Unless this is your first time on the Internet in two weeks, you probably already know about the latest craze sweeping the nation (and world) – Pokemon Go. The game is quickly becoming the most popular app in the world, with mobile users the world over collectively spending more time in the game than Facebook.
What differentiates the game from your more traditional video games is that Pokemon Go requires players to get up off the couch and head out into the real world in order to interact with the game’s augmented reality interface, heading to real life landmarks or places of business in order to catch the coveted virtual creatures. You might have seen crowds of people (young and old alike) milling about in public parks or shopping centers near your home, often in numbers that are unprecedented for a social media phenomenon.
These congregations present a unique opportunity for auction houses and small businesses to boost their traffic and sales. Read on to find out how to capitalize on this trend while it’s still hot!
1.) Lure players to your business…literally.
One of the mechanics of the game requires players to travel to “PokeStops,” which are specific locations in real life where they can obtain new items, interact with other players, and set “lures” in order to catch rare Pokemon at a higher rate than normal. The locations of these ‘Stops may seem a little random, as they can range from historical markers to one of your local Starbucks. Wherever they are, though, their position is set and unchanging, and people flock to them.
These stops have the potential to attract hordes of people, especially if the aforementioned lures, which can be utilized by anyone in the area, are in place. Some businesses that were lucky enough to be designated as PokeStops have experienced massive revenue boosts from the players who come by to reap the Poke-benefits. One such pizzeria in New York reported a 75% increase in business after spending a mere $10 to have a lure connected to his PokeStop.
But don’t fret if your place of business is not already marked as a ‘Stop. Nintendo is aware of the revenue potential that the game has created, and apparently has plans to soon monetize the process of creating new PokeStops, allowing businesses that are hoping to get a slice of the Pokemon pie to become these hubs of activity.
2.) Get the crowds’ attention.
That’s right. The crowds are out in full force, usually congregating in large numbers around locations with lures placed, as previously mentioned. In addition to places of business, public parks and other open spaces are frequently sites of attractions.
These sites are fertile grounds to advertise your business or any events you have coming up, such as live auctions. You might be tempted to think these people might be the wrong audience, but you would be surprised. The average age of Pokemon Go players is in the mid-to-late 20s, with plenty of players in their 40s and up. Moms, dads – everybody is playing.
With so many people spending prolonged periods of time in one area, a small, simple signposting might be even more effective than a roadside billboard (and much cheaper). Another option might be handing out fliers personally, perhaps along with a little trinket or treat to sweeten the deal. Just remember to get permission if the area is privately owned. It might also be a good idea to make your offer directly relevant to the people you’re marketing toward – if you can offer some kind of Poke-gear or in-game bonuses such as the aforementioned lures, you’ll really have their attention.
3.) Take advantage of the Poke-Craze on social media.
The easiest thing of all to do is to take advantage of the app’s popularity online (sort of like we’re doing). This might take many forms, from something as simple as posting a funny picture of a Pokemon crawling on some of your wares and uploading it to your business’ social media page, to something as involved as running a full-blown online campaign for your business using the Pokemon angle.
If you are conducting a live auction or some other sort of in-person event, perhaps set up a “selfie station” somewhere on the premises, ala the Target dog station, where people can take pictures of themselves at your event alongside some of the beloved Nintendo characters, simultaneously advertising your business online when they post the picture, too.
The main takeaway is just to have fun with it. The level of involvement you take is really up to you. Whatever you choose to do, though, you can rest assured that tapping into even a little bit of the Pokemon craze is a sure-fire business strategy right now.