It’s safe to say that while most freelancers know that they can get leads from Linkedin, they also have a love/hate relationship with the platform.
For some, Linkedin is a necessary evil – anybody who is serious about running a business should have a presence on the platform, even if they’re not sure how to leverage that presence in a way that benefits their business.
For other freelancers, Linkedin is about as pointless as Google+ (which, yes, is still a thing). Yes, it’s out there, but why?
How to get leads from Linkedin
Love it or hate it, Linkedin is a ginormous, opportunity-filled platform, and it would be silly to ignore its potential as a source of leads for your freelance business.
In April 2017, Linkedin reported 500 million registered users from 200 countries. Bear in mind that these are registered users, not active members, so the scope for connecting with prospects and growing your business is HUGE.
If you would like to attract leads from Linkedin, try these quick-action tips:
1. Start with your profile
Most people forget that Linkedin is a networking tool used by professionals. That means that, at any point in time, recruiters could be searching the platform for someone with your skills, or a fellow entrepreneur could be looking for a joint venture partner.
So, when it comes to getting leads on Linkedin, the possibilities are indeed limitless.
It stands to reason then, that the first place to start with is your profile. Make sure it’s optimised for search so that it can come up in search engine results for people searching for your skills or expertise on Linkedin.
As you can see, I self-identify as an author and creative entrepreneur. This makes it easier for anyone looking to connect with authors or creative entrepreneurs via Linkedin search to find me.
I have to say that the digital ninja doesn’t add any value to my profile; it’s just a bit of whimsy.
Here’s an example of someone who has really optimised their Linkedin profile for search:
As you can see, he’s used keywords that people searching for his services would use to search Linkedin, and I would advise you to do the same.
For example, if you were looking to get leads from finance and tech industries (Fintech), your profile would be: Fintech Writer | Content Marketer | Freelance Writer.
2.Connect with people who viewed your profile
If you go to your full profile, you can see who viewed your profile.
If they’re a connection, why don’t you contact them and ask how you can help them? And if they’re not a connection, check out their profile and send them a message.
If someone’s checking out your Linkedin profile, it means that they’re interested in what you have to offer. So follow up.
3. Establish your expertise on Linkedin Pulse
Linkedin Pulse is the platform’s publishing tool. It’s quite easily one of the best places to get eyeballs on your content, and consequently, demonstrate your expertise in your industry.
You blog, don’t you? Just remember: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; simply republish your blog post on Linkedin (and make sure to tweak it for a Linkedin audience).
Here’s a screenshot of a recent blog that I republished on LinkedIn Pulse:
4. Use Linkedin search for leads
When I started my first business, Ready Writer, a content agency, I used Linkedin search for leads. Money was tight, so every Thursday, I made a list of companies that were a right fit for my services and I used Linkedin to find the decision maker for those services.
Here’s a quick screenshot of how I did this:
Once I found them, I sent them an email pitching my services.
So, back to how I pitched my services to the decision makers I found on LinkedIn (bold).
At this point, I can sense some people squirming and muttering about how much you ‘hate sales’.
I get it, seriously I do. But it’s all about how you position yourself.
My email pitch script was friendly and direct, but professional. And even if people weren’t interested in my services, I never got an outright ‘No, thanks’. It was always a polite, ‘Thanks for reaching out, I’ll get in touch if we need your services.’
(And that’s the thing with email marketing, people can be incredibly vocal about what they get in their inbox – understandably so).
Like I said, it’s all about the positioning. Do it right and you won’t come across as being sleazy or desperate.
Sometimes, I got an unexpected result from my Linkedin ‘prospecting’.
Once, I used this exact same method I shared earlier :
- made a list of companies that were a right fit for my services
- used Linkedin search to find the decision maker for those services
- email-pitched the person.
Although, I didn’t land a commission from my prospect, he thought my services would be of interest to his network, so I was featured in his company newsletter that went out to 1000s of businesses all over the UK.
As a result of that priceless and (FREE!) exposure, I was asked to speak at a conference and contacted by the UK’s leading digital innovation agency looking to overhaul their content (website, marketing materials etc).
My point? You never know where your Linkedin prospecting might take you.
It wasn’t all email pitches though. Sometimes, I would find the decision makers on Linkedin and then, make sales calls, using some NLP sales techniques that I was taught by an NLP expert friend.
Whatever your preferred approach: email pitch or sales calls, Linkedin search is a great source for finding those leads.
5. Use Google search to get leads from Linkedin
As a freelance writer, you may want to offer your services to digital agencies (who, by the way, always need freelancers).
But where to start?
Just go to Google and type in: Linkedin.com + digital agency + London (or preferred location)
Here’s what came up in my search results when I did this:
Once you’ve done this, all you have to do is search Linkedin for the decision maker in that agency and pitch your services to the person.
Not sure how to get those emails? Try hunter.io.
If you’re looking to get leads from Linkedin, try these steps; they’re cost-effective and take relatively little time to implement.
If you have a bit more resources at your disposal, you may want to get Linkedin Premium or Linkedin Sales Navigator.
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Also published on Medium.