Pokémon Go launched in the US, Australia, and New Zealand in the last two weeks, and has already surpassed Twitter in the number of active users. It is expected to be released in Europe and Asia within a few days, but has taken over Savannah’s streets and squares.
According to StartApp, more than 40 percent of the adults who downloaded the mobile game are older than 25. One in three of those adult users are women. In total, over 10 million android users have already downloaded the game.
The location-based mobile game, developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company, allows users to capture, battle, and train virtual “pocket monsters,” called Pokémon. Using GPS through Google Maps, the game shows these creatures popping up all over town. And stores, restaurants and small businesses can take advantage of this new influx of customers roaming around.
As a Public Relations and Marketing firm, we are always looking for ways to reach audiences in new ways. Pokémon Go is the latest platform that will creatively allow us to reach out to customers. If you are trying to figure out ways your business may benefit from this new technology, consider these seven strategies:
1. Playing Along with Pokémon
To understand how the Pokémon world works, you need to get in the game. Literally. Most businesses have Google accounts for Google+ or Gmail. Creating a Trainer profile will allow you access to the virtual reality. This is vital to see Pokéstops, Gyms and Pokémon.
2. Finding the Pokéstops
Does your business have a Pokéstop right outside? If this game is not at all what you are interested in having around your location, you can ask Niantic to remove the stop from your area. Visit https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/222249687 for more information.
If you would like to request a stop be added to your location, visit https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=319928. Adding a stop attracts a lot of foot traffic outside your business. This is ideal for restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores.
3. The Allure of Lures
Pokémon Go players pick up lures normally as items during gameplay, but businesses can purchase Lure Modules to put on the Pokéstop closest to their establishment. Each lure lasts 30 minutes after activation, and costs 99 cents. You can buy up to 8 lure modules at a time. These lure modules attract Pokémon to the specific location, which in turn attracts Poké-trainers. A business could conceivably set a lure every half hour on the hour while it is open. If that is something your business can only do every now and then, consider a “Lure Luncheon” or “Lighting Up Lures Night.”
4. Host a Hunting Party
If your business does not have a Pokéstop nearby, consider hosting a public “Pokémon Go Hunting Expedition.” Have participants gather together at your business’ location for a walk around town. Encourage employees to wear branded shirts and uniforms; this increases your business’ visibility throughout the entire event. The stroll around town can last as long as you wish, but we would recommend no longer than an hour. Finish off the hunt with an after-party back at your business. Hunters can discuss what types of Pokémon they encountered and share tips with each other.
5. Benefiting from Battles
Gym battling is how trainers interact with each other on the game’s interface. If your business is near a gym, this could attract a large crowd to your area. Players working to claim a territory will usually hang around a gym for at least thirty minutes. Reward your customers for their hard work; offer discounts to those patrons who are affiliated with the team who hold ownership of your area gym. If you ask participants to inform your employees when the gym changes team hands, you won’t have to worry about staying updated on who is winning.
6. Staying Social
The game allows you to take photos of Pokémon while you are trying to catch them. If one of your customers catches a rare Pokémon at your location, post a photo of it on your social sites. Other trainers on the hunt will most likely stop by your store to see if they can catch that Poké-prize. Also, announce any of your lure times or hunting parties via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever communication works best for your customers. Tell them the time to stop by and let them know about any specials available. Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon to get the message out to your potential new customers.
7. Charging Up Customers
This game is particularly brutal on user’s phone batteries. Plug in a powerstrip at your place of business and brand it as a “Pokémon Recharge Location.” Posting this out on social media and signage out front can be a fun and creative way to attract customers through the game.
Even if you are not a part of the Pokémon crazy, using the game to reach customers can be a new tactic in your marketing plan. If you know what you’re doing, you can harness the power of the app to promote your own local business.
Cynthia Wright is the Director of Communications, collaboratively working with Marjorie Young of Carriage Trade Public Relations™, Inc. and Cecilia Russo of Cecilia Russo Marketing, and specializes in reputation management. For more information, contact Cynthia at email@example.com