Can’t beat ’em? Lure ’em! How the Pokemon Go craze can drive traffic & increase sales.

As Pokemon Go users tread across their towns in search of Pokemon; retail shops, restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses are taking advantage of this massive opportunity by driving huge amounts of foot traffic with simple in-app purchases and getting creative with their marketing campaigns.

 “I’ll admit I’m not a gamer but this just may be the greatest marketing tool to drive traffic to retail businesses.”

 So, what is Pokemon Go?

 Pokémon Go  is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic.

 In simple terms it’s a game that takes players out of their gaming chairs and sends them running all over town, integrating the virtual game into the physical world, placing virtual milestones in physical locations.

 Players’ avatars explore with them as they catch Pokemon, collect rewards from PokeStops, battle other users at Gyms, and team up to defend their territory.

 The game has even been praised by some medical professionals for potentially improving the mental and physical health of players, but also attracted some controversy due to reports of causing accidents and being a public nuisance at some locations.

 Bottom line:

In less than 2 weeks it has generated over $35 million in revenue from 30 million downloads, according to intelligence firm Sensor Tower, and it has only been released in limited countries. It killed Candy Crush Saga’s Record and has more downloads than Tinder.

 Okay, now you’re probably thinking; but how can it help my business?’

 This game has people running all over town and therefore it could be sending them just past your storefront or right into it! Not a retailer? Now is the time to collaborate with one! Promote your product/service through a retailer that gets Pokemon traffic already or offer to drive traffic to their business through Pokemon in exchange for displaying your product or collateral.

 Is it just a trend? Maybe, but it doesn’t matter, look at this as a time sensitive opportunity and act on it now.

How to make it work for you:

 Figuring out whether your business is a “PokeStop” or “Gym” is the first thing you should do. PokeStops & Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort. Players flock to them for rewards and to battle other players. They can be leveraged for massive sales if you know what you’re doing.

 Lure. Them. In. Pokemon Go offers a range of in-app purchases. The one that is most important for your small business are called “Lures.” Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for half an hour. That may not sound that powerful, but Pokemon are scarcer than you think. Luring is an insanely powerful tool that you really have to see to believe.

 Here’s a sample of the comments from some recent Reddit threads on the subject:

 “We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. Hooooly Sh*t!”

 “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”.

 What’s even more incredible is just how affordable luring is. Let’s do the math…

 With $100 netting you 14,500 “Pokecoins” and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokecoins:

 14,500 Pokecoins / 680 = 21 eight-packs of lures

(21 * 8)/2 = 84 hours

$100/84 hours = $1.19 per hour

 All you have to do is:

  • Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of your HUD

  • Tap “Shop”

  • Scroll down and tap the purple, box-shaped Lures to purchase. You’ll re-direct to your app store’s payment system

  • Once back in-app, tap the red Pokeball again, then tap “Items”

  • Tap the purple Lure to activate!

For a little more than a dollar an hour, you can bring virtually guaranteed crowds to your business. The ROI here is ridiculous, so if your business is anywhere near a PokeStop, this is something you absolutely have to try.

Get Buzz! Promote Your Local Pokemon on Social Media

Even if your business is nowhere near a PokeStop or a Gym, you’re still going to have Pokemon. One way to get people excited about visiting your business is to get on social media and show off the valuable or rare Pokemon popping up in your area. To know what to look for, a Reddit user has created a handy rarity chart.

 You could hire a member of your staff to sit on Pokemon Go all day, lay down Incense (an in-game purchase similar to a Lure, but which only gives effects to the person who triggered it), and take screenshots of the Pokemon they capture.

 A better option, though, might be to incentivize play on the part of your customers.

Consider running it like a referral program:

  • Tell users you’ll pay for their Incense in return for some screenshots of any rare Pokemon that pop up in the vicinity of your shop.

  • Have them upload the picture and tag you on social media, so that their followers know about you too.

  • Promote the fact that you’re rewarding users who find rare Pokemon at your business.

Do this right, and you could turn your store into a viral destination

Do some giveaways

Order Pokemon Gym badges from a supplier that can customize them for your business. A quick Google search of the keywords “Pokemon Gym badge” and “custom” should get you what you need.

Keep score: Put up a sandwich board announcing which team is currently in control of your Gym, and then offer a discount to members of that team! Don’t worry about staying updated on which team is winning-just ask those who are participating in the promotion to inform you when the gym has changed hands.

Get social: Take in-game screenshots and post them on the social-media platforms where you’re active. Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon to get the message out to your potential new customers.

Does all this sound too techie, geeky, and out of your zone?

The most simple thing you can do is place a sign outside offering some pokemon discounts.

So whats your take, a brilliant marketing strategy or just a complete nuisance? comment below.