LinkedIn marketing solutions for freelancers: Double your leads overnight
Did you know that more people now own more cell phones than toothbrushes? This raises several questions in my mind, only one of them relevant to this discussion:
Why are we not doubling down on generating leads as freelancers through mobile platforms?
When it comes to marketing to businesses, there’s no better platform than LinkedIn, and today you will learn the steps to create LinkedIn marketing solutions for your freelance business. Here are the main steps you’ll learn to generate more leads through LinkedIn:
- Step 1: Create a kickass profile
- Step 2: Understand your LinkedIn lane (niche)
- Step 3: Publish, comment, publish, comment
- Step 4: Create your LinkedIn shortlist of companies you’d like to work with
- Step 5: Targeted and thoughtful commentary on the posts of your shortlist
- Step 6: Expect nothing in return – Give without asking
- Step 7: Get ready for the left hook! Be in a position to offer services when a job posting comes up.
LinkedIn is such an underutilized asset for freelancers and consultants looking to generate leads. A recent study shows that 80% of B2B leads are generated through LinkedIn, and 79% of marketers say that LinkedIn is their top lead generation tool.
Further, this is where business decision makers hang out (i.e. those who can hire you!). And these business leaders, 76% of them to be specific, check their LinkedIn at least once a day. It’s important that you develop strategies to get in front of these people.
So why aren’t we as freelancers deploying LinkedIn marketing solutions for our own businesses? Well, many of us are, and are killing it. Others, are…well…reading this point!
Let’s dive into the zero-cost strategies you can use now to start generating freelance job leads on LinkedIn.
Create a kickass profile
This goes without saying. You need to first figure out what you do.
I am a … web developer, content marketing, writer, graphic designer, videographer, virtual assistant, researcher, and the list goes on.
Now, what problem do you solve for your clients?
I am a web developer for small business who don’t have time to manage the day-to-day of their website.
I am a videographer who takes ideas and turns them into beautifully produced and engaging video shorts.
This is your headline. And there’s a spot for it in your profile. After this, you have a summary where you can get into more details about your background and the problem you solve in the lives of your future clients.
Remember, people aren’t looking for a professional, they’re looking for someone to solve their problems.
As part of your LinkedIn profile development, create a narrative with your past experience. And, if you do lack long-term industry experience, be sure to be upfront about that, and explain how you make up for it.
Although I only started graphic designing professionally in the past 5 years, I’ve always been passionate about design. Early in life I discovered the power of visuals and quickly found my passion.
And then go on to explain the relevant experience. This can be paid or unpaid, just make sure to frame your narrative.
Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or not, you should start connecting with as many people as possible. Past and current clients, peers in your industry, blogs you follow, and the list goes on. Build up that network!
If you’ve worked with others, you’ll want to endorse their skills. This is a feature on LinkedIn that allows you to upvote people for specific skills they possess. Do this, and in turn, people will return the favor.
Other LinkedIn freelancer tactics include ensuring your profile is visible to recruiters by doing the following:
What is your LinkedIn lane?
Look at your headline, what industry or niche are you focused on?
Pick your LinkedIn laneway and try as much to stick to it. Are you targeting insurance companies? Financial industry? Creative markets? Young startups? Health niche? And so on.
By deciding your headline and the specific laneway you want to stay in, you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts when it comes time to publish content and provide meaningful comments.
Publish, comment, publish, comment
Search for, and join, LinkedIn groups that fit your expertise and LinkedIn laneway.
If you are targeting the vacation rental industry, there are a number of industry, influencer, and news LinkedIn groups that publish and discuss content related to this industry.
This is why you want to pick your niche and stick to it, so you can focus your attention.
Go now and search on LinkedIn for groups that match your laneway. What comes next is the most important aspect of LinkedIn marketing solutions for freelancers.
Publish relevant, insightful, and thoughtful commentary.
Be sure to understand exactly what this means.
- Other influencers in the groups will be posting commentary. Respond to these in a meaningful way.
- Post comments about relevant news in the industry, asking others what they think, and then engage with them.
- Promote your own unique content from your blog, asking for input.
- Keep a daily Google Alerts on this particular industry to be the first to publish relevant news.
By engaging in LinkedIn groups, and on your profile, with thought-provoking and timely content, you will start to become a familiar face in exactly the circles where you want people to notice you.
