Pokémon Go is all the rage right now, and it’s unlike anything we have seen in the gaming world. It is having a major impact on local businesses as well. The game has users, both kids and adults, walking everywhere trying to catch Pokémon. And those users are ending up near local businesses!
A recent article published on Huffington Post tells the story of a local business, Mad Hatter’s Ice Cream, that was struggling but has seen an increase in business since Pokémon Go was released. In the game, there are PokéStops and Gyms where users congregate to catch and battle Pokémon, and Mad Hatter’s Ice Cream was located in close proximity to a number of these PokéStops. Naturally, they drew in foot traffic as a result. The business owner even noted that the shop has seen its business double and even triple on some nights.
So, how can you capture this foot traffic and even search traffic around Pokémon Go? Here are some ideas.
Based on your location, you can research what PokéStops and Gyms are near your business and aggregate the information. Here is what the PokéStops look like within the game.
Here is what a Gym looks like in the game.
Usually, PokéStops and Gyms are at the following types of places:
- Libraries and other public buildings
- Places of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques and so on)
- Art, statues, unique architecture (landmarks)
- Historic locations
- Hidden gems and hyper-local spots
Once you’ve researched the PokéStops nearest to your business, you can aggregate this information in a blog post on your website — keyword-targeted to your business location (e.g., “PokéStops and Gyms in Forest Hills, NY”).
When I conducted a Google search for the phrase above, I did not get any relevant or specific results for this location — mostly just generic answers. See the opportunity? And if you have multiple business locations, there is a lot of opportunity.
By researching and building this content, you’re meeting the needs of the local users who want to easily learn where the PokéStops and Gyms are in their area. This can also lead to other sites linking to you, which will help generate higher domain authority and referral traffic. You will position your site to get additional search traffic and help further build your domain authority, which is great for SEO.
The blog post content should be well-written and include images and as much detail as possible (such as addresses, nearby landmarks and so in). You may also want to include a Google Maps embed. The point is to provide quality content so users end up having a great experience and share and link to the page. Be sure to leverage social sharing buttons on the page as well.
Once you’ve confirmed there are PokéStops and Gyms near your business, a great way to drive business is to have special offers for Pokémon Go players. Offer them a discount on certain products or services; the discounts can also just be on the slow business days. Promote your offer by displaying a sign at the front of your business, then mention it on your website, social profiles, Yelp and other local search profiles. Here are some sign examples of businesses who are leveraging Pokémon Go to get customers in the door.
Some business have done creative things such as the following:
- Create a product that appeals to Pokémon Go players, such as a bakery making Pokémon-themed pastries or a bar making Pokémon-themed drinks.
- Create an Event for Pokémon Go players and leverage the Lure which attracts Pokémon to the location. Leverage the Events feature on your Facebook profile.
- Give discounts based on the Pokémon Go player’s level or team.
- Provide free cell phone charging for Pokémon Go players.
Can my business become a PokéStop or Gym?
Some businesses got lucky, as they ended up being (close to) a PokéStop. Unfortunately, this is not something you can control at the moment.
However, game developer Niantic’s CEO, John Hanke, has said that sponsored locations are forthcoming in the United States. (The Japan release of the game saw a sponsored location deal with McDonald’s.) So, if you’re not fortunate enough to be located near a PokéStop or Gym, be on the lookout for the opportunity to become a sponsored location in the future.