Although still considered a taboo industry by some, a tattoo studio is a small business that, like all others, will not survive without advertising and marketing. Due to the artistic nature of the business, you may find some unique ways to pimp your shop that may not work as well for more traditional businesses. Whether you go for traditional or unique forms of promotion, you should be aware of as many options as possible to get the most out of your budget.
Consider traditional advertising. Local newspapers always have advertising space for sale. If you have a local arts and entertainment magazine, this can be money well spent.
Build a social networking presence. Set up a Facebook business page and a Twitter account for your business. Share photos of your work and promote offers and deals.
Purchase a domain name and create your own website. Many web hosting companies have easy-to-use software so you can design your own website or you can pay to have professional designer do it for you.
Promote on the Internet. There are many free sites that will let you post information about your tattoo studio and even let you upload some of your work.
Do it the old fashioned way. Print up flyers on your computer, or have them printed professionally to enhance their appeal, and hang them around town or hand them out at local events.
Hold a promotional event. Organize an event where you can showcase the tattoo artists' talents with copies of their portfolios and possibly even demos.
Get involved in your community. By sponsoring local charity, school and community events using your tattoo studio's name, you can potentially take some of the taboo out of body modification. This may be a good way to get your name in the newspaper for free and included on any promotional material done for the event in which they thank their sponsors.
Buy a billboard. Although not always cost effective, if your sign is on a well traveled road or highway, then you will reach a large portion of the general population.
Attend tattoo conventions. One of the biggest and most common way of promoting a tattoo studio is mingling at events specifically geared toward tattoo professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Offer incentives for repeat clients and referral discounts to clients who send in their friends and family.
Remember your biggest promotional item--walking billboards. Every tattoo completed in your tattoo studio, whether good or bad, becomes a living advertisement that will be seen by a plethora of people.
Sport your own work. Whether you're a tattoo artist yourself or you simply own the tattoo studio, you should have tattoos either completed by you and/or your staff that you can show off.
Don't forget to include advertising costs in your tattoo studio's budget. Without advertising dollars, it becomes almost impossible to successfully promote your business. Buy a magnetized sign to place on the vehicle you drive most frequently with information about your tattoo studio on it. Consider it a moving billboard, which may do more good than a stationary one and will undoubtedly cost a lot less. Always carry business cards on you at all times. You never know where you might be when someone asks you about your own tattoos and this is an opportune time to hand them a business card and tell them to come talk to you at your studio. Some local newspapers have a business section that may write up a business article for you or allow you to submit a similar article yourself. There's usually no charge for these articles, so it's one way to get your name in the paper for free. You can also consider purchasing marketing materials such as ink pens, highlighters and t-shirts with your tattoo studio name and logo on them to pass out at promotional events.