they catch in your store and tag you on social media, so that their followers know about you too.
- Promote the fact that you’re rewarding players who find rare Pokémon at your business and ask them to tag you in social media posts bragging about their find.
Do this right, and you could turn your store into a viral destination!
Advertise Your Pokémon on Social Media:
If you don’t already have a decent-sized following on social media, or if you’re looking to drive an even greater amount of traffic, then Facebook advertising is your best option.
By creating a Facebook ad targeted only inside the geographical radius of your choice, you could spread the word about your local Pokémon only to those people liable to actually stop into your store.
Take Advantage of Your Business Being Near a Pokémon Gym
Gyms are a separate kind of animal entirely from PokéStops. You can’t put down Lures, but you don’t have to either, because users are converging on Gyms day and night to face off with other users to “take control” of the gym for either team Mystic, Valor, or Instinct.
To see if your business is near a gym, you can check this Ingress map, or just open Pokémon Go on your phone and look for the tall structures with little Pokémon avatars near the top. They’re not very hard to spot considering they’re the biggest structures on the in-game map.
Capitalizing on your proximity to a gym is more about creative marketing in real life than anything else. Here are some ideas for ways to engage with the thousands of people standing near your business with their eyes glued to their phones:
- Giveaways: Order Pokémon Gym badges from a supplier that can customize them for your business. A quick Google search of the keywords “Pokémon Gym badge” and “custom” should get you what you need.
- Keep score: Put up a sandwich board announcing which team is currently in control of your Gym, and then offer a discount to members of that team! Don’t worry about staying updated on which team is winning-just ask those who are participating in the promotion to inform you when the gym has changed hands.
- Get social: Take in-game screenshots and post them on the social-media platforms where you’re active. Use hashtags like #pokémongo and #pokémon to get the message out to your potential new customers.
Start Marketing Your Local Business Right Now with Pokémon Go!
Some members of your organization may say the same things people say whenever there’s a big paradigm shift. “This is a fad,” they’ll say. And that could be true. People, of course, said the same thing about the original Pokémon game.
The most valuable point here is that no marketing channel is forever, but businesses that want to win have to keep one eye open for these big shifts-and they have to capitalize on them when it’s time. With Pokémon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers and for very little money.
Even if Pokémon Go isn’t as powerful tool for driving sales six months or a year from now, the customers that you delight today are going to remember you tomorrow!
If you have any questions on how to promote Pokémon Go as a marketing technique for your small business, our team here at Holbrook will be happy to take some time to go over this world wide phenomenon!