An optimized LinkedIn profile is a must for selling on LinkedIn.
It plays a huge role in inbound leads – people who find you on LinkedIn through search or through content. These are the best leads because they already trust you and want to buy from you.
It’s easier to convert an inbound lead on LinkedIn than even the ones that come in through the website.
LinkedIn profile optimization is easy, as I show in this blog post.
Optimizing your Headline on LinkedIn
Most people create their LinkedIn profiles like a formal resume. How many times have you seen a headline that reads like this:
Vice President Marketing/sales/IT @ xyz company
Dynamic, results-oriented professional with xx years of experience. Proven track record of delivering results, innovation and business impact in __ industry.
What does it tell you about this person, other than where he is working and his job title?
– Not much!
Do you know anything specific about his past success or achievements?
Unfortunately, most profiles on LinkedIn follow this template. Even sales and marketing folks use the same thing.
It happens because people consider LinkedIn to be a formal network where they need to stay, well, formal. It’s the safe thing to do, like wearing a white shirt and black shoes to work.
If you want to sell on LinkedIn, such a profile is not going to help you.
Now let’s look at some interesting profiles and headlines:
What’s common across these profiles?
– A headline or cover image that clearly tells what the person does
– First 1-2 profile sentences that establish trust, value and differentiator
If you want to use LinkedIn to drum up business, your profile headline and first couple of sentences must help you stand out from the boring, run-of-the-mill LinkedIn profiles.
The good news is that it’s easy to do with my Headline Creation Template:
I <do this> for <target market> <benefit of your product or service> | <add 3-4 keywords about your service/product> |
For example, my headline says:
“Sales coach for B2B software and services companies with less than $20M in sales | Get more US customers | B2B Lead generation | Sales Coaching | Inside Sales Coach | LinkedIn Sales Coach | Inbound Sales | US Sales |.”
See how easy it is?
Optimizing the About section
The About section is the second most important thing in your LinkedIn profile. It’s your story that tells your prospects why you’re the best person to solve their problems.
Discuss your prospects’ pain, challenges, and opportunities and how your solution fits into their world.
The About section has two goals:
1. Improve your LinkedIn SEO
LinkedIn is not just a social media platform; it’s the largest search engine for professionals.
People are searching for content to read, people to connect with, employees to hire, prospects to sell to and suppliers to solve their problems. You want people to find you when they search LinkedIn for someone with your skills and expertise.
People who contact you through LinkedIn are more likely to buy from you. They have already researched you and other options on LinkedIn and found you a good fit for their needs. So ranking high in LinkedIn searches is important.
Ranking high in LinkedIn search isn’t as difficult as ranking in Google searches. LinkedIn uses two primary factors to rank your profile – keywords and reach. If you are connected to the person who is searching, you will be included in the search. You will rank high if your profile has the right keywords.
2. Convert profile visitors into leads
The About section is your landing page on LinkedIn. It needs to covert people who visit your profile into leads.
Many people make the mistake of writing their resume here. Don’t do that. Use the Experience section for your job history.
The first sentence is critical because it needs to hook the viewer to read the full section.
When people see your LinkedIn profile, they only see the first couple of sentences in your About section. The first sentence must grab their attention.
You can either start with a strong CTA or a sentence about the benefits of your solution.
Look at Brynne Tillman’s LinkedIn profile. She is a LinkedIn selling expert and coach.
She starts with a CTA:
LEARN TOP LINKEDIN AND SOCIAL SELLING STRATEGIES ►
The buyer’s journey has changed. Buyers are now researchers, explorers, self-educators, and collaborative decision-makers – and it’s significantly impacting the traditional sales process.
The CTA is optimized for search and clearly tells you what she does. The opening sentence tells you that your sales cycle has changed, so you need a different approach to selling.
This is a great way to start the About section.
The other option is to start with a couple of sentences about the benefits of your product. Include the main keyword about your product and service.
Look at Sam’s profile:
150+ B2B marketing leaders at Google, UiPath, Medallia, InsightSquared, and many others use Testimonial Hero to easily create customer videos that engage prospects, reduce friction in the sales cycle, and drive more revenue faster.
