The Business of Tattoos: How to Get More Tattoo Shop Walk-Ins

Woman with tattoos in her arms standing at the billing counter.

Most experienced tattoo artists know that their portfolio and word of mouth are the best ways to get tattoo clients. Recent statistics show that approximately 36 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.

So, how do you build clientele and get walk-in clients that will help your business thrive?

Read on for a list of ways that will help you get more tattoo shop walk-ins to help keep your business in the spotlight.

Start with an Awesome Website

Most tattoo shop walk-ins will rely on what they see online rather than their past experiences with your shop or a friend’s recommendations. Just like any business, you’ll want to ensure that you have a killer website that showcases your work.

When designing a professional website, make sure that you include a page that features your portfolio. The portfolio page should highlight some of your best work and include examples of several different styles. Incorporate basic linework pieces along with more intricate ones to give your clientele an idea of what you can do.

If you have multiple artists working in your shop, make sure that each one has its own portfolio page. You can also include customized testimonials on each page if you choose.

Don’t forget to include an about us and a contact us page so that people can ask questions or schedule a session in advance. Your website’s aesthetic should match your personal tattoo style so that it stands apart from the crowd.

If possible, a few reviews or client testimonials are extremely helpful as well. This gives walk-in clients a better idea of how customers have felt about getting a tattoo from you and works well if they’ve never been to your shop before.

If you happen to have the time, it also can’t hurt to include a few blog posts on your website. The blog content should be relevant, contain valid keywords that will bring people to your website (and your shop), and show that you’re an expert in your field.

Draw Tattoo Shop Walk-Ins with Social Media

Part of great branding includes having a strong and engaging social media presence. Start by creating accounts for shop across several popular platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Once you have your social media all set up, come up with a hashtag that’s completely unique to your business and to you as an artist. Use the hashtag in every post you make so that it becomes synonymous with your brand.

Engagement is the key to successful social media posts and will help you get more walk-in clients. Make sure you’re answering questions and talking to your customers on social media as much as humanly possible.

Success requires more than just the occasional post. Take some time to refresh your accounts by posting new content including photos of your latest tattoos, contests for things like gift cards, and more.

When potential clients see your posts, they’ll feel like you are authentic and available. This is a very easy way to bring in a lot more walk-in clients to your shop that you may not have reached using other methods of advertising.

Create a Signature Style

There’s no doubt that tattoos are gaining popularity, but that can make it tough to stand apart from the competition. Make sure that you have a style unlike other artists so that people are drawn to you.

Over time, you want people to look at your work and immediately know that it’s yours. This does take some time, patience, and practice, but in the end, it’s well worth it.

Keep in mind that every tattoo you give is basically a walking billboard for your business. The more unique and standout your style is, the more people will want to just stop by your shop and walk in without an appointment.

Once you find a style that’s all your own, incorporate that into the shop itself, your website, and your overall branding as much as possible. Over time, you should start to notice that more clientele are interested in your work.

Think about the tattoo styles that you like most and the ones that you enjoy doing the most, too. Which styles make your eyes light up with excitement, and what are you really passionate about? Once you realize the answers to these questions, you’ll be on the path to choosing a style that is truly unique to you and your handiwork.

Choose a Prime Location

Where your shop is located plays a huge role in how many walk-in clients you’ll get. For example, if you’re located on a busy street or in a bustling shopping center, you’re going to get more walk-ins than if your shop is off the beaten path.

While it could cost you more to rent a shop in these prime locations, you will also see a lot more foot traffic. Choose an area of your city or town that’s extremely popular and located near other attractions like restaurants or bars and shopping.

Not only should you operate your shop from a great location, but you should also focus on the exterior of the shop as well. Choose vibrant, bold signage that includes anything from neon lettering to a custom-painted sign with your signature style highlighted.

Every profitable business works hard to create a look that helps them stand out, and that includes their brick-and-mortar locations. Focus on how you can draw attention to your place of business so that curious clientele will walk in and either get a tattoo on the spot or decide to book an appointment later.

A combination of an exceptional website, an engaging social media presence, and a great shop should make it a cinch to get lots of tattoo shop walk-ins. Besides your location and signage, remember to ensure that the inside of your shop is clean, brightly lit, and creatively decorated. Most people want to see a tattoo shop that looks safe, comfortable, and inviting so that they feel confident about getting their next tat there.

Attend Tattoo Conventions

One of the most effective methods of tattoo marketing is to attend as many conventions as possible. Not only is this a great opportunity to do some networking, but it almost always guarantees you’ll get some word-of-mouth advertising.

Some tattoo conventions give out awards for various accomplishments such as best style, best coloring, or the most creative. If you happen to win one of these awards, you can certainly add this to your list of accolades.

As you build clientele, most people want to see a reputable tattoo shop that’s well-known for quality, creative work. The more conventions you attend, the more people will know about you, your style, and your skill set.

You might even get lucky and run into some tattoo magazine publicists and other tattoo-related media people at the convention. The more you make your presence known, the faster the word will spread about your shop and your work.

Of course, tattoo conventions are great for marketing, but they’re also great for meeting new friends and making new connections to help your business grow. The more conventions you attend, the higher the chances are that you’ll start to see more walk-in clients.

Make Your Policies Clear

Some tattoo artists are strictly by appointment only, while others may take the occasional walk-in. Make sure that you’re extremely clear about how you handle these types of tattoo clients well in advance. It’s also key to ensure that you’re operating within the laws of your state.

One way to make things easier is to alternate days, offering some days of the week for walk-ins only and others for your appointments. This will make it easier for you to manage your business and rotate your schedule for those customers who may just want to get a tattoo on a whim.

Keep in mind that quality tattoos take time to complete, so one walk-in client can potentially take up a block of several hours of your time. If you do offer walk-ins, let people know that they’re done on a first-come, first-served basis.

Post your shop hours somewhere on your website, your social media accounts, and on your shop’s front door. Include which days are dedicated to walk-ins and which ones are solely for appointments. This simple bit of information will help any walk-in clients you get to understand what the best time of day is to come by and get tatted.

Expand Your Clientele with Walk-Ins

Designing an awesome website, finding your signature style, and networking are some of the best ways to get more tattoo shop walk-ins. Keep your eye on creative ways you can reach more customers and network by attending conventions to help spread the word.

If you’re interested in becoming a professional tattoo artist, be sure to contact us or schedule a school tour today!