It seems that today’s high street consists of coffee shops and tattoo parlours, it’s like everyone has a tattoo and I am no exception!
The tattoo industry is worth over a billion pounds and with tattoos being more socially acceptable, it’s no wonder that more and more tattoo shops are popping up.
With so much competition, How can you make your work stand out? How do your attract new clients looking for fresh ink? You do this through marketing and if you haven’t started already then it’s time you did.
So how can marketing help your tattoo business? Marketing creates awareness around your tattoo shop, it engages with new and existing clients, it puts you in front of your competition who is not marketing.
Well, the guys at Creative Outlaw Media (Who are tattoo enthusiasts) are here to give you some advice on how to market your tattoo business.
This sounds like an obvious one but show off your work, if you are a decent tattoo artist people will be lining up to have some ink done by you. Take pictures of all of your work so that you have an extensive portfolio you can show off and grab people’s attention with.
If you are trying to get your designs out there, then draw a load of flash to get people intrigued.
What is the difference between a business and a brand? You have a business, every other tattoo shop is a business. A brand is something like Coca Cola or Apple or even Miami Ink, it’s recognised by its logo, their name stands for something, they have a mission and a purpose.
Think about creating a brand rather than just another tattoo shop, create a kick ass logo, pick a font and colours, brand everything, create merchandise, be consistent across all of your marketing.
Another reason why you have a brand is because it will work for itself, it will be recognisable and people will want to be associated with it. For example Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy are two distinct Tattoo Brands, from their humble beginnings as Tattoo Artist’s the pair have moved into the alcohol and clothing industry. When I think of Sailor Jerry I don’t just think of rum, I think of old school tattoos, summer evenings, t-shirts and tattoos. They have built a brand with a strong following in the hipster market.
Think of some tattoo brands that you like or even just brands, write down what you like about it, what makes them stand out. Use your findings to help create your brand.
You sell a visual art form, so social media is the perfect place to show off your artwork. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are the place to be, they are visual platforms and people use them to research or look for ideas for their next tattoo, I know I do!
Don’t forget to use hashtags. Research which hashtags have lots of followings such as #employedandtattooed #tattoosleeve
If you don’t already, then you should have a Facebook business page, encourage people to check in at your shop, share social posts, get people to post their fresh ink or even tag them in your own post.
A lot of tattoo artists don’t bother with a website they just have a Facebook page, this is a bad idea. Your website should be your number one source of information. On your website make sure you have a gallery of your work, the background of your artists, your location information, how can they book in with you? What price do you charge?
When people are looking for a new tattooist they will be doing their research online, if you are not there then you could be missing out on a bunch of new clients.
Just because you built it, doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, it’s basically the little things you can do to your website to help increase its chances when someone looks for tattooists on Google. There is a ton of information on the web on SEO but where to start? Put yourself in your client’s shoes; What information would they like to know? Is your website easy to navigate? Use relevant keywords in the text on your website, think ‘tattoo’, ‘tattooist’, ‘ink’, ‘fresh ink’ etc sprinkle these words throughout your website but don’t over do it as this is seen as keyword stuffing and Google doesn’t like that, write as naturally as possible. Unsure where to start? Just Google tattoo shops, tattoo parlours etc, take a look at the top 5 websites that appear in the Google result page. Read through their content, how many keywords do you see? How have they written it? Use it as inspiration.
A little tip to see how your competitors use their keywords is to press “Ctrl + F” this will bring up the search option put in your desired keyword, Google will show you how many times that keyword appears on their site and where and in what context, this is a good starting point.
PPC stands for Pay Per Click, PPC ads are the text or images that appear above the Google results, they also have “AD” next to them. This works by paying Google every time someone clicks on your ad but you have to entice them to click your ad, this could be through the power of copy (text) or through a powerful image. Think of these ads as your shop window, how would you draw customers into your tattoo shop? By grabbing their attention.
There are lots of different types of PPC advertising. There are display ads; these are the images or ads you see on other peoples websites. There is also Facebook ads; you know the option to boost your post? Well, this a form of PPC. Facebook charges you by impression or engagement.
PPC is a quick way to gain visibility and drive traffic to your website. If you are unsure where to start, try experimenting with Facebook ads, Facebook’s Blueprint is a great free learning resource.
