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By Pamela Manning on

There are many businesses that require a website. Either a new one or a complete redesign. Most people searching for a web designer would prefer to reach out to someone they know and trust to complete the work.

So, are you discoverable? Do friends and family know that you have launched a web design career?

We are providing this step-by-step guide on how to create a professional presence on LinkedIn, billed as the world’s largest professional network. Enabling you to share your great skills so those valuable new clients can find and hire you.

A few steps to follow:

  • Be clear on your marketing strategy
  • Get on LinkedIn and create your own killer profile
  • Connect to potential clients and start meaningful conversations
  • Create a business page

Creating a LinkedIn Strategy

Know how to add value for your ideal client

When creating a successful LinkedIn strategy, planning is key.

The best place to start is to imagine who your ideal client is and what they need. Once you’ve got this sorted, the rest of your strategy will flow naturally from these key points.

Don’t be afraid to go into detail when imagining your client. You need to think deeply about what their needs are in order to target them effectively. Creating a marketing persona can be a great way of doing this.

Example of a marketing persona

Creating a marketing persona can be a great way of figuring out your customers’ needs

Creating a strategy requires organising all of the different ideas and solutions you have and then determining how they can best be utilised by your prospective clients. Your strategy is just for you.

What problem does the client have that you can solve?

Potential clients are going to respond a lot better to your message if you offer them help. Acknowledging issues they might be having and offering solutions will earn you trust and huge amounts of brownie points in terms of customer satisfaction.

Do you research and make sure you identify and anticipate the problems they are facing. For example, in the case of web design, your client’s site might have a high bounce rate, it might be failing to attract the right audience or they may not even have a website at all.

Drawing up a list of these issues will help keep your strategy focused on what is really important to them.

How can you solve the problem for them?

Now you know what your audience’s problems are, you better make sure you have some solutions to offer them.

Be prepared to make a clear case on how you can fix their problem. Maybe by designing and building an amazing website, that attracts customers, which leads to sales. Incorporate this information into your profile.

Make sure your solutions are measurable — your client will want to be able to check whether they have worked or not. Also, remember to keep them relevant. Don’t try and stuff in additional services they don’t need.

Having a list of problems and solutions will be useful to you beyond LinkedIn. For one, it will help you deal with customer inquiries far more efficiently as you will be able to recognise which category of problem you are dealing with and quickly provide the appropriate solution.

Find your niche market

Understanding your niche gives valuable focus to your marketing efforts. Understand what your interests are. Use your innate passion to work in an area that you enjoy.

Utilise any previous work and industry experience you have to offer web development services in this area.

If you already have a portfolio of websites in a specific industry, then use that as a starting point for your niche.

However, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Be clear that you are open to opportunities in any area.

Google’s Keyword Planner is an easy and free tool to carry out keyword research to understand what your prospects are searching for.

In this example, searching for “web developer New York” brings up a number of options, along with the number of searches per month.

Screenshot of keyword search for web developer New York

We can see that “web developer New York” has around 100-1000 searches per month. Whereas “web design nyc” is the top hit with 1,000 – 10,000 searches.

Take some time to do your research and truly understand what your intended audience is searching for. Use the relevant keywords effectively through all of your web presence. This will enable you to find more leads for your business that are relevant to your niche.

Quick Tip: Keep a list of target keywords and search volumes for easy reference.

Define your ideal client

Get into detail. Have a definition of who your ideal client would be.

Some examples could be:

  • A small business with 1-5 people.
  • A fitness business to fit with your already completed fitness websites.
  • A business that values their web presence
  • A client that is prepared to invest in SEO and Social Media

Centre all your content creation and marketing material around these values you have defined.

Name and Images: Professional Headshot

It is highly recommended to invest in a professional headshot. Taking time to do this will help prospective clients to know you love what you do and will invest time and money in it.

Example of a professional headshot on a LinkedIn page

Quick Tip: A headshot should be a recent photo, professionally taken. Dress appropriately for your industry. The ideal photo size is 400 x 400 pixels.

Headline

Be specific on who you serve and what you can do for them.

