How To Get New Tattoo Clients in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

how to get new tattoo clients
Learn how to get new tattoo clients with our expert guide. Explore the most reliable marketing strategies to attract clients to your growing tattoo business.

The tattoo industry is on a solid footing in 2023 and is expected to run even faster in the upcoming decade. According to the IBIS report[1], the combined market size of tattoo businesses has increased by more than 13% in 2022. With such prominent growth, the question ink artists have is, of course, how to get new tattoo clients to walk into their studios. We dived into the world of business and marketing to find the answer.

Know your customer part always comes first, so we begin with an insightful look into what clients want to find in your studio. When you know what your value proposition should look like, you try to find ways to deliver it to as many people as possible. We’ll talk about how tattoo advertising works and what marketing channels you need to master to grow a customer base. 

Finally, any mature business knows that getting new clients is great, but making the old ones come back is even more important, so we’ll give you several pro tips on how to get tattoo clients to return. There is a lot of information to unpack, so stay with us!

What Is a Tattoo Client Looking For in Your Studio?

While some aspects we’re about to list might seem obvious, they are essential and require continuous improvement. Putting just a tiny bit more effort into those can yield substantial dividends, so asking the “Can I do this even better?” question can be the first step in getting new tattoo clients.

? Professionalism

Professionalism is a baseline requirement for a tattoo studio. The clean and sterile environment is an essential part of the studio’s positive outlook, but professionalism also extends to the behavior of the staff, the artist’s demeanor, and the overall atmosphere of the studio. If a client feels respected and comfortable throughout the tattoo process, they will be more willing to spread the good word about your business or return for another tattoo.

Your business should both be and look professional. A very simple, but crucial thing you can do is invest some money and effort into taking quality photos of finished designs or workplace (whether it means getting a better camera, lighting, or just taking a few extra tattoo photos under different angles).

?
Just one business case to inspire you. In 2011, Airbnb came up with a seemingly intuitive idea: accommodations with quality photos get more bookings and generate more revenue. Interesting hypothesis, but how to know if investing in professional photographers will actually pay off? Well, they decided to test it. They started with 20 photographers, added watermarks to the photos, and grew their revenue by 275% in 3 years.
The storyline of Airbnb’s success. Croll and Yoskovitz[2] (2013)
The storyline of Airbnb’s success. Croll and Yoskovitz[2] (2013)

? Location

Location is key. It is much easier to get new tattoo clients when your shop is in a visible and convenient location. This aspect is especially important for young people who don’t own cars. For a second, less than 1% of all cars in the US are owned by people in their 20s[3]. Also, consider the area’s demographics (for example, being close to a university campus would mean getting walk-ins from students, etc.) and legal aspects, like zoning laws.

Running a business is a challenge of its own, and there are countless nuances you need to know about before you commit. The legal framework is just one of the aspects, and if you want to know more about how to launch a tattoo studio, check out our recent guide.

? Location

How To Get New Tattoo Clients: 3 Channels to Master

You probably heard of the Pareto principle—80% of the results come from 20% of causes. As Perry Marshall[4] and many others have proven, there are many ways to apply this principle to a business: 20% of employees generate 80% of revenue, and 20% of marketing tools bring 80% of clients. Therefore, you need to focus on the 3 most crucial tattoo marketing channels, study them one by one, and don’t disperse your attention and efforts on things that are less effective.

Social Media Promotions

There could be books written about how to get new tattoo clients via social media like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. Outlining all the details is a thankless job—the field of social changes with stunning speed, and many recommendations quickly become outdated and useless. That is why we’ll focus our advice on the established aspects of social media marketing that will remain valuable beyond 2023.

? Know your customer

Market analysis starts with the identification of customer segments. What could be the groups of tattoo clients? For example, clients who are getting their first tattoo will come with loads of questions, so maybe you could boost their confidence by posting some guidance for the first-timers on your Instagram page. Is one of your fellow artists good with floral print? You can emphasize it in your ads to attract the female customer segment.

Spend some time to outline these segments and focus on 2 or 3 that are most accessible to you. This knowledge will guide your tattoo marketing strategies and have a direct impact on how you use the promotional tools.

? Use paid promotion

Paid tattoo advertising on Instagram or Facebook will bring you clients. The algorithms change constantly, but what remains essential is your ability to target specific customer segments. Let’s say you defined women between 20 and 30 years old as an important customer segment, and you know that the butterfly tattoo is one of the most popular tattoo-related Google searches in 2023. You can adapt your social media advertisement to show a photo of your tattoo artist performing a butterfly tattoo to female users of a selected age on Instagram or Facebook.

# Use hashtags

Tattoo shops yield more benefits from the hashtag feature than almost any other industry. Sometimes, a client doesn’t even have to use Google—they look for #tattooatlanta, go to profiles they liked, see the physical address of the studio, and text the artist directly.

? Check what’s trending

Instagram Reels weren’t a thing before mid-2020. Today, we wonder how we lived without them for so many years. You don’t have to be the pioneer of the social media trends but try not to ignore tools (like Reels) that proved their effectiveness.

