How to Get More Tattoo Clients

One thing that every tattoo artist needs to make six figures a year is leads, or potential clients.

You need that steady stream of clients to keep your calendar full and give you enough work to tattoo full time. Luckily, with a little bit of marketing knowledge, you can boil down the process of finding leads and turning them into clients into four simple steps.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll be explaining:

  • What a lead is
  • Why some leads are easier to sell to than others
  • How to get more leads so you always have work

How To Get MORE Tattoo Clients With LESS Work 

What is a Lead? 

A lead is a potential client who has given you their name and contact information. They might have given you that information by:

  • Filling out your contact form following your social media accounts
  • Asking questions about your service
  • Walking into your studio and asking about your portfolio

A lead is likely to become your client in the future. The more leads you have, the more potential clients you have. 

However, getting someone’s contact information and turning them into a lead is only the first step in gaining a paying customer that actually comes into your tattoo studio. You can get them to that next step following up with them, answering their questions, and keeping them engaged with your work online.

Warm Leads vs. Cold Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Your pool of potential clients can be broken down into warm leads and cold leads. 

Warm leads are:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • People who have gotten word of mouth recommendations about you
  • People who have seen your work online and follow your social media

Warm leads are going to be easier to sell to. For example, a friend is going to be easier to sell to than a cold lead, or someone who has never heard of you before. However, there are ways to get brand-new leads, even if you’re a new tattoo artist.

How to Get Leads

Lead generation, or getting new leads, can be broken down into four steps.

Step One: Create a Lead Magnet 

A lead magnet is something valuable that will attract clients to your tattoo business. For example, you could turn your portfolio into a free “tattoo design inspo” ebook that someone will get for free in exchange for giving you their contact information.

Step Two: Reach Out to Warm Leads

An important part of getting new clients is having past clients leave positive reviews that will encourage other people to come to you for tattoo services. 

Since warm leads (family, friends, and acquaintances that already know and trust you) are more likely to be your first clients, post your lead magnet where they will see it. Let them know that you value their input and appreciate any word of mouth marketing they put in.

Pro Tip: 

Referral and loyalty programs are a great way to turn past clients into a walking billboard. If people know that you’ll be giving them a reward for sending people your way, they’ll be more likely to do so.

Step Three: Post Free Content

You only know so many people personally, which means you only have so many “warm leads” to reach out to. The easiest way to take things to the next level and get your work in front of “cold leads” is to post on social media.

For example, you might share pictures and videos of:

All these posts will build relationships with your followers and point people back to your lead magnet so you can get their contact information.


It takes time to build quality posts and establish your personal brand as a tattoo artist, or the brand of your own tattoo shop. However, it helps you gain exposure until your pool of potential clients continues to grow for free.

Pro Tips: 

Make sure your Instagram page and social media presence clearly explains what you do (tattoo), and limit or delete unrelated posts. Have your pinned posts show off your tattoo style, and make sure your online booking process is easy and straightforward so people feel confident that you’re a legit business when they pay for a deposit.

Step Four: Paid Ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google

You can use paid ads on platforms like Google ads, Facebook, or Instagram to get your work in front of lots of tattoo lovers. And as long as your ad is a good one, it could bring in a lot of paying customers looking for your signature style.

Paid Ads Can be Hard to Get Right

Paid ads can be risky. If you don't have a good grasp of marketing, audience targeting, and budget management, you might spend a lot of time and money without getting it back through more tattoo clients. However, if you do it right, it can significantly boost your client base.  

Paid Ads Should Target the Right Search Terms in the Right Places

Make sure your ads target the right search terms. Local businesses usually go for a target audience near them by only advertising to people within a certain radius looking up relevant information. (For example, you might target people using local keywords like “tattoo artists near me” or “tattoo shops near me,” and you would set the parameters for people only in your town.)

Pro Tips: 

When you’re thinking about targeting a specific search term, go ahead and look it up yourself. You can see if other artists or shops are already paying for that search term because the results will say “Ad” next to it. If other artists aren’t advertising near you, it’s more likely that your ad will be seen because there is less competition.


Make sure your Google Business Profile is polished. If people see your ad, they’ll want to see your profile, reviews from satisfied clients, and that you have accounts on popular social media platforms. This helps build trust because they can see the experience of your existing clients.

Additional Ways to Get in Front of Customers

There are other ways to gain exposure. Having a professional website, showing up at local events to do temporary tattoos, writing a blog post every week about tattooing for your website, and taking out an ad in local newspapers are all good ways to connect with more clients. 

Additionally, working at tattoo conventions, getting a featured spot with tattoo media publishers, doing guest spots at local studios, or even just connecting with other tattoo artists who will send work your way when a customer asks for a style they don’t do are all good ways to attract clients and reach a wider audience. However, these are more difficult to get early in your career, and you’ll need to build a name in the tattoo community before doing them.

Break Into the Tattoo Industry with a Marketing Plan Designed by Professionals

Developing and using a marketing strategy on your own can be difficult. That’s why we build the 6-Figure Artist Blueprint Course. It has everything you need to build a brand and business around yourself so that you can reach the 6-figure earnings mark as a tattoo artist - no side gigs needed.

Inside, you’ll find pre-built programs, including:

  • Referral system
  • Customer loyalty program
  • Flash day kit

Ready-to-use marketing materials like:

  • Pre-written social media post templates
  • Business cards
  • An ebook that’ll draw in customers like a magnet

As well as step-by-step instructions that will show you how to set up important online systems that make your life easier so you can:

  • Decrease your no-show rate by over 50%. Weed out tire-kickers who won’t commit to paying for your work with an automated process that collects deposits online and sends it right to your bank account.
  • Save 4+ hours a day AND keep complete control of your schedule. Give clients this one simple link to cut out all the back-and-forth messaging for setting up appointments.
  • Create an online community where only you can build rapport with your customers so they never leave you.
  • Always know what to post and when with a digital posting calendar so you’re never stuck, staring at your phone or wondering what to say.
  • Turn followers into paying customers. All you need is these 4 types of social posts that naturally take them from being a complete stranger to a repeat client.

It’s all inside…

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
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Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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