You’ve probably noticed lately that more people have their heads in their phone than usual. It’s very likely they’re playing Pokémon Go, a game which has become a verifiable craze since its launch. To date, it has double the engagement of Snapchat.
If you haven’t played, the mechanics can be a bit complicated (read explainers here, here, and here). But at its most basic level, the goal is to capture (and then “train”) Pokémon — which pop up on players’ mobile phones as if in the “real world.” (The app uses your phone’s GPS and camera to turn your real-life surroundings into your playing ground.)
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What’s cool is that oftentimes, the game’s landmarks (where you can train Pokémon or grab free items) are local businesses — which creates an opportunity for you to bring in more foot traffic. Unfortunately, these landmarks are predetermined by the game’s developers and there’s no “official” map of them (though Forbes does have a good workaround, and Renthop created its own map of New York City here).
But whether your business is a Pokémon landmark or not, you can get in on the craze with some strategic marketing. Here are a few ways to use the game’s popularity to help drive sales:
1. Place a “Lure.”
The game offers a variety of in-app purchases, one of which is something called a “Lure.” A Lure, which can be placed at a landmark for 30 minutes, increases the percentage of Pokémon generated in a certain area. And purchasing one (via the app’s currency, Pokecoins) is an insanely powerful way to, well, lure people onto your block — and then into your store.
2. Put out signage.
Let passersby know you’re a Pokémon landmark with some good old-fashioned sidewalk signage. But make sure to tie it into your business. Something like, “Come in to catch a Pokémon, stay for a latte.”
3. Send a marketing email.
Another way to let people know you’re a game hot spot is to send out a marketing email. It may encourage people to veer from their normal walking route to swing by your shop. We’ve created a special game-themed template in Square Email Marketing that’s ready-to-go.
Your brick-and-mortar business doesn’t need to be an official game hot spot to get in on the action. Find out where Pokémon are hanging out in your area, and set up a sort of pop-up shop nearby — selling your coffee or pastries on a street corner, for example. Again, remember your signage here. Let people know that the reason you’re there is because Pokémon are lurking in the air.
5. Get social.
If ever there was a time to take to social media, this is it. If you have a rare Pokémon in your business, post pictures of it to all your accounts. You could also use this as an opportunity to leverage some user-generated content. Consider throwing a contest asking followers to post pictures of the elusive Pokémon they’ve caught in your store, tagging you in the post. Then offer a prize reward (perhaps a free cup of coffee) for the best photo.
This game is exploding. So embrace it, have some fun, and use it to attract new business.