A place to find great clients, right?
Yes, but that’s a blog for another day.
LinkedIn is also a place for great clients to find you.
You’re valuable and your skills make you crazy desirable to the right client. You can solve their problems and make the world a better place.
But they’ve got to find you first, and a lacklustre (or worse) run-of-the-mill LinkedIn profile won’t cut through the crowd. You’ll be bypassed, or simply not found in the first place.
Not cool. Or lucrative.
Is LinkedIn worth the effort?
LinkedIn can — along with your freelance website — be your 24/7, always looking their best, always know-what-to-say ambassador.
Get LinkedIn right and you won’t be stuck having to pitch clients to get good work. They’ll come to you.
(Disclaimer: This is going to take longer than five minutes. But if it means high-ticket clients are knocking on your door, it’s got to be worth it.)
1. Nail first impressions with a profile picture
You need a good headshot, and it’s not just to strut your stuff. LinkedIn members who include profile photos get 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages.
Profiles without faces are remote, detached and a little scary. LinkedIn is all about working relationships, and you can’t forge relationships without putting a face to a name.
It doesn’t have to be like something out of The Usual Suspects. Wear makeup, do your hair your way, use colour. Get creative.
But don’t get cute.
Picture of your beloved Mr. Snuffles? Nope. Cartoon of yourself? Nah uh. Not even that caricature you show all your friends at dinner parties.
Take a photo with a plain background (or blur it out) and use that. It doesn’t need to be done by a professional, just so long as it’s crisp, clear and not boudoir or gimmicky. Get a friend or family member to take a few snaps and pick your best one.
This is a professional networking site, not Facebook.
You might think pictures aren’t important, but a grainy or inappropriate LinkedIn photo will play into how a potential client sees you, no matter how amazing the rest of your profile is.
Find something suitable and upload.
(Credit to pexels.com. No idea who this lady is – for now, she’s our Jane Doe.)
That’s the easy stuff. Everyone can do that bit.
Time to move onto the writing — buckle up.
2. Write a compelling headline, current position and summary
Click on the pen to the right of your profile box. This window will pop up:
You’ll notice the headline and current position are identical.
Keep these as is, and you’ll be missing out on crucial seduction opportunities.
Start with with the headline. That goes smack under your profile picture.
It’s got to:
- Say what you do
- Differentiate yourself from the competition
- Be memorable
… all at once. It’s tricky. But there’s a simple formula to nailing this:
- Don’t use the words “motivated,” “skilled” or “hard-working” (or anything similar), because they’re just noise. Everyone on the internet is motivated and skilled nowadays.
- Describe what you do and/or what problems you solve.
- If necessary, break it up.
Let’s say you’re a writer who dabbles in copywriting, digital marketing and strategy.
Don’t assume clients will know what a copywriter does — they may be hiring one because they have no clue about content. They may not know that copywriters actually handle content strategy, social media marketing and all manners of digital wizardry.
List all your skills and break them up with vertical bars or bullet points, like this:
If you’ve got a particular niche, add that in — it will automatically cut your potential prospect pool to your perfect clients. That’s not a bad thing — wasting time on ill-matched prospects is no fun.
Displaying your niche also demonstrates you’ve got specialist skills, which marks you up as quality material. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry — but if you do, milk it.
Tips: Never put “looking for new opportunities.” It looks needy. You want your LinkedIn profile to attract clients who take you seriously, and acting desperate makes you look like inexperienced. You can tick that you’re open to gigs in your settings instead, which makes you searchable and professional.
Now to the summary.
A lot of LinkedIn summaries read like old-school CVs — Times New Roman, black and white, fill every bit of space and use every synonym for “motivated” kind of CV.
That won’t fly for most freelancers.
You probably already have a brand tone of voice. If you’re a marketer, you may be zippy. A front-end specialist may be a little more serious. Either way, whatever you’ve got on your website, social or other marketing channel — stick to it.
Our Jane Doe is a writer, so her summary has to be impeccable. Would you hire a writer who can’t write a LinkedIn summary?
Yeah, me neither.
Don’t be afraid to be approachable. Use normal human words. If clients are impressed and fascinated, they’ll reach out. If you’re too impassive, they’ll either be intimidated or just won’t rate you.
Your summary must have:
- A hook
- Your value proposition — who you work with, why you’re the best and how you’re different
- Some proof
- An easy point of contact
Remember: Summaries are collapsed at first, only displaying two lines. Make them snappy. “Hi there’s” work for a lot of people, but considering you’ve only got two lines to grab your dream client’s attention, it’s a good idea to use the precious space for something catchier.
Something like …
“Verbal virtuoso and creative coach with five years experience copywriting for SMBs, start-ups and innovators to make their dreams a rockstar reality (and die-hard foodie.) MY adventures in the writing and digital space include … ”
This reiterates in an eye-catching way what you do and adds an element of humanity — something unexpected to catch the attention of a busy client.
Then fill in the rest …
“My adventures in the writing and digital space include:
- this blog post that got a million-thousand-hundred shares
- this re-branding project that netted the client a billion prospects
- this work got featured on Forbes/Entrepreneur/God’s wishlist
- this blog ranks on the first page of search
I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people, including Company X, Y and Z. I’ve got loads of experience working with the C-suite (you are all superstars) and I’ve got a special love for taking a core concept and finding its voice, heart and selling power in a full content strategy.
If you want to work with me, contact me at [email protected]
Don’t fret about how long your summary is. There’s no right or wrong length.
Some summaries go on forever — and if it’s full of good stuff, that’s great. List your achievements and display your results.
