7 Eye-Opening Niche Marketing Lessons from Pokémon Go

Filed in Affiliate Marketing, Case Studies by on September 16, 2016

Unless you’ve been living on another planet or completely disconnected from the internet...

I’m sure you’ve heard about Pokémon Go .

It's the addictive smartphone game that has taken the world by storm.

You might even be a Pokémon addict yourself.

Since its global launch on July 6th 2016, Pokémon Go has more than 100 million app downloads and almost 21 million daily active users who’re using it close to three-quarters of an hour every day.

And bringing in more than $10 million in daily revenue.

To give you some perspective, that’s more daily active users and daily usage time than apps like WhatsApp and Twitter.

 

time-v-social

Source: SimilarWeb

 

As a niche marketer, you should be excited about this.

Because Pokémon is very much a niche topic, and its success once again proves that if you target a very specific niche and offer them something they value, there’s lots of money to be made.

But there are many lessons to be learned from it as well.

Whether you’re doing affiliate marketing or building authority sites to sell digital products in your niche, you can learn a lot from this viral success story.

 

 

What You’ll Learn in this Post

  • How to approach a saturated niche from a unique angle
  • The secret strategy Pokemon Go developers used to turn it into an addictive app
  • The scientific formula for creating viral content
  • One small change that will dramatically increase your niche site opt-ins and conversions

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

1. Approach a Proven Niche from a Different Angle

If you’re a millennial, you’re likely to have fond memories of the Pokémon cartoon series and Game Boy edition released in 1996.

Back in those days, kids were mad about Ash, Pikachu and the other characters in the Pokémon series. Catching those Pokémon characters and playing with them in real life was every child’s dream.

 

nintendo-gameboy-color-orange-console-japan-pokemon-center-tokyo-limited-box-set-e664a14010969094002fc8eee0c55e8d

 

Niantic Inc. the developers of Pokémon Go, targeted this niche and created a product that took millennials like me back in time.

The developers of this game simply tapped into a proven niche, with a different approach.

The nostalgia associated with the Pokémon series did the rest.

What does that tell you about niche marketing?

You don’t always need to come up with a totally unique niche to find success.

People are already spending money in proven niches.

You only need to come up with a unique angle to claim your market share. (Stuart's report on "1781 Profitable Niches" is a good starting point)

Take NicheHacks, this very blog, as an example.

The things we write about are pretty similar to several other blogs in the “Make Money Online” or the IM niche (blogging, social media, content marketing, traffic generation, SEO etc.)

Proven niches with lots of competition.

But the niche marketing angle in all of our blog posts, eBooks and products, makes it unique and appealing for a very specific group within the internet marketing niche.

And this can be done in ANY niche because there’s no limit to the angles you can approach a niche from.

Healthy diet and weight loss is probably the last niche you’d want to enter since it has so much competition.

But one marketer identified that there are millions of devout and overweight Christians in the United States.

So he created a weight loss program based on the lifestyle and meals described in the Bible.

 

salvationdiet-ebook

 

Other marketers have replicated the same approach in the Muslim niche (example 1 - example 2)

As I said, you can choose a proven niche and keep coming up with as many new angles as you want.

 

2. Validate Your Product and Idea With Real Audience Before Launch

Have you ever launched an eBook, a membership site, a coaching program or any other digital product and made good money from it?

If yes, I’m sure you realize how important it is to validate your idea before creating a digital product.

That’s what Pokemon Go did as well.

They approached a proven niche from a unique angle, but they still needed to find out if their product would appeal to their target market.

So instead of launching it all over the world, they started with a very low-scale launch in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon, and invited local gamers for field-testing.

They ran the “user feedback-improvements-testing” cycle several times and fine-tuned the game for their mega launch that took place several months later.

That’s exactly what niche marketers need to do when launching/promoting a new product or starting from scratch in a new niche.

For example, instead of promoting a product to all the subscribers on your list, choose a small segment first and analyze their feedback.

Similarly, when launching a product of your own, start with a minimum viable product and group of beta testers from within your email list to validate the idea first.

