Whether you love it, hate it, or have claimed a gym with your 1600 CP-level Vaporeon (in which case, I’ve got a Snorlax with your name on it), you can’t escape Pokemon Go.
For the uninitiated: Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that uses the GPS in your mobile device to populate your world with Pokemon. You’ll find new varieties of Pokemon depending on where you go and your level in the game. You level up by collecting Pokemon and staging battles against other Pokemon.
Here’s where marketers need to pay attention: many local businesses are Pokestops, meaning that players will flock to them to collect items that help them advance in the game. Even if your business isn’t a Pokestop, there’s a good chance you’ve got a handful of Pokemon hanging out in your store. (Just loitering there without buying anything. The nerve.)
Thanks to sheer luck, some businesses are home to rare Pokemon. That means I’ll gladly walk three blocks out of my way to visit a bodega with sub-par sandwiches if I hear whispers of a Mewtwo lurking there.
Contextual email marketing + Pokemon Go
There are a host of local marketing opportunities that businesses are already taking advantage of – among them branded Pokestops and soon-to-be-released branded content (T-Mobile branded Pokeballs, anyone?)
But there is another huge and virtually untapped way to market your business with Pokemon Go: email marketing. Not just any email marketing; contextual email marketing that leverages the geolocation aspects of the game.
Here are three ways that businesses with brick-and-mortar locations can drive more foot traffic by combining the forces of contextual marketing and Pokemon Go.
Entice people to visit your store with location targeting
Location personalization has long been used by savvy email marketers to help customers find store locations nearest to them. But Pokemon Go presents a new way to use geo-targeted emails. Instead of just showing people nearby stores, you can show them all Pokemon Go points of interest that are near your store locations.
For example, if there’s a Pokemon Go gym around the corner, point it out on a live map. If your store is a Pokestop, even better. You can direct customers to all the Pokestops near your store, plus areas where specific Pokemon have been spotted.
Bonus tip: If your store is not already a Pokestop, you can put in a request for it to become one here.
Feature Pokemon content in a live social feed
Encourage customers to snap photos of pokemon in and around your store. Then, feature those photos in a live social feed in your emails. A live social feed pulls in your social content in real-time, so it automatically refreshes every time you open the email.
If you connect your live social feed to your Instagram account, for example, it’ll display all of your Instagram photos. You can do the same with Twitter by pulling specific hashtags into your live social feed. Live social feeds are a clever way to keep your email content fresh and drive engagement at the same time.
Bonus tip: Give your social followers a heads up that you’ll be featuring their photos in your social feed. Tell them to sign up for your email list so they can see their photos featured in your emails. Boom – instant boost to your subscriber list!
Pair Pokemon with limited-time offers
Want to clear your inventory or drive foot traffic to a special event? Use pokemon as an incentive for people to visit your store at a certain day and time. In your email, let your subscribers know which pokemon they’re likely to catch while they’re there. Sweeten the deal with an email-exclusive coupon that can only be used in stores.
Be sure to include how long the sale or event lasts. If really want people to act fast, you can include a countdown timer in your email to let people know how much time they have left to act.
Bonus tip: In Pokemon Go, you can use an item called Lure to attract other players to your store. Basically, a Lure “lures” local pokemon to any Pokestop for 30 minutes. That means Pokemon Go players will be more likely to swing by your store if they have a better chance of catching a Jigglypuff.
Throw a lure on your store, then send an email letting people know about it. They’ll only have 30 minutes to act, so it’s a great way to drive last-minute foot traffic.
Pokemon and leads: gotta catch ‘em all
All joking aside, Pokemon Go has the potential to drive serious revenue for your brick and mortar business. Contextual email marketing lets you tailor your email content to your customers’ unique needs, behavior, preferences, and now, pokemon. If you’re new to contextual marketing, now is the time to give it a try.