Pokemon GO is an international phenomenon not just because it offers an addicting blast from the past with a nostalgia-fueled game anyone can access on a smartphone, but also because it gets people out into the real world interacting with one another and the cities around them. As I’m sitting here at my desk writing this story, I can tell you that a 5-minute walk to the park and golf course across the street will yield me two Pokestops, with Pokemon spawning in and around the course and pond of all types. It’s prime Pokemon GO real estate, one might say.
Then if I venture into the heart of my city along Main Street or near any shopping centers, I’ll start to see a lot more activity. Cities like San Francisco, CA and other major metropolitan hubs crank that activity up to 11 and keep it there. Scattered around the world are thousands upon thousands of businesses of all sizes and Pokemon GO sees all of you. It may not have your business marked as a Pokestop – at least not yet – but for the ones that are already in the database, it would behoove you to pay attention and take advantage of these little pocket monsters. Luckily, a new startup company named Lure Deals, is here to help you do just that.
Building a Network
In the world of Pokemon GO, players can place what are known as “lures” at a Pokestop in the game, which increases the likelihood of Pokemon showing up at that spot. When this happens, players from all around are incentivized to physically visit the spot where a lure is placed, which can last for up to 30 minutes per lure. Since anything from a park bench and a clock tower, to a mom and pop coffee shop can be a Pokestop, chances are that players could start showing up in waves at your local business, regardless of the time of day or day of the week.
Of course, any business could just open up a Pokemon GO account, buy a few lures, and start attracting players – but how can you be sure those players care about your business? And moreover, how can you let players know about the lure that aren’t within the small radius the game displays?
That’s where Lure Deals, a service created by Houston, TX based digital marketing agency TKM Labs, comes into play.
“We wanted to give power back to small businesses by leveraging Pokemon GO,” explains Britt White, managing partner at TKM Labs.
Since it’s often very difficult for smaller companies to get noticed and become part of partnerships with these major app companies, something like Pokemon GO, which pulls its data from the existing Ingress game by the same developer, Niantic Labs, is like a breath of fresh air.
Tri Nguyen, another managing partner at TKM Labs, compared it to Snapchat. Large companies like Taco Bell had no problem making a geofilter that let people tag themselves at Taco Bell locations, but smaller companies often don’t take advantage of that. In fact, larger restaurants are already running Pokemon GO-related specials, discounts, and promotions. Lure Deals wants to not only consult on these types of initiatives, but drive traffic as well.
They’ve started building their list of registered users – which is already over 1,300 in 36 hours following their soft launch – with players spread out across the U.S. currently. Eventually, as they continue to grow the network, their value proposition to prospective clients will increase as well.
Make Dough With Pokemon GO
The way Lure Deals works is simple. If you’re a player, you sign up on their website to become part of the network. Once you fill out the information, you’ll receive assignments on where you can drop lures – and claim bounties to actually get paid and make money in the process – at predetermined locations in your area. From the website:
You can make money by placing Lures on specific spots! We need Pokemon Trainers who are conquering this brave new world and want to make a little extra side money doing so! We get requests for lures to be placed, and if it’s within your area, we’ll notify you! The first person that places the lure on that spot gets the bounty!
Similarly, if you have a business, you sign up on their website to start the process. It works like this: fill out the business profile, set a deal and choose a block of time to run the deal, Lure Deals announces it through their network of nearby Pokemon Go players, and they come flocking to you.
Based on businesses they’ve talked to that have been using lures from a purely experimental perspective without a network and without any real planning, they’re noticing a 10-20% boost in revenue for the days that they ran a lure compared to the days that they did not.
So far, they’ve arranged over 10 pilot programs with businesses to run in some of their most trafficked areas and will roll that out more over time as Lure Deals continues to grow.
The folks at Niantic Labs are working on an ad model for businesses, but they’re taking a very different approach. As of the time of publication, the folks at TKM Labs and Lure Deals have not spoken to Niantic, The Pokemon Company, or Nintendo about their business or any form of collaboration.
Clearly, a business model like this will live and die by the size and quality of the network, so it will take time to really reach critical mass for Lure Deals. But by getting started early, choosing a great name, and building from a grassroots perspective, they’re on the right track.
For more information about using lures to grow your business, check out this related Forbes article. You can submit a request for your business to be added as a Pokestop on the Niantics Support Page, but they’re inundated with requests and I wouldn’t expect much help in that regard any time soon.
Additionally, Yelp now allows you to sort based on places that have Pokestops, further pushing people to businesses with the valuable digital real estate to draw in new customers.