Remember your marketing strategy and ideal client you specified? Make sure that your headline is specific and focused on what your ideal client will be searching for.

Example of clear, focused headline on LinkedIn page

Summary

How you can serve the client. Be clear on what you can do for them. Establish your mission and accomplishments. There are some excellent examples on LinkedIn that show clear direction.

Example of a LinkedIn summary that acts as a pitch for what you do

Quick Tip: If you have a 30 second elevator speech, use this as basis for your summary.

Another example:

Example of a slightly longer summary that lists professional achievements

In this summary area you can also add in media files, graphics, links to websites you designed etc.

Shows how preview thumbnails of media you have designed/created will be displayed in the Summary area

Have relevance

Be clear that you are Freelance and are open to work opportunities. Have a heavy focus on the keywords you have identified through your research. Such as, web design Bangkok.

Contact information

Use an email address that most current contacts would find you with, as this is a good way for people to connect. Ensure that you respond promptly to any incoming messages or connection requests. For a client, speed may be of the essence.

Example of completed contact information card on LinkedIn page

Experience

As you would in a resume, list all work experience.

Make sure you include work from any previous career path. Valuable connections may come from colleagues of prior companies. Also, it gives a sense of your experience in different industries.

Skills

There are hundreds of skill options to choose from on LinkedIn. Again, remember your keywords and your focused marketing. We have created some common skill examples you may wish to use:

Quick Tip: Clarify your top 3 skills, show your clients what you are really focused on.

Location

List any geographical location you would prefer to work in. Also, say you can work worldwide if you are comfortable doing a whole website project remotely.

It is worth checking on your keyword research if there are a higher volume of searches for a major town near to you, or a district, rather than the small town you may reside in.

For example, if I do keyword research on “web developer Carmel Indiana” – the small town where I live, there are 0-10 monthly searches. However, if I search for Indianapolis, the largest nearby city, there are 10-100.

Education

Don’t underestimate the importance of education on LinkedIn. List all the educational institutes you attended. 

This might seem strangely irrelevant but LinkedIn makes a big deal of this. It lists how many people attended the same college as you on company profile pages and more importantly, makes recommended connections based on a shared educational background.

LinkedIn business profile showing number of people who work there who attended the same university as the user

One of those four people could turn into a useful connection

This not only helps to build trust but opens up a huge network of alumni to you. A network that is a lot easier to tap into than most too.

Writing a connection message referencing how terrible the food was or the outrageous dress sense of an eccentric professor is a relatively quick and easy way to build a rapport.

Languages

Fluency in another language is very valuable. Even if you have basic knowledge it can still be a great asset and point of interest.

Projects/Portfolio

In this section you can add any projects, publications etc. that you have created. Use the “Add Profile section” dropdown menu.

Animation demonstrating how to add a Project to your profile

Choosing to add a project will bring you to this simple form to fill. You can list the URL of the web project or design that you have worked on.

Screenshot of edit project form

Quick Tip: You can place media files in the summary section, as previously discussed. These appear at the top of your profile, so are more noticeable.

This will then be displayed on your profile under accomplishments as so…

Examples of what accomplishment card looks like when completed

Make sure you have a URL

You can set the URL of your profile to make it less generic. This URL will look better on a business card or as a web link.

Animation showing how to edit your URL in LinkedIn

Keep your profile SEO friendly

Test out keyword searches through LinkedIn, such as “Web Designer Bangkok”. See what position you turn up in.

Go back to your marketing keywords and ensure they are in your profile. Have a colleague check it over to see anything you may have missed.

Quick Tip: Hide ‘people also viewed’ section of your profile. It just advertises your competition.

Select relevant hashtags

LinkedIn will suggest hashtags for you, based on your profile.

Animation demonstrating how to find your recommended hashtags in LinkedIn

In my personal experience, once I added hashtags to my profile, it completely altered my recommended connections and news feed.

You can also search on a hashtag you are interested in.

Screenshot of a search by hash tag

Other sections you can add: volunteer experience, publications, certifications, patents, courses, projects, honors and awards, organizations.

Quick Tip: Complete your profile. Completed profiles are ranked higher on search results so are more visible in LinkedIn.

Harness the power of your current network

Use email contacts to find current connections

LinkedIn provides a handy feature to sync up all your email contacts. Allowing you to easily find those people you email regularly. First provide your email address, then sign in and give permission for LinkedIn to access your email contacts.

Screenshot of Contacts page

This will bring up a list of contacts for you to connect directly with.

Reach out to them – send a connection request

Customise the connection request to explain how you know the person, if it is not immediately obvious to them. Overall, keep it from being a sales pitch and suggest some part of connecting that would benefit them.

Quick Tip: Always personalise the connection request.

Search past employers/colleges for people you may know

Search by employer:

Screenshot of search by employer

Search by your college or place of education:

Screenshot of searching by education

Making connections in your target market

Now we have a great LinkedIn profile with valuable connections, it is time to create more leads based on our marketing strategy.

Acquire more leads for your business

It is generally recommended to spend around 10-20 minutes each day on LinkedIn, finding and connecting to expand your network.

Try to add around 5-10 new contacts a day until you reach around 100 pending requests.

Sending too many all at once may have the site admin marking you as spam. A little and often is always a good strategy.

As an example, if I search for a target market of “Wellness Indianapolis”, this will bring up a variety of search results.

Search box with "wellness indianapolis" written inside

At the top of the listing are those that are directly connected to me. Aim your initial connections at those that are 2nd and 3rd removed from you. Then you already have a mutual connection.

List of connections based on "wellness indianapolis" search

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How to talk to your target audience

Once you have some prospective targets, then create a personalised connection request. Use the strategy of connecting first and then messaging once the connection is established.

Remember to offer some benefit of the connection to them, don’t just sell them your service.

Further detailed examples are shown on this helpful article Brian Downward LinkedIn connection.

Endorse your connections

Give endorsement on your connections’ skills

They may just give you the same in return. Having skill endorsements on your profile will increase your credibility with potential clients.

LinkedIn has now made it super easy to provide endorsements to your connections. As long as they have their skills set up and have their settings to allow you to endorse, then you can just hit the ‘+’ mark on those skills you wish to endorse.

Make sure that your profile is also full of skills to allow them to return the favour.

Screenshot showing list of skills to endorse

Remember life also happens offline

Go to conferences in your region

Once you have an industry niche, then go to conferences or meetups for that industry. This will enable you to connect with those that you meet. Consider having business cards containing your LinkedIn URL to hand out.

Meet face-to-face

Once you have initiated messaging through LinkedIn, let them know you are an expert in your field and arrange a face-to-face meeting. They may not need your services at this time, but they may know someone that does.

Consider a co-working space

Most cities have some great co-working spaces at low cost. Turning up and getting to know your fellow workers will automatically provide you with entrepreneurial contacts in different industries. They can be fun too, there is one in my town that has free beer on tap!

Create a LinkedIn business page

Business pages allow you to showcase your business to your clients.

To create one, use the work tab on the top menu. At the bottom of the work menu there is an option to create a company page.

Screenshot showing where to click to create a company page

Business Details

Screenshot showing different types of company page available on LinkedIn

List your business name and then create a LinkedIn URL e.g. https://www.linkedin.com/company/web-courses-bangkok/.

The following information is then on easy dropdown menus. Making the page creation a quick process: Industry, Company Size and Company Type.

Scrreenshot showing form that needs to be completed to set up a LinkedIn company page

You can then upload your logo and a tagline to describe what your business does.

Here is the example for WCB.

Screenshot of the Web Courses Bangkok LinkedIn Business page

Once you have created your page, then encourage your team members and clients to become brand ambassadors.

Remind yourself you are in it for the long run and it all part of how to become a digital marketer. Get them to follow your page and to share out any content you create.

Pamela Manning

About The Author

Pamela

Pamela is continually expanding her freelancing skills. Primarily an editor, proofreader and virtual assistant. Pamela loves to travel, meditate and enjoy the outdoors.