I’m talking about the funnel in your LinkedIn profile.
In fact, it’s probably leaking right now: you’re getting profile views but they’re not converting to as many paid clients as you’d like.
The good news is this 10-minute post covers the best LinkedIn profile tips for the following five parts of your profile:
It’ll help you figure out where the leak is in your profile and how to plug it.
So let’s hop to it.
First up is the LinkedIn profile photo.
Your profile photo is the first place people look on your LinkedIn profile and the first impression they get of you. You need to look approachable and resemble a real human being people can relate to.
Avoid overly professional and stiff-looking headshots. Opt for more natural-looking photos without too much makeup or hair gel. And wear slightly less professional clothing. You can also use a coloured background to stand out in the feed and in search results.
You can even use a handy tool called Snappr Photo Analyzer tool to analyze your LinkedIn profile photo and further optimize it.
Here’s what I got when I ran my current LinkedIn profile photo through Snappr:
Keep in mind, there shouldn’t be a huge disconnect between how you appear in your LinkedIn profile photo and on a video call (or in person.) This kind of disconnect erodes trust in a world of bots and catfishing.
If you usually wear glasses in meetings, wear glasses in your profile photo. If you don’t usually straighten your hair for meetings, don’t straighten it for your profile photo.
Just like with online dating, nobody likes surprises.
Nobody cares about your job title. They care about whether and how you can help them with your services. So start your LinkedIn headline with:
Add your title and any accolades or fun facts after how you help your clients. When you’re in the feed, people only see the first part of your headline. So use it to catch leads, not spread your peacock feathers.
Here’s an example from Eden Bidani:
“Driving crazy-good growth for Saas, tech & DTC brands (with words)”
“Driving crazy-good growth” = the problem she solves
“Saas, tech & DTC brands” = who she solves it for
“with words” = how she does it
“🚀Conversion copywriter” = title
“Growth mentor” = accolade
“Secret anthropologist” = fun fact
The more specific you can get, the better. It's all about positioning yourself in the right light.
Here’s an example LinkedIn headline I made up:
“I help pre-seed SaaS startups grow their email lists with referral programs | Fractional CMO @ SkyLight Ventures | Seen in Forbes & Entrepreneur | Marathoner”
“Grow their email lists” = the problem
“Pre-seed SaaS startups” = who
“With referral programs” = how
“Fractional CMO @ Skylight Ventures” = title
“Seen in Forbes & Entrepreneur” = accolade
“Marathoner” = fun fact
Keep it simple, stupid.
And avoid jargon. It makes you sound like a smartass. And nobody likes a smartass. People need to like you to work with you.
Now let’s take a look at the LinkedIn banner.
People are visual, especially on LinkedIn. And the LinkedIn banner is the perfect place to highlight something about your business you want people to know about using a visual.
You can use your LinkedIn banner to do any combination of the following:
Let’s dive into each one.
People are more likely to notice the URL of your website or portfolio if it’s in your banner than if it’s in your About section or Featured section. Because it’s at the top of your profile and it’s visual. Remember: people don’t like to read a lot.
Here’s how I highlight my personal website in my banner:
If you post content on LinkedIn that’s relevant to your target client, call that out in your banner. Your potential clients can then self-select to follow you and start getting value from your free content. If your content hits their pain point, a number of them will reach out to you for your services.
Madeline Mann does a really good job of this. As a career coach, she posts “rapid-fire career & job search advice.”
Providing value upfront for free is critical for a service business. And you can use your LinkedIn banner to point people to a free valuable resource.
Here’s an example from Rebecca Brooks:
I like that she links the free resource in her Featured section as opposed to asking people to type out a URL from the banner (links in your banner aren’t clickable.)
The LinkedIn banner is a great place to showcase what your best clients have said about you and your services.
Here’s an example from Elise Michaels:
You can see how she’s taken advantage of the visual aspect of the LinkedIn banner and creatively overlaid multiple testimonials in it.
For a testimonial to be really effective it needs to include the following elements:
It needs to reflect the transformation the client has undergone because at the end of the day people seek better versions of themselves.
Your LinkedIn banner is a great place to direct people to a free recurring event you host (e.g. LinkedIn Live, Clubhouse) or your podcast. The goal with this is, again, to provide free value upfront. And to give your target clients a chance to get a feel for what you’re like and whether you’re a good fit for them to work with.
A good example is Michelle Griffin’s LinkedIn banner:
I really like how she has it in a mini black banner within her LinkedIn banner.
Finally, if you’re a minimalist and prefer not to promote your services in your LinkedIn banner, try this:
This could be a quote, an image, a design or anything else you feel represents your personal brand and values.
Here’s an example from Zaire Adams:
Now that you have six examples of what to put in your LinkedIn banner, please don’t waste it on images of random scenery or objects. You’re squandering an opportunity to stand out from your competition by sharing more of yourself and your services.
For added effects, match the background of your LinkedIn profile photo to a colour from your LinkedIn banner. Or better yet, wear a shirt that matches the colour of your LinkedIn banner like Zaire Adams—not many people do this and it’ll help you stand out in the feed.
Alright, let’s move on to the very meaty About section that trips most people up.
The best LinkedIn About sections are ones that start with the customer pain point and highlight why you’re the best person to solve that problem. Here are three ways in which you can convey this information in your LinkedIn About section:
Let’s go through each of these in detail with an example.
People relate to personal stories, especially ones involving creating something out of nothing to serve others.
Robbie starts his LinkedIn About section with his work experience but doesn’t use the typical phrase that puts people to sleep: “I have X years experience in…” Instead, he describes his career using storytelling, not resume-writing.
Robbie then goes on to describes his first encounter with the specific pain point he solves for today and how he got the idea for Performative Speaking:
It’s a very compelling story. And the fact people were approaching him for help with storytelling, persuasion and public speaking gives him credibility in the form of social proof.
There’s a lot more to learn from Robbie’s LinkedIn About section and I’d highly recommend giving the whole thing a read. The parts I’ve highlighted are most relevant to telling a behind-the-scenes story about why you do what you do in your LinkedIn About section.
Next up is another way to use a personal story in your LinkedIn about section.
This is a powerful approach because it shows the reader you’ve been in their shoes. And having experienced the pain point first-hand, you’re the best person to solve their problem.
A great example of this is Justin Welsh’s LinkedIn About section:
The specific pain point Justin experienced first-hand is burning out in the corporate world and the desire to design an intentional life. He then describes how he’s solved this problem by building online businesses with his wife and investing his active income to create passive income.
If you’re someone who’s burnt out in the corporate world and is looking for a way to live a more intentional life, you’d likely want to follow (or even hire) someone like Justin to help you undergo the same transformation he did.
The last way to craft your LinkedIn About section as a service provider is to reference how you’ve solved a specific pain point for past customers.
Use social proof to grab your potential client’s attention. Specifically testimonials and references to results you’ve gotten for past clients (with numbers.)
Eden Bidani does a great job of this in her LinkedIn About section.
She starts off with a strong testimonial from a big name in the growth marketing space, Wes Bush. The testimonial even has a clear call-to-action to hire Eden, which is great.
Eden goes on to describe her approach to copywriting and toward the end drops some hard numbers on what she’s done for past clients:
There’s nothing that combats objections in your target customer’s mind than evidence of clear results like this. If you have the numbers, flaunt ‘em.
Before we move on to where many service providers go wrong in their LinkedIn About section, I wanted to quickly plug the keyword research services I used to help me write this article for SEO. Justin Borge, the founder of Help With Your Hustle, is a Twitter friend of mine who has demystified SEO for me. Total blast to work with, too.
Alright, let's get back to it.
There are two places many service providers go wrong in their LinkedIn About section:
Let’s dig into these two missed opportunities.
They do a fantastic job of describing the problem they solve and why they’re the best person to solve it but they end up speaking to everyone (and therefore no one.) Because they failed to articulate who they help.
In my opinion, this is the hardest part of the LinkedIn About section. Especially when you’re still niching down. But if your target client doesn’t feel like they’re in the right place, they won’t convert. They simply can’t afford to waste their time.
To assure your target client they’re in the right place, you need to focus more on psychographics, not demographics. Try to understand:
Then use their language to describe who you help.
The best example I’ve seen is in Anthony English’s LinkedIn About section:
Anthony doesn’t describe the job title, age or income level of his target client. He describes what’s going on in their life, how they feel about their challenges and what their aspirations are (“wants to make high-value offerings to clients who love her work.”)
If you’re a “Rachel,” you’re going to nod aggressively while reading Anthony’s LinkedIn About section and likely reach out to him shortly after. That’s the kind of effect you want to have on your target clients with your LinkedIn About section.
The second place most service providers go wrong in their LinkedIn About section is a much simpler one to fix.
It needs to be crystal clear what you want people to do as soon as they finish reading your LinkedIn About section.
It's a simple LinkedIn profile tip that I see many people forget about.
Having no call to action is the equivalent of answering with “just guess!” when someone asks you an important question. It’s a frustrating experience.
Reduce friction for your profile visitors by guiding them to the next action.
Here are some examples of good calls-to-action to include in your LinkedIn About section:
If you’ve gone through the trouble of writing a great LinkedIn About section, don’t lose the person at the call-to-action.
See this example from Houston Golden, the founder and CEO of BAMF.co:
There are three reasons for this:
The last LinkedIn profile tips are for the Featured section. This is another place where service providers lose a lot of opportunities to showcase their services and convert clients.
There are four types of content you can add to your LinkedIn Featured section:
And it’s the only place on your LinkedIn profile where you can link to somewhere off-platform. So take advantage of that.
Here are some examples of what you can showcase in your LinkedIn Featured section to attract more target clients:
Let’s take a close look at each example.
Here’s an example from Michelle Griffin, a personal branding coach, who showcases her high-performing LinkedIn posts about carousel posts on LinkedIn.
If possible, try to include LinkedIn posts that got at least 100 reactions if possible. It’s just more credible.
Matthew Hunt does this particularly well by showcasing his high-performing LinkedIn posts that contain a free ungated resource for his target clients.
You might be wondering how you can possibly attract paying clients if you share your methodology for free. Here’s how:
So if you have free resources that illustrate how good you are at what you do, share them at scale. You’ll get more reach and more chances to get noticed by target clients.
Andy Foote does this really well with an external link to an article he wrote about the LinkedIn algorithm on his blog linkedinsights.com.
Linking to a high-value article like this in your LinkedIn Featured section is a great way to bring target clients to your website. They can then learn more about you and your services on your website.
If you have an email list where you promote your services, link to it in your LinkedIn Featured section. Then you can see who’s signed up to your email list, monitor their engagement and send personalized campaigns to them advertising your services. After you’ve provided value with a few emails of course.
Here’s how I promote my email list, Writerpreneur, in my LinkedIn Featured section:
Here’s a recap of what we covered:
Now you should be able to improve your LinkedIn profile and stop the funnel in it from leaking. And convert more profile viewers into clients.
For more tips on how to build an audience and attract the right opportunities, take a peek at the past issues of my newsletter: Writerpreneur.