Over the past week, downtown has been flooded with teenagers, college students and even some tech-savvy adults.
The crowds seem to come in waves and are visiting all through the day and night. They are gaming enthusiasts who are drawn out of their homes and apartments to play the hottest video game in the country, Pokemon Go.
It is safe to say that the Pokemon Go craze has slammed into Statesboro.
"In a little over an hour we counted nearly 100 visitors to downtown walking around staring at their phones playing Pokemon Go," said Elena McLendon, Main Street Director with the DSDA. "This increased traffic provides unique opportunities for businesses throughout downtown. Many of these are visiting areas they would never go thanks to the popularity of the game."
Pokemon Go is a mobile app developed by Nintendo based on their wildly popular Pokemon game. The game allows players to use augmented technology to catch virtual monsters in the real world. The game was launched last week in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.
The internet is full of stories about entrepreneurial businesses who are cashing in on the success of this game. According to CNBC's website, one New York City pizzeria owner is using the game to boost his own profits. They dropped a "Lure" in the restaurant and gamers flocked in to capture Pokemon.
The restaurateur spent $10 to drop the lure and ever since then his business has been unbelievable.
So what is a Lure?
Lure Modules can be purchased and it basically allows any other Pokemon player in the nearby vicinity to benefit from having Pokemon swarm toward the location. The effects will last for 30 minutes. They are wildly popular and you will be stunned at how many people suddenly show up at your business.
If you are still confused, you are not alone.
If you have access to a teenager and can get them away from their phone for a few minutes, with great enthusiasm they will attempt to explain all of this to you. During the conversation, you will understand very clearly the difference between being a digital immigrant (most of you reading my column) and a digital native (people who were born or brought up during the age of digital technology).
Digital Natives speak a language that is as difficult to understand as any foreign language.
This is a wakeup call for business owners. Marketing to potential customers is more complex, diverse and challenging than ever before. What worked in the past, must be updated to include getting the attention of folks glued to their smart phones.
Now you have to create a multimedia strategy, utilize all aspects of multimedia and target select audience in order to get results.
Understanding how the playing field has changed, the Statesboro Herald has developed a multimedia team of experts than can help you navigate this confusing new world. Stephanie Childs, Jen Morriss and Brannen Morton lead these efforts for us.
"What people must understand is that by simply embracing one part of the media, they are potentially missing a huge share of the potential market," Morton said. "Lure Modules are but one tool in your tool chest that will help you attract new customers and maintain their interest in your business. We have developed a visibility report which allows us to determine how visible your business is online. If Google does not recognize your business, then, whether you realize it or not, your business is not realizing its full potential. This is a free service the Statesboro Herald provides to businesses. "This report will help you determine your strengths and identify areas you need to invest in."
Google is the current generation's yellow pages.
When the 2016 fall semester begins at Georgia Southern in a few weeks, thousands of new potential customers are going to enter our community for the first time.
These new college students will rely on your web and social media presence and maybe even a "lure" to find you. They not only want to find you, but they want to read positive reviews and actually know a little about your business before they walk in your door.
Embracing new media and understanding the opportunities that exist will be a huge step forward in not only making your business more profitable, but also helping to continue to secure our spot as America's Best Community.
Contact Jennifer, Stephanie or Brannen with the Herald multimedia team today at (912) 764-9031 or click here and send them an email.
They can help "lure" new customers to your door and guide you through the process of investing properly with local experts in this brave new world of technology.
Please email DeWayne at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.