LinkedIn provides a great platform to connect with potential customers. The professional network makes reaching out and connecting to different types of clients easy. All you have to do is tap into it. However, this also means that you need to stand out.
Landing new clients on LinkedIn will require creativity and a great marketing strategy to showcase your skill and grit. With more than 830 million members using it in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is a social network mainly used to recruit, hire, and connect professionals in different fields. It's a great place for freelancers to meet high-paying clients.
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for freelancers' lead generation, and here's why:
So here's how to find clients on LinkedIn as a freelancer:
Before you start looking for the prospective clients you’re targeting on LinkedIn, you must first identify who your ideal client is. By narrowing down on a customer persona, you can focus on building relationships with the right people.
In a LinkedIn research on 5,000 businesses, HubSpot found that traffic and sales leads created from LinkedIn had the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%. That is almost three times higher at 277% than what Facebook (0.77%) and Twitter (0.69%) generated in that timeframe.
To identify responsive clients, you need an ideal customer profile. To do this, you need first to assess your:
As a plus, it'd be helpful to be consistent as a freelancer in a specific industry- especially as a freelance writer.
Try building a portfolio of your work and a sample business proposal letter for a particular industry, like real estate, for example. That will show project managers or business owners that you specialize in real estate. In addition, using this strategy will help you land clients in an industry you’re passionate about.
To start, you can use the advanced search feature on LinkedIn that lets you find specific clients based on various parameters. You can include search terms such as title, skills, company, city, state, or zip code on the search bar.
Here's what I get when I type in business development and sales:
To help you identify the right people to approach, you also need to know whether they are the ultimate decision-makers or can connect you with the ultimate decision-maker.
Identifying the industry to work with and the ideal customer persona will help you identify the Social Selling Index from your data from that specific market segment. That also helps you work on a more effective inbound strategy for the best results. This strategy also helps you avoid getting hired by a bad client.
If you upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, you can see people who've visited your profile. Premium accounts on LinkedIn also offer extra features, such as seeing more profiles on the search. That gives you a better chance for more genuine connections.
You know how to find new clients on LinkedIn; now, let's help the clients find you.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile will help increase your profile’s visibility. Not only that, but a personal profile that's well-optimized gives your freelance work a human face. The equation here is simple; an optimized professional profile equals better reach and more leads.
Unlike other social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn is primarily used for business purposes, so you can expect a relevant response from qualified leads. In addition, if you upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, you can see the profile views of people who've visited your profile.
To get projects on your LinkedIn, your profile must reflect who you are, what drives you, and your professional goals. The rule of thumb here is to create a personable and relatable profile.
Here are some quick rules to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile:
Here’s an optimized profile example that includes the tips discussed:
The general rule on headlines is that people should know what you do immediately upon reading that short description.
For the ‘About’ sections, it's best to organize noteworthy projects and awards into paragraphs instead of listing them down chronologically. That helps highlight your capabilities.
Since potential clients will look and assess every nook and cranny, it's always best to be thorough with your Linkedin profile.
LinkedIn groups bring people with a common interest together. It's also the best place for any international freelancer to find the ideal client. As a freelancer, you'll need to know how to find your ideal customers on LinkedIn. One effective way to do that is by joining relevant groups in your niche.
To find the ideal groups search for groups using your industry as the relevant keywords. You should also join groups that your ideal clients would typically join.
Here's what I get when I search for freelancer groups on LinkedIn:
Joining groups like these places you in the same virtual room with prospective clients. It gives you more opportunities to connect with more relevant prospects.
Once you're in the group, you can share your industry-related milestones and achievements to help you catch the eye of some qualified prospects. But remember that these groups typically have rules all members must adhere to. So don’t join the group and start spamming it with your portfolio.
LinkedIn groups work similarly to those on Facebook, where you can ask members to invite you. You can also request to join if you don't know anyone or just came across a new group.
Now that you've finally identified or found some potential clients on LinkedIn, it’s time to know how to reach out to them.
Usually, you’d be more successful with warm leads than cold connection requests. However, once you've used the advanced search function to identify people who fit your ideal client persona, you can use your connections to send a direct message.
Unlike cold-pitching, warm-pitching requires you to establish a rapport or some form of acquaintance before reaching out. To help you warm-pitch on LinkedIn, here are some tips on how to find clients on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn allows at least 15 free direct messages between group members monthly. Note that this applies across the different groups to which the person belongs. That is a valuable tool, so using it wisely could help you collect contacts and email addresses for email marketing.
Take a few minutes to carefully think about what to include in your short, personalized message. You must create a personalized pitch for each prospect by carefully scoping their interests and other traits. Then, weave them into your first message.
This example shows that it's always best to show that you see them first as people with interests and likes and not just as potential customers.
As seen from this example, here are some components that you should always include in your personalized message:
You can then offer a relevant solution in exchange for the observation you made in your next message if you get a response.
Your initial message can be different; it doesn’t always have to be a work proposal. That helps start the conversation better, which helps set you up for a proposal later. Also, avoid copy-pasting your proposals.
Including these sales prospecting tips might lengthen each engagement, but it also ensures that there's some form of professional relationship.
After joining groups, identifying potential clients, and reaching out using personalized messages, it's time to build your brand trust, loyalty, and track record. The best way to do this is by sharing relevant original content and participating in group conversations with your target market.
Around 65% of consumers have reported feeling more connected to brands that maintain a robust presence on social media. That means that they need freelancers to share great content consistently.
Some LinkedIn content ideas include industry articles and pictures. You can also create videos, for example, create a podcast and share them on LinkedIn.
You can also repurpose previous projects from previous clients (with permission) and share them on LinkedIn. Additionally, always ensure you have added a call-to-action at the end of the post.
Create your professional freelancer website and include your portfolio, too. By writing guest posts and building links, you can help others find your site on Google. You can also include a link to your site on LinkedIn.
The initial long detailed proposal might not get you the job. However, a simple and consistent follow-up could help turn the prospect into a customer.
Some 80% of sales will require at least five follow-up calls after the proposal, but unfortunately, 44% of sales reps usually give up after the first follow-up. You don’t want to be among the 44% who don’t follow up.
Taking the initiative to follow up on new connections can open up dialogues that allow you to build stronger relationships with your clients and leads. You can also offer to send case studies and other valuable content relevant to their current project.
Once this line of communication has been established, keep regular contact throughout your proposal process without being naggy. You can also write professional emails for further follow-ups.
You can gain prospects on other social platforms such as Facebook or freelance marketplaces. However, it's critical to have an active LinkedIn to help link you to people in the same industry or who need your services. As a freelancer, you’ll be wondering how to find clients on that platform at some point. LinkedIn is a professional business platform that’s your ticket to more prospects, after all.
To find new clients on LinkedIn, you must implement the tips discussed above. Make sure you identify your ideal client persona and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Join relevant groups. You might just find your ideal client there.
Once you have your list of potential clients, make sure you personalize your requests before sending those to them. Being consistent also reminds people of your presence and skillset. That means sharing valuable content regularly and following up with potential clients is key.
Best of luck!
Matt Diggity is a search engine optimization expert and the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.
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