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HOW ‘POKÉMON GO’ CAN HELP SMALL BUSINESSES

Seemingly everyone is playing Pokémon GO. If you’re not already playing it yourself, you’ve no doubt heard about it. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the new mobile and augmented reality game from Niantic Labs and The Pokémon Company is having an enormous impact on people’s daily routines. We as a species of obsessed Pokémon Trainers are trying to be the very best, like no one ever was. And that means 2am trips to our local PokéStops, unusually long walks with our canine friends, and a co-pilot double-fisting smartphones while you’re driving to dinner (please don’t drive and hunt Pokémon — get someone in the passenger seat).

 

 

If you’re a local business owner and haven’t yet checked out this game, we’d highly recommend downloading it for free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store – there’s a good chance you could be one of these Gyms or PokéStops! If that’s the case, prepare for the influx of foot traffic and potential customers. Entice them, don’t turn them away!

 

DON’T TURN THEM AWAY – LURE THEM IN!

Though the image below has been photoshopped (“Restrooms” was replaced with “Pokémon”), it’s not hard to imagine that many businesses might take a tone-deaf approach and turn the influx of Pokémon Trainers into a negative experience. That’s a wholly unimaginative and forceful way to lure in a paying customer.

 

 

Instead, take a cue from this local indie clothing store, which got into the spirit of the game by saying “come get your PokéBalls and previously rocked threads. Gotta catch ‘em all in style!” That’s bound to leave a positive impression, get people talking, and, with the overwhelming media attention this game is getting, potentially get your local business some exposure in the press.

Or you can learn from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas in the United States. When they discovered that Pokémon and PokeStops were scattered across their grounds, they got creative and photographed them next to various displays and pieces of art, then blogged about it on their site.

Perhaps you have a coffee shop or local restaurant that doubles as a PokeStop. Create a Pokémon-inspired drink or dish and offer customers who show you the game on their phone a discount!

 

 

Fortunately, you can do more than just embrace the game and feature it in your marketing or signage. Pokémon GO has a purchasable in-game item called a “Lure Module” which attracts Pokémon to a particular PokeStop for 30 minutes. Those Pokémon it attracts? They’re visible to and attainable by everyone in the nearby vicinity. Use it during a typically slow period of your day to get more foot traffic, and then use your creativity to turn them into a paying customer.

Our local library doubles as a Gym and a PokeStop, and they’re planning to drop Lure Modules before popular events like their Summer Reading Program. Advertising it on their Facebook Page beforehand is a smart strategy, and there’s nothing more enticing to players than knowing ahead of time when and where they can catch a bunch of Pokémon!

Trust me when we say this game is exploding, and it stands to have a daily impact on your business. The best approach you can take is to make that impact positive by embracing the game and making the Pokémon GO experience a memorable one for both you and your potential customers.

*Article originally written by forbes.com*

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