Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Leads, Converting Prospects, Building Your Brand

Post by
Renat Gabitov

Introduction

Do you feel like you can be getting way more out of your LinkedIn?


Imagine getting 10+ quality B2B leads, dozens of job offers, speaking opportunities and prof contacts coming to you CONSISTENTLY every single month.

LinkedIn is NOT your “digital resume,” it is your personal sale page.

It’s the place people go to before buying from you, getting on the phone with you and reaching out to you. It’s not only a growth tool, it is a conversion tool.

You can deal with it or ignore it, but one fact will stay true - people do business with those they trust. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is your chance to tell a story that  builds up that trust relationships with others.

When I started, my LinkedIn game sucked. I was getting decent traffic to my LinkedIn page, but only an occasional contact with opportunities.

As a marketer, I got determined to “optimize the heck out of it.”

I tweaked, talked to experts and did research.

And finally, it all started coming together. Today, I’ve attributed tens of thousands of dollars in revenues to that one channel that helped me convert and get new business.

This article will help you optimize your LinkedIn profile for engagement, leadgen and trust.

Instead of telling you to have a prettier profile picture or a branded cover photo, we will focus on understanding the principles that you can apply across everything you do.

The Audience

The most important thing in sales (including selling yourself) is understanding your ideal customer.

Once you know exactly who you are communicating with, you can craft the most relevant story for that very targeted customer profile.

The odds are, it’d be really difficult to sell water to fish, even if you are the greatest salesperson on Earth. We should focus on the person in front of the screen looking at your profile.

First, define your ideal customer.

Here are some good questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the type of people you’d like to talk to? (industry/demographic)
  2. Why are they looking at your profile at the first place? What are their goals?
  3. What are their pain points and challenges?
  4. Whom do they trust?
  5. Their preferred method and style of communication

If you’re unsure, do a few interviews with your customers / target audience to learn more. It will pay off big time, since day one.

👉🏻Your turn: define your audience by constructing customer personas here.

Important Note: People that YOU want to connect with and your actual profile visitors now might not be the same. You need to acknowledge both groups and pick one primary customer profile that you’d like to focus on. In the next, post we will look into generating targeted traffic to your LinkedIn page.

Developing Your Message

The Outcome

Once you know exactly the people you’d like to target, we need to build the story that will lead to your desired outcome.

What is the ONE thingthat you’d like your prospects to walk away with?

Here are a few good ones:

  • Awareness: I want {specific audience} to know that I am the go-to person for everything related to {niche: autonomous cars}
  • Credibility: I want {specific audience} to be more comfortable buying from me and feel like my company and I are the best for the job.
  • Opportunities: I want more {job title} to reach out to me about {my niche} about {my product/service}
  • New Problem & New Solution: I want to educate people on {problem that people did not know they have} and help them solve it with {your solution}

You can’t be successful, if you do not define what success means to you. Knowing your audience’s pain points and your ONE thing will help optimize your profile.

Profile Description

It’s important to develop your profile description well before you optimize anything else on your LinkedIn. You first develop your story and then make the rest of your profile consistent with it.

Profile description is useful to tell people in more details about who you are, what you do and how you can help each other.

Every great pitch has the following components:

  • Thought leadership & Mission / Thesis
  • Credibility Builder
  • What you do (vehicle to results)
  • Call to Action

Example #1

Simon's LinkedIn Profile

Note how Simon is speaking to his audience “the greatest leaders and organizations.”

Example #2

Peter's LinkedIn Profile

Example #3

Leanid's LinkedIn Profile

Thought Leadership & The Mission Statement

According to Simon Sinek, people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Notice the difference.

The Typical Pitch:

We sell paper. We offer the highest quality product at the best possible price. Lower than any of our competitors. Wanna buy some?

The Mission-Centered Pitch:

What good is an idea if it can’t be shared? Our company was founded to help spread ideas. The more ideas that are shared, the greater the likelihood those ideas will have an impact in the world. There are many ways to share ideas; one is the written word. That’s where we come in. We make paper for those words. We make paper for big ideas. Wanna buy some?

Your mission statement will tell the story, in which everything you’ve been doing until now follows ONE ambition, ONE trajectory, ONE dream. This singular focus will make you look like you’ve been striving your whole life towards this goal, and you WILL reach it no matter what. You are consistent in what you do, and thus can be trusted. You are a leader in the chosen field and are pushing others on the same mission forward.

From the examples above:

  • Simon Sinek: Inspire people to do what inspires them
  • Peter Diamandis: Open the space frontier for humanity and Create the future
  • Leanid: Inventing new ways people move through space

Credibility

Before people feel comfortable talking to or buying from you, they need to qualify you and your expertise.

  • What results have you produced?
  • What gives you authority to solve their problems?

What You Do

This is where it is ok to pitch your products or services. Notice that instead of telling people buy buy buy in the very beginning, you are first building a relationship with your prospect and educating them on the WHY behindyourWHAT (emotional connection).

  • What are your services/products?
  • What type of people do you serve?
  • What type of results can you deliver?
  • How can you help?

Call to Action

You have gotten people to emotionally connect with your mission, built trust and explained what you do. Now it’s time to turn that attention into action.

Tell people the next steps and guide them along this journey. Really do it! This is where a lot of people fail: they deliver value and get other hooked and fail to convert attention into engagement.

Examples of good call to actions:

  • “If you are also building transportation systems of the future, let’s talk.” Email me: Name@cmo.one
  • Learn more about {product / producing the desired result} here: www.website.com

Pro Tip: Media Links

You can use “media” in the profile description to share videos (building up your personality), links to lead capture pages and content.  



