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In less than 2 weeks, Pokémon Go has become an internet (and Apple Store) sensation. It is estimated that in the 5 days after the launch, the app was downloaded by 7.5 million users. This is an incredible number considering Pokémon Go has only launched in the US and Australia. Billed as a game for children, the number of adults that are downloading the game is growing every day. Now we see adults and children alike wandering the streets staring at their phones. (Oh wait, that has been happening for years). This new Tour de Force is taking the community by storm, with those that love it and those that are violently opposed to it (and possibly also opposed to anyone having fun. Ever.).

Regardless of your personal position on the game, as a business owner can adopt this game as part of your business and marketing strategy. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  1. Relax. It’s just a game. As a retail store or restaurant, you have multiple guests come through your doors every day, many of them are just looking around. The same will be true with a Pokémon player only they are looking for something that no one else can see or hear. Of course, if they are being disruptive and disturbing other guests, that is a problem and you should handle it as you would any one else that is disturbing guests. However, for now, rejoice in the fact that you have new customers coming through your doors. Now what?
  2. Be known as a stop. There are a few different ways you can attack this. First, outside of the game. Simply post a sign in your window, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram letting guests know that you have a special offer for guests that show you their Pokémon avatar. Perhaps, have them post a screen shot of the Pokémon they captured in your business and have them tag you on social media. Then create a special offer for these guests.
    Secondly, you have options within the game. There are already some great ideas out there on the internet for in-game actions you can take to create a buzz around your business. Becoming a Poké stop, adding Lures to your business or close by, hosting a Poké Hunt, etc. are all great ways to participate in-game. We are basically talking about a digital scavenger hunt, so, look at this as a new way to engage your customers. This is perfect for those slow nights in a restaurant or off times in a shop. The beauty of having something within the game is that it costs very little real dollars. So, if it does not work, you are not out any major expense.
  3. Speaking of Specials and Social Media. As with everything else you are doing, be sure to talk it up on your social media sites. You have already created an engaged audience so use that to your advantage. Have them help you spread the word by sharing their pictures and posts of playing the game while at your business. You can even build a social media campaign around any specials or offers you have to encourage new customers.
  4. Track your results. As with any marketing action, tracking results is key so be certain to set up all promotions so you can find out the results you getting from participating. Many of the businesses that have started promotions have seen measurable increases in their business. It is too soon to tell if these increases will be sustainable but for the cost, it appears to be worth trying.

No matter your personal opinion of the Pokémon Go phenomenon, do take a few minutes to consider the possibilities of driving new business through your doors.

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