All businesses can benefit from the Pokémon GO phenomenon

How Popular is Pokémon GO?

As I’m sure you know by now, the Pokémon GO phenomenon is huge. According to The Guardian, average daily users have already passed Twitter. And those users are spending a lot of time using the app According to SimilarWeb,

As of July 8th, the app was being used for an average of 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day, higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger.

After my wife caught a Bulabsaur in our bedroom I started wondering how the app could be used to help businesses engage with their customers.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is an iOS and Android app that uses your phone’s GPS and camera to create an augmented reality hunting grind for Pokémon. In doing so, it turns local landmarks and businesses into Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops.

What is the different between a Pokémon Gym and a Pokéstop?

At PokéStops users (known as trainers), pick up free things like PokéBalls. At Gyms, they train their Pokémon and battle other teams.

How can businesses benefit from Pokémon GO?

It all depends on the type of business but if you are a business owner or marketer I’d highly recommend downloading Pokémon GO free from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

  1. Download the app from the Apple Store or GooglePlay Store
  2. Find out if your business is a Gym or PokéStop already

How can my business make the most of being a PokéStop or Gym?

If your business has a physical location that your customers visit and it is a PokéStop or Gym then you are well positioned to make the easiest gains from the Pokemon GO phenomenon.

1. Promote your location as being (or being near) a PokéStop or Gym

Even if your business isn’t a PokéStop or Gym there could be one nearby that you can promote and, in doing so, drive traffic past your own business.

The easiest way to do this is through social media. It’s also an easy way to increase the reach of your social media account and gain new followers. For example, Ransoms Garden Centre in Jersey posted on Facebook that it is a “Grass Pokemon Hotspot”.

That single post on their Facebook wall has attracted 70 comments, 30 shares and 156 reactions so far. Compare that to their previous post that attracted 2 shares and 10 likes. People are going crazy for Pokémon.

2. Offer a Special Deal

Once people have started coming to your location to catch and train their Pokémon you need to convert them into paying customers (or potential cutomers for the future). Ideas include:

  • Special discounts for Pokémon GO players.
  • Free tasters of a new menu for Pokémon GO players.
  • A free desert if customers show the waiter their Pokemon GO account.
  • A free drink with every pizza if the customer checks into your location with a Facebook Update, Instagram Post or Tweet (this would grow your reach and attract even more visitors to your store.

3. Use Lures

Do you have a quiet time of day? A Lure Module is an in-app purchase that allows you to attract Pokémon to a particular PokéStop for 30 minutes. These Pokémon are available to everyone in the area.

Whilst Lures do cost money, they can be bought for as little as £1. They are a great way to attract extra foot traffic during quiet times of day. You can use any of the tactics above to turn that traffic into a paying customer.

Of course, advertising that you are about to drop a Lure through your usual social media and other inbound marketing channels is a great way to increase that traffic.

How can my business benefit from Pokemon Go if it’s not a PokéStop or Gym?

If you’re a business that doesn’t have a physical location for customers to attend or your location isn’t currently a PokeéStop or Gym then you can still benefit massively from Pokémon GO. Here are some ideas to engage players:

1. Offer charging stations

Pokémon GO is very battery-intensive and users have reported their batteries being drained in just a few hours. Your business can take advantage of this by offering players a phone charging station.

This is particularly good if you’re a cafe, shop or restaurant where players are likely to buy something whilst they wait. Remember to advertise your charging station outside your premises.

2. Increase your reach online

If there’s a way to tie in your own business to the game and publish something online it would be great to engage in the conversation on your blog, social media and other inbound channels.

You can even engage on social media just by sharing tips about where to find Pokémon in your area.

3. Arrange an event

Why not get your customers together to go Pokémon hunting? Give them all a branded t-shirt and head out. You’ll almost certainly meet other people along the way.

Players love their teams so why not put on a team event in your local coffee shop where you encourage players from that team to come and share their best tips.

4. Hang out at a PokéStop

Loads of companies have products that can be promoted almost anywhere. What about setting up a tasting table for your new cupcake business at a Pokéstop?

If you’re a charity, consider putting your fundraising team out at popular Pokéstops.

Putting on a comedy night? Get to a Pokéstop and provide a free taster performance. There are almost unlimited ways to engage in this way.

5. Run offers for particular teams

Players are very proud of their team choices. You could offer a special offer to different teams on different days.

Almost any of these ideas would work well with a Lure that you promote online a couple of hours before you activate it.

How can I make my location a Pokémon GO Gym or PokéStop?

  1. Niantic CEO John Hanke has confirmed that sponsored locations are coming to Pokémon GO.
  2. You can submit a request to have your location considered as a Pokémon GO Gym or Pokéstop here.

Got an idea or need some help?

I’d love to hear your ideas for promoting your business using Pokémon GO. Of course, if you need some help, just leave a comment below.

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