Over the past few weeks Omaha has changed. You might have seen people wandering around, staring straight through their phones as they walk, stopping randomly along the street, jumping for joy and moving along. Whether or not you’ve noticed, Omaha is overrun with Pokemon.
Within the day Pokemon GO was released, news outlets were asking shop owners and Pokemon players how they planned to cash in on this phenomenon. Essentially, this is this first time a video game is getting more than 10 million people OFF of the couch and into the real world, just in the first week. Businesses around Omaha have been getting creative using this game to their advantage. Here are some tips to make Pokemon GO work for you.
But first, some background
Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game where players have to physically move around their neighborhood in order to play. These players are looking to catch Pokemon, little creatures who each have special characteristics. The players train their Pokemon to bring out their unique abilities and battle them against other players at Pokemon Gyms.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of using the game, let’s get to know it briefly. First, some terminology. There are three teams in the game – Instinct, Mystic, or Valor, represented by the colors yellow, blue, and red. There are two types of fixed locations in the game – Pokestops and Gyms. A player can walk towards a Pokestop (like a real-life library, trail marker, or a sculpture for example) and when he or she is within range, can unlock prizes helpful to them in the game. A Gym is where people train their Pokemon and battle. In real life, this Gym could be a park or a church or a restaurant, but in the game it’s where players are battling to control the gym under their team’s colors.
In terms of these fixed locations, there is little anyone can do to change this. You can submit a form to the company to request becoming a Pokestop here. But with the tips listed below, you may not need to be a Pokestop to cash in on the phenomenon.
1. Offer what you already have
Without even downloading the game, you can offer incentives to attract players to your business. Make your business a “Pokemon Charging Station,” letting people know they can charge their phones inside. This game takes a lot of power, and people are looking to keep playing. Advertise free Wi-Fi, free air conditioning, or this map that is an insider’s guide to finding Pokemon in Omaha. Some businesses are simply putting out sandwich boards advertising electricity and potential rare Pokemon in the area.
2. Offer tips and secrets
If you download the game, it’s easy to keep track of what is going on in your vicinity. Any Gyms nearby will flash the colors of the team that controls it. A little map will tell you what Pokemon are close. Different Pokemon live in different geographic locations; fish-type Pokemon live near water, for example. Advertise what “rare” Pokemon are in your area and encourage people to come down, catch them, photograph, and post to your page. If you are lucky enough to be near the prized Pikachu character, people will want to know.
Because this game is so new, the entire planet is learning to play it at once. If you discover some good secrets, or look here, you can encourage people to come down and learn new things – like leveling up 10 levels at once!
3. Show your enthusiasm for the game
One great aspect of Pokemon GO’s use of augmented reality is the camera. Because the game uses your camera to “look” for Pokemon in the real world, you can also use your camera to photograph Pokemon where they are. People are getting quite creative online, and sharing the posts on their business’s social media. Others are encouraging people to take and posts photos with the hashtag #pokeselfie, offering discounts to people who photograph catching Pokemon in their store.
4. Drop a lure
Incense is an item you can win or buy that draws Pokemon to the Pokestop where you are standing. What’s great is, everyone in the area can see that you’re luring Pokemon to that spot and want to get in on it. Essentially, you’re luring players more than you are Pokemon. If you don’t want to win incense, you can easily buy it. One article did the math, saying incense costs about $1.19 per hour to buy and use.
5. Know who’s winning
Ok, well, no one really “wins” or “loses” at Pokemon, but it’s worth knowing who controls the Pokemon Gyms in your area. There are three teams, and any given day one of the three will control a gym near your business. By keeping updated on the action, some businesses offer discounts to prevailing teams. “10% to Team Mystic all afternoon,” or “Half off your first drink if your team controls this Gym,” or “Tuesday is Team Instinct night, come in and trade tips with your team.”
6. Host a Pokehunt
Hosting a community-wide “Pokémon Go” hunt that begins and ends at your business means even if you are not directly next to any Pokestops or Gyms, you can get in on the action. Create a route to great Pokestops and watch as dozens of people try to catch the same Pokemon at once. Remember to post about your events on social media, and drop lures along the path so people catch lots of Pokemon! Memorial Stadium in Lincoln recently hosted a hunt that attracted more that 3,000 people to participate.
What are local businesses doing with Pokemon GO?
- UNO advertises on its website, “Free wifi. 5 gyms. 500 acres to explore,” and gives a map of every gym and Pokestop in the area.
- One Pokemon Gym offers different levels of discounts on food based on what level you are at in the game.
- Another local restaurant is throwing a “lure party” throwing out two Pokemon lures every 30 minutes all night. This essentially means to players, “If you want to catch Pokemon that night, they will be lured to our business”.
Source: Nebraska Humane Society Facebook
- The Nebraska Humane Society is urging people to adopt animals using the “catch ‘em all” tagline and creative social media to make their available pets look like new, exotic Pokemon. Moreover, they encourage players to download Walk For A Dog app, which turns players walking into actual donations for the Humane Society.
If you want any assistance making your social media more Pokemon-friendly, or want to discuss more creative ways to use the Internet to attract new customers to your business, get in touch. We’d love to chat.