Have you noticed an unusual number of people walking around with their heads in their phones? It’s very likely they’re playing Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality game that has exploded into a craze in recent weeks. Since it launched in early July, the game has seen double the engagement of Snapchat.
If you haven’t started playing yet, you can access a quick guide here, here, and here. At its most basic level, your goal is to capture and train Pokémon, which pop up on your smartphone as if they’re in the “real world.” Your mobile phone GPS and camera turns your real-life surroundings into a Pokémon hunting ground.
The good news for you is that the game has landmarks (where you can train Pokémon or nab some free items) which are often in business hubs or locations, giving you an opportunity to leverage budding Pokémon Go players for some free foot traffic. Currently, these landmarks are predetermined by the developers of Pokémon Go, but if you’re interested in becoming one you can submit a request on the official Pokémon Go support page.
With the craze growing across a number of Australian cities, now’s an opportune time to get in on it with some strategic, hyper-localised marketing. Here are four ways you can leverage the popularity of Pokémon Go to drive sales.
Place a “lure”
Pokémon Go players can utilise a variety of in-app purchases to attract Pokémon to their location, one of which is called a “lure.” A lure is placed at a landmark and, for 30 minutes, increases the frequency and number of Pokémon generated in that particular area. Consider purchasing a lure (using the app’s currency, Pokecoins) as an insanely powerful way to lure Pokémon players to your block — and into your business. A lure will only cost you the equivalent of $1.49, and if you use Square’s new and returning customer data reports to track the additional traffic during the promotion, you can get a good measure of the promotion’s impact on your top line.
We mentioned earlier in the article that it’s commonplace these days to see Pokémon Go players wandering the streets searching for rare Pokémon. Let them know that your business is a Pokémon landmark with some classic street signage. Consider tying the message creatively back to your business — something like, “Come in to catch a Pokémon, stay for a latte” would work well in a cafe or coffee shop.
Even if you’re running a fixed location business, it doesn’t need to become an official game hot spot to get in on the excitement. Pokémon are frequently found in many local, publicly accessible areas that draw big crowds (here’s a great example).
Find out where Pokémon are hanging in your neighbourhood, and consider setting up a pop-up shop, food truck or coffee cart nearby. You can even use Square Reader to accept card payments while you’re outside of the shop. Again, remember that signage is important here — let people know you’re there because Pokémon are lurking nearby.
There has never been a better time to take advantage of social media. If you have rare Pokémon hiding in your business, let people know by posting photos of it to all your accounts. You can also use this as a chance to get customers involved and encourage them to post user-generated content — effectively getting them to promote your business to their own followers. You could even consider throwing a contest asking your followers and customers to post images of the Pokémon they’ve caught in or around your shop, tagging your business in the post and offering a prize for the best photo.
Pokémon Go is exploding. Make sure you find a way to get your business in on the action and have fun with it!