The Freelancer’s Guide to Finding New Clients on LinkedIn

twine thumbnail finding new clients on linkedin

Whether you’re a copywriter or UI artist, you can use LinkedIn to search for businesses outsourcing their creative requirements. However, you need to make yourself stand out. Sending generic messages won’t help a lot if you’re working on finding new clients.

Finding new clients on LinkedIn requires grit, strategic thinking, and creativity. If you’re a freelancer who’s struggling, these steps will show you what it takes to secure those new leads.

Are you ready? Let’s take you through the following process and improve your chances drastically. You might even find yourself handling multiple projects at once!

1. Identify your ideal client

Before you start finding new clients on LinkedIn, you must first know who the ideal client is. Know who you want to work with. To look for your ideal client, you can start by assessing your:

  • Primary skill
  • The industry you’re passionate about

It would be helpful if you consistently freelance in a specific industry -especially if you’re a writer. If you build a portfolio consisting of articles in the tech industry, project managers will see that you specialize in tech. Using this strategy lets you nail more projects in the industry you’re passionate about.

Once you’ve decided on the industry you want to work for, have a customer persona in your head. Do you find yourself working better with young startup founders, or do you want to take a leap into more established brands? Would your ideal customer be overseas, or someone nