Has your marketing game been strong for 2016’s trade shows? Did our “7 Top Tips for Tradeshow Marketing in 2016” help? It may be time to rethink how you’ll market for trade shows in the coming 2017. You not only need to make sure you are marketing yourself well at the show to gain leads, but you need to get the ball rolling before the show and afterwards.

Along with your sales pitch, you’ll need a great greeting, giveaways, sponsorships, a way to get the news out before the show, and a way to convert your leads into customers afterwards. Marketing is everything for your trade show success and you’ll need to know what tools are at your disposal for 2017. Take a look at the top 7 recommended tools for next year.

Marketing your booth before the show

It’s important to use pre-show marketing to your advantage this year. You are going to want to get the word out early that you’ll have a great booth and presentation at the trade show in order to attract your current customers to stop by and to bring their friends as well.

Putting invitations out there to your target audience is a great way to meet potential customers and hope that the face-to-face interaction will convince them to become a customer going forward. Since you’re contacting current customers and promoting your presence to potential new customers online and otherwise, you can start setting up meetings with your best clients or potential leads for the time pre-show or during the show. Bringing a coupon for services or a free gift to these meetings will make them understand that their time is valuable and that meeting now was the perfect time.

Having freebies and a customized booth created to remain memorable after the show

Speaking of gifts, make sure you provide freebies to your booth visitors as a way to say “thank you” and to remain in their minds after the show. Giving customers a gift is a great way to not only attract them to your booth, but to exchange something for their business cards or sign up for a mailing list.

You’ll know the serious customers by the ones that aren’t going to just be sold on a freebie which allows you to bring out your practiced sales pitch to obtain this potential customer. Think about what your target demographic might be attracted to as far as freebies.

With a customized trade booth display, it will be easy to capture your potential customers right away. There are many different booth styles to choose from and this year, you’ll see many choosing the modular designs that can make it easier than ever to create different displays for your brand and to add variety at each trade show. Talk to the professionals at NimlokNYC to get the perfect trade show booth display to best put your brand’s message out to attendees.

Creating the perfect greeting

You may have already thought through your sales pitch, but what about the initial greeting? How do you get things started? Working on your greeting or elevator pitch is so important. You may have shorter moments of face-to-face interactions in which you need an elevator speech to capture someone’s attention or to try to make a faster pitch. Make sure you have a great greeting, a question or two for your potential buyer, and a list of benefits prepared to get to the point.

Preparing a sales sheet with business cards

It’s smart to have your sales sheet available with business cards attached in case you run into someone while away from your booth. Make it easy to read in case a potential buyer wants to quickly scan to see why they should work with you. Use your elevator speech as part of the sheet and provide your contact information on there.

Try a sponsorship

Another strategy to try this year is to do a sponsorship, such as a breakfast or cocktail party,that will show you are a strong force at this trade show. Your competition will take notice and your buyers will be able to separate you from the rest.

Knowing what not to do

Sometimes knowing what things to avoid is what will market you well in 2017. Avoid doing any gimmicks like your competitors have tried before. No one will take you seriously because you hired a magician or offered an expensive giveaway. Gimmicks make you look unprofessional and untrustworthy.

Making your post-show strategy a priority

Lastly, nothing matters more than getting your ROI after the show. Work on your post-show follow up strategy by ensuring that new contacts have been reached out to after your presentation to them at the show. They may be considering working with you but need a small push to finalize any contracts.

Make sure you send out thank-you’s, additional materials on your services, and set up a meeting for anyone that needs more convincing. Then, make sure to update the new contacts for your newsletter.

Make 2017 a great year for trade shows. Use these seven tips to get your marketing strategy locked and loaded for a great year.