9 ways for a tattoo artist to get more clients

Show ‘em what you’ve got

The global tattoo industry brings in an estimated 50 billion dollars a year. This presents a significant opportunity for any tattoo artist hoping to build and grow their business.

However, to connect with this massive audience, tattoo artists first need to know how to market themselves and find clients. So here are a few ways you can grow your following and fill your appointment schedule.

9 ways for a tattoo artist to get more clients

  1. Help promote your tattoo shop.

  2. Build a personal brand.

  3. Create a signature style.

  4. Launch a professional website.

  5. Get on the right social media platforms.

  6. Work the hashtag.

  7. Encourage clients to share their experience.

  8. Travel to tattoo conventions.

  9. Remember your work is a walking billboard.

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies.

1. Help promote your tattoo shop

Even if you don’t own the tattoo shop where you work, part of your marketing plan should include promoting the business. Building notoriety for the business will help you get more clients because they will come into the stop looking for a brand they know and respect — and find you.

2. Build a personal brand

Building your personal brand and reputation is essential if you are a freelance tattoo artist or if you own a parlor. When you build notoriety, you create a brand around yourself. This attracts clients who want to work specifically with you, and you can carry that reputation with you no matter where you choose to work.

3. Create a signature style

As you build your brand, consider how you can leverage your unique talent as a tattoo artist to create a signature style. When artists are known for a certain style (such as realism, traditional, watercolor, etc.), clients will specifically seek them out.

4. Build a professional website

As a tattoo artist, you need a professional website for both your personal brand and your tattoo shop. It’s not enough to just be on social media. You also need a professional website that includes the following:

  • Branded domain URL that includes the name of your store or your name.
  • Photo gallery where you can display your past work.
  • Contact form so potential clients can contact or schedule sessions with you.
  • List of testimonials from past clients to show off your professionalism and authority.
  • Website design that matches your signature tattoo style.

5. Get on the right social media platforms

Social media is always an excellent tool for connecting with new audiences and building deeper relationships with your current customers. But certain social media services will work better for certain types of industries and professionals. For a tattoo artist, the following social apps will help you showcase your work and connect with targeted audiences.

Instagram is a photo-centric platform so it’s a prime place for sharing images of your work. When sharing photos of your tattoos, keep a few things in mind. Don’t use filters as they will distort color. Also, take a lot of photos but only post the best ones.

Your best bet is social media apps best known for visual imagery.


Tumblr has long been a popular platform within the tattoo community. Create your own page to show off your work. Also, build relationships with other tattoo artists by sharing their photos, liking their Tumblr posts and commenting to start conversations.

Pinterest was once a place for recipes and clothing, but it has grown into filling many other categories — especially tattoos. Create boards that feature your work as well as boards that showcase other tattoo styles. This will help expand your reach and increase the likelihood of you’ll connect with a larger audience.

6. Work the hashtag

When you post photos of your work on any social media app, from Instagram to Facebook, always include hashtags with your posts. Hashtags help people find your post on social media, so use generic terms as well as specific hashtags that describe details or styles of the work you share. If you can’t think of any hashtags for your posts, use Hastagify to find popular and relevant terms.

Tattoo Artist Sharing
Photo: Jhaymesisviphotography via Visual hunt / CC BY

7. Encourage clients to share their experience

Remember that social media works two ways. You can share and so can your clients. Encourage your clients to share their experience while they are in the chair by checking-in on Facebook. Ask them to write a review of their tattoo experience on your Google+ or Yelp page. Tell them you’d love to see them promote your work by sharing images of the final product on Instagram.

Be sure to add a Pinterest Save button to every tattoo photo on your website so visitors can pin their favorites to their Pinterest boards. The number of people who see your work will quickly multiply.

8. Travel to tattoo conventions

While most of your marketing work will target potential clients, you should also build relationships with people in the tattoo industry who can help fill your chair. By going to national tattoo conventions, you can make introductions with several types of people:

Other tattooers and shops that may welcome you as a guest tattoo artist at their shop.

Tattoo enthusiasts who travel to get work done by the best artists in the country.

Tattoo media publishers who may want to feature your work in their publications.

Tattoo Artist Woman
Photo: VisualHunt

9. Remember your work’s a walking billboard

When you’re a tattoo artist, your work can literally speak for itself. You place designs on people who show off the art and tell people where they had the work done. So, take advantage of opportunities to have your artwork act as a walking billboard.

Form relationships with your clients. Don’t rotate clients in and out of your chair without taking the time to talk with them and get to know them.

Do amazing work. If you want your clients to talk about your work, give them art they will be proud of. Always deliver your best work and push yourself to be better in order to keep the clients coming in.

Ask for referrals and give referral discounts. Don’t be shy! Come out and ask your past clients for referrals. Offer them a discount on their next tattoo or some other incentive for helping more clients find their way to your shop.

If you’re a tattoo artist looking to tap into the massive, multi-billion dollar tattoo industry, use these tips to start marketing and promoting yourself to build a loyal following and attract more clients.

Also published on Medium.

Image by: Visualhunt.com