23 Tattoo shop marketing ideas to get new clients
High-quality tattoo services will keep clients coming back for more; however, strategic marketing efforts are still vital for getting new clients in your chair. Let’s explore 23 marketing ideas designed to help tattoo businesses grow.
Launch paid advertising for your tattoo business
If you are not getting the organic (AKA unpaid) or social media traction you need to keep new clients coming through your doors, paid advertising outlets can help.
1. Connect with an industry-specific marketing agency
Paid marketing is a straightforward way to get your business right in front of clients by buying spots at the top of web pages. This strategy can apply to ads on social media platforms, Google search results, Bing search results, and other directory listings.
The obvious downside to these ads is the “paid” part. This marketing avenue comes with upfront costs, both in management and your running ad budget:
Management of paid ads: Let’s face it: most tattoo owners have their hands full. This busy schedule leaves little time to learn the ins and outs of online advertising. Unlike organic channels, paid ads need consistent supervision to ensure your budget is spent carefully and paced to last the month. Consider looking into agencies with a proven track record of helping tattoo businesses. You can also explore other options, like a freelance ad manager.
Price of paid tattoo ads: Paid advertising works in a bidding system. You set a budget allocated to bidding on relevant tattoo or permanent makeup searches. The price of these campaigns can vary starkly, leading to unpredictable results (and accidental overspending) without the right time and attention.
2. Access simplified paid advertising outlets
As we will explore below, plenty of directory listing platforms help clients connect with local service businesses. Many of these platforms offer paid ads that are simple for small businesses (like tattoo shops) to manage.
While they may not provide the same level of effective targeting as display or search ads, they can be accessible for small businesses to manage on their own. For example, buying ads on Nextdoor will get your business in front of potential clients directly in your neighborhood.
Let’s take a closer look at free and paid directory listing marketing opportunities.
Boost visibility with directory listing marketing
When potential clients search for local tattoo shops, you want to ensure your business pops up. While there are a variety of ranking factors at play, a little work goes a long way in helping your tattoo shop rise through the ranks with directory listing marketing:
3. Leverage your Google Business Profile
Perhaps the most impactful and practical approach to unpaid marketing is optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business, or GMB). There are a few simple ways to do this:
Maximize your business descriptions — using every possible character within the 750 limit — to share details about your business. Google only shows the first 250 characters above the “read more” tag, so put your most captivating information first. However, the rest of this description is still incredibly impactful on your tattoo shop’s search rankings.
Update your service list in GMB to reflect your current tattoo shop services menu. While Google doesn’t display these in your profile currently, it still uses them to connect your business with potential clients. For tattoo shops (and other local service businesses), Google has a pre-set list of services you can choose from. Ensure you take advantage of every relevant opportunity on the list and de-select any services you no longer offer. You can find Google’s guide to the services editor here.
Finally, you should keep your business information updated. Otherwise, you will likely miss or frustrate potential clients with a broken website link or inaccurate hours of operation. Read Google’s guide to communicating holiday hours and special closures here.
While Google Business Profile is perhaps the most popular directory listing, there are others you can optimize to ensure your business is well-represented across devices and platforms.
4. Collect Yelp reviews
As you likely know, Yelp is an online review platform that connects individuals with tattoo shops and other local businesses. With 2.7+ million individuals checking into Yelp daily, it is a helpful directory listing for businesses to optimize.
Tattoo shops can verify their free Yelp listing to get started. Once verified, you can update central details (like your address, phone number, and service menu). If you want to take it one step further, tattoo shops can buy ads that will put the listing on top of relevant searches.
5. Update Apple Business Connect
Apple Maps is perhaps the most notorious directory listing when it comes to inaccurate information. As the default navigation system for the 150 million US iPhone users, it is vital your tattoo shop’s business information stays up-to-date on the platform.
So, how do you get your tattoo shop to show up properly on Apple Maps? You need Apple Business Connect. Take a moment to claim your business on Apple Business Connect and update all of your tattoo shop's information.
