In the short time since Pokémon Go’s launch, it has taken over as the leader in video game and mobile apps. But what changes the game—literally—is that it doesn’t require sitting in front of a TV or computer screen all day. Instead, players (known as “trainers” in the game) are required to go out, walk around, and explore their neighborhood in an attempt to “catch ‘em all.”
This swarm of movement off couches and out into the world is not only great for people looking for a way to get more exercise, it’s also a boon for small businesses looking to increase foot traffic. Companies that take advantage of the Pokémon Go craze can be greatly rewarded.
But how do you connect your business to the Pokémon Go obsession? Here are some strategies you can take to turn Pokémon Go into a marketing gift for your business:
1. Identify What Is Around You
While you probably already know your company’s surroundings in the real world, take a peek at what is in your area in the Pokémon world. Things like PokéStops and Gyms are hubs for players to collect more Pokémon, play games, and hang out with other players.
If you’re near a Gym or PokéStop, you may have already noticed an upswing in new foot traffic without much work on your end. However, being close to one of these locations in the Pokémon world can influence how you move forward in your strategy.
2. Lure People In
In Pokémon Go, users can drop what is called a “lure” at PokéStops; while it’s active, Pokémon monsters will be drawn to that area in a steady stream for about half an hour, rather than one every 15 or 20 minutes, which is more typical. Lures affect all individuals playing the game in the area, not just the person who dropped it.
If you’re a small business looking to draw new customers, drop a lure at the PokéStop closest to your shop, bar, or restaurant. While the lure is running, you might see a boost in players coming in to reap the benefits. Take the opportunity to encourage people to stop in, grab some food or a drink, or hang out and shop.
A lure can be an easy and cheap way for your business to take advantage of the Pokémon Go craze. If you play the game yourself, you might pick up lures for free within the game; if not, you can purchase Pokécoins that you can then use to buy in-game items like lures.
3. GET SOCIAL
Since Pokémon Go is digital, it only makes sense to take to digital marketing to spread the word that your business is ready to welcome Pokémon trainers. There are dozens of things you could do to incorporate your social media strategy with the game, all aimed at boosting the number of real people you see walk through your doors.
One popular idea to engage players through social media is to ask them to share augmented reality (AR) pictures of the monsters they find in your store.
Using the photos to verify location, you could:
- Consider doing a giveaway for a certain number or certain kind of Pokémon found in your shop
- Offer a dollar off for people who find a common Pokémon in your store
- Do a larger drawing or giveaway for rarer creatures found on location
4. Connect From a Distance
If you aren’t near a PokéStop or Gym, you still have options to connect with your Pokémon trainer customers.
Using the Pokémon Go game, it’s easy for players to show off the Pokémon they’ve collected or evolved, or other accomplishments and milestones they’ve reached. Businesses that don’t have a nearby in-game location to take advantage of can still offer deals or benefits to players who reach certain milestones, collect difficult-to-find Pokémon, or complete certain goals.
Social media is a great way to show how you’re rewarding players and can get your customers or visitors engaging with one another.
5. Advertise Locally
Using geotargeted ads, such as Facebook advertising, can be a great way to show that your company is involved with the Pokémon Go craze. Because Facebook allows you to select area, demographic, and interests of individuals who can see the ad, you can pinpoint the individuals who may want to come to your business and catch Pokémon with you.
You can create an event to promote, or just let those who may be interested know that you’re welcoming Pokémon players. Come up with a deal, promotion, or other strategy to connect your business to the game they’re playing and see how people respond.
It’s hard to say how long the Pokémon Go craze is going to last, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. As the game continues to develop and bugs get worked out, the number of people collecting Pokémon will likely continue to grow. If you’re a small business, especially one that happens to be a PokéStop or Gym in the Pokémon Go world, you’ve been handed a free marketing tool; it’s up to you to do what you can to make sales and grow your business while the obsession is still strong.
This story was submitted by freelancer Cody Oelker and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.