Don’t let up, make this a regular part of your lead generation process. Over time, you will generate a lot of goodwill and perhaps even thought leadership status. And, your reputation will become your business card.
Your LinkedIn shortlist
Engaging with thought leaders in your industry is fine and all, but they aren’t likely the ones who will eventually pay your bills. Your future clients will.
Develop a comprehensive list of the companies you’d love to work with and who you believe require your expertise. Write them down, and follow them ALL on your LinkedIn profile.
It will go something like this: I am a graphic designer who works with young startups, I prefer working with those in the parenting niche, here are the 20 startups that I admire and with whom I think I would be a good fit.
By doing this, you will be alerted every time they publish a post, update, or article. This will come in handy later.
Targeted and thoughtful commentary
Similar to what you’ve done in the LinkedIn groups, you will now do with the posts of your shortlist companies.
As they post content on LinkedIn, don’t just ‘like’ it, but respond to it, read it, engage with it, and provide meaningful feedback and commentary based on your expertise.
For example, if they post a new blog post. Read it! And provide some insight about what you enjoyed, what other information is useful in the discussion. In this sense, you aren’t critiquing their work, but joining the conversation.
Do this. Over, and over. Don’t respond to every post, but be sure to be a fixture in the mind of their team.
Expect nothing in return
I’ve seen this in the past: Hey, loved your article, I’m an expert copywriter and can help you up your writing game, let’s connect.
First of all, never say “great article” and leave it at that. To anyone with a few brain cells, that reads: “Didn’t read it, I’m lazy, hey let’s get to my thing.”
Actually read the article, provide a thought out response that shows you read it.
Great article on the importance of copywriting for insurance companies. I’ve found that despite being a relatively unsexy topic, good copywriting takes potential clients on a journey rather than sells them bland products. In fact, did you see the recent study by XYZ that found 100% of insurance customers wanted ABC? Clearly we need to up our game in the copywriting world, and your article does an excellent job of highlighting that.
Notice there’s no job pitch at the end? Never solicit your services in a LinkedIn post. It downgrades your value, comes across as desperate, and why would they give you a job, they just met you!
The point is, to provide value after value while expecting nothing in return. You’d be amazed at the results you can generate with this type of mentality.
Get ready for to act!
I had my shortlist in my Evernote, and I was conducting my daily lead generation on LinkedIn. It had been a few months of me providing meaningful commentary on the posts of about 40 companies I wanted to work with in the real estate niche.
Was this a complete waste of time? Why was I spending 15 minutes a day to provide at least one meaningful comment? I could be scouring the Upwork and Problogger job boards instead!
And then it happened, I received an InMail from a company on my shortlist.
“Hey Glenn, my name is Tabatha, I am the social manager at XYZ.”
Note: This actually happened, but I don’t have permission to discuss the ghostwriting contract so I’ll anonymize it for now.
“Hi Tabatha, nice to e-meet you, great work over at XYZ, I love following you guys, you always have valuable insight on the growth in digital real estate platforms.”
“I appreciate the feedback Glenn, thanks for all your engagement, it’s so hard to find people who can meaningfully engage with our brand, so thanks for that.”
Really? Hard to find people to engage? That could be you!
“Hey, I know you’re probably really busy Glenn, but I know our marketing team is looking for a writer and I thought of you immediately, mind if I pass on your info to our hiring manager?”
Now, it all paid off. Not only did I develop my network, reputation, and reach on LinkedIn over those months of hard word, but now I landed my first (among many) paying clients. And, I’m still working with them to do this, so the ROI keeps increasing.
The power of LinkedIn marketing solutions
Developing your brand, thought leadership, and Rolodex of contacts is hard work. Really f@&$%#$ hard! But, like compound interest, over time this one task will grow your freelancing business beyond your wildest dreams.
People in your industry will know who you are, your ideal clients will recognize your name from all your commentary, and when it comes time to apply to open positions, you will already be fresh in their minds.
Spend 15-20 minutes a day for the next few months executing your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Over time, you will see the power in building your brand, keeping on top of industry news, and engaging with professionals in your LinkedIn lane.
Finally, if you’ve mastered the basics of LinkedIn marketing solutions as a freelancer and are looking for more advanced tactics, check out Neil Patel’s blog post on generating LinkedIn leads.
What are you waiting for?