Some summaries are tiny — if there’s nothing to add, don’t waffle.
But now for some marketing, no matter what your industry is …
(Don’t worry, it’s easy.)
3. Draw prospects in with a quality opt-in
This section is your biggest opportunity to build a quality email list of pre-screened, quality potential clients — without you needing to do a single thing.
Adding eye-catching media to your summary is easy. Located below your summary, this box offers you a place to add external documents. Link up to your website — or your magnetic, lead-generating opt-in.
If you’ve got a quality opt-in to an eNewsletter, free checklist or a downloadable eBook (which you do, right?) LinkedIn could be your pedestal.
All the people looking at your LinkedIn profile want your knowledge, your skills and your insight.
Offering up a free opt-in shows them that you know your stuff and you’re willing to hand out free, valuable industry know-how because you’re just that brilliant.
4. Complete the rest of your profile
The rest is pretty self-explanatory.
To get a feel for the whole lot, look to the right of your screen and you’ll see this blue box. (Big black arrow — can’t miss it.)
Click on it and you’ll see everything you could possibly add to your profile. It’s split into three sections: background, skills and accomplishments.
They’re all pretty simple.
They’re also great places to drop more opt-ins and garner new leads.
If you’ve nailed your summary, your potential clients will be reading the rest of your profile. They’ll look over your experience, scour your skills and devour your testimonials and education.
They want to know you. And they want your content.
It’s best not to scatter links in everywhere. Be careful with them, like pixie dust, and they’ll do all the work for you.
5. Get more quality leads with tactical LinkedIn opt-ins
Your rockstar summary aside, the two top places to flaunt your opt-ins are the work experience fields and project fields.
Work Experience Opt-Ins
Head to your “experience” field and give it a click.
It currently looks like this. Blah.
Give it a click and get to filling in those form fields. It’s easy-peasy.
(If you’re not sure about dates, just click the “I currently work here” button to show it’s an evergreen piece of content.)
Stick to your format and don’t revert to plain CV style for this. It needs to be just as interesting as the rest of your profile.
Now, for the master stroke.
Remember the “add media” button you used in the summary?
You can use that to make serious magic happen.
Just do it again here!
Add your opt-in link, exchange emails for freebies and follow up with a great email sequence to turn prospects into high-paying clients in a snap.
(Well, it’ll take a week or two. Don’t want to overwhelm potential clients by spamming their inbox.)
Head down to accomplishments and open the dropdown tab.
Open the projects option.
First, name the offer.
You can be more creative here than in your summary and work experience — and you should be, because there’s no option to put media links here.
But projects tie experience in with expertise — it’s a double-win.
Treat the title like a sales pitch, like “10 Ways To Send Your B2B Website Conversions Skyrocketing,” or something equally valuable. “Free Insider Tips on XXX” or “How To Be A Conversion Machine.”
Add a call to action to get people to click, such as “Click Here To Get It” or “Click Here To Subscribe.”
Add your URL to the link field, and add the same kind of sales pitch you’ve used to get subscribers in the past to the description field.
It should look something like this:
And don’t forget …
This is a quality place to put an opt-in because the client has probably read your profile. They’re sold on you already — there’s an element of trust.
Once you’ve filled out your entire profile, you can move different elements around and reorder them — maybe your work history is pretty spectacular and you want that to be front and center.
Or maybe your niche is charities — you might want to put your volunteer history at the top.
Or if your opt-in is truly spectacular, you can put that at the top. You can have as many as you want, so long as they’re all valuable and targeted at your dream clients.
Just make sure the opt-in page the link takes clients to is optimized and easy to use, with a clear no-spam label and an easy download.
6. Publish articles
Opt-ins are gold.
But you need to stay on top of your game.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a copywriter by trade. LinkedIn Publisher is the key to establishing serious industry authority.
Head back out to the main LinkedIn feed and click “write an article.”
It’ll take you to the writing page where you can add a headline, an article image and an article.
This can be a thought piece, an industry insight, a how-to or an in-depth guide — anything you can think of that would provide value to your potential clients.
Having a few published articles makes your profile look more complete and authoritative.
But LinkedIn Publisher can do more than that.
If you …
- Write a persuasive, specific, targeted headline
- Write an in-depth, non-plagiarised, targeted article
- Interact with the people that comment on it and like it
… you’ve got a good chance of attracting a high-value client. By providing great content in their niche, you’ve demonstrated your expertise and that you’re perfect for the role.
Think deeply about your perfect client and how you can flaunt your skills in their industry. Tackle a common problem and demonstrate insight.
This does mean writing a bit for free — but good clients will pay the time back.
You can also repurpose the post on your freelance website blog to draw in more readers, so the time isn’t really wasted.
Remember: Post consistently.
The posts don’t have to be thousands and thousands of words. But post regularly. Regular readers help grow your network, drawing a bigger and bigger audience to your material — and your profile.
If your post gets serious attention, it could be featured on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform. Hello ginormous audience and even bigger pool of potential clients!
You should now have a solid handle on how to write a client-attracting LinkedIn profile.
But LinkedIn profiles are pretty big and they take time to perfect. There’s 13 potential sections to fill out, and don’t forget you’ll need to interact with your connections. LinkedIn is the best platform for meeting potential clients, but it’s also a relationship builder, and that takes time.
Nail your summary and bio, and fill out your profile according to the same writing rules. Interact with connections, recommend people and tie in your LinkedIn profile and your professional website. Don’t spam people with offers, and stay connected.
And don’t worry about making changes. Even the best marketers edit and tweak as time goes on. And every tweak gets you that much closer to nailing that next big dream client.