You've done your tattoo apprenticeship program, saved up your money and bought all the supplies. You found the perfect location, followed all the laws, and hung up your sign. Now you wait for customers to come in the door... or do you?
In many cities today there is a tattoo shop on every block. With so much competition and so many artists, it can be difficult to make your shop stand out from the rest, but taking extra steps to build recognition and a loyal client base will make a big difference. If you are wondering how to gain more customers in a shorter amount of time, here are some unique tattoo marketing methods to bring paying customers to the table.
The Most Wickedly Awesome Tattoo Shop Promotion Ideas
Like tattoos themselves, advertisements for tattoo parlors need to be fresh, bold and distinctive. Here are a few ideas that we have come up with to bring customers into your tattoo parlor:
1. Live and Breathe Pinterest
It may sound fluffy, but tattooing is a visual art. You need to put your creative work in a place where potential customers regularly go to for inspiration: Pinterest. Pinterest drives tons of traffic, and it is extremely viral, letting your tattoo designs spread everywhere from Facebook to Twitter. A little bit of work on Pinterest early on can produce some amazing results later.
2. Try Instagram
You can really show off your business brand on Instagram. Choose from a variety of different filters to set the mood for your shop. Use photos and videos to share your story with the world and give potential customers a behind-the-scenes look at your shop. Share some tattoos to create a gallery for customers to look through. Show them everything you've got.
3. Host A Friday The 13th Tattoo Special
Everyone loves a little superstition sometimes, even if they don't really believe in it. Find out when the next Friday the 13th will be rolling around. Put up advertisements on bulletin boards, social media and your website if you have one. The $13 price will give people less to lose when they're curious about ink, and it gives you a chance to establish a rapport with potential future customers.
4. Offer Free Mastectomy Tattoos
Surviving breast cancer is a massive accomplishment and blessing, but the scars from having a double mastectomy can cause grief and trauma to survivors. Mastectomy tattoos are a great way for cancer survivors to find a way to heal and get a new lease on life. Even though it's a big tattoo that will take time, by donating a mastectomy tattoo, you're showing the community that you give back, and that builds a great reputation that wins people over.
5. Become a Part of Community Events
In today’s tattoo-friendly world, you never know who is thinking about getting inked. By making an appearance at festivals and other events in your community, you will have the opportunity to meet people from many walks of life. The conversations you have with them could turn a tattoo idea they might otherwise never act on into an appointment.
6. Do Tattoo Cover-Up Work for Charity
Regrettable tattoos are an unfortunate reality for many people, and in the case of former members of gangs and hate groups, it is one that may prevent them from moving on with their lives. Transforming people’s lives through tattoos and giving them the chance at a fresh start is an inspirational social media post or video just waiting to happen—and to be shared.
7. Have a Swag Table at the Next Local Show
In most cities you will find plenty of live music, even if it’s smaller shows by local acts. You will find many tattoo aficionados in your local music scene. Selling shirts, giving away stickers, and even giving shirts to band members is a great way to generate publicity and make sure your shop’s name is the one that will come to mind the next time the audience members are thinking about ink.
8. Sponsor a Local Event or Athlete
There was a time when tattoo shops were viewed as being seedy, but that is in the past. Today tattoo shops are viewed as legitimate businesses, and there are many charitable events like fundraisers and marathons that are looking for business sponsors. Having your shop’s name appear on uniforms or in promotional materials for charitable events will cast your shop’s name in the best possible light.
9. Become More Active Online
When it comes to tattoo artists, people love to feel like they have a regular artist they “know,” and when conversations turn to tattoos, they will be quick to recommend you. Take the extra time to let your clients know that you appreciate their loyalty by tagging them in posts, remembering their birthdays, and responding to them on social media.
10. Develop Quality Marketing Materials And a Visual Brand
You can't just stand around waiting for your customers to come to you. Most may not even know your shop exists. Design some high-quality marketing materials (uniquely die cut business cards, glossy brochures, etc.) and get the word out that you are open for business.
You can try mass marketing, offering coupons in the newspaper, and of course paid ads on social media. Combine offline marketing with online marketing to let potential customers know what you have to offer.