Pokemon Go Is A HUGE Go For Local Business
You’ve heard of Pokemon Go right? If you haven’t then where have you been for the past couple of weeks? Mars? Jupiter?
Pokemon Go is one hell of an almighty craze that has swept the planet, literally! Based on the original Nintendo game/series/collector cards thing from way back when, it’s now evolved (ironic as that’s what Pokemons do) into a smartphone app that you play in the real world. This is a very novel concept given that it’s aimed at gamers who don’t really do real world and kids/teens/millennials that also don’t do real world or exercise much in the real world, basically they don’t get out much.
The creators of Pokemon Go have somehow created something that suddenly makes it cool to get out and walk around and visit places of interest.
Local businesses take note. This is your dream come true.
For some time now, real world, bricks and mortar businesses have struggled to compete with the online world and attract real life, actual people in to their stores/restaurants/premises. Niantic, the apps creators just gave local business the most amazing, low cost marketing tool. But to get the most from it as a business owner you are going to have to fully embrace your inner Pokemon Trainer, ninja style!
Full disclosure, I’ve got the app, I’ve played the game and I’m currently at level 13. Not bad for a total none gamer, none teen, none millennial. I thought my own teenage daughter would have gotten in to it but it seems to have not struck a chord with her so much. Last week I was in London and it was there I noticed just how popular the game was with people that don’t fit the normal gamer demographic. People like me.
I live, basically, in a one horse town, back end of nowhere sleepy little northern village. If I walk down the street here phone in hand catching Pokemons, people tend to look at me like I’ve suddenly sprouted ten heads. There are no Pokestops or Pokegyms close by to where I live and catching Pokemon is a slow process given that there are none, apart from the odd Weedle, Rattatta and Pidgey that pop up. But we have been visited by some of the rarer ones too. If I want to get serious and get my game face on then I need to venture further afield.
Attract the masses to catch them all
I took the teenager on a really long walk in London to catch myself some Pokemon. The great thing about a big city like London is that there are Pokestops every 30 seconds, points of interest, parks, places to do things, just tons of stuff that your average teen wouldn’t usually pay attention to. I actually discovered a whole load of places and just generally interesting things I’d never even noticed before. I also noticed the vast amount of grown-ups walking along too with their phones in their hands and generally congregating around the Pokestops and making their way to the lures. Lures. Lures! Do you get it? You can lure them in.
Yes, my dear local business owners you can lure, lure, lure (I just like saying that word, lure) all these smartphone users to your actual business premises. But what is a lure I hear you asking?
A lure is an item you can earn or buy and place at a Pokestop to lure Pokemons to your location so you can catch them all. It saves on all the walking about. It also lures in players as they know that’s where the Pokemons are. Get Pokemon, get people, get customers. Simple!
If you aren’t an avid player and just want to use the game to lure in those players, then you can easily just buy the lures for £0.79 or bulk buy 8 for about £5.50. Pretty cheap when you consider the comparable costs of other marketing and advertising methods.
Here’s a few ideas of how you can make Pokemon Go work for your local business
Food and Drink Establishments
Whilst I was walking around London I noticed in the parks that any Pokestops that where near a food and drink vendor all had lures going pretty much constantly. The weather was good so the parks were already busy but the added bonus of sitting out in the sun near a Pokestop that had a lure was obviously very appealing to a lot of people as it was packed around these areas with adults as most schools hadn’t even finished for summer yet. Adults in general carry money or have the ability to spend a bit of it. Place them in a park on a hot summers day and eventually they are going to want something to eat and drink or an ice cream. How convenient then that the Pokestop had its own refreshments hut right there!
Stroke of luck? Given that Pokestops are generated via Google maps and mark places of interest it’s just geography not luck. The fact these stops had lures all day was no stroke of luck. I asked a member of the staff at one of the refreshment huts about it and they told me it was them buying the lures all day long to keep people coming. £5-£10 a day was a small price to pay for the sheer spending power they could attract to that one location.
So if your business is lucky enough to be by a Pokestop then shout about it all over your social media. Be sure to #hashtag #PokemonGo and your location so people can find you that may never have known about you otherwise. Why not offer a Poke-special like a snack combo deal? Users have to show their player profile screen to get the deal. And then get setting off those lures.
Flash Mob Sales
Is your retail store in the centre of town and possibly near several Pokestops? Why not run a Pokemon Flash Mob Sale Day?
Shout about it on your social media that this coming Saturday you are holding a one-day sale but to get the discounts people need to bring in the vouchers. They get the vouchers by finding a member of your team at random Pokestops around town. How will they know which Pokestop to go to? You’ll be letting off lures there.