It lists customers to build trust, tells what the software does and the benefits it delivers. It has the keywords related to his product.
Let’ look at Sneha’s profile:
Compassionate Human Resources professional with love for helping employers recruit, develop and retain qualified candidates.
It demonstrates her passion for recruitment and the value she delivers. The sentence includes important keywords related to her service.
About section is the perfect place to educate prospects about how your solution solves their problem. The key here is Educate, not Sell.
Use the next couple of paragraphs to build on the opening sentence/CTA.
List challenges faced by your prospects. Agitate about their pain and problems. Then share insights about how to solve their problems. Finally, show them how you can help.
Follow it with one or two case studies/examples of how you have helped your customers. This gives social proof and builds excitement in the reader that you can help them get similar results.
Share links to third party reviews sites if you have a SaaS/technology product. Share links to press coverage to build further credibility.
Finally, include a soft call to action to get people to contact you. If possible, include an offer like I do with a 30-minute free consultation call.
Include keywords in the first sentence and sprinkle them throughout the About section to optimize your profile for search.
See my profile as an example of how to optimize About section of your LinkedIn profile:
Featured section – your LinkedIn profile’s lead generation engine
While the About section is a critical part of your profile, the Featured section is the engine for driving leads on LinkedIn.
Most people don’t fill this out because they don’t have anything to show. But that’s what makes it so attractive to entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals.
If you do this well, you really stand out from the crowd.
How do you use featured section on LinkedIn?
Add links to your LinkedIn posts & articles, your blog posts, link to your product/landing page, documents and presentations.
This is really a lead generation section and you should treat it as such. Look at these examples:
Sam has got links to some educational content and case studies offering proof that their software works.
Lukasz shares clips from his presentations at events and interviews that establish him as an expert. He has also included a link to reviews from his clients on Clutch.co (a review site) that establishes trust and provides proof that he delivers top notch SEO services.
Brynne shares some of her LinkedIn posts and blogs in the featured section. Some people also showcase awards, certifications.
This is the sort of information you will normally find on the home page or landing page of a website.
Experience section – build credibility by showing your achievements
The “Experience” section is where you build your chronological resume. Add past employer, duration of the employment, and your achievements.
Focus on your achievements in each role/job. Achievements build credibility by showing that you deliver results.
A common question people struggle with is how many years to go back in your experience section. My recommendation is to go as far back as it makes sense for your current work/solution. Use placeholders for roles/jobs that are not relevant to your current focus.
Use deliverables instead of formal job title. Add keywords in your job description and achievements to help your profile rank higher in LinkedIn searches.
Recommendations and skills help optimize your profile and add credibility
Recommendations from clients and supervisors are best for building credibility on LinkedIn.
You can get it from co-workers also, but those are not credible.
Try to get a minimum of three recommendations. Make sure these include important keywords you want to rank for in searches.
One of the challenges with recommendations is that everyone has glowing recommendations on LinkedIn. Unless you get it from clients or respected professionals in your field, people tend to discount them. But any keyword-rich recommendations will help in your profile optimization.
LinkedIn introduced skill endorsements to highlight professional skills. One of the problems with skill endorsements if that most people endorse others with the expectation to receive an endorsement in return.
But it has a big impact on your profile optimization as LinkedIn created it to help recruiters find people with the right skills. So, make sure you get some endorsements for skills you want to rank for in LinkedIn.
Other sections of your LinkedIn profile you should optimize
There are some other parts of LinkedIn profile you should optimize to improve your profile’s search performance.
If you provide software services or outsourcing solutions, click the pen icon for “Providing services” section.
Click the Add services button to add your services like software development, etc.
In the about section, add a short description of your business. See my services section as an example:
If you’ve professional certification or licenses relevant to what you’re selling, add those in the Licenses & certifications section.
There are many other things you can add to your profile to optimize it further. Click the Add profile section button on your LinkedIn profile page to see all the options.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is the first step in using LinkedIn to sell your products and services.
The next step is to identify people you should connect with and nurture on LinkedIn.