If you’ve ever had the chance to attend any type of marketing or tech conference, you’ve undoubtably experienced the madness that goes on in whatever area is designated as the exhibit/merchant or “Meet-Market” hall packed with companies looking for leads. Packed like sardines into booths of all sizes you’ll find merchants, advertisers, startups and well, virtually every type of business service imaginable standing in front of their booth, trying to entice you to a conversation with either booth flair or conference schwag. One of the big things that no booth-pimping salesman will let you walk away from is the opportunity to give them your business card. Honestly it seems as if most don’t even care what you do for a living, they just want your contact information just in case they can find a way to convert you into a customer of some sort down the road. In the least you’ll just add to their ever-growing mailing-list that starts pumping out newsletters shortly after they return home and go through their newly gained pile of business cards.
Well this time for ASW 2010 I decided a different approach that I hadn’t seen attempted before. I did not pack or bring a single one of my real business cards. Instead I brought a very simple card with only a few words on each side, my name and a link (shown above). Now if you’ve read the post prior to this one you’ll know that I’m about ten days into a four week long charity drive called Mustache for kids. It benefits an organization called DonorsChoose.org which connects public schools with the necessary funding on a per-project basis and lets you not only donate to specific projects but also lets you search for them via location as well as project type (English, Science, Special Needs, etc..). Kinda cool. So as most attendees undoubtably did, I handed my cards out at practically every booth that I would pause at, whether it was after a brief conversation with the booth owner about their services or even by random passerby’s who noticed my tag/affiliation printed on my Conference pass. Regardless this is not a card I could just hand out and walk-away from. It came with a simple pitch that I must have repeated hundreds of times during the course of the 4 days I was in Las Vegas. It’s extremely simple and began with the line,
This card is actually an offer:
If you donate just $2 to any project on DonorsChoose.org website and mention ASW in the comments, I will mail you my real business card along with a hand-written thank you letter. I even said I’d email those that provided their email address for me to reply to so that they’d have my information even faster. Now the looks that I received after explaining my proposition to people at this point were rather varied. Some laughed and said they thought it was clever, others looked at the card in dismay, as if it was some kind of scam or joke and then a few even looked as if they were disgusted by the fact I would hand them something requiring action on their part to get my contact information. It was at this point when I would tell them to please turn the card over and notice that I included my full name on the back of the card. If they really wanted to, they could first google my name, Brent Terrazas, and see if I was the type of lead they were looking for. That way they wouldn’t have to go through the ‘trouble’ of donating $2 to a charity to add me as a contact. I also added something that I still think was very true:
Out of all the business cards that you’ll get today,
This is the only one that promises a response.
Think of it – You leave the expo with hundreds of cards, but this is the only one where the person who handed you the card actually includes a promise that they’ll be the one who will reach out to contact YOU, and all it’d take was a $2 donation to a great charity.
Judging by the fact that most people are just now finally getting back to work after the event (which was just last week), they are undoubtably going through their piles of cards, sorting out potential leads from those that aren’t as promising, so I hope that if you were one of the merchants or service providers that I spoke with last week and you find my card, you’ll at least check out the link I provided. Whether you want my contact information or not, it’s a good cause, and heck, you probably paid more than $2 for the coffee you’re drinking.
Once again here’s the link – http://bit.ly/DonorsChooseASW
Thanks go out to all my friends at the conference for helping with this endevour, I will somehow find a way to pay you all back for your kindness. Btw, if you missed his session on linkbait at ASW, i’d recommend you go visit FullSpeedSeo.com by my friend Joshua Ziering where he’s posted a few of his own observations from the expo.