“If you build it, they will come.”
We’ve all heard the mantra. It comes from the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner. In the film, Costner’s farmer character has dreams to build a baseball stadium in his cornfields. Naturally, he questions, why take down my profitable crop yield to build a sports field that has zero reason to exist? In the end, he mows the corn, lays the turf, and lights the field. And guess what? They come.
Not true in real life. If you live in a town with a population of more than 1, you know that setting up shop isn’t a winning business strategy. In fact, it’s the easiest part. A zillion years ago, creating a product was excruciating, but selling your one masterpiece was relatively easy to do. These days, the product or some version of it, is created relatively easily, but selling it can be excruciating.
Of course, back in the days tattoos weren’t sold. They were earned. These days, let’s be honest, it’s a commodity. Sure, folks still earn theirs, but the dominant acquisition of a tattoo is plain old unromantic cash money. True story. What we're trying to say: If you build it, they likely won’t even know.
How do we address this problem? The mantra isn’t true, it’s a Hollywood movie. If it seems true because you live in a town with a population of 1-- even towns with one resident have the internet.
Everything comes down to marketing. Let us repeat.
Everything comes down to marketing. One more time for the folks in the back!
Everything comes down to marketing.
This can’t be said enough. Everything comes down to marketing. A bad product (tattoo) can sell to a million people with a good marketing strategy. But a good product with a bad (or no) marketing strategy can’t sell. Imagine how well good tattooing can sell with a good marketing strategy? Think about those artists on TV. Or the ones who have secured a chair at a well-known spot. Those artists are maximizing their exposure (aka marketing). However, that’s not the only way to market yourself. You don’t need Hollywood and you don’t need to be the coolest kid in town. Here are a few basics to get you in the know:
- Social media is a must (Social Media)
- Don’t be shy—tell your clients to spread the word (Word-of-mouth)
- Hold a contest (Unconventional)
- Pony up and pay an SEO person that will rank you on page 1 (Ouch$$$)
- If you don’t have your own site, do it. Write blogs, update site often.
- Partner with a supplier or other artist. You do one style, they do another.
Remember, just being a tattooer is not a golden ticket, it’s a business, and there is a lot of competition. Being the best artist, or the most likable, or the cheapest, or even the most expensive, is not a solid plan. You absolutely have to reach the most people.
Get out there. Talk, network, sell, promote. Don’t stop, ever. No one said this would be easy. But hey, it’s better than sitting at a desk.
If you want tips, or want to know how InkLnk can help, email us at email@example.com.