If you haven’t already then you should really set up a Google My Business profile especially if you have a shop. Having a Google My Business can dramatically increase your Local SEO results. Without going into too much detail, Local SEO is the Google results based on someone’s location. Think when someone Googles “Tattooist Near Me” or “Tattoo Shops Near Me” Google uses that persons GPS to pull in the best and closest results. I mean who wants to travel hours to get a tattoo done? Unless of course, they are a shit hot artist!
It also gives people the opportunity to leave Google reviews, the more positive reviews you have the higher you will appear in the search engine results.
Get a Google My Business account now! It’s free!
Video is everywhere, think about social media, 90% of your news feed is some sort of video content. I’ve seen a lot of tattoo artists already embrace video, even if it is just for the big reveal.
Try to think differently, there is a reason video is so popular, people can’t be bothered to read through a blog or spend hours on a website, they would rather watch a video that answers the question they have.
Once again having some sort of video content on your website can actually help increase your SEO results because people may spend longer on your website watching said video. Google loves it when people spend a long time on a website because it signals to Google that your website is something special.
When it comes to video it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you have a smartphone that you can record video on then there are plenty of free editing apps that you can use. If you do have a decent marketing budget then perhaps invest in a good camera for pictures and videos, or you could hire a professional to make you a slick video for your tattoo shop.
Try to think about the type and style of your video, some ideas could be a video that shows off the atmosphere of your shop, Why is yours different to every other tattoo parlour?
Interview someone getting their first tattoo, ask them Why they got it done? Did it hurt as much as they thought? etc.
Ask for client testimonials, Why do your customers keep coming back to your shop? Show people behind the scenes, the everyday running of a shop, What is your design process? Where do you get your ideas from? What needles do you use? Do you have a favourite tattoo machine? How does it work? This is all content that people could be interested in.
What is the most frequently asked question you get asked? Can people find the answer to these on your website?
Finding a new artist can be stressful and I’m going to say something a lot of you may not want to hear. A lot of tattoo artists I have met have a fucking chip on their shoulder. I do understand a lot of clients take the piss and expect you to work for cheap or even free, ask stupid questions like Does it hurt? Can you do an entire sleeve in 2 hours? But, you have to think of your customer, they are the ones paying for this service, they are the ones keeping you in business and this will be on their skins for the rest of their lives and if it’s going to look shit they won’t be happy, so they want to feel reassured that they have found the right artist (stupid questions or not).
Tattoos are expensive and rightly so, it’s an art form. To the client it’s an investment, we have to work long hours in a sometimes shitty job that we hate so we can have some more ink so we do want value for money. I’ve been tattooed by people who have spent half the time having a smoking break or some that have spent an hour and a half setting up!
By having the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions would help make people at ease, they know the process and what to expect from the experience. It helps them to know that they have found the right artist.
I know what you are going to say, yeah sure I have time to write a blog as well as draw clients designs. Ok, fair enough, but having blog content will put you head and shoulders above the competition; the ones who say they don’t have time. Having a blog will once again help with your SEO results, as you will be able to appear higher in Google (Rank) for keywords that you wish to appear for. It also helps drive more traffic to your website, this could just be a diary entry about the running of a shop or answering more in-depth questions. You could write about the tattoo industry, Why is it so popular? Why did you get into it? Write about tattoo conventions, talk about the history of tattoos. If you are still stuck with ideas for content titles then check out the Answer The Public or Google Trends, just put in the keyword you are interested in and it will give you ideas for what to write about.
Recommendations and word of mouth are imperative to growing a loyal customer base, you could be the best tattooist in the world but if you don’t retain clients due to a bad experience or they are unhappy with your service, they won’t be recommending you to anyone. People are reluctant to spend money on something they are unsure about, there is a lot of trust involved in tattooing. We trust you to do an amazing job, so people will ask for their friends to recommend a good tattoo artist.
Like I have said before it is worth using social media to keep your customers up to date with what is going on in your shop.
Do you collect email addresses from your clients? As long as they are GDPR compliant you can send your customer base emails about any offers or events that might be coming up.
Make it easy for customers to refer you by offering rewards for new customers.
These are just a few little words of wisdom to help you along your way and help build your tattoo brand. If you really want to get into upping your marketing game it might be worth having a go at Google Garage, this is a free online course which can help you with your digital marketing. If you get really stuck or really don’t have time then you know where we are.
I’m also up for discounted marketing services in exchange for discounted artwork!!