How to build a LinkedIn profile that generates business for freelancers
If you’ve embraced the fact that LinkedIn is the largest prospect database in the world and that Sales Navigator is one of the most powerful tools for generating B2B customers, you’ve probably also realised that you need a great sales/landing page.
It goes without saying that any marketing activity will fall flat on its face if the sales/landing page is poor. Given how people use LinkedIn, that sales/landing page when selling your business through LinkedIn is your personal LinkedIn profile (note: it is not, as a rule, your company page).
Whether people are finding you, or you are doing direct outreach, your prospects are checking out your LinkedIn profile in the same way that they would check out your website. If they like what they see, and the message feels relevant to them, they’ll engage with you. If the message doesn’t resonate with them, they won’t.
This being the case, I thought I would put together a brief guide on how to structure your LinkedIn profile when you are using it as a tool for selling your business’ services.
My two companies, Linked-In-Credible and The CV & Interview Advisors have written over 5000 LinkedIn profiles for businesses, solopreneurs (consultants and coaches), independent contractors, interim managers and job seekers. This guide is more aimed at businesses and solopreneurs.
Here is how to build a LinkedIn profile that generates business for freelancers, as told to FreelanceUK by Matt Craven the founder of Linked-In-Credible and The CV & Interview Advisors.
The Background Image:
This is the area that sits at the top behind your photo. More recently, LinkedIn has afforded users the ability to add an image. At the very least, I would recommend adding your logo, but a bespoke image that looks a bit like a nicely designed business card is going to look a lot more professional than leaving this area blank. Including your logo, your contact details and a line or two that tell the world what you or your business are would be a good place to start.
A high-quality professional head and shoulders shot is the safest option. If you are a speaker, a nice action shot could work well, but keep it in the professional domain and think about how your target audience will feel about you based on the image they see.
For example, if you smile, people will probably see you as a positive and engaging person, and if you scowl, people might think the opposite. For the avoidance of doubt, please save the “this is me pouting” or the “look at me drinking a pint of lager” photos for Facebook.
This is the sentence that sits under your photo. It defaults to your current job title and company name. MD at XYZ Ltd isn’t terribly helpful for your prospects, so change it to something more insightful. Your prospects need to know how you can help them!
There are two ways in which you can do this:
- Describe what you are and how you help people
- Ask a question they can’t say no to
Unfortunately, I run two business with different services and one of those businesses has two very different target audiences. I am also not always hands-on in terms of delivering our services. My profile is, therefore, a bit of a challenge to piece together, but if I were to focus on Linked-in-Credible, and I was hands-on, my Headline might read as follows:
- Renowned LinkedIn Copywriter: I help businesses create LinkedIn profiles that are GUARANTEED to double your sales
- If I could create you a LinkedIn profile that is GUARANTEED to double your sales – would you be interested?
Both styles have their merits, but the common thread is that they are compelling and they home in on the needs and desires of the target audience.
Of course, you need to be able to back up your claims/guarantees – I’m confident that people who use our service (so long as they are doing the right things on LinkedIn in the first place) will double their results after we have written their LinkedIn profile).
This is the focal point of your LinkedIn profile and the key to driving engagement with your target audience. I am not going to give away ALL our ‘trade secrets’ but I will give you an easy to follow a structure that will help you to build a compelling profile.
Think of these as separate paragraphs that all have a slightly different purpose.
There are two ways in which to start your LinkedIn Summary.
- Make a bold statement that will resonate with your target audience and get their attention. For example, I personally wrote a LinkedIn profile recently for a client in the Private Tuition sector (Maths and English Tuition for children) - we started their Summary with the fact that £2bn per annum is spent on private tuition and more than 25% of secondary school students have private tuition. The ensuing text played on the psychology that ‘other people are doing it!’, ‘are you missing out?’ and ‘this is quite normal!’.
- Ask a BIG question that will also resonate with your target audience. For example, I helped a coach in a niche sector and the first paragraph read something like this: “Do you want to harness one of the most powerful business-generating strategies that exists? Do you want to create a competitive advantage that elevates you to celebrity status in your niche that will double, triple or even quadruple your business within 12 months?”
Describe the business problem that your prospect has and explain how you can take that problem away. For example, I might present something like this (I’ve just written this, so be kind)…….
“Many people try to generate business through LinkedIn but fail and give up. The truth is, it’s not LinkedIn, and quite often not even their sales strategy - it’s the fact that their sales page is terrible! And when I refer to your sales page, I mean your LinkedIn profile!! If you don’t get your LinkedIn profile right, your LinkedIn selling strategy is destined to fail. And that’s where we come in - we help business create LinkedIn profiles, using our tried and tested framework, that are proven to turbocharge results!
Somewhere in the Summary, it’s important to mention who you help. This could be a separate paragraph where you list the different groups of people that you provide your services to (these could be bullet-pointed if there are several distinct groups), or you might simply incorporate it into one of the other paragraphs. Either way, it is crucial that your target audience knows that your products/services are relevant to them.
Any sales or marketing person will tell you that the key to selling is to describe the benefits (over and above the features) that your products and services deliver. This is the next component of your LinkedIn Summary. What outcomes will your target audience achieve as a result of using your products and services? Be very clear about this and try to provide some tangible/measurable/statistical claims (that you can back up with evidence) that you can deliver a return on investment.
This is where you mention why you are better or different than your competitors or put another way, what is your unique selling point?!
Recently, we worked with a recruitment business that has a unique headhunting model and proprietary artificial intelligence technology that results in a 66% response rate from candidates, compared with a 12% industry average. This was their USP and what we homed-in on for this part of the Summary.
Identifying your key USP and communicating it loud and clear in your Summary is crucial.
This is where we have the call-to-action.
At the very least, invite your prospects to contact you – this creates the psychology that you are ‘open for business’. But ideally, think about what you can offer them that is of big value; this could be a free strategy session or a free audit, but the more value you can offer, the more likely your prospects are to move from a reader of your LinkedIn profile to a lead, to a customer.
Of course, there are several other personal branding and copywriting methodologies that can be used.
A key focus of ours when helping clients is to define the intellectual property within their business and within their expertise – we call this blueprinting. It’s all about finding your unique way of doing something and developing a blueprint /system/framework that can be leveraged when selling and when executing a thought-leadership strategy. It’s very powerful!
We also use a tactic called ‘frames of reference’ and one of my favourites is ‘harnessing the sycophantism of the human animal’ by using quotes.
If you have rock solid belief in your products or services, then offering a guarantee is very powerful BUT be prepared to back it up.
Why not take advantage of a free and no obligation audit of your current LinkedIn profile. We’ll have a good read of it and provide some feedback to help you make some improvement and generate more business. You can take advantage of this offer here.