My co-worker and I attended a conference in Chicago this year, and it became clear pretty quick which one of us was the “networker”. While my co-worker bounced from discussion to discussion, I stood at a distance and observed. I am just not very good (nor interested in becoming good) at talking with total strangers about their product.
That’s not to say I wasn’t interested in their services or products – I just didn’t feel like waiting in line to say, “Hey, that looks neat.”
I also wasn’t about to write down a bunch of web addresses or collect business cards either. What would have been really neat is if some of those booths had a number I could text to sign-up for a newsletter, get whitepapers or even download a vcard to contact them later.
I would have to imagine this would be an awesome opportunity for the people in the booths too, as they wouldn’t be missing out on leads just because their booth is over-crowded or because stand-offish attenders like myself won’t get close enough to say “hi”.
Of course, every lurker like myself who does text in has also just given that business a legitimate contact phone number, which has to be nice in a world of fake-email-address-sign-up.
Creative business could find a way to up the incentive to text in, from trivia questions (“What car does Eric Schmidt of Google drive?”) to raffles and even text-based games. Frankly, any of those ideas sound more fun to me than a business card bump, lurker or not.