Check what's trending

Google Search

Getting a newly created website to a top Google search position is tedious and time-consuming. If you are a newly opened tattoo studio, running a website will create a heavy financial constraint you might not overcome. Instead, you can establish what’s called Google Business Listing. You really shouldn’t ignore this tool—here are a few simple reasons why:

  • It shows your studio on the Google map
  • Your client can look for and find you
  • You can post positive feedback (which is priceless)
  • It is free

These are valuable benefits, and we’ll add more to their importance in our pro tips section. There is one more thing you can do about your search position. InkMatch is an established platform that already has many articles that are on top of the search, so if you create an InkMatch profile, you will rank higher on Google and become a featured artist in our articles. For example, our recent article ranked the 10 most creative tattoo professionals in Houston. If you are a talented artist, your profile and best ink pieces can get promoted through our articles dedicated to a geographic region, tattoo style, or even specific designs!

Google Search

Branding and Personality

Branding is one of the critical aspects of tattoo advertising. We always hear how corporations invest millions of dollars to change the most subtle aspects of their brand image. And it makes sense because such investment achieves several goals:

? Differentiation

There are more than 21,000 tattoo shops in the US[5], and you definitely need to stand out in such a competitive market. Differentiation is one of the pillars of a successful tattoo marketing strategy. 

? Visual identity

A well-designed brand includes a distinctive logo and design of the studio itself. The visual aspect defines the initial impression clients have of your studio. Of course, a positive impression will influence a client’s decision to choose your studio.

? Memorability

Customers’ experience with your studio should be as memorable as possible. Imagine your client considering 5 tattoo shops for their future ink piece. They get distracted and return to their search only the next day. Their decision-making process will now resume with the artist or studio they remember the best. If this is your studio, you have a great chance to win a customer.

One way to increase memorability is by adding personality to your brand image. Behind every tattoo design you ink stands an artist with their unique life story and vision (and people love uniqueness). Creating an InkMatch profile can help you reach this goal. Having a profile on our website allows the artists to be promoted in our articles, including those based on interviews. For example, our recent article about UV tattoos was inspired by our conversation with Jonny Hall. Such collaboration is a way to show off your best ink works to hundreds of website visitors and tell them about your vision to build a more personal connection with potential clients.

✒️
If you want your passion to become a paid job and thinking about how to start being a tattoo artist, we can help you with a detailed explanation of the 7 steps you need to take to make it happen.
Branding and Personality

4 Pro Tips on How To Keep Customers Coming Back

The tips we collected in this section are not unique to tattoo marketing, in fact, these are universal recommendations that almost any business can apply.

? Collect Customers’ Contact Info

Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the first answers to the “how to grow your tattoo business” question. CRM always starts with data collection. You need to gather as much information about your customer as possible, and the contact info is the baseline. There are essential steps you can take using this data, including asking for a positive review (and the vast majority of people agree to write one), word-of-mouth, follow-up of the tattoo healing process, sharing photos, etc.

? Use Email To Reach Out to Clients

While everything we listed above can be done using social media, reminding customers about you should be done more professionally. A well-crafted personalized promotional message you send to clients’ emails several months after their appointments can prove very effective at keeping customers coming back and growing your revenue.

? Create Loyalty Programs

You can get very creative with your loyalty programs. The most commonly used tattoo advertising tactics include referral rewards, birthday bonuses, anniversary discounts, or event-related benefits. Whichever one you choose, it will only be successful if you manage to create a positive and memorable experience for your customers. Thus, the next point is critical.

❤️ Show That You Care

Always remind yourself about the mission your business has. Whether a giant car manufacturer or a small tattoo studio, a company should never forget its original goal. Ultimately, a client pays for the emotions they experience—during the tattoo process and every time they see their ink piece in the mirror. The customer will come back if they know that you share their excitement.

4 Pro Tips on How To Keep Customers Coming Back

Summary

While the tattoo industry keeps growing at a remarkable pace, many artists and studios are looking for ideas on how to get new tattoo clients. Just as with any other business, successful tattoo advertising starts with understanding the customer base. Knowing who you sell to is just as important as how you do it.

In this article, we highlighted the essentials of the 3 most effective marketing channels you can use to grow your tattoo business. Our advice included both theoretical aspects and their practical applications, and even an inspiring business case. Also, we provided you with several helpful tips on how to increase the client retention rate.

Running a business is challenging, but we hope our insights will prove valuable and wish your studio to get many more new tattoo clients!

FAQ

? How To Get More Clients for My Tattoo?

We have a two-stepped approach to getting new tattoo clients. First, you need to understand what your customer looks for in your studio, and second, you need to master the 3 most important promotional channels.

? How Do I Promote Myself as a Tattoo Artist?

We analyze 3 promotional channels: social media advertisement, Google Business Listing, and personal branding.

? What Is the Best Social Media for a Tattoo Artist?

Social media is a fast-changing field. We focused a little bit more on Instagram, but other media like Facebook, TikTok, or Pinterest have their advantages.

? How Profitable Are Tattoo Shops?

Tattoo shops are considered lucrative endeavors. An established tattoo artist can charge more than $100 per hour and make very solid money if the customer flow remains consistent.

References

[1] IBIS World. (2023). Tattoo Artists in the US – Market Size (2005–2029). https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/tattoo-artists-united-states/ 

[2] Croll, A., & Yoskovitz, B. (2013). Lean analytics: Use data to build a better startup faster. O’Reilly Media, Inc.

[3] Statista Research Department. (2022). U.S. car owners as of 2021, by age group. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1041145/us-car-owners-by-age-group/ 

[4] Marshall, P. (2013). 80/20 Sales and marketing: The definitive guide to working less and making more. Entrepreneur Press.

[5] Smartscrapers. (2023). Number of Tattoo shops in United States. https://rentechdigital.com/smartscraper/business-report-details/united-states/tattoo-shops

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