The nostalgia for the 90’s is no secret weapon. Enter Pokemon Go – the inevitable revival of the popular game was not only well-anticipated but became an overnight success. To nerds like me, this really was no surprise. And from a nerd with marketing chops like me, I have some suggestions on how you can use Pokemon Go to generate revenue and leads for your business.
This blog was originally written for Story Block Media on July 18. Within a 3 month period, it received 565+ views and was ranked 3rd for “generate revenue and leads.”
Before we get started, most of these will require you to actually download and play the game. Don’t worry – it’s not a game that requires too much maintenance, depending on how you decide to participate of course.
Take a Side – Are you Valor, Mystic, or Instinct?
In Pokemon Go, there are teams that you can pledge loyalty for battling your Pokemon at gyms. What some businesses have done is literally take a side and offer discounts to only certain teams. So take a note from Hamilton – if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. If you are near a gym, keep tabs on it and see what team maintains control (here’s a free Pokemon Gym sign to hang up). Give that team a discount or invite opposing teams out to challenge their authority!
Invite them to Challenge YOUR Authority
Lucky enough to have a gym near your business? Host a match. Power up your own pokemon, drop them at a nearby gym, and challenge potential customers to beat your pokemon at the gym (here’s a handy gym decal). Reward trainers who manage to beat you! Just make sure to require a screenshot proof of their success and check to see if your pokemon has returned to you in the app. Also, offering a discount for users who try and fail or based on their level as a trainer would be a nice incentive as well.
Invest a Little to Earn
Ever heard of a Lure Module? It’s awesome Pokemon bait that you can stick in a Pokestop. Spend 10-20 bucks on the store portion of the app and use those Lure Modules to lure potential customers. Go out during rush hours and put a couple in nearby Pokestops (if you have any near you) and send an employee out to offer samples if you spot people milling about. Don’t forget to let everyone know you’re near a Pokestop with a handy decal on the door or window of your business.
Near several Poke stops or in a historic district? Organize or host a Pokemon Go bar crawl. New Orleans City Park hosted a tour and offered snowballs to trainers. Local New Orleans grocer, Breaux Mart, invited trainers out and offered refreshments.
Enjoying this nostalgic rebirth yourself? If you still have your card collection from when Pokemon was popular the first time, revive the old card game and invite people out for a weekly game match. Start a Pokemon trivia night to attract die-hard fans.
Use Social Media to Promote
You’ll want to spread the word about your Pokemon Go offerings, so fire up Twitter and Facebook. Local shirt shop Fleurty Girl posted screen captures of Pokemon sightings near and around their shops using a custom hashtag to create a conversation among just their fans.
The Audubon Institute let trainers know what Pokemon were at their various parks while the National Parks Service posted a video personally inviting trainers to visit national parks and offering some advice. And with it being their 100th anniversary, they are using the engagement from the app to promote and boost their current running campaign.
- Encourage check-ins on Yelp and Facebook for a discount.
- Publicize rare Pokemon sightings near your business.
- Host a monthly Instagram contest to encourage users to upload hilarious Pokemon instances in the wild in your business. Choose one monthly and reward one of them with gift cards, a Pokemon Go Plus wearable device (upon release), or a free item.
Rumored Updates to Pokemon Go
Here are some confirmed and anticipated updates that are coming next:
- Ads in the app – this is to be expected since the app has outperformed all Apple App Store records. Consider running ads in the app for your local business, especially if they become geotargeted.
- Player vs. Player – it’s rumored that Niantic will allow trainers to start transferring Pokemon amongst each other in a future update so plan a Pokemon trainer social.
- Pokemon Go Plus wearable device – consider developing, designing, or purchasing custom bands for Pokemon Go Plus wearers.
What Not to Do with Pokemon Go
Whatever you do, don’t disparage users. While no one should be detracting from your customers’ experience and the atmosphere, don’t make fun of your potential customers for participating in something they love. Embrace it and learn how to speak to it. Remember: you attract more flies with honey, not vinegar.
Guess what? These are examples of Inbound Marketing!
What’s inbound marketing? It’s a method that engages and activates potential customers and leads through content that they choose! (Just like in Pokemon). By putting an activation campaign together to get people activated about your brand and engaging with your business, you’re catering to something they already love and attracting leads (like the Lure Module in the PokeStop).
Just don’t forget the social media because content marketing is what drives inbound marketing (the pokeball to capture your leads!) You have to get the word out there.