4 Ways to Ride the Pokemon Go Wave to Success

Since its recent release, Pokemon Go has been sweeping the country as the new rage in gaming. You can find trainers searching for new and rare Pokemon all over, from parks and movie theaters to shopping malls and restaurants.

If your business hasn’t already jumped on the Pokemon Gaming bandwagon, you should highly consider it. Social media alone is a huge, free tool that your business can be using to grow its reach. Think of Pokemon Go in the same light, as a great way to reach new customers and better engage with your existing customers and loyalists.

Here are some innovative ways that you can leverage Pokemon go for your business:

1) Host a Lure Party

Like many businesses host trivia or happy hour, you can boost your sales by hosting a lure party at your business. Post on your social media and let your customers know that on specified days between certain hours that you and your crew are going to be constantly tossing lures at the Poke Stop or Stops at your business. This is great for you because you may be able to pull in more traffic during your slow hours at work, or you can draw in even more customers during your busiest days and evenings. It’s great for your customers because they can sit for an hour or two and have fun loading up on items and catching Pokemon. Post the dates and times of your lure parties outside of your business, inside, and make sure that you post on your social media accounts to let your fans know.

2) Offer Discounts to Gym Leaders

Have a gym near or at your business? Offering incentives to gym leaders is an awesome way to build customer loyalty. Let your customers know that if they can show you that they are currently leading a gym that you are going to offer them some kind of bonus or discount with their purchase. If you own a restaurant or bar, think of doing something like a free drink, free or discounted appetizers, or buy-one-get-one offers to entice them to keep coming back for more.

3) Host a Hunt that Starts and Ends at Your Business

Hosting a Pokemon hunt is another excellent way to promote your business. Think of hosting a Pokemon hunt as a scavenger hunt for Pokemon, that begins and ends at your business. Pick a date and a start and end time for your Pokemon hunt, and let your customers know about it.

For this, you are might want to get a good idea of what some of the Pokemon are in your area. Create a map with a route linking to other Poke Stops and highly concentrated Pokemon areas in the vicinity of your business, but don’t give out the map and the list of Pokemon until your customers show up in person. Give your customers a map and the list of what they need to catch and take a picture of before they return to your business. For instance, the first person back that has completed the route and has taken pictures of all the designated Pokemon in the area, gets a prize or a freebie. You could also offer fun bonuses, freebies, discounts, and deals for everyone who participates.

4) Incentivize Posts of Pokemon in Your Business

Social sharing is a great way to promote you and show that you are a Pokemon Go friendly business. Offer your customers rewards for the pictures, videos, and check-ins that they share of themselves or the Pokemon that they are catching at your business. You can run week or month long contests that give your customers the opportunity to compete for the most shares in that given period of time. You can put your prizes in tiers to offer better prizes to the people who share the most while they are catching Pokemon at your business.

An example might include running a month long competition for your customers that offers:

  • A free ____ for 8 social check-ins during the month
  • A free ____ for 8 check-ins and 8 picture posts of them playing Pokemon Go, during the month
  •  _____ for the person who tagged the most people in their posts during the month
  • A huge reward for the person who shares the most pictures, videos, and has the most checkins throughout the month.

Including lots of different prizes for the customers that are sharing pictures and video of your business and engaging you the most is a really cheap and effective way for expanding the social reach and credibility of your business.

There are tons of great ways to use Pokemon Go to promote your business to that gaming community. Start implementing some of these methods to show the fun, creative, and rewarding part of being a regular or loyalist of your business. Brainstorm some other ways that you can begin using Pokemon Go to bring in more customers, and bring your current customers closer to you.

Sponsored Locations Coming to Pokemon Go

Quickly earning the title “most popular mobile game in history” Pokemon Go was the most popular game this summer. Fortune reported that Pokemon Go surpassed Candy Crush Saga, the previous most popular game in the U.S., within the first 24 hours of the game having been released. The game allows players to walk around their towns while attempting to find, capture and train Pokemon characters which are placed in the real world.

Players flock to landmark locations that act as PokeStops, which are basically where players can collect items they need in the game, and gyms, which is where they can train their Pokemon and do battle against other trainers.

The game was developed by Niantic but the Pokemon franchise, which is owned by Nintendo, and the Pokemon Company are major backers of the game. Pokemon Go already offers in-app purchases, but the developers have already found another way to make money off the game’s popularity — “sponsored locations” in the form of a pay per visit model.

The CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, suggested in an interview with the Financial Times that advertisements would soon be making an appearance in the game in the form of “sponsored locations.” In this model, retailers and other companies have the option to sponsor locations and, in turn, the advertisers would pay Niantic based on the number of visits they receive as a result of the game.

This model has proven successful for Niantic in the past. Ingress, another game by the company, used a similar sponsorship deal to partner with retailers like Jamba Juice and Zipcar. Several analysts agree that being able to encourage players to go to a particular building or store has potential for significant monetization of Pokemon Go.

A pizzeria in New York has already seen success using the game; however, they have not paid to be a sponsored location. The business simply paid for the $10 in-app purchase that attracts Pokemon to bring people into their restaurant. In an interview with The New York Post the owner of the restaurant said that business was up 75 percent after purchasing the in-app purchase that brought a dozen Pokemon to come to his restaurant.

The pizzeria is not the only business who used Pokemon to attract visitors. The Chicago Art Institute tweeted a series of pictures of Pokemon throughout the museum with the caption “Pokemon have invaded the Art Institute! Catch them if you can and find 14 PokeStops around the museum #PokemonGo.” Many businesses and organizations have attempted to attract visitors in a similar fashion, boasting a large number of PokeStops and Pokemon spotting around their buildings.

There are obviously going to be certain types of businesses that would benefit more from a partnership with Pokemon Go than others. If your business is a clothing store, most likely you do not want a ton of people going through your stock and handling your inventory if it will not result in a purchase. An inexpensive food or candy shop would be the perfect fit for this model.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy Worldwide, said that he has been working with his creative teams to brainstorm ideas on how brands might be able to capitalize on Pokemon Go so they would have something to tell clients when and if they asked. He started asking questions like “Why can’t a brand participate in a gym location?”

The article goes on to suggest things like bringing samples or promote your brand, even paying for Wifi at PokeStops and gyms that already exist. But think about this, if a large fast-food chain such as McDonald’s were to pay for their restaurant to become a PokeStop or gym, their business would be directly impacted for the better.

The mobile gaming industry will be keeping tabs on this new advertising philosophy Pokemon Go has adopted, given the game’s unique origins. Nintendo only recently started branching out from their traditional philosophy of treating their games like media property, all the while their competitors have been using advertising messages in their games for years. On the other hand, Niantic, which was a brainchild of Google, so they have some resources which know a thing or two about digital advertising and leveraging consumer behaviors to target ads.

So let’s recap, in simple terms, businesses can choose to pay to be featured prominently on the game’s virtual map, with the hopes that customers will come inside their facilities. Like Google’s search advertising “cost per click,” advertisers will be charged based on the number of visits they receive.

In the long run, Pokemon’s reputation still belongs to Nintendo. It might be too early for any of the involved parties to celebrate their success, but it will not stop them from trying this new model to help increase advertising profits.