5 ways to promote your local business with Pokémon Go

5 ways to promote your local business with Pokémon Go

See that person with his phone out in the air wandering past your store? He or she is probably on Pokémon Go. That person swiping upwards incessantly every minute or two or that other person tapping furiously on the phone? Yup, probably Pokémon Go too. According to a study published by Survey Monkey, Pokémon Go is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. In its first 24 hours of release, Pokémon Go shot to the top of the app store and boasts more than 20 million peak daily active users within the United States. This eclipses Candy Crush Saga, Clash Royale and Slither.io.According to a study published by Survey Monkey, Pokémon Go is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. In its first 24 hours of release, Pokémon Go shot to the top of the app store and boasts more than 20 million peak daily active users within the United States. This eclipses Candy Crush Saga, Clash Royale and Slither.io.

Pokemon usage description

This is a number too large to ignore and because Pokémon Go motivates its players to go out of their homes and explore the world in search of Pokémons, it presents itself as a massive opportunity for local businesses. Smart businesses from local stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses have started to jump on the Pokémon bandwagon, driving huge amount of foot traffic and conversions from the players passing in and around them in search of elusive Pokémons with innovative marketing campaigns and simple in-app marketing. If you have not started to capitalize on the Pokémon phenomenon, here are X ways you can get aboard.

1. Set up a Pokéstop Promotion

A Pokéstop is a place where Pokémon players flock to for items and freebies crucial to the game. When you sign in to the game they look like this:


If your business is near to one of these then lucky you! Pokémon Go offers a range of in-app purchases and the one that is most important for your small business if you are near to a Pokéstop or Gym are lures. Lures attract Pokémons to a Pokéstop for half an hour each time they are thrown down. When a lure is activated expect to see many Pokémons appearing at that Pokéstop. The Pokéstop also changes in appearance into what look like rose petals flowing out of it. These Pokémons can be caught by anyone thus expect massive foot traffic to this location. It may seem like there are so many other Pokéstops but Pokémons are much scarcer than you might expect thus players do rush to locations where lures are active. Lures are a really powerful tool which you must try to believe. Some comments from those who tried at Reddit would probably persuade you to try it too.

I have eaten at three different restaurants I've never visited just because they're pokestops and gyms.

I was at the mall today and someone used a lure, and I snorlax appeared and everyone at the pokestops flipped.

I did this exact thing and that's how I decided where to eat right now.

What's even more fantastic is luring is very affordable!. Let's do the math. With $100 netting you get 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

Just follow these steps to start activating lures at your location

  1. Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of your HUD
  2. Tap "Shop"
  3. Scroll down and tap the purple, box-shaped Lures to purchase. You'll re-direct to your app store's payment system
  4. Once back in-app, tap the red Pokeball again, then tap "Items"
  5. Tap the purple Lure to activate!

For just over a dollar an hour, you can bring virtually guaranteed crowds to your business. The ROI here is obvious, so if you are lucky enough to have a Pokéstop anywhere near to your business, this is a must try.

If you do not have a Pokéstop near to you and want to apply for a Pokéstop at your location, you can! Simply contact Niantic at this link and apply for one.

2. Set up a Gym Promotion

Gyms are locations where teams battle it out to own the gym and are rewarded with Pokécoins which they can use to exchange for items in the game. Gyms look like these tall towers on the map.

Pokemon Gym

Pokémon players have a choice of joining three teams, Mystic, Valor, or Instinct. However to maintain ownership on the gym, team members need to ensure they either keep upgrading their gym reputation by training in it, or battle again for it when they have lost it. Either way, team members have to be nearby to that location or keep returning to it. That's a lot of returning customers!

Capitalizing on your proximity to a gym is more about creative marketing in real life than anything else. Here are some ways other businesses have managed to engage with the droves of people standing near their business:

Giveaways and Promotions

Put up promotions or giveaways at your business. Many of these players frequently return to the same place so they are bound to notice your promotion some time or other. A few ideas you could make use of:

Offer discounts for Pokémon Go players who are members of a team owning the current gym.

  • Give out useful branded freebies like bottled water or fans to cool them down in the heat.
  • This post on Reddit will give you more ideas how others are doing it.

So smart! If you want discounted drinks, take hold of the gym. To do so, you have to to that location to be able to battle. What will most people do when they're there battling? Buy drinks!

My friend has a fabric store that happens to be a gym (there is an actual gym next door). She says that her sales have gone up since kids aren't whining at their moms to leave the whole time they shop!

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 telling players a gym is available at your location and promotions are available for them. Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon to get the message out to your potential new customers.

3. Use Rapidfy for your campaigns

Rapidfy is doing email and ad campaigns to our users who are Pokémon players and have reached a certain experience level or criteria in Pokémon. An example are campaigns where if our users have walked 10 kilometers, they are eligible for 3 free personal training sessions. If you are interested in offering a promotion, simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell us how you would like to work together with us.

4. Go Where the Pokémons go

If you are nowhere near a Pokéstop or gym don't fret. There are still ways you can capitalize on this. One way to make your business a part of the Pokemon Go phenomenon is to get mobile and find a spot from which to orchestrate the Lure or Gym strategies. If you're a fashion retailer, maybe this means loading up a van with some of your latest vintage finds. If you're a restaurant, maybe this means going to the park and setting up a barbecue. It's summertime, so get creative.

Since Pokemon are everywhere, you want to go where you have the best chance of finding success. Take advantage of places where you have clusters of PokeStops. If there are three PokeStops on the same block, as is happening fairly often in larger cities, then park yourself in the middle of them and lay down three Lures at the same time.

It's the same effect as if you were laying down one-just multiplied by three. Before you know it, you'll have a serious crowd on your hands.

5. Promote Rare Pokémons found at your location

Even if your business is nowhere near a Pokéstop or a Gym, you're still going to have Pokémon.

One way to get people excited about visiting your business is to get on social media and show off the valuable or rare Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon at your business.

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

Start your marketing campaigns with Pokémon today! It may be a fad for the next 6 months or a year, or maybe more, but while the game may fade away, your customers will remember you. The more salient point here is that no marketing channel is evergreen, but businesses that want to win have to keep one eye open for these big shifts-and they have to capitalize on them when it's time. With Pokemon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.


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