Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the new augmented mobile app exploration game, Pokémon Go, that has become an almost overnight sensation.
Downloads of the game have surpassed even the most well-known apps, including Tinder, Snapchat and Bumble and it’s percentage of daily active users has doubled that of Twitter. Users around the world are spending a shocking amount of time travelling around communities, visiting local restaurants, stores, and other businesses in their search for Pokémon. Some even go so far as driving to other nearby towns in attempts to “catch” more rare types of Pokémon.
Many businesses, both big and small have caught on to the possibilities of this growing phenomenon and are capitalizing on it by using creative marketing campaigns and app purchases to drive large amounts of traffic through their doors, with the ultimate goal of converting players into paying customers.
Health Clubs can easily jump on this growing craze at virtually no cost and with minimum allocation of time and resources–all you need to do is know how to play the game.
There are many different ways you can use Pokémon Go to attract local players to your location and, hopefully, convert them into paying customers.
1. Is your Club a “Gym” or a “PokeStop”? The two types of locations this game that attract players in droves are called Gyms and PokeStops. Thus, either of these locations can be used in any strategy you choose to promote colossal sales. Pokémon Go runs off of an augmented reality HUD (also known as a heads-up display) of the real world. Each player creates an avatar “trainer” in the game that explores the virtual world as they navigate the real one. Players flock to PokeStops to collect rewards, collect Pokeballs and collect potions. PokeStops are usually buildings or businesses (in the real world). Although there is no official map that lists and locates all the Gyms and PokeStops, players have uncovered a workaround by using a searchable world map developed for another game by Niantic called “Ingress”. Players realized that the map for Ingress maps almost every PokeStop and Gym, the only difference being they are known as “portals” in Ingress.
To access this map, install the Ingress app on your phone and sign in with your google account. (If you don’t have one it’s very simple to make one and takes very little time). Once set up, you will be directed to a searchable map with all the listed “portals” which, again, are actually Gyms or PokeStops.
While many of these stops are businesses, even if you’re isn’t, there is most likely a PokeStop or Gym nearby that will still drive traffic your way.
2. Host a Lure party! Many businesses are jumping on this marketing strategy. Here’s how it works. A “lure module” is something you can buy in the app to lure wild Pokémon to a location, which, needless to say, attracts players to that location as well.
Businesses typically will buy a package of lure modules and advertise a “Pokémon Go Lure Party” for one night. Each lure is active for 30 minutes so businesses will set them to be back-t- back in order to attract the most amount of players possible for the entirety of the party. This can be extremely effective if your business is or is near a PokeStop. It’s easy to set up and costs virtually nothing. Let’s break down the cost just to show how little you need to spend to reap massive rewards:
Let’s say you decide to spend $100. This gives you about 14,500 Pokecoins which is the in-game currency. An eight-pack of Lures costs about 680 Pokecoins. Let’s break this down some more to see the real ROI this presents:
14,500 Pokecoins/680 = 21 eight-packs of Lures
(21*8)/2 = 84 Hours
$100/84 hours = $1.19 per hour
So, at the price of about a dollar per hour, you can attract crowds of players to your place of business. We also recommend offering special deals for Lure Party attendees to encourage even more participation.
3. If you are located near a Poke Gym, host a Battle! There are three different “Teams” that “trainers” (users) can be a part of in the game. These teams are called Mystic, Valor and Mystic. Teams “battle” each other at PokeGyms and the winning team “takes control” of that gym. As a result of this, users are constantly meeting at gyms anyway, so there is no need to purchase Lures, so you’ll have a constant influx of new potential customers.
To find out if your business is close to a gym, you can refer back to that Ingress map or open the game in your phone and look for tall building-like structures with Pokémon at the top. They are pretty hard to miss so you will see right away which ones are closest to your location. Businesses can take advantage of these PokeGyms in a number of different ways. Most of these methods rely on some creative marketing on your part. Here are just a few ideas:
- Customized Pokémon Gym Badges: Everyone loves getting free stuff. You can easily customize these badges to incorporate your business name and logo when ordering from a supplier. Simply search online for “Pokémon Gym Badge” and “custom orders” to find suppliers.
- Winner Discounts: Advertise which team has current control of your gym and offer discounts on memberships, packages, merchandise, etc for that team. You can do this on a poster, sandwich board, or any other physical advertising materials you have at your disposal.
- Utilize Social Media: I’m sure by now you’ve seen followers on facebook posting screenshots of the game. Follow their example and post ongoing battles with searchable hashtags such as #pokemongo or #teamvalor.
- Organize a PokeHunt: Here’s another example of a lucrative creative marketing tactic. This strategy is allows for a little more flexibility as it doesn’t rely solely on how close your business is to a Pokestop or Pokegym. Organize a Pokémon hunt that ends at your businesses with an after party to make a lasting impression and facilitate brand recognition. This is fairly simple to set up as it just requires an advertisement stating the start time of the hunt. Allow time for players to show up, and then have your staff (wearing your logo of course) lead them on this excursion. This is a really great way to promote brand awareness and establish your business as an inviting community that players or potential clients want to return to.
- Social Media Deals: Last but not least, offer discounts for clients who post pictures of Pokémon they find at or around your facility with a hashtag that names your business. This spreads awareness on social media and let’s other players know what types of Pokémon are near you.
While it is still in its early stages, the Pokémon Go app has already presented numerous possibilities for businesses both big and small. As new updates and developments are added to the game, the opportunities will only continue to grow. If you’re business hasn’t jumped on the Pokémon Go band-wagon, it’s about time you started!