This week the UK has become the fifth country worldwide where Pokémon Go is officially available. This game offers players the opportunity to roam in an augmented reality world catching Pokémon. In spite of numerous controversies, the game is making an estimated $1.6 million (£1.2 million) a day from iPhone users in the US alone, and Nintendo’s shares have rocketed by almost 50 per cent in the last week. It now has more users than Tinder and searches on Google for Pokémon Go have outstripped those for “porn”.
Yesterday the Independent reported: “The game has very quickly moved from being a silly app to being a source of solace for people with mental health problems and a genuine way to help children explore the outdoors. It might even be enough to entirely change our relationship with our landscape.”
Millions of people are using the app on a daily basis to interact with the world around them, including other people and physical locations. At Global River we like to keep up to date and ensure that our clients have the latest marketing tools at their fingertips so we took a further look. Here are some Pokémon Go local marketing tips to help you harness the Pokémon Go mania that is sweeping across our suburbs to promote your local business.
Businesses in busy areas with a high foot fall will naturally attract more players. The first step to being a Pokémon Go friendly local business is to find out if you are near a Poké-stop or Gym, this will help you target your approach. In brief: Poké-stops dispense items players can collect, they can be found at landmarks, restaurants churches, memorials and they recharge after about 5 minutes. Less common, Gyms, can be found at railway stations or churches, they offer players the opportunity to declare allegiance to a team and provide an arena for battling other players (or trainers).
A lure can be dropped at a Poké-stop. This will increase the number of Pokémon that appear in that location for the 30 minutes. This is helpful to players who are aiming to capture Pokémon and so these lures attract players and encourage them to hang around for a while. This is great for restaurant and cafe owners, as players will want to hang around for a while, and may want to buy some snacks or refreshments while they do. The easiest way to get lures or incense quickly is, you’ve guessed it, to purchase them. Lures cost £0.79 each going down to under £0.50 if you buy in bulk, so this is a relatively inexpensive way to entice potential customers.
If your business isn’t near a Gym or Poké-stop, don’t worry Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, has confirmed that sponsored retail locations are coming to Pokémon Go soon.
In Pokémon Go, a player (or trainer) selects one of three teams (Instinct, Mystic, or Valor, represented by the colours yellow, blue, and red, respectively). This encourages competition, personal identification, and rivalry between groups. People are showing great pride in their team, strangers have been seen bonding due to their team affiliation – basic tribalism instinct. Support a team, cater to them with special offers or promote team events on social media.
Use social media to let people know what’s happening in your area. If one of your customers catches a rare Pokémon at your location, post about it, chances are you’ll get other players coming in hopping to make a similar catch. You can also use the app’s in-game camera to take pictures of Pokémon in your business, promoting it to people who have never been there.
If your business is at or near a Gym, then this gives you a unique opportunity. Gyms are where players can battle on behalf of their teams for dominance. Players vying for control over a gym will usually need to spend at least a half hour (usually more) to battle the gym leaders enough times to gain control of the gym, so they’ll want to stay a while (and buy your products, hopefully!). You also have the option to leave a Pokemon behind at your team’s gym to aid in its defence. This has the potential to building a players attachment and allegiance to your location and encourage regular visits.
Encourage your patrons to get involved, establish your own local team’s dominance, and invite challengers as a fun way to draw people in. Nothing fires people up quite like competition, and you have the power to give it to them.
Pokémon Go is very battery intensive, players are going to need to charge their phones often while playing. Take advantage of this by offering players a phone charging station and set up a sign outside your business to attract players who are running low on battery power. They will naturally want to refresh their real world selves while re-charging their augmented reality device!
Just like wild animals certain Pokémon can only be found in specific geographic areas. Furthermore, their behaviour can be dependent on the prevailing weather conditions. Such Pokémon are considered to be rarer, and so are more sought after by players. If you find that a certain rare Pokémon can be found near your business, advertise that fact! The lovable and recognizable Pikachu, for example, is highly sought-after by players, but can only be found in certain areas. Put up a sign outside your business and share information on social media. Give players know tips to find certain rare Pokémon around your business.
We have all seen how Pokémon Go has changed many peoples behaviour overnight. We can only imagine how that will impact peoples habits in the coming weeks and months as more they get further into the app. We will collectively discover new things as Niantic pushes new updates and further develop the game.
There will always be those who pour cold water on new ideas “its just a fad”. They maybe right, no marketing channel is evergreen. Businesses that want to win have to keep one eye open and grab opportunities. With Pokémon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.
Perhaps Pokémon Go won’t be as powerful a tool for driving sales six months or a year from now. At the moment it is quite basic and rather temperamental, but the future possibilities are huge. Appealing to the most basic human instincts, rival tribes or individuals can participate in orienteering events, treasure trails and hunting parties with new creatures being released requiring different skills and tactics to track and capture . The customers that you delight today are going to remember you tomorrow!