If you haven’t noticed, the world has become Pokemon obsessed over the last few weeks. And it’s a very big deal. In under a week it became the most popular mobile game of all time. It’s also surpassing well-established companies like Twitter in daily active users, and trouncing app darlings like Whatsapp and Snapchat in the amount of time users spend in the app each day.
Some business owners might complain that the game is causing too many loiterers or that their employees are playing too much. I know that at our agency the game is played like crazy, but most of our team members know how to play in moderation. But regardless of how you may feel about the game, it’s undeniable that it has become a cultural phenomenon.
One of the best features of the game is that it is an AR or augmented reality game that requires its players to enter the real world and explore to find the little monsters called Pokemon. This has led to massive crowds of people descending on downtown areas and parks. You may have noticed large bands of teenagers and adults walking around looking at their phones over the last few days. Odds are, they’re catching Pokemon.
There are already anecdotal reports of local businesses seeing booms in their business due to the foot traffic that the game is causing. But if you’re wondering how your company can cash in on this craze, here are some surefire ways to do so.
Keep That Pokestop Humming
A feature of the game is the ability to go to a fixed location and get bonuses from being there. These places are called Pokestops. They’re usually associated with statues, memorials, or other important or unique features of a town. One way to make these Pokestops more enticing is to use a “lure module” on it. This causes that Pokestop to attract more of the little digital monsters to this location, thereby ensuring that more and more players come to that Pokestop.
A great feature of Pokestops is that they refresh very regularly (about every 5 minutes) so once someone visits one, they don’t have to wait long for it to provide them another benefit. This means that restaurants and stores can keep customers there longer if they’re lucky to have a Pokestop nearby.
If you want to know if you have one nearby, download the game (it’s free) and pull up the map and see if you have a blue icon spinning near your business. If you do, put down a lure and watch the customers flow in.
Embrace The Craziness
One story I love out of the Pokemon trend is the idea that certain animal shelters have had. They’re asking Pokemon players to swing by and pick up a shelter dog to take on walks while they’re out hunting Pokemon. Not only is this great for the animals, but I guarantee some players will become attached to their hunting companions and end up taking them home.
These shelters found a way to make the digital world work for their brick and mortar business. All you need to do is think of your own way to do so. Here are some quick ideas:
- Host a Pokemon hunting party – Promote the event on social media. Schedule a specific time the players need to show up to take part. Provide some kind of benefit for coming (free food, discounts, prizes for the best Pokemon caught). You’ll be shocked at how many people take you up on the offer.
- Show us your Pokemon – Players are fanatical about their stable of pocket monsters. So let them show off their pride and joy. Offer prizes for players that can come to your business and show off their Pokemon.
- Set up sidewalk features – Another great story is all of the friendly activities that surround the game. Companies have been providing players with pit stops to get free water, a place to sit, or shade to get out of the sun. Don’t worry about selling the players right away. Instead, support them and build a relationship with them out of kindness.
Take Part In The Humor
Some of the most shared social posts over the last few days have been those associated with the game. Players love sharing inside jokes and non-players love poking fun at those taking part. So, listen to what’s popular, read up on some of the trends, then use that information to craft funny and timely social posts that are sure to get a ton of shares and engagement. Here are a few examples:
One downside to Pokemon Go is the crazy amount of battery power it requires in order to play. Since it needs to run data, the screen, GPS, and many other features of mobile phones, they get drained quickly. It can also be a hog for data.
So, attract players by giving them what they need. Set up some power strips in your business and hang a sign outside that designates your business as a “power station for Pokemon hunting”. Allow folks to come in and charge their devices for free. It will take them a while to do so, and they can patronize your business while they wait.
You can also open up your wifi to the public to help ease the data requirements of the game. Many of the players are kids and they’re dependent on their parent’s data plans to continue playing. If they have reached those limits, the only way to continue hunting is to connect to a wifi. Again, just hang out a poster and sign and watch the hunters come swarming.
Promote Your Monsters
Even if you don’t want to play the game, I’d suggest every local business have it up and running at all times where an employee can monitor the game. The digital Pokemon roam the world and pop up in random places. So, when one shows up in your business, hop on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or however else you want to get the word out, and tell your followers that you have a Pikachu tearing up the place. If you’re lucky enough to have a rare Pokemon visit your establishment, you’re sure to see an influx of players showing up to capture the critter.
And these are just a few ideas. I’m sure as the game matures there will be other great ways to leverage it for marketing. So stay tuned and I’ll be sure to write another piece with some additional tips in the near future.
This article was written by Mike Templeman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.