To say Pokémon Go is popular would be an understatement. This game is HUGE. Less than a week after launch, it's been installed on as many phones as Tinder, has double the engagement of SnapChat, and has as many daily users as Twitter. And because Pokémon Go requires players to get out of the house and explore their surroundings, it may just be a big chance for your small business to score.
Here's how the game works: players download the free app on their Android or iOS device. The app uses GPS to detect the player's location and the camera to view the surrounding area. As the player moves, different types of Pokémon appear on the screen depending on the location and time of day. Certain locations are set as PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms where players can go to get items like Poké Balls, eggs and other special rewards. The idea is to encourage players to travel around the real world to catch the Pokémon. ALL the Pokémon.
So how can your business leverage the power of this new Pokéfad?
First, check to see if your business happens to be the site of a Pokémon Gym or PokéStop. The game runs on the same map as Ingress, another augmented reality game developed by the same publisher. Install the Ingress app on your phone and create an account. Then visit https://www.ingress.com/intel and sign in to see the different â€œportals,â€ which line up with the PokéStop and Gym locations in the Pokémon Go app. If your business is one of these sites, you're in luck!
Pokémon Go has a lot of in-app purchases that provide real-world results. One of these is a â€œlure.â€ Lures increase the rate of Pokémon that appear in a location for the next half hour. Using your own Pokémon Go account, you can purchase lures to attract people to your business and keep them around for a while. A few businesses have already tried this with great results.
Luring can be an affordable, easy way to bring in business AND get involved with your community. This will work even if your business itself is not a PokéStop, provided there is one nearby, and provided you market your business locally as a place where Pokémon trainers are welcome. Some ideas:
Let people know you’re in on the trend!
Encourage guests to share their catches on social and tag your business. Use your business social media accounts to show off your involvement in the game, whether that’s promoting current specials or Pokémon themed goods.
#PokeStop + MTO #PokemonGo munchies = ðŸ˜ðŸ” ðŸ‘¾ pic.twitter.com/x9NYlitGD6
â€” Sheetz (@sheetz)
July 12, 2016
Â¡Ay, caramba! The OG TC is a #pokestop! Tag @tacocabana when you visit the stop and we’ll DM you a prize! #pokemongo pic.twitter.com/wfZMyBYKin
â€” Taco Cabana (@TacoCabana)
July 12, 2016
Decided to eat brunch @ConnieandTeds for lots of reasons but also because it’s a PokÃ¨stop. @ashleyj is happy. pic.twitter.com/WI3HNc8duW
â€” Burnie Burns (@burnie)
July 10, 2016
Offer water bottles or create mobile charging stations to keep visitors happy and feel welcomed. If your business is a gym, you can host battles and offer prizes. Consider offering discounts for players that catch a rare Pokémon on site or that make a purchase and show you their favorite catch at checkout.
Pokémon themed goods
Can you tie in your product to Pokémon in some way like the donut shop below?
Keep an eye out for marketing opportunities within the app itself. While Nintendo doesn't currently offer sponsored gyms, PokéStops, or other promotional items, it may be a feature that is implemented later.
Who knows how long the Pokémon Go fad will last. If your business wants to jump in on the action, now is the best time to do it. Not every business will be able to benefit from Pokémon GO and some may find the increased traffic to be a nuisance. If you don’t want your business to be a part of Pokémon GO, you can submit a request to Niantic Labs to remove your location from the game. Are you using Pokémon Go or any other apps to connect with your audience? Let us know in the comments!