How a Client-Focused LinkedIn Profile Helps You Find Freelance Clients
About half of all freelancers (51%) who use LinkedIn are getting clients through the #1 business social network, according to How Freelancers Market their Services: 2017 Survey.
If you’re part of the other 49%, you may be wondering how those other freelancers are getting clients through LinkedIn—and why you’re not. And you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the advice out there on how to use LinkedIn, most of which isn’t focused on freelancers.
These 6 freelancers are getting clients from LinkedIn:
- Monica Nicosia, PhD
- Lindy Alexander, PhD
- Dana Randall, MS, PharmD, CMPP, MWC
- Debbie (Deborah) Anderson, PhD
- Deb Dulin
- Ruwaida Vakil, MS.
I’m going to tell you how they do this, and give you some freelancer-focused LinkedIn tips.
An Easy Way to Get Freelance Clients
Clients often search for freelancers on LinkedIn. So if you craft a client-focused LinkedIn profile—with a compelling headline and summary and the right keywords—LinkedIn can be a very easy way to get clients. Connecting with people who view your LinkedIn profile but don’t contact you is another easy way to use LinkedIn to build your freelance business.
A Client-Focused LinkedIn Profile Attract Clients
Having a client-focused profile has paid off for freelance writers Monica Nicosia, PhD, Lindy Alexander, PhD, and Dana Randall, MS, PharmD, CMPP, MWC.
“When I restarted my freelance business in 2016, I decided to be more proactive than I had been in the past in creating a strong LinkedIn presence. I read a lot about how to optimize one’s LinkedIn profile and I worked hard to improve mine,” says Monica, a freelance medical writer and owner of Nicosia Medical Writer LLC.
Several clients and prospects have found Monica through LinkedIn. The prospects may one day become clients, since it often takes a while before a client hires a freelancer.
“Write about what you do from the perspective of your ideal client,” says Lindy, in her free report, 3 Steps to Finding High-Paying Clients on LinkedIn. “Ultimately, clients want to know that you can solve a particular problem for them or get them a result.” A freelance writer, researcher, and content creator who focuses on health, business and food writing, Lindy is absolutely right!
If your profile doesn’t grab the attention of a busy client in a few seconds, the client will be clicking on the profile of the next freelancer in the search results.
Using the right keywords in her profile has helped Dana get clients through LinkedIn.
“One client was searching for medical writers with HEOR experience, and I mentioned that type of experience in my profile. Another was looking for scientific directors, and I mentioned that in my profile. A third was looking for publication writers, and again, my publications experience is in my profile,” she says. Including her credentials, a PharmD and a CMPP, also helps Dana attract clients.
Craft a Compelling, Keyword-Focused Headline
Your headline is the most important part of your profile for:
- Showing up in search results
- Attracting clients.
A compelling, keyword-focused headline has 2 parts:
- A clear description of what you do
- A benefit statement (how you help your clients).
LinkedIn guru Donna Serdula says the benefit statement tells “why people should click on your profile.”
Here are a few compelling, keyword-focused headlines.
“Go-to Medical Writer | I deliver clear, concise, polished, on-target, and on-time medical content”
“Medical writing” is what Monica does. Content that’s “clear, concise, polished, on-target, and on-time” is the benefit she provides to her clients.
“Freelance Medical Writer, Instructional Designer. I develop content that educates professionals on medical concepts.”
It’s very clear that Debbie is a freelance medical writer and instructional designer, and that she helps her clients (the benefit) by developing medical education content.
Deb Dulin, a graphic designer and branding expert and owner of Dulin Design LLC, has a benefit statement that will definitely appeal to her target clients:
“helping established businesses take the next step in their branding”
The beginning of her headline, “helping established businesses,” clearly shows who she works with.
More Headline and Title Tips
Clients will find you more often if you include “freelancer” or “freelance writer” (OR: “freelance ADD YOUR FIELD HERE”) in your headline, because that’s how they search on LinkedIn. Use other keywords related to your services that people will search for too.
LinkedIn gives you 120 characters for your headline. Use them to attract clients and make them want to learn more about you.
Put keywords in your title (current position) too, says Serdula. Freelancers are business owners so we don’t really have a “current position,” but you can still choose a meaningful title.
Debbie and Monica, for example, use their company names:
- DGA Medical Communications (Debbie)
- Nicosia Medical Writer LLC (Monica).
Both company names contribute to their messages and include the keyword “medical.” Monica’s company name also has the keyword “writer.”
Be Compelling, Conversational, and Concise
Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool, not a resume. So your summary has to be compelling, conversational, and concise. Include just enough key content so that clients know that you’re the right choice for them.
Only the first 201 characters (45 in mobile) in your summary show before people need to click See more. Make sure the first two sentences of your summary flow with your headline and offer a clear, concise, client-focused (benefit-oriented) message. The first two sentences are usually about 201 characters, with the second sentence sometimes continuing after See more.
Deb (Dulin) did a great job with her first 201 characters:
“With over 15 years experience, I partner with small businesses & marketing professionals to present their graphic design & branding needs at a more polished, professional level. I focus on creative problem-solving, dev-. . . See more.”
Here’s the rest of the sentence, which you see when you click See more:
“developing custom solutions that align with client needs and grow along with their business.”