6. Claim your Bing Places listing
There is no denying that Bing is on the rise. Thanks to Microsoft’s exclusive partnership with the popular ChatGPT AI tool, the company’s search engine now has more than 100 million daily active users. Bing Places is Microsoft’s version of Google Business Profile.
So, when a potential client asks Bing Chat about local tattoo shops, will it respond with information about your business? The easiest way to help promote your tattoo shop is by claiming and maintaining a free Bing Places profile.
7. Explore the Nextdoor app for tattoo shops
While it often falls under the tattoo shop marketing radar, one in every three US households uses the Nextdoor app. Nextdoor is a hyperlocal platform connecting people to other residents and businesses in the neighborhood.
You can create a free business page on the Nextdoor app to share details about your tattoo shop, join conversations, and stay connected to the community.
8. Encourage reviews across platforms
While you might like to let your services speak for themselves, reviews from previous clients are proven to heavily influence potential customers. According to BrightLocal data, 85% of consumers look for a high average star rating when booking a local service, and 60% value a high review volume.
These reviews can also encourage platforms like Google to recommend your business first for relevant searches.
So, how do you get more positive reviews for your tattoo shop? Start by simply asking clients to leave you a review.
You can send a streamlined message when each sale is closed to encourage clients to send feedback. Add a custom review link that sends clients directly to your business page to make things even easier.
Boost recurring revenue with tattoo shop membership marketing
Membership programs offer a seamless marketing option that will have your services sell themselves month after month. This option provides reliable, recurring profits for your business and must-have deals for clients — a win-win opportunity.
9. General membership structures
While they aren’t commonly found in tattoo parlors, you can create membership programs for almost any service. Simply determine a fixed price for a service option that customers will be billed for automatically. In return, clients get additional incentives or discounted pricing from traditional service costs. For example, tattoo shop memberships may include:
New piercings at regular intervals
New small tattoos at regular intervals
You get the idea. Depending on how engaged your audience is, these can be a hit or miss in the tattoo space. In many cases, these can cater to clients who have big visions on a small budget — helping them make steady (and exciting) progress.
To ensure it will be worth the effort, gauge interest by surveying your clients before spending the time to create, launch, and begin managing this program. If your clients aren’t interested in routine service, you can consider establishing a membership to build up their tattoo bank instead.
10. Use memberships to help clients build tattoo funds
Especially with a high-quality shop, tattoos can be expensive. To help ease the blow, you can help clients build their tattoo funds with a membership program. Within this structure, you can charge clients a set amount each month until they have enough money saved for their desired service.
For clients, this will make it easier to save up and help their progress feel tangible. Additionally, you may consider providing an additional incentive or discount for members to encourage this option.
In return, these memberships encourage clients to stick with your business for their high-ticket services while providing a more measured income.
11. Tattoo detail memberships for larger projects
For larger projects, clients may want (or need) to have their tattoo vision come to life over time — whether for budget, time, pain tolerance, or other pragmatic limitations. In these cases, a tattoo membership program may be the way to go.
For a monthly charge, the client can visit regularly to have a specific detail or feature added until they are satisfied with their tattoos. This option ensures your clients get just what they want without creating extra work for you.
12. Permanent Makeup Memberships
As we all know, permanent makeup is not actually permanent. These services can require regular touch-ups, and some clients prefer the crisp look that can only be achieved with more regular visits.
However, PMU businesses need to curb the “one and done” mentality that comes with permanent makeup services. You can encourage and retain these high-value appointments with a membership program.
Membership programs offer a proven way to support clients, keep them coming back, and boost their lifetime value. Not only does it normalize repeat visits, but it sets the tone with a standard cadence your customers will look forward to.
For more information, you can view our webinar on adding, customizing, and managing membership programs.
