Marketing Strategies That Work for Tattoo Artists

Tattoo marketing can be a daunting thing to add to your plate as a new tattoo artist finding your footing. Or, if you’re an established tattoo artist looking into transitioning into owning a shop, it can be just as scary. In a business that puts emphasis on the customer’s opinion, making a valuable space for yourself is important. It’s also entirely possible. The rise of social media and online marketing has opened the door for thousands of industries to expand their campaigns, and the same happened for tattoo artists. In this article, we’ll tell you a little bit about what makes the most effective tattoo marketing and how you can incorporate these strategies into your day-to-day operations.

Build Your Tattoo Artist Brand

Everything starts with a brand-your brand. Tattoo marketing revolves around the artist building an audience of people that want to see your work and work with you. Most artists likely have a portfolio or are working on one, and this is where building a brand as a tattoo artist can start. Transforming your portfolio into your brand, with a signature logo or name, makes it personal and easy to remember. This is often referred to as brand voice, something that’s essential to any blossoming company. Identifying a signature style will only help your brand’s longevity.

All of this combined makes for effective tattoo marketing because customers like products that are well established and put together. A signature style, logo, and social media will attract new customers and keep loyal ones. This works for both an individual tattoo artist and a tattoo shop showcasing multiple artists. You can use your brand to sell other products as well, like hats, t-shirts, or sweatshirts with your logo on them. Not only will this garner more traction and get your brand name out there, it gives you another opportunity to showcase your work.

Ideas for Tattoo Promotion

Another tattoo marketing strategy for a growing tattoo artist shop is promotions and specials. Use your brand logo to make business cards, pamphlets with small portfolios, and even posters that you can have on-hand for customers to take and remember you. Combining these with sales and discounts will garner more traffic to your shop. You can even transform these into contests of your own, generating more business for your brand. These strategies can go hand-in-hand with both digital and traditional marketing approaches.

Traditional Marketing Strategies

Traditional marketing strategies aren’t completely out of style, and they can actually still be effective. A-boards to prop-up outside your shop are a great example of this. While you need a license to acquire one, they can be effective for pulling in customers off the street by advertising deals and promotions. Alongside this, doing a fundraiser to support a local cause is a great way to build rapport with your community while getting your brand out there. This coincides with charity events, like a free or inexpensive cover-up event. A popular tattoo promotion a lot of shops do is a “Friday the 13th” sale, where small tattoos are thirteen dollars. A promotion like this is fun, brings in the community, and doesn’t cost much for the shop. These events can be advertised on social media and can go hand-in-hand with digital marketing.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is relatively new in comparison to traditional marketing, and while it’s very effective, it can be hard to handle if you don’t know what you’re doing. Among the many benefits of digital marketing, social media creates a space for visual artists to shine. For tattoo artists specifically, image-based social media is ideal for online advertising. Pinterest, Instagram, and even Facebook can be the best to use for tattoo artists wanting to showcase their work and brand. In addition to posting online about your portfolio, special events, or sales, you can even do giveaways to get your name out there. Giveaways are efficient for gaining traction with mutual customers, as well as feeding the algorithm and boosting your posts.

Social media can be powerful in grabbing your customers’ attention and keeping it, which also connects to brand management. Like we stated earlier, building your brand is essential to getting new customers and keeping loyal ones. This comes across in both traditional and digital marketing, so take advantage of every opportunity to get your brand out there.

Tattoo Conventions

One of the best tattoo marketing ideas for tattoo artists to get their name out there is tattoo conventions. Conventions can tell you who the most renowned people in the game are, and are a great way to make connections in the tattoo community. It’s great for individual artists to showcase their work and represent their shops. Plus, lots of customers go to conventions to scope out the artists, so it’s an amazing opportunity for advertising. Conventions can be big or small depending on your location, and there are even international opportunities. Most even offer contests you can enter to showcase your work and win awards. World Tattoo Events showcases events worldwide, large, or small, and displays the World’s Best Tattoo Artists.

Tattoo Shop Ideas

If you have a physical storefront you’re working with, you’ll want the decorations to match the vibe of your shop. Ideally, it lines up with the branding you’re using on business cards, social media, and other advertisements. Tattoo shops have a very unique aesthetic, so modeling after other tattoo shops could be a good option if you’re looking for ideas. Keep in mind that you’ll want your shop to stand out, but still remain true to your audience.

Once you have a tattoo shop idea that matches your aesthetic, it opens the door for even more tattoo marketing strategies. Launch parties are a great way to present yourself as a business and get customers. First-time discounts offered at these launch parties can be helpful in building rapport with your audience. Launch parties are also a great spot to hand out business cards, t-shirts, or other clothing, and even fliers for future events. It’s common to even extend launch parties into a week’s worth of events, with a different discount each day of the week. Again, these are great methods for getting your shop’s name out there and capture your customers’ attention.

Other Helpful Tips for Tattoo Artists

Alongside all of the marketing that goes into owning a business, you’ll need to know about the ins and outs of providing a quality service. This is also a crucial part of keeping customers you bring in. There are a few small things you can implement into your tattoo shop to make sure that your business runs smoothly, like instating an online booking system. This makes it easy for customers to set up an appointment, add it to their calendar if needed, and provides easy cancellation. Another nice aspect of an online booking system is text reminders, helping customers remember their booked appointments. SimplyBook.Me is an online service that you can implement into your own website that provides a booking system complete with text reminders, customization, and accepts online payments. This might be a small feature, but it’s important not to waste your or your customer’s time.

Selling Tattoos Designs Online

If you’re a freelance artist interesting in gaining traction, but don’t necessarily want to work in a shop, look online! There are many websites where you can sell your tattoo designs as freelance work. If you’re interested, you could sell a handful of designs to a tattoo shop for their use, while maintaining freelance eligibility. Typical freelancing websites will work for selling tattoos online, like Fiverr or Upwork, but you might want something industry-specific.

Create My Tattoo

Create My Tattoo is a freelance selling website specifically designed for tattoo artists. It connects customers with tattoo designers all across the globe, creating multiple tattoo designs for each customer. One of the best features of Create My Tattoo is the feedback the customers give, making your time all the more useful as an artist. It’s a great way to gain valuable insight into the tattoo industry and providing some first-hand experience.

Custom Tattoo Design

While Create My Tattoo or other websites like Upwork and Fiverr are freelance-based, Custom Tattoo Design is more structured. There’s an application process, and only applicants who the art director finds valuable are contacted. This might be more approachable for those with a unique style and a handful of experience already. With Custom Tattoo Design, you get to work one-on-one with clients to develop their custom tattoos. Customers will provide a description before being paired with the best artist available and you work together to develop the tattoo. Custom Tattoo Design provides a space for those looking for personal assignments and a more in-depth experience.

Make Sure These Strategies are Effective

While all of these tattoo marketing strategies are useful for tattoo artists, make sure that the ones you use are effective for you. If you are utilizing a brand voice and capturing new customers on social media, make sure that your brand awareness is where you want it to be. Research and time will tell you which strategies are best for you, and how you should update or change your approach moving forward.


  • What are the best marketing strategies for tattoo artists?
  • How do I build my brand as a tattoo artist?
  • How important is digital marketing?
  • Is traditional marketing still effective?
  • Where can I sell my tattoos designs online?

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