Along with your client-focused message, “just enough” key content includes a concise summary of your:
- Relevant experience
- Relevant background
“Relevant” means what your clients care about, not what’s important to you.
Industries are no longer shown on profiles, but they’re still there behind the scenes, and used by LinkedIn’s search algorithm. So include yours.
Your entire profile should be strong and polished, says Neil Patel, author, entrepreneur, marketer, and blogger. “This is your online reputation. Make it honest, and make it look good,” he says (How to Create a LinkedIn Post That 78% of Your Network Will Engage With).
Use Professional Images
Your background image and profile photo are the first thing the client sees, so they need to be clear and professional. The profile photo, now in center of the intro section, is smaller than it was before and round. Make sure that your photo still looks great, and that key parts of the photo haven’t been cropped out.
Most people use LinkedIn’s generic background image, which is professional and clear. If you want to change your background image, LinkedIn recommends an image that’s 1536 x 768 pixels (a change from the earlier size).
The best background image is something generic and simple, says LinkedIn trainer Mark Williams of winbusinessin. Don’t use an image that has information people need to read—because it may not be visible or legible across smart phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Get yours for free. Just click here.
How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Rank Higher in Search Results
Do 2 to things to rank higher in search results:
- Build a large network
- Be active.
Build a Large Network
Having a large network—500+ connections—makes it easy for more clients to find you. Your connections need to be relevant to your freelance business, and closer connections (1st degree) are better. If you’re closer to someone (e.g., a 1st-degree connection instead of a 3rd-degree connection), you’ll come up higher in his/her search results.
Monica strategically built her network. “I made it my goal to reach over 500 connections primarily in the field of medical communications. I gathered many connections among both freelancers and people who work in companies,” she says.
Sharing and engaging (your activity) also helps you rank higher in search results. Ruwaida, a freelance medical writer and owner of ProMed Write LLC, also has a large network and is an expert at sharing and engaging. “As a freelancer, you should always post articles and tips that will be interesting to your target audience,” she says. “Some examples include the latest news in your field, such as the results of a recent clinical study in my field, which is medical writing.”
Just posting updates isn’t enough. “You need to engage your audience,” says Ruwaida. Ways to do that include:
- Using statistics (162% more views of your post)
- Using visuals, which increase views and engagement. Pixabay has lots of great free images.
- Addressing your audience directly, which increases engagement by 185%.
One way to address your audience is to ask a question. This encourages viewers to respond and increases how much exposure your post gets, says Ruwaida. Also respond to every comment that people make on your posts.
Get more practical advice on LinkedIn from Ruwaida’s webinar: Harnessing the Power of LinkedIn to Build Your Career, Business, and Online Presence, available on demand.
Connect with People who View Your LinkedIn Profile
Ruwaida and Lindy have gotten clients by connecting with people who viewed their profiles. “I met a great client who was looking for a writer for patient education materials. I invited her to connect with me, and within two weeks I had my first project with her. She is now a valued ongoing client,” says Ruwaida.
Most clients are very busy. They may check you out on LinkedIn, but not connect with you. They could be too busy to do this—even though they need freelance help—or not be looking for freelancers right now. Either way, being proactive and inviting people who view your profile to connect with you will help ensure that they think of you first when they do need a freelancer.
“By reaching out to people who have looked at your profile and sending an invitation to connect, you are proactively making an association that might otherwise not have gone anywhere,” says Lindy.
After a financial consultant viewed her profile, Lindy Googled his company to figure out if he might need a freelance writer. She saw that he had a blog, which could benefit from professional writing. Lindy invited him to connect on LinkedIn and began building a relationship with him. Now she’s writing regular blog posts for this client.
With a free account, LinkedIn only lets you see the names of the last few people who viewed your profile. So you need to check your LinkedIn home page regularly (at least a few times a week).
To see who’s viewed your profile:
- Go to your home page and look at the box on the left
- See the number of people who’ve viewed your profile
- Click on the number and the next screen will show you the last few viewers.
You can connect with anyone who is a 1st- or 2nd-degree connection with a free account. You can’t connect to 3rd-degree connections and people who aren’t connections.
But you can search for your 3rd-degree connections or other people by name on LinkedIn. You can also view the person’s LinkedIn public profile. If contact information is listed, use it to connect with him/her. Also, make sure that you update your privacy settings in LinkedIn if you want more parts of your profile to be publicly searchable.
More Ways to Use LinkedIn to Get Freelance Clients
Having a client-focused LinkedIn profile so that clients will find you is just one way that freelancers are using LinkedIn to get clients. Being Active and Alert: How Freelancers Get Clients through LinkedIn covers how freelancers are getting clients by:
- Responding to opportunity
- Highlighting your expertise on LinkedIn Publishing
- Looking for and reaching out to prospects.
About How Freelancers Market their Services: 2017 Survey
I conducted the survey with Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun, Brian Bass, MWC®,, Cyndy Kryder, MS, and Debra Gordon, MS.
Click here for a free copy of How Freelancers Market their Services: 2017 Survey: Results Report.
Learn More About How to Find More Clients with Your LinkedIn Profile
From The Mighty Marketer
A free report from Lindy Alexander
An on-demand webinar from Ruwaida Vakil