It’s not wise to create and launch a 100-hour coaching program only to find out that no one’s interested in buying.

 

3. Take Advantage of the Herd Mentality and FOMO to Create Viral Content

Here’s how Wikipedia describes the herd mentality

Herd mentality, or mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors.

Examples of the herd mentality include stock market trends, superstition, and home décor.

Social psychologists study the related topics of group intelligence, crowd wisdom, and decentralized decision making.”

Pokémon Go is a classic example of this, and several other psychological concepts and theories, in action.

It is heavily integrated with social networking platforms and also encourages the players to spread the word and share their progress on their social profiles.

It also takes advantage of a human behavior described by psychologists as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Studies show significantly escalated levels of FOMO among social media users. It also found that smartphone users can’t last a minute without checking their phones

 

fomo

 

Pokémon Go used this tendency to its advantage perfectly.

Wouldn’t you feel left out if all your friends are running around hunting Pokémon with their smartphones?

It’s impossible not to get involved when everyone else is having fun around you.

As a niche marketer, you can use the same psychological triggers to create more viral content.

Viral Nova became a $100 million company by creating intriguing content with click-bait headlines that thousands of people shared with their friends on social networks.

 

22-Viral-Headlines-You-Need-To-Learn-From-Right-Now

 

This viral post by Marc and Angle that got more than 500,000 Facebook Likes, 20,000 Tweets and several thousand shares on other social networks, is a great example of making content viral by using fear.

 

marcangle

 

It’s a simple headline, but makes you wonder if you’re doing something to yourself that you should not. Maybe you’re losing out on something.

The result? Lots of clicks and shares!

 

4. You Can Repurpose Old Content To Target a New Audience

Content creation is one of the biggest challenges for most niche marketers. Not only is it hard to come up with new content ideas all the time, it also costs a lot of money to hire good writers on a regular basis.

Repurposing old content is an effective solution to this problem.

If you look loosely, Pokémon Go is a repurposed idea.

There’s no difference between the characters and the storyline of the original Pokémon series and Pokemon Go.

The core idea isn’t new.

They’ve taken the same characters but placed them in a different environment and a different context.

And it has taken the world by storm.

You can do the same to your blog content that’s rotting in the archives.

For example, Darren Rowse of Problogger did a blog post series called “31 Days to Building a Better Blog” in which he published new blog posts daily for 31 days covering almost every aspect of blogging.

 

Darren-Rowse-ebook

 

The series got so much attention and fanfare, that Darren eventually repurposed the series into a proper eBook.

In fact, he even published a second edition which is still on sale.

 

Darren-Rowse-31-Days-ebook

 

And he didn’t stop there.

He went on to repurpose more of his blog content on Slideshare and found a lot of success.

 

darrenb1

 

There are so many ways you can repurpose a blog post.

Convert it into a Slideshare presentation, an infographic, a YouTube video, an audio file, an eBook or a Webinar.

You already have the content, you just need to use it in different forms to increase its life and usefulness.

 

5. Content Rarely Goes Viral by Accident, There’s Science Involved

“It took us 6 years and 51 failed attempts to make Angry Birds an overnight success”

That’s what the CEO Rovio Entertainment had to say about creating one of the most popular games of all time.

Viral success often appears to happen by accident. But that’s rarely the case.

Just like it isn’t with Pokemon Go.

The world started going crazy about Pokemon Go just a few months ago, which makes it look like an instant success.

In reality, though, the developers of the game had been testing its features and finalizing its gameplay for months.

They launched a beta version to small groups of gamers in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, and kept on making changes until they were certain the game would be a big hit.

The same approach works for creating viral blog content.

BuzzSumo studied the most viral posts of 2015 and found that all of them had certain common elements that were responsible for making them viral.

5-elements-viral-headlines

 

Predictably, intriguing and attention seeking headlines were the biggest reason for making a piece of content viral.

For example, this post by BuzzSumo, which received more than 2.6 million views, has a perfectly optimized headline.

 

viral-headline-format

 

In short, viral content and headlines have the following characteristics

  • They have intriguing and attention grabbing headlines.
  • They drive strong emotions
  • They say something unexpected and carry a strong element of surprise
  • They inspire people to bring positive change
  • They make readers dream
  • They contain images, snapshots, and visuals

But above all, content rarely goes viral without a strong marketing push at the start.

This blog post by Jon Morrow is a great example

 

jonmorrow1

 

And this one on Copyblogger...

 

jonmorrow2

 

Both were outstanding posts that deserved to go viral.

But they got the initial momentum because they were published on high authority blogs that already had massive audiences.

But again, not every post on Problogger or Copyblogger goes viral.

The content was great and ticked all the viral content boxes.

 

6. Strong Branding is the Key to Successful Marketing

Do you think Pokémon Go could’ve achieved this success without being associated with the Pokémon brand?

The game itself is great, but it couldn’t have gone viral without the characters, the story and the overall environment of Pokémon – a brand with more than 20 years of history

In fact, very few people know that Niantic Inc., the developers of Pokémon Go, released a similar game in the past called Ingress.

It had similar gameplay and features, but it did not have the brand power of the Pokémon series.

The fan base of Pokémon Go is driven by a deep sense of association and nostalgia. Ingress had none of that.

Branding is the key to successful affiliate and niche marketing as well.

If your target audience trusts you and considers you a niche expert, it’ll listen to your advice and purchase the products you recommend.

It’ll become much easier for you to convert complete strangers into customers and even advocates.

According to Nielson, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust.

 

Employee_Advocacy_Statistics_2016_Kredible_12

Source: Kredible

 

So the formula is simple.

If you want people to buy the products you recommend, you need to build a trust-based relationship with them.

This is especially true with high ticket affiliate commissions where people buy because of your brand image and credibility.

I covered branding for niche marketers in much more detail in my previous post, but in short, it comes down to the following points

  • Leveraging guest posts, testimonials, and client success stories to build credibility

As Zig Ziglar said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you”

 

7. Adding Continuous Value To Your Existing Subscribers

The biggest niche marketing lesson I've learned from Pokemon Go is to keep your customers motivated through rewards and added value even when they appear to be satisfied with your product.

As niche marketers, we’re always trying different ways to make visitors stay longer on our sites, opt-in to our lists and use our links to purchase products.

This can only happen if your content keeps the readers engaged and interested. (Chelsea mentions here on how to keep readers engaged while lowering bounce rate)

Achieving this objective can become significantly easier if you learn from how Pokémon Go keeps its users engaged.

It offers small rewards and bonuses to players for taking different actions, for example finding a new Pokémon or walking to a certain place on the map.

This added value acts as an incentive for the players to take these actions.

You can apply this strategy to niche marketing in several ways.

For example, you can start offering blog post specific content upgrades as an incentive for opting-in to your email list.

This approach helped Brian Dean increase email sign-ups by almost 786%.

 

briandean1

 

But you don’t stop offering value once a visitors turns into a subscriber.

You keep on sending them valuable, actionable and authentic content.

You stay in touch with them and regularly offer resources in the form of blog posts, eBooks, webinars etc. that can help them excel in their business.

Doing so would keep your subscribers engaged with your blog all the time which makes it easier to convert them into paying customers.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Ready to Apply Pokémon Go Marketing Hacks to Your Business?

Whether you’re a Pokémon Go fan or not, there’s a lot you can learn from how it has captured the imagination of millions of people around the globe.

You might not be in a position to replicate everything they’ve done, but you can certainly apply a few of their strategies to your own niche marketing business and reap the benefits.

But I must confess.

I’m not an expert Pokémon Go player.

So I’m sure some of you can identify more lessons that can be applied to a niche marketing business.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Jawad Khan
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog, WritingMyDestiny, Twitter and Google+

Comments (2)

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  1. varun bhati says:

    Amazing article, read thoroughly. Let's see what i gained from the post. Thanks 🙂

  2. Dear Jawan,

    I got hooked right from the beginning of the article till the end. This is an awesome content and I must confess, " I took Down Notes". I would apply the Pokemon lessons to build my blog strategy. Thanks a lot for this great resource.