This is it! By now, you’ve done the following:

  1. Understood your customer
  2. Come up with the ONE KPI / desired outcome
  3. Crafted a captivating story and distilled you mission statement, services and credibility builders.

From here we need to translate this to the rest of the profile.

The First Impression

There are two ways people are going to end up on your personal LinkedIn page: direct link or search.

Direct traffic is pretty self explanatory, whereas search traffic could use some optimization.

Your account pops up, if someoneuses a search term similar to your headline and profile description.

Your profile pops up. It then gets clicked, if 1) it catches the eye 2) it is relevant.

One strategy to make your profile more eye catching is to use of emojis 😜.

The strategy works well in email marketing - subject lines (source):

  • An increase of unique openings by 29%,
  • An increase of unique click rate by 28%,
  • CTR increased by 93%.

Note that LinkedIn is a “professional” social media platform and using emoji’s might have a negative effect on your ideal prospect that we determined earlier.

It can also be distracting or look desperate, if you use too many emojis.

If you are not a millennial, it will take a lot of convincing…

Use them with a lot of thought! Your name may become an association with the emoji you pick.

If you use your one emoji consistently throughout your social media, it will create a strong anchor. Imagine the next time people see your emoji, your name comes to mind. I am “Renat, the cosmonaut 👨‍🚀.”



The Headline

Writing a powerful headline is extremely important for engagement and discovery.

Here is my Headline formula:

Job Title + Keywords + Call to Action + Personality

Good Example:

Tim Queen

Job Title

Use differentiation to amplify attention.

  1. Amplifier (Top, Best, #1, Number 1, Best Selling)
  2. Personification of Your Skill (Author) / Speaker / Role
  3. Title / Field of Expertise (Marketing) + Meta Title (Trainer, Expert, Speaker, Consultant, Author, Hacker, Manager, ..)

Source

Keywords

Keywords is the main reason your name will show in search.

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel with keywords. The odds are that no one will search for “experience guru,” “finance master” or “secret agent”
  2. Think like your target customer
  3. Research other professionals’ headlines to get inspiration and observe commonalities

By having “sustainability” in my profile and my company information, people often reach out to me to learn more.  Recently a former CEO of a big company who had recently sold randomly checked my page and reached out.  He said he was looking for new opportunities after a sale and was interested in the world of sustainable packaging.  This led to a phone call and he is speaking with his network to try to get us some sales. If someone was to ask me which tool has led to the most sales for you, I would very confidently say Linkedin.
- Dylan Satin



Call to Action

Give people a strong incentive to connect and initiate a conversation with you. It’s visible across all of your LinkedIn activities:

Best practices to include in the CTA:

  1. Results you can deliver
  2. People and industries you work with
  3. Services that you offer
  4. Results (Ex: Helped 72 People Become Bestselling Author, Want to Be One?)

Personality

Personality makes you memorable, creates affinity and induces emotions. All of those things sell extremely well. Be careful when being witty and subtle, however. People might only spend a second looking at your description so it needs to be clear and to the point enough.

Good:

  • Cut me and I bleed content
  • In a galaxy far, far away…

Bad:

  • I don’t go with the flow – that’s for fish
  • Jack of all trades, master of none

Picture

No matter how you look at it, humans are inherently biased. We’ve developed this survival mechanism to make quick decisions to determine who we can trust and who we should stay away from. Different people have different triggers. It’s best to be neutral in this category.  

Here are the best practices for profile pictures:

  • Clean photography
  • Don’t even think about using your passport photo...
  • Good lighting is everything
  • Minimal
  • Eye Contact
  • Commands trust and attention
  • Eyes grab attention.
  • Look friendly and approachable
  • Reduce all the barriers for people to get in touch with you. Looking too “cool” will only harm your conversion rate.
  • Semi- or full professional
  • Forget about your Burning Man pics
  • Don’t use images that cover your face like VR/AR headsets etc. (you can do that in your cover photo)
  • Consistency
  • Try to keep the same profile image consistent across all of your social media accounts and presentations. This will make your face familiar and thus more people will check out your profile.

Cover Image

Imagine you have a billboard in a crowded place… Wait. You have had one this whole time. Almost no one uses this digital real estate correctly.

Cover images are a tool to give people an idea of who you are visually. You can also use it to communicate your message!

Ideas:

  1. Include a one sentence pitch.
  2. Pick the background image that speaks for what you do.
  3. Include Logo
  4. Your Mission Statement
  5. Website URL
  6. Call To Action
  7. Credibility & Social Proof (Awards, Speaking in front of a big crowd, etc)

LinkedIn profile background photo – 1584px x 396px

Experience

We are almost there. By now, people who are checking out your profile will be warmed up and engaged. The experience section is your opportunity to be very direct and tell people in more detail about what you do exactly.

You’ve learned the fundamental principles and logic in the bio and headline sections. Use those principles in the experience section and you will be successful.

Best Practices:

  • Be Brief (4-5 sentences)
  • Use Keywords
  • Tell people what you
  • Must: show your results and build up credibility.
  • Leverage Media Links (especially with your CTAs and funnels)
  • Target audience
  • Who do you work with?
  • Whom do you want to connect with?
  • Call To Action
  • Tell people exactly what to do next and how to get in touch
  • Leverage Bullet Points or Emojis

Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned how to think about your LinkedIn profile. We’ve looked at crafting your story, distilling your audience, optimizing your headline, choosing profile & timeline pics and more.

I’ve learned one thing over the years:

If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.

USE the knowledge in this article right now. There is no secret formula. Only action will make you achieve your desired results.


If you want to get more actionable in-depth guides on marketing, sales and entrepreneurship, SMASH THIS BUTTON. I will send you practical info to help you reach your WHY (mission).

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