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How to turn Pokémon GO players into returning customers

Everyone’s talking about Pokémon GO. Not since Flappy Bird has there been such an uproar over a mobile game. In case you haven’t read the news, been on social media, or gone outside in the past week, Pokémon GO is the virtual reality game sweeping the globe and breaking records, as people use their mobile phones to try and catch virtual Pokémon in real parks, shops, and streets.

The craze is so rampant that businesses are buying “lures” to attract Pokémon to their stores because, as we all now know, Pokémon = people. And it’s working. Local businesses like pizza shops and bars are seeing an influx in sales thanks to trainers (what Pokémon-catchers are known as) coming into their establishment on a mission to catch ‘em all.

But, as most crazes go, there’s a high likelihood that it’ll die out fairly quickly. Pokémon GO may bring customers in, but if you want to keep them coming back for more, you’ll want to think about Pokémon-proofing your business. Here are some ways to hop on the Pokémon GO train so that, once they’ve all been caught, you can keep customers coming in.

1. Get more exposure on social media

Utilizing trending hashtags is a great way to get exposure on social media (if used appropriately, of course). Taking pictures of people coming into your bar, restaurant or shop on the hunt for Pokémon can help get online exposure for your store, and attract more people looking for their own precious Pokémon.

Using social media software like HootSuite or Oktopost, you can see which hashtags are trending and use those when posting on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. If you’re really savvy, you can even use Snapchat to tell people about your Pokémon-friendly establishment.

If you’re using Instagram, make sure that you geo-tag your location so that others can find you. You can also send out social media messages telling your followers that you’ve got Pokémon in your vicinity to attract even more people.

2. Offer incentives to get people to come back in

Half the battle (not unlike a Pokémon battle) of attracting customers is just getting people into your location. Once they’re there, you’ve got to make sure that they stay long enough to make a purchase. Enter, the incentive. For one thing, you can offer discounts for the first 20 people to come into your store and tweet about their success catching Pokémon, mentioning you in the tweet. Again, you can use social media management software to help determine the winners.

Source: Reddit

For even better retention, you can also offer incentives if they come back. If it’s a restaurant, it could be a 2 for 1 coupon for their next visit. If you’re selling something, you could offer a 30 percent discount on their next purchase. Whatever it is, you’ll have better luck getting people back in if you offer something (other than Pokémon) to entice them.

3. Grow your mailing list

Some have found the Pokémon GO lot to be intrusive, but instead of taking the traditional “Pokémon are for paying customers only” approach, you can make use of this influx of customers in other ways. Making people pay to enter might teeter on the brink of unethical, but an easier entrance fee might be asking for their email addresses instead.

Source: Twitter

Growing a mailing list can be notoriously difficult, but because it’s still one of the most effective forms of marketing, it could help bring back Pokémon GO gamers to your store. You can even segment these users and create a tailored email marketing campaign with deals or copy related to their Pokémon catching antics.

4. Make use of mobile marketing

Now could be the perfect time to take advantage of mobile marketing. Many marketing automation suites have mobile marketing options, and since people will already be on their phones playing the game, there’s no better place to push out your marketing message than on a mobile device.

For even more direct targeting, location based advertising – which targets ads at customers based on where they are – could also provide huge opportunities to turn Pokémon GO players into customers. Location based advertising can either be for people looking for your retail spot, or you pushing ads to them based on where they are. Targeting ads or promotions at people that have visited your retail space could help ensure that they come back to your store.

To make the most out of mobile marketing, make sure that people can find, check-in to, or geotag your location with apps like Foursquare, Facebook, and Instagram.

5. Use video software to optimize retail space

Again, making use of all the foot traffic to your shop or restaurant, this could be one of the best opportunities that you have to analyze the layout of your space.

Using security cameras already in your location, you can use video software analytics to see any potential issues you have with your layout. With heatmap technology, you can see which areas get most frequented, where there could be bottlenecks, and which products people are drawn to most. Bear in mind that they may all be related to Pokémon, but it can give you a sense of the general layout to see what works and what doesn’t.

CUSTOMERS! Gotta catch ‘em all

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Pokémon are running around, and people are on the hunt. Aside from directly paying to lure people into your store, there are plenty of others ways that you can use the Pokémon GO trend to turn wandering hunters into lasting customers.

If the Pokémon GO craze hasn’t reached you yet, you can still attract customers to your store, restaurant, or bar by making use of geo-location tools like social media location tags, mobile marketing, or a combination of the two.

Apps like Snaptrends use social media intelligence and geo-location to find and make use of conversations about your brand happening online, while SimpleTexting, a mobile marketing platform, lets you send push ads based on geolocation.

It’s up to you to catch ‘em all. CUSTOMERS!

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Suzie Blaszkiewicz :Suzie is a writer and researcher at GetApp focusing on the social side of business– CRM, marketing, collaboration, and of course, social media. Aside from musing about B2B software, she has experience writing about consumer apps for iPhone and Android, as well as research experience from the London School of Economics. Suzie loves travelling, eating, and trying to steal dogs from the park at lunchtime.