Using Pokémon Go to Drive Insane Traffic to your Local Business

Digital Marketing , Article

Pokémon Go has spread at an extraordinary rate. In the month after it’s launch, the app has been installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, has double the user engagement of Snapchat, and has overtaken Twitter in daily active users.

People are spending so much time trying to ‘catch them all’, that some smart businesses have caught on. As Pokémon Go users continue to explore their local area in search of Pokémon, local stores, restaurants, cafes, and other local businesses are capitalising on this great opportunity, which is driving huge amounts of foot traffic.

A few days ago, I went down to my local café and had a chat with the owner, Greg, about using Pokémon Go to try it out. Greg had a good laugh but agreed due to the low cost ($1 an hour). So we set up the lure module (I will explain this later on) and just minutes later, people were coming into the shop with their phones out, grabbing a coffee and catching the Pokémon that were getting lured to the location. I showed Greg how to keep it going, and came back at the end of the day to check if it died down – 6 hours later and the café was still full.

Now, Greg might be an ideal case study, but it goes to show that using Pokémon Go is an effective way to greatly increase your number of customers.


Finding out if you qualify

What makes Pokémon Go so different from other games is that it doesn’t keep people in their rooms. Instead, you have to actively explore and go to Pokéstops to find more Pokémon.

Figuring out if your business is a Pokéstop or a Gym is the first thing to do. Pokéstops and gyms both attract foot traffic, as players flock to them for rewards and to battle other players. This foot traffic can be leveraged to increase sales if you know how.

As for now the only way of checking if you are on the map is by installing the Pokémon Go app. So the first step is to actually download the game from either the play store or the app store.

Once you have the app downloaded, start it up and go through the initial setup. Once you see the map, you can look at the location of your restaurant. The picture below will show the two different types of locations – if your business is one of these, you’re in luck!

Attracting customers.

Guide to being a Pokéstore:

Pokémon Go offers a range of in-app purchases. The one that is most important for your business, however, is Lures.

Lures increase the rate of which Pokémon are generated in the area around where the Lure is placed, for half an hour. That may not sound that powerful, but Pokémon are scarcer than you think. Luring is an insanely powerful tool that you really have to see to believe. Here are a couple samples of comments on Reddit [émongo/comments/4s0uhu/businesses_taking_advantage_of_pokmongo_is/]:

We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. Hoooly s#&@.

I own a pizzeria that’s a Pokéstop 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.

What’s even more incredible is how affordable luring actually is. Have a look at the math below – $100 gets you 14,5000 Pokécoins and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokécoins:

14,500 Pokécoins / 680 = 21 eight-packs of lures
(21 * 8)/2 = 84 hours
$100/84 hours = $1.19 per hour

Before bulk buying lures, however, I would recommend starting with a smaller purchase – you can start with as little as $15.

If your business is a Pokéstore, this is a guide to getting all setup:

  • Tap the little red Pokéball in the middle of your screen
  • Tap on “Shop”
  • Scroll down and tap the “100 Pokécoins” option. You will be redirected to your app store’s payment system.
  • Once back in app, open up the Shop again the same way, and click on the purple, singular lure and click “purchase”.
  • Now that you have a lure, tap on your business’ Pokéstore icon
  • Click on the little bix in the center of the screen, just below the name.
  • You should then be able to select your lure and activate it!

For a little more than a dollar an hour, you can draw crowds to your business or location. The ROI here is ridiculous, so if you are next to/are a Pokéstop, it is absolutely something you should try.

Guide to being a Gym:

Gyms are a separate kind of entity in the game, in the sense that you can’t use lures to attract people. However, you don’t have to do this, because players are coming to gyms day and night to face off and “take control” of the gym for their Pokémon team (Mystic, Valor, or Instict).

To see if your business is a gym, refer to the picture above, and look for something similar to what the green arrow is pointing to in your area.

Capitalising on being a gym requires being a bit more creative, but here are a couple examples of ways that you can interact with users:

Keep score: Put up a sandwich board announcing which team is currently in control of the gym, and offer a discount to members of that team! This is a great way to keep people coming back, or just to engage with the community.

Get social: Take in-game screenshots and post them to social media platforms that you are active on use hashtags like #Pokémon or #Pokémongo to get the message out to potential new customers. The other benefit that this brings is it gets you in front of more people, and encourages them to come to your location to catch Pokémon.

General ways you can capitalise

Regardless of whether or not you are a Pokéstop or Gym, there are still plenty of ways that you can capitalise on Pokémon Go.

One way to get people excited about visiting your location is to post about what you are doing on social media – having fun with the event, and posting pictures of nearby Pokémon.

If you don’t already have a social media/facebook following, now is a great time to start building it. By creating a Facebook ad targeted to a geological radius of your choice, you can spread the word about your local Pokémon only to people who would actually go to your store. We can also help you run a campaign with more advanced features, such as targeted demographics and interests on Facebook (for example liking Pokémon Go).

Start marketing your business right now.

As always happen when something gains popularity rapidly, many will say that it is just a fad. While this may be true, people have been saying that since the original Pokémon games.

What’s important here is that no marketing channel is perfect, but part of running a business is keeping your eyes open for these big opportunities – and capitalising on them. With Pokémon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to grow their social media presence and form a bond with their customers for very little money.

So, even if Pokémon Go isn’t a powerful tool for driving sales to your business six months, or a year from now, the customers that you delight today are going to remember you tomorrow.