Give your tattoo shop’s website a facelift
Your website is an online lifeline between your business and its clients. Even the smallest website improvements can have a significant impact on your unpaid marketing performance:
13. Implement quick, intuitive online booking
Successful digital marketing requires a positive online user experience. For example, let’s say your marketing efforts successfully bring clients to book an appointment on your website. However, they find that your site takes seemingly forever to load. Then, your online scheduling tool is glitchy or unresponsive. It won’t be long before the potential client becomes frustrated and heads to another tattoo shop instead.
Conversely, an efficient online booking process will help interested clients transition from skimming your online service menu to sending you a deposit within minutes.
14. Share your tattoo shop’s value proposition
Why should clients choose your tattoo shop over others in the area? What makes your business stand out? Whether it is your unique art or your exceptional customer service, ensure this value proposition is front and center on your website.
Your site is also the main target of most cause marketing efforts (or when you connect with clients by aligning with their values). For example, many specialty tattoo shops will offer discounted reconstructive tattoos to breast cancer survivors. Potential clients who feel a closeness to this cause may be even more eager to visit your business.
15. Let clients personalize services to increase appointment value
In many cases, clients know exactly what they want their tattoos to look like. Personalized service bookings can help clients communicate these preferences while maximizing your shop’s revenue from every appointment. You can personalize your services by presenting additional options and add-ons at every step of your booking flow. Let’s explore the benefits of personalized tattoo shop bookings:
Additional information for artists: When you know just what your client wants before an appointment, you can use any downtime to prep the materials and ensure you are ready to go once your client arrives.
Balancing your schedule: An intelligent booking platform (like Mangomint) will adjust your appointment duration to accommodate any longer appointments — ensuring a balanced schedule for your business.
Including additional revenue opportunities: When you provide additional service options (from hand massages to cuticle treatments), you encourage customers to book longer service sessions with higher ticket values.
Improved customer experience: When your client’s tattoos turn out exactly as they had envisioned, they leave happy and feeling their best. This feeling is the kind of customer experience that will have your clients coming back for more.
For help getting started, you can offer advanced add-ons in your online booking flow with Service Customizations. This feature lets you create upgrades that seamlessly integrate within your service menu and ensure your schedule and price reflect the appointment’s needs.
Connect with clients using email marketing for tattoo shops
Email marketing is a helpful way to boost tattoo shop revenue and encourage clients to book. Here are a few ideas to help you keep your outreach fresh:
16. Provide segmented promotions, deals, and discounts
It is no secret that clients love discounts. You can quickly rejuvenate your shop’s activity with a promotion or deal. However, many businesses make the mistake of sending out offers in email “blasts” to everyone on their client list. This strategy can actually hurt you more than it helps.
After too many unopened emails from your business, mail platforms will filter your campaign into a promotions folder — or straight to spam.
Additionally, most platforms charge per email. By sending a campaign only to the audience most relevant to your offer, you will save money on email marketing expenses.
Especially with high-ticket appointments, clients can feel cheated if they get an email discount for a service after they pay the full price, which impacts your client loyalty. If the word spreads about their experience, you can expect new clients to wait until you run a promotion before booking.
The easiest way to get the word out about your sale is with a personalized email marketing campaign to a limited audience. For example, if you send out an email deal for permanent eyeliner, filter out customers who recently had this service. Then, use this marketing opportunity to highlight your limited-time deal, provide clients with promotion details, and link directly to your online booking tool.
17. Communicate tattoo business updates
Do you have any new services, specialists, or products clients will love? These business updates are all suitable candidates for an email marketing campaign.
This practice can put your business at the top of clients’ minds, creating excitement about new services and encouraging them to book an appointment. These updates can also improve customer experience by providing valuable info that sets client expectations about changes within your tattoo shop.
18. Consider direct marketing outreach
Clients get inundated with emails daily. The more emails your business sends to a client, the more likely they will tune you out or unsubscribe. Rather than sending out a large email campaign, consider direct email marketing. This process involves sending a personalized (and often far more effective) email to an individual tattoo shop client on your list.
