Ways to Use Pokémon Go for Local Businesses

IMG_0585Unless you live under a rock, chances are you know about Pokémon Go. Even if you aren’t playing, it’s not something you can easily ignore. As it turns out, this addictive augmented reality game is getting customers into the doors of companies, and there are a few ways to use Pokémon Go for local businesses.

So, what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is the same as the original games, except it’s all done virtually with a smartphone. All you have to do is download the app, create an avatar, and you are ready to go. Your Pokémon avatar walks the same ground as you, searching for virtual Pokémon in the wild.

This means millions of users are out of their homes and searching for places with more Pokémon. Day and night, players visit local landmarks in their quest to “catch ‘em all.” I am living proof as a write this blog from a coffee shop I entered with the sole purpose of catching an Eevee nearby. So, you may be wondering, “How are these businesses getting Pokémon to attract customers?”

Ways to use Pokémon Go for Local Businesses

The weather in Saint Louis is balmy, steamy, and nasty. Like many others, I would not have left my comfy AC-filled home if it wasn’t to play the game. In short, this app is getting people outside and into businesses, and if your local shop has AC, even better. Those who are tired of roaming the streets in their quest to capture more Pokémon may be just the customers that you need.

Pokéstops and Pokémon Gyms

The best way to draw more customers into your store is to be near one of the two types of hubs: Pokéstops and Pokémon Gyms.

Pokéstops

ways to use Pokémon go for local businessesA Pokéstop is a hub where Pokémon Trainers go to collect items. These are located in public spots, community centers, businesses, or even next to road signs. You can apply to have your business listed as a Pokéstop, but that may not be necessary. If your company is close to an existing Pokéstop, that could be good enough. Even Yelp will now display if a company is near a Pokéstop.

Pokémon Gyms

Gyms are where Pokémon Trainers gather to battle their collected Pokémon. These are typically in places such a large parking lots, intersections, parks, or recreation centers. If your business is near a Gym, lucky you!

Pokémon Lures

Using a Pokémon Lure is an excellent way to direct foot traffic to your business. Setting Pokémon Lures requires you to sign up and play the game. You receive free lures by playing the game and reaching higher levels, or you can purchase a Lure for $1.99.  Casting a Pokémon Lure near a Pokéstop brings Pokémon to your business and in turn, brings people inside. You suddenly become a hot spot for Pokémon for the next 30 minutes.

Marketing 

If you are near a Pokéstop, Pokémon Gym, or using a lure – market it online. This is the perfect opportunity to turn to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and interact with your audience. You can offer discounts to playing customers as an incentive to come in. For example, offer a 20% discount if they catch a high-level Pokémon in your shop and show a screenshot to the cashier.

Use Facebook Advertising

You can create Facebook ads targeted to users in a geographical radius. This helps grow your local following on Facebook and attract new customers.

So, that’s Pokémon Go in a Pokéball (nutshell, sorry). This app has transformed how your customers are using their smartphones and engaging with their surroundings. I love how it is getting people up and about and trying new places. Apply these tips to your small business and maybe you will even end up playing the game yourself.

Local Tip: If you happen to be playing the app in Saint Louis, Maplewood has quite a few Pokéstops! Oh, and Seafoam happens to have a Pokémon Gym – just saying.

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