You may not necessarily attract your exact target market but it will create a huge buzz around your brand in your town and get people actively promoting your business. You may even get some sales out of it. For £10 you can send a member of staff out running round town for the day setting off lures and giving out discount vouchers and have every other business wondering what on earth you’re doing to get so many people talking.
In my local bigger town (city) they have an event called the Lancashire Market that happens a few times a year. It’s all about local small business that produce food and handmade items. These types of events are great for attracting a crowd, but what if you are a retailer in the town? How can you utilise that crowd to your businesses benefit?
Lure them! At this event I know (because I went and had a look) there are four Pokestops. That’s four locations you can use to lure people to and give them an incentive to visit your business. You aren’t luring people away from the market as they are already there. You are just using it to help support your local business too.
Businesses of Preston you can thank me later for that one.
This one’s for the secret entrepreneur in you.
Have you mastered where all the Pokestops and Pokegyms (that’s the place the Pokemon go to fight to be more powerful and become gym leaders) are in your town? Why not put together a guided walk around your town so groups of people can all come together to explorer and catch them all?
Along the way you could organise refreshment stops, talk about local historical facts and perhaps set off a lure or two to give people the chance to stop and chat whilst still playing.
Put some thought and effort in to your planning and you can easily charge £2 per person. Promote it as a way to meet new friends or even make it a speed dating event for some great niche marketing ideas. Collaborate with other local businesses like cafes to bring the guided walk to them and ask them to help promote the walks in return.
It’s not going to make you a millionaire but if you’re a young person wanting to learn some basic business skills or just get out and about and make a bit of money along the way then this is ideal. And virtually no cost to start doing. Just set up a Facebook page, create an event and ask everyone you know locally to share it. Call the local newspapers and radio stations and ask a reporter to come along. Getting some positive press coverage will soon see the enquiries come flooding in.
I found this website today called PokeVision that appears to tell you where Pokemon are. If it works this would be a very useful tool to ensure your walkers get as many Pokemons as possible and have a great time levelling up.
What if you aren’t near any PokeStops?
There are still lots of marketing opportunities even if you don’t have any Pokestops near you. Let’s use my local pub as an example.
With no Pokestops to use to lure and a food trade aimed at families why not actively ask customers to post to their social media photos of the Pokemon they catch in or around the premises? Make sure they know to tag you in the post so you see it. Offer spot prizes for the best and rarest ones caught. This produces customer generated social media content that you can then share with your audience.
Use the PokeVision map to keep an eye on any rare Pokemons popping up close by. Be sure to shout it out on your social media. They are randomly generated although I have found that there is a tendency for the same ones to keep popping up in the same areas. I caught 5 Scyther in a hotel I stayed at in just one night. I also caught a Squirtle in my bathroom at home and a Rhyhorn when I popped to the shops for milk. Sleepy local village it may be but some people would want to catch those rare Pokemon.
Why not do a special offer for those reaching the higher levels? A free coffee with every cake purchased when you hit level 30? A customer league table for which levels they are on with the weekly champ getting a prize? Pokemon Bingo Cards with all the Pokemons on. Call them out bingo style and customers mark off which ones they’ve caught. Customers pay £1/£2 to enter and the winner gets a prize. Bonuses for anyone catching a Pokemon during the bingo night.
Here’s a guide to which Pokemons are the rarest so you know what you’re bragging about catching.
Dogs – Animal shelters and dog walkers
All this walking has made me wish I still had a dog to go for a walk with. It also looks more acceptable for an adult to walk a dog whilst on their phone than just walking along looking at the phone.
I read a story last week about an animal shelter that was raising a load of money by renting out it’s dogs for people to take for a walk whilst they hunt for Pokemon. Genius! The shelter then started running out of dogs as so many people decided they’d like to keep the dog they’d been walking. Even more genius! They now have a waiting list. A waiting list! Surely that is like a dream scenario for any animal shelter?
I will admit I don’t know the logistics of how this would work. I’m sure the animal shelters can’t just hand dogs out to anyone and everyone. But if that’s a no go they can always organise their own group dog walks. Someone from the animal shelter is there in the group that take the dogs for a walk.
On the flipside, there are an awful lot of people that pay others to walk their dogs. They don’t have the time or are out all day. Why not set yourself up as a part time dog walker? Handy little earner and an excuse to be out catching Pokemon. Just make sure the dog doesn’t eat the Pokemon.
Catch them all!
I hope this has given you a few ideas for how you can use Pokemon Go to attract more customers to your local business. If you need help then why not book one of my short pick my brains sessions and I can help you figure out the finer details of how to lure more customers through your doors.
And if you’d like to read more about what my inner child gets up to then pop on over to my Oh Samantha Blog and read all about my Pink Fluffly Smiggle Notepad.
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