For example, can you think of any clients with an unfinished project? Direct email marketing can get them back into your chair with a small reminder or discount.
Build your brand with social media marketing
Social media is undeniably powerful in the tattoo industry, but it can also feel overwhelming and oversaturated with content — especially if you are feeling unsure about whether or not your efforts will pay off. While it can take some time, patience, and consistency, low return from social media marketing often means you are due for a new strategy. Here are some marketing ideas for uncovering opportunities on social platforms:
19. Create and share your online portfolio
Your tattoo shop’s portfolio is a vital marketing tool for showcasing your talents and skills to potential clients. Think of your social media profiles as digital portfolios.
Like a standard portfolio, it is essential you keep it updated with your best work. The easiest and most effective way is to share the work you are already doing. You can request permission to share client photos during the booking process. This marketing effort works to provide a few benefits for your business:
Simplifies social media content creation.
Encourages clients to repost/share — enhancing your brand awareness.
Makes your clients feel supported and connected to your business, encouraging rebooking and client loyalty.
20. Discount “artist ’s choice” tattoos
Tattoo art offers a unique canvas for boundless creativity and talent. However, most clients choose their own designs, which can limit artists to endless loops of trending tattoo styles.
While you may be eager to share client photos on your social channels, standard appointments may not capture your full potential. If you want to earn more clients and high-value bookings for more intensive work, consider offering a discount to clients who will let you choose their designs to showcase your skills.
This marketing effort can pay off by boosting your online portfolio, attracting new clients, and encouraging high-ticket appointments.
21. Engage influencer or affiliate social media marketing
Local influencers can help spread the word about your tattoo shop. Influencer marketing can be impressively effective, with this style of marketing expected to value $7.14 billion in 2024, thanks to its potential for a high ROI. There are a few tips for getting started with influencer marketing:
Start local: As a local business, this marketing option is only effective with influencers who have a following in your area. While big-name influencers can be pricey, local “micro-influencers” with several thousand followers will likely be more accessible.
Check your client list: Consider reviewing your client list for any noteworthy names. These micro-influencers can be more eager to work with your shop, being that they already value your work.
Ask your staff: Members of your staff may also be attuned to the local influencer scene and have recommendations on potential partnerships.
A quick search: In many cases, the easiest way to find influencers in your area is with an online search. With the rise of affiliate marketing, there are plenty of resources to help connect businesses with local influencers.
After you find the right local accounts to partner with, reach out and offer an incentive to promote your business, such as with a free tattoo or direct payment.
Amplify tattoo shop promos and gift card discounts
Your tattoo shop services are at the heart of your business. By enticing audiences with irresistible promos, you can make the most of every marketing opportunity:
22. Create tattoo shop package deals
I think it is safe to say that matching tattoo trends are not going away anytime soon. Whether it is for couple tats, a bridal party, or a trio of friends, you can boost sales by catering your services to group bookings.
Packages offer a simple way to operate this promotion. For example, you might offer a package of 5 matching tattoos for the price of 4. In return, these appointments provide you with a higher overall service value and more steady income in an often unpredictable industry.
23. Consider tattoo shop gift card discounts
Gift card discounts offer an easy promotion to boost revenue on any occasion.
These discounts also work to bring new clients into your business. For example, when a gift card is on sale, clients are more likely to buy one for friends and family members. These gifts will connect your business to new (and potentially recurring) clients in your area. You can find more captivating gift card promotion ideas for your tattoo shop here.
Mangomint software for tattoo shops
As your marketing efforts help grow your tattoo shop clientele and profits, you will need the right management tools on your side. Mangomint is here to help. Our tattoo shop management software is built to streamline, improve, and ease your daily operations using advanced features built with you in mind. If you are thinking about switching software, consider starting a free trial or booking a live product demo with Mangomint today.