Whether you’ve been running an established tattoo shop for years or are opening up for the first time, marketing and promotion is something you’ll always need to be on top of.
You can type ‘marketing my business’ into Google all day long, but when it comes to tattoo marketing, there are a few things to consider which are a little bit more niche. And, it all depends on what you’re wanting, be that local walk-ins or customers from afar.
So, we’ve spoken to a number of experienced tattooists who have their own studios to find out what the best marketing strategies for tattoo shops actually are.
1. Get the look
First things first, you’ll need to make sure your shop front looks good. Not only that, it should also reflect your style. If you’re running a walk-in studio on the high street, it will need to have a certain appeal. New clients are much less likely to come in if the place looks rundown or dirty.
If you have a studio within a building or one that is slightly out of the way, you should still pay attention to your décor. It’ll do your reputation the world of good when you’re uploading pictures online.
2. Digital marketing
If someone is looking for a tattooist in Sheffield for example, one of the places they’ll head to is Google, so, it’s wise to set yourself up on ‘Google My Business’ and build up some reviews on there. This isn’t specific to tattoo marketing, but it’ll definitely help you in the long run.
You can find out more about ‘Google My Business’ here.
3. Social media
Social media is a part of digital marketing – and it’s a big one. It’s pretty much taken over from magazine advertising and Lianne Moule, part owner of Immortal Ink in Chelmsford, UK, agreed. She said, “The shop’s been going for 20 years, and we used to advertise in magazines, but now we only use social media”.
So, as well as having your own personal social media pages for tattooing, make sure you have a shop Instagram and Facebook page too. Show off the artists who work for you by posting images of their work and anything else you might offer such as merchandise.
Ask your employees to mention your shop on their personal social media pages too. They can tag the shop in all posts, set the shop as the location and mention it in their bio.
If you’re not noticing much engagement on social media, you can always try paid or sponsored ads. This basically means putting a small amount of money behind each post to ensure it reaches more people. And, a little spend goes a long way – it doesn’t take much investment on Facebook to get your post in front of more people.
If you don’t have the time to manage your own social media or this all sounds too complicated, there are people out there who will do it for you. Freelance social media specialists and copywriters are experienced in this sort of thing, so will know exactly how to get you noticed.
“The shop’s been going for 20 years, and we used to advertise in magazines, but now we only use social media.”Lianne Moule, Immortal Ink, Essex, UK
4. Traditional marketing
Although social media is taking over, more traditional marketing isn’t a wasted idea – maybe more so for new shops. Some artists told us that A-boards outside the shop are a good idea, although you may need a license to have one – so make sure you check with your local council. Other artists said they had tried advertising in magazines and leaving flyers in other shops such as barbers (the hairdressing kind and not us!) and coffee shops.
Or, why not go even bigger? Studios have been known to sponsor local events or even advertise at sports stadiums.
5. Meet the locals
Go and say hello to your neighbours and introduce your business. Getting to know other businesses around you is a really good way to get yourself known and if anyone wants to know of a good tattooist, they’re more likely to recommend you.
Be careful where you’re opening up shop though. If you’re thinking of setting up on a high street which only has one studio, you might step on some toes – so make sure you’re tactful in your search for a location.
Tattoo conventions are also a great way to get the name of your shop in front of potential customers. Every person there is your target audience and by simply being there, you and the other artists you work with are promoting your tattoo shop. If there are any conventions local to you – go for them. It’s much better opportunity to build up a local client base.
Make sure your allocated area stands out too. Get yourself a noticeable banner and fully brand your area – maybe even throw in some free sweets!
If you haven’t done a convention before, you can read our article here on what you expect and how to prepare.
7. Throw a launch party
What better way to get your name out there than by throwing an opening soiree. Open up your shop or studio for one night only and invite other artists, people in the industry, your friends who love tattoos, and their friends, and so on.
Free food and alcohol will also always go down a treat, just FYI.
8. Offer a discount
Nothing tempts customers to buy products more than an offer, so, why not create a 10% discount for local business or a referral discount? For example, if your clients refer a friend, both them and their friend can get 10% off their next tattoo.