Hula Hoops, pet rocks, Cabbage Patch Kids. Fads come & go. Even the big ones. But Pokemon Go has the added element crucial to your small business that none of the rest had: exterior exploration. The others were played by oneself, in a room or backyard. Pokemon Go takes the player away from home, usually with a partner, walking down the street and past your business.
This gives an entire new meaning to “foot traffic!”
And that makes it more than a game. It’s a dynamic marketing opportunity for your Main Street USA brick & mortar store.
Walter Chen just days ago wrote a solid tutorial on the INC website (Pokemon Go Is Driving Insane Amounts of Sales at Small, Local Businesses. Here’s How It Works) as to understanding, and therefore controlling the madness that is Pokemon Go— with the end result being the conversion of Poke-chasers walking past your store into paying customers walking into your business.
In detail he first describes the game, so even non-player Baby Boomer owners on down to Millennial owners with no interest in Pokemon can grasp the parameters within which players operate. This is important to determine how players can be enticed (manipulated?) to alter their “programming” of chasing Pokemon exclusively and instead take a break to purchase your products or services.
Among his recommendations are:
Find Out if Your Business Is a Gym or PokeStop
First move should be to determine if you already are a PokeStop or Gym. These attract foot traffic without any effort: “Players flock to them for rewards and to battle other players- and they can be leveraged for massive sales if you know how,” states Chen.
Sit Back, Throw Down a Lure, and Enjoy the Show
What’s a lure? It is the key to increasing the rate of Pokemon generation for a half hour in the area around the PokeStop. Very important to stopping the foot traffic at your door while players wait for Pokemon to come to them. For example a local biz owner revealed “I own a pizzeria that’s a PokeStop 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.”
Capitalize on Your Business Being Near a Pokemon Gym
If you are neither a PokeStop nor Gym (where captured creatures do battle against other players’ creatures) then let people know through outside signs and mobile social media that you have related specials, giveaways, etc. You may not know when a group of French tourists or Vegans are coming down the street, but you will know that foot-tired, thirsty Poke players are nearby.
Or, Go Where the Pokemon Are
Chin discusses more points, including delegating to one of your staff the duty of tracking where Pokemon are being heavily found in your community and then devising a way to get your business there (for example if a local park is a hot spot, can you get a food booth or truck out there on a Saturday or Sunday if your small biz is a restaurant or bar?)
As I said, Chen’s article is a thorough primer for the uninitiated to learn and capitalize on a hot fad that may not be leading customers into your store, but at least past your door.
Chin advises “With Pokemon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.”
Gotta Catch ‘Em All? The challenges and opportunities for customer engagement await you.
(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)