LinkedIn can be an awesome tool for the freelance designer to win over new clients. The biggest benefit of connecting with prospects on LinkedIn is that they have the opportunity to review what’s public about you before engaging in a conversation. In essence, you’re removing the “cold” from “cold calling”. But to win work on LinkedIn you need to pay attention to some details:
1. Fix Your Profile
Your profile really needs to tell a would-be client what value you’re going to add to their business. Focus on what you can deliver that brings real world results throughout your profile; don’t use bland headings – beef them up with claims about sales, click through, etc.
Try to explain the benefits of using your services and throw in some tips on how to select a designer along the way. If you can link to case studies or demonstrations so much the better.
2. Publish Your Expertise
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is a great way to grab some attention and measure how much notice your work is bringing too. You’re an expert in your kind of design so why not share some of that expertise with the world? This positions you as an expert in your would-be client’s mind too.
Don’t go overboard on article length though; it’s better to keep things short and to the point and space big ideas out over a few posts.
3. Join In with Group Discussions
If you’re a member of the groups relevant to your profession; that’s not enough. You need to actually participate in groups for the membership to benefit you. That doesn’t mean spam posting links to your blog endlessly (that gets wearing very fast) it means engaging other people in your areas of expertise. Clients can and do hunt through groups for freelancers so make it easy for them to find you. Make sure to manage yourself well – no angry, flame wars please.
4. Linked In should Support Your Real Life Work
LinkedIn shouldn’t replace your other sales and marketing activities it should support them instead. Connect with prospects on LinkedIn and it’s another step towards achieving brand recognition with them. It can also be reassuring to a potential client to be able to evaluate your contributions and behaviours in a public space; if you handle yourself well – they are likely to be able to rely on you to handle their business well too.
5. Talk to Prospects Regularly
LinkedIn is a social network and underpinning all the fancy functionality is a simple communications tool. You want to reach out to prospects regularly on LinkedIn – send them article clips that they may be interested in or ask for their input on a group discussion (assuming you both are in the same group). Don’t spam generic “buy from me” messages at your prospects make certain that every communication you send will add value to the recipient’s day instead. A little tailoring can change a form letter into a personal and welcome communication.