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 JULY 26, 2016
3 Sales Funnel Lessons You Can Learn From Pokemon Go!
by Stephen Esketzis

If you’ve been just about anywhere in the past week or so, you may have noticed something. 

At the grocery store, at the bus stop, or at the mall… almost everywhere, there are people that seem to be chasing apparitions with their phones. 

In some cases, it’s even crowds of people trailing after unseen creatures with reckless abandon. 

What could possibly have them so enthralled, and more importantly, what lessons can we take from our own brands? 

Great questions! 

You can probably guess what we’re talking about at this point, and you’ve probably also seen plenty about Pokemon Go! Already (and maybe you’ve even obsessed yourself). 

Many of people have been amazed by how this game has taken the world by storm so quickly. 

In fact, the creators of the augmented reality game, Nintendo, have had their stock more than double in the few short weeks since the release of the game. 

Almost everyone is talking about it. And luckily for us, there are many lessons we can borrow from this innovative game to enhance and refine our own sales funnels. 

Let’s find out how you can have your customers saying they want to “catch ‘em all” when it comes to your brand offerings.

Leveraging the Hype

Certainly, one of the biggest factors Pokemon Go! has going for it is just how much hype this game has produced in such a short time.

From social media to CNN, the game seems to be getting mentioned any and everywhere. 

Our first stop on creating new sales funnel-inspired by Pokemon Go! is looking at strategies to generate that same sort of hype. 

While  even millennials still report a sense of brand loyalty, hype can be used to spread your brand, and your sales funnel far and wide to new audiences.

Ensure Your Product or Service is Available to Influential People

It’s an age-old trick in marketing: get the sports heroes and the celebrities to rally behind your brand.

But in today’s world, the rules have changed a little bit.

Instead of just hiring any old celebrity to pitch your brand, marketers are going beyond this infomercial feel.

In fact, Pokemon Go! has  celebrities of all types feeding into the brand’s funnel as they post Instagram images of their in-app buys and other, organic-based advertising. 

Although you might not have the big bucks to pay a famous celebrity, consider who’s well-known in your niche, and get them to broadcast your funnel.

Start Early and Get Partners Involved

Surprisingly, Pokemon Go! was in the works since 2014.

Imagine all that hard work that went into ensuring that the hype for their sales funnel was ready to go! 

In fact,  research has shown how preparing your sales funnel and your brand offerings are a critical part of success. 

And Pokemon Go! is also  no exception when it comes to partnering with others in the industry to make their vision a reality. Using your existing brand partners and starting early with them helps establish avenues and new audiences for your sales funnel, even as your partners sound the alarm for how great your brand is.

Pair Your Funnel with an Engaging Emotion

Pokemon Go! has captured a unique emotion to foster a sense of hype: nostalgia. 

As millions of people who grew up playing Pokemon latch onto the game, they’re reminded of good memories of their childhood. 

That gets them talking at a far greater rate and also gets other people wanting to get in on the fun. 

Consider each step of your sales funnel and what emotions it reinforces in your audience. 

Look to encourage those emotions that get them excited and happy to talk about the brand making them feel so good.

Make it All About Sharing

As attention spans have continued to drop in our tech-centered society, so has the time available to generate hype in any one customer. 

But just like with engaging emotions, Pokemon Go! has essentially created an experience that you can share. 

Remember all those loyal fans enjoying a feeling of nostalgia? 

They’re 78% more likely to share the brand and get others to join. 

Just like the hype created at any event, this sharing aspect is a surefire hype-creator. 

Hone the steps in your funnel by asking how easily your customers can share them and your brand. 

Campaigns that use concepts like “paying it forward” or even link sharing also pass on part of the funnel to others, but also get them excited. 

Protip: Don’t confuse hype with malicious talk. While passionate detractors of a brand or sales funnel can be a powerful force to spread your brand image, negative marketing should be used carefully and hesitantly when looking to get the word out.

Innovation Hits the Attention Jackpot

We’ve probably all been a victim of a stale sales funnel, those sorts of sales funnels that play by the rules, avoid risks, and put us to sleep.

But games like Pokemon Go! Show how important it is to use innovation to draw in more eyeballs.

If you don’t emerge in the world of video games, you might not know that there are other games that have used augmented reality approaches to gameplay before Pokemon Go!.

Pokemon Go! even drew inspiration from some of them!

But what the game really did was take this novel concept to the next level. Instead of simply moving their own Pokemon game concept to mobile or creating a new augmented-reality game, Nintendo saw a chance to combine the two and completely transform game playing.

By combining a winning game with a new platform and gameplay type, the company changed the game’s configuration and performance.

This in turn completely changed the customer’s experience of the Pokemon world and got everyone’s attention.

Clearly, innovation has its perks.

  1. Expand What You Think is Possible

    It might sound like a cliche, but in reality, many professionals creating a new sales funnel get stuck into old ways of doing things.

    And it makes sense since new ideas can often fail (in the new product realm,  failure rates can be as high as 40%).

    Merely stepping back and acknowledging that you can set your funnel up however you want can be an eye opening experience.

    Don’t fear a little experimentation!

  2. Think About What You Can Swap Out in Your Funnel

    Exactly the way that Nintendo mixed and matched from other mediums and new technologies be willing to swap out a piece of your funnel for something different.

    Changing pieces around or substituting other ideas in place of one of your steps can mean the difference between the same old thing and something completely new.

  3. Plan Early and Plan Well

    It’s a common misconception that innovation is spontaneous every time.

    As mentioned earlier, the spark that creates Pokemon Go! Started in 2014!

    That’s years of planning, strategizing, and perfecting.

    Now, we aren’t saying you should spend that long on your funnel.

    But when aiming for innovation, remember that starting early and planning well aren’t the enemy.

  4. Focus on Flexibility with Your Sales Funnel

    Cultivating innovation also requires flexibility. If the game’s original conceiver, Satoru Iwata, hadn’t been willing to adapt to ideas when he first saw other augmented reality games, Pokemon Go! may never have come to be.

    Always be willing to think on your feet and be versatile with your ideas and your sales funnel.

Protip: To get some additional perspective on creativity, head over to our article on creating ad creative content for some more insight.

Create a Sales Funnel That’s Gamified

Who only wants to feel like another name being passed through a sales funnel?

How mundane and uninteresting.

But games like Pokemon Go!  have been shown to activate the pleasure centers of our brains.


Science has actually proven what we knew all along: playing games is a whole lot of amusement and entertainment.

In fact, Pokemon is modeled after the childhood activity of catching bugs in your own backyard, a pastime that has captured the attention of many a boy or girl.

Unfortunately, we don’t see enough sales funnels that treat their steps more like such an activity, a board game, or a video game.

But what if we could steal all that enjoyment and gratification for our own sales funnels?

  1. Give Your Customers Experiences Instead of Simply Products

    In the modern world, saturated with products of all types, you would think that stuff is what makes everyone happy.

    But the opposite actually proves to be true: people crave experiences.

    And really, playing games is about the experience of interacting and immersing yourself into a different world in many cases.

    Look for ways to theme your funnel and add elements that stretch across the funnel.

    This way, you’ll be engaging their imaginations.

  2. Alleviate Stress and Focus on Fun

    On the same token, it probably isn’t any surprise that  almost half of workers report that their jobs are very or extremely stressful.

    Few also report satisfaction or engagement at their workplaces.

    Yet, Pokemon Go! is actually a blast to play! Sales funnels that alleviate the stress of everyday life are going to increase their chances of success greatly.

    And if you can be upbeat and infuse your funnel with that sense of fun, you’ll be going a long way to converting more leads.

    Take a moment to analyze the tone and feel of your funnel pieces and the overall process from start to end.

  3. Take a Tip From Your Childhood

    We mentioned earlier that the creator of Pokemon got the idea from chasing bugs as a kid. It was that simple!

    While gaming has become more popular with older demographics, childhood still remains a fertile source of ideas and gameplay.

    What did you love most when you were a kid?

    What captivated you about it? Feel free to borrow anything from your youth to enhance your funnel, but also entice other people who likely also had similar experiences.

  4. Find the Right Mix of Adventure

    We’ll admit it… not only is Pokemon Go! a blast to play, it really brings out that sense of adventure in life that so many of us long for.

    Since the game uses your phone’s GPS to send you from one part of the city to another, you can often feel like you’re on some amazing quest.

    Although, it won’t be right for every sales funnel, add in a sense of adventure to the game-like aspects of your funnel when you can.

    Factors having your audience take a little risk for the reward or doing the work of searching for something are the perfect way to make your sales funnel stand out.

Protip: Really, you can install your funnel with any metaphor you want, from games and beyond. If you’re feeling particularly bold, read our article on how to turn up the sexiness of your sales funnel.

And no article on Pokemon Go! would be complete unless we asked you to weigh in: What do you think about the new game, is just a fad or is it here to stay forever?

Tell us what you love or hate most about it!

About The Author: Stephen Esketzis

Stephen Esketzis is Head Of Content Marketing at Clickfunnels. He is known as the 'Sales Funnel Architect' and is a specialist at using paid traffic to generate highly profitable sales funnels. You can also listen to his podcast 'Marketing on The Move' and look him up on Facebook.
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