If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two weeks, then you’ve likely heard about the mobile augmented reality game hit Pokémon Go from Niantic, which is being called the most popular mobile game in history. But what does this have to do with my small business, you might ask?
There’s huge potential for driving traffic and attracting new customers to your small business using Pokémon Go, but you need to learn how the game works in order to capitalize on it. Download the game now and follow these three tips:
1. Determine if your business is a Gym or PokéStop.
The object of the game is to catch various digital Pokémon creatures that appear on screen as the player moves through the real world. Players can stop at one of two types of locations, which are indicated by glowing portals in the game:
- Gym – A place for players to train their Pokémon and battle other players’ creatures.
- PokéStop – A rest stop where players can re-up on Poké balls and other tools that are used to capture Pokémon.
These portals are prime for attracting foot traffic. Since there’s no official map of all official Gym and Pokéstop locations yet, you have to create an account after installing the game to see if your business is located near one. You can also check out this map online. Another option is to check Yelp – they just added a filter that indicates whether a business is located near a PokéStop.
If your business is (or can be) mobile – say, a food or fashion truck – you can set up shop near a Gym or PokéStop and go from there.
2. Set up a Lure.
If your business is located near a PokéStop, you can set up a Lure Module, which attracts Pokémon to that location. Each lure lasts 30 minutes and costs about $1 – a pretty cost-effective way to draw people in. Consider buying a package of lures and hosting a “Pokémon Lure Party” or “Pokémon Hunt,” where you invite players to find Pokémon inside or around your business. L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City did just that saw sales go up by 75%.
If you’re only located near a Gym, you won’t be able to set up a lure, but you can still use it to your advantage. Offer discounts to players and advertise on social media using hashtags or on a sandwich board outside of your business. Gyms are controlled by one of three teams (Instinct, Mystic, or Valor) – keep score and offer discounts to whatever team is currently in control of the Gym nearest you.
3. Offer charging stations and Wi-Fi.
The game is a huge drain on users’ phone batteries. Setting up free charging stations and offering Wi-Fi at your business is a simple and practical way to attract potential customers who will be grateful for the resources, especially if you are located near a Gym or PokéStop. And once you get that traffic, you can offer discounts and specials that are Pokémon-related. Get creative here!
Artisan, a hot dog and salad restaurant located in Richmond, Kentucky, offers a charging station and is located near two PokéStops. When they’re about to drop a lure, they announce on local Pokémon groups and use the hashtag #pokemonpitstop.
Photo credit: Artisan's Facebook page
Whether Pokémon Go has any staying power is anyone’s guess, but its capability for marketing is promising – Niantic is already planning on rolling out sponsored Gyms and PokéStops. As a digital platform, augmented reality is here to stay, which means keeping abreast of how it develops and how you can leverage it to support your marketing efforts will be key. Now Pokémon Go forth and conquer your small business marketing!