In the last couple weeks I’ve written about Pokémon for the sake of improving your personal life and Pokémon for the sake of being good at Pokémon. Today I want to talk about Pokémon for the sake of getting more business!

Since you’re probably a business owner and not necessarily a Pokémon Trainer, I’m going to give you an overview of what the heck this game is even about. (If you know how the game works, skip down to the next section!)

Game Play Overview

Pokémon GO is an Augmented Reality game where fictional creatures from a beloved TV show are popping up in real life. Kind of. These little monster characters make millennials really happy! This is because a lot of our childhood was spent watching the cartoon, trading and playing with our Pokémon cards and watching a bunch of other movies, shows and generations of Pokémon continue to be released.

Players are required to get up and GO in order to catch the Pokémon. Their mobile device GPS signals the game app and tells it where to spawn Pokémon, and the player must be within about 25 yards of the target in order to capture it. Players must also stop at Pokéstops to collect the supplies they will need to capture, train and battle with their monsters. These Pokéstops are arranged all over town. They’re usually in public places like malls, shops, historical sites, statues, churches and other landmarks.

Players can make the game more interesting and action-packed by attracting more Pokémon to themselves in one of two ways. Using an “incense” module, a player will attract more Pokémon to just their individual session of the game for 30 minutes. Using a “lure” module, the player can attract more Pokémon to a specific Pokéstop location. The lure module increases the availability of Pokémon for all users in proximity of the Pokéstop where it is set. Lures are visible to players within about a half-mile radius, but you can only reap the benefits within about 100 feet. Both lures and incense are given to players in very limited quantities when they achieve certain levels, but are also available for purchase within the app.

The object of the game is to catch (or evolve) at least one of every Pokémon that exists. Players walk around to search for Pokémon and hatch eggs. Catching large quantities of Pokémon is helpful for achieving higher levels, strengthening Pokémon, and evolving other Pokémon to get closer to having/catching all of them.

Hopefully that helps you understand a bit more about how the game works! There are a lot of ways that businesses have gotten creative with the Poké-Craze. Here are some great ideas…

Lure Pokémon AND Customers

You can purchase lures to use at your business. You don’t have to actually play the game, but you would just need to sign up for the app and purchase Pokécoins to use in the in-app shop. Lures are available in exchange for your Pokécoins and if you spend $100 in Pokécoins, you will get 84 hours of lures at just $1.20/hour. Lures draw in more people if there are multiple close together.

  1. If your business is near one or more Pokéstops you should think about buying and activating lures on those nearby stops. This will greatly increase your foot traffic near your business. In order to turn that foot traffic into conversions, you might need to take one or two extra steps.
    1. Players don’t have to be inside your venue to reap the benefits of the lures unless it’s a huge building. You can usually snag Pokémon from about 25 yards away. Keep reading to see some ideas for getting people to actually come inside and buy stuff from you.
    2. Players come from several different demographics. Think about which ones you want in your store or restaurant: parents with their kids, teenagers, millenials. Then think about what times you should set your lures based on those lifestyles. I see lots of teenagers hanging out around lures at the mall in the afternoon. I see lots of lures set at restaurants on Main Street around 12-1 when those with full-time jobs go out to lunch, or to dinner after 6 or so.
  2. If your business is mobile or near multiple Pokéstops then you should throw a lure party. At a lure party, you’ll plan to have active lures on about 4 or more Pokéstops continuously for several hours.
    1. Make it a social gathering! Take to social media and announce and market your party. Invite a semi-specific demographic of player. Create other activities to do while playing the game or while taking a break from the game.
    2. Create Pokémon related promotions on your products or services for attendees. Offer a discount based on what level players are at or which team they are on.
    3. If at all possible, offer free Wi-Fi.

Use Social Media!

  1. This craze is very mobile-device centric. It’s designed to be shareable and engaging. Because of this, it will be incredibly helpful if you have a social media presence for your business so that you can ride the wave.
    1. Create a page for your business, make sure you include your location.
    2. Create and use graphics to get your point across.
    3. Advertise all your promotions and the benefits of playing Pokémon GO in your location using some of the ideas below.
    4. Encourage people to take pictures or log which Pokémon they are catching while at your business. You can have them take pictures of the Pokémon next to a sign for your business, or screenshot the nearby Pokémon view. Then ask them to post to your business Facebook or check in at your place. You can also have the customer send the pictures to a member of your staff that can post them with marketing messages on the social media channels you’re using.

Pokémon Promotions

  1. Using promotions related to the game will help you to capitalize on game play whether or not you’re near a Pokéstop.
    1. Entice customers to share their Pokémon results in exchange for a discount. If they are catching rare Pokémon in your building and posting it online, it can draw in additional Pokémon players looking for those Pokémon. Offer $1 off for each new Pokémon they post, or 10% off their order, or offer to reimburse them (through a discount) for the cost of an incense module. Whatever you can do to make it exciting!
    2. Spread news of your promotions by joining local Pokémon GO groups and forums. There are LOADS of them on Facebook already. People are sharing their finds and best spots to catch specific monsters. You can use a personal Facebook account and share the graphics you’ve created, the images submitted by your customers, and more.
    3. Offer a discount based on the level a player has reached in the game. The highest level possible is 40, and that’s only been reached by cheating so far.
    4. Create Happy Hour specials based on the team each player chose to join. There are three: Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) and Valor (red). You can choose a team to cater to at different times or on different nights. Have players show the app to prove their loyalty to a team.
    5. If you’re located near a Pokémon Gym, you can create deals and discounts based on which team is currently in control of the gym. That’s where players battle and strengthen their Pokémon, and often will congregate to maintain control for pretty decent chunks of time.

Final Thoughts

The key with any form of marketing is to make it fit with your business model. Pokémon GO is a game where players can walk around hunting for Pokémon, or they can stay put for a bit with special tools and have the Pokémon come to them. If you’re a small retail shop and want users to stop in, catch a couple critters, take a couple pictures and be on their way then create your promotions to encourage that. If you’re a restaurant or bar and want your customers to sit down and stay awhile, then make your promotions fit with that goal.

Customers won’t make the leap to your business if it doesn’t feel like a fairly natural, logical move. Even though we’re all still making sense of this Pokémon hilarity, it’s a big part of a lot of lives now! You want your business to be a part of lives as well, so see if Pokémon GO can be a leverage point for you.

Good luck!