What’s With This Pokémon GO Craze & How Can I Make Money Off of It?

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If you’re under fifty, work with people under forty, or take occasional walks around your town, you’ve probably heard about the latest craze: Pokémon GO. Already the most downloaded app in U.S. history, this game has users in a frenzy to “catch ‘em all,” as the slogan goes.

What is Pokémon GO? Simply described, it’s a smartphone game that uses the GPS and clock to detect your location and match it to your progress in the downloadable game. If there’s a Pokémon character hidden somewhere in your location, it will show up on your phone. Keep moving around and you’ll find more game characters. It’s sort of like matching up true reality with virtual reality. It’s surprisingly popular with the eighteen to thirty-four demographic.

Players’ phones will vibrate when they are near a Pokémon, at which point they need to take aim on their touch screen and throw a “PokéBall” to try to catch the creature. One object of the game is to try to catch all 150 Pokémon, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Avid players are running all over their towns, looking for the next catch.

You might be thinking, “That’s great but what does this have to do with marketing my business?” And to be honest, this article is only going to help out a certain number of our subscribers. But it’s worth a few minutes of your time to see if you might be one of them, or at least get some fresh ideas on how you can stay current in your marketing.

How’s It Work?

This game is driving tens of millions of users to go outside, walk around and participate in real-world activities, like going to the park or the beach or visiting local businesses to receive in-game benefits.

Where this gets exciting for you as a business owner is that there’s a way to flood certain businesses with these creatures with an in-game purchase called a “lure” — allowing users to see that your business is a veritable hot spot and urging them to come in to partake in the catching craze, all the while patronizing your place of business.
Attracting these waves of customers can be as cheap as just $1.19 an hour, but at the most, it costs just $.99 for a half an hour. Here’s what two local business owners posting on Reddit had to say about the effectiveness of this tactic:

“We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in.”
“I own a pizzeria that’s a Pokestop and I literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.”

You’re probably wondering if this would work for your business, so let’s dive right into it.

Which Businesses Are Able to Participate?

Unfortunately — and this is the less exciting part — only certain businesses are featured within the game.
There are a couple different ways a business can appear within the game, if so featured:

POKE-2As a PokéStop: this is what you want your business to be, or to at least have one near your business. These “stops” are where players (called “trainers) can restock on supplies in the game as often as every five minutes.

POKE-3As a Gym: these are the “training” facilities for trainers, and while not as valuable to businesses as PokéStops at first glance, these gyms should still attract a steady crowd, and can still be used to your advantage.

PokéStops are particularly exciting, because these are the only locations where these lures can be dropped. There isn’t yet a map of PokéStops or gyms, but chances are there’s someone around you right now that has the game installed and can show you whether or not your business is either a PokéStop or a gym.

How to Get Started Driving Customers With Pokémon GO

If you have a PokéStop nearby, it’s worth buying a lure or two to try the tactic out to see if it drives traffic for your business. Here’s what a lure looks like within the game (and what potential customers will see to draw them in):

As you can see, there might be a lot of other people in your area with the same idea. Keep in mind these lures may be purchased by players, or by savvy businesses to keep customers in their stores. It’s smart to put out a sign of some sort advertising what you’re doing, and any current specials for players.

If you’re featured as a gym, not a PokéStop, you likely won’t have the same volume of players coming by, but you will probably have rival team members coming by to stake their claim and maintain control of the gym.

POKE-6Signs have been popping up all over the internet with discounts offered to whichever team is currently in control of the gym (team names are: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct).

If you do decide to try either of these tactics, I highly recommend getting the word out there through social media, and even dropping a few bucks in boosting a Facebook post to make sure players in your area know that you have (or will have) lures out, or that you’re offering a discount to trainers of the current prevailing team.

Even if your business isn’t featured in the game, you can still capitalize on this craze! One local bar in St. Petersburg, FL, offered half off bar tabs to anyone who showed the bartender a Pokémon that they captured in the bar. There have also been Pokémon bar crawls popping up all over Facebook as well.

With a little creativity, and a knowledge of what your customer base is looking for, I’d be willing to bet you can turn this craze into new customers — and big money — for just about any business with a storefront!

POKE-5While the maker of the game hasn’t yet announced a way for businesses to become featured in the game as a PokéStop or a gym, there has been overwhelming interest in the subject, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with something along these lines before too long.

While you can be pretty certain this craze won’t last forever, you can definitely make the most out of the next few weeks, or months, that it is carrying on strong, and work to win over those new customers you do bring in, to keep their business long after this trend is over!

For a step-by-step explanation of how this tactic works, check out the full article here. For more great ideas on how to keep your digital marketing fresh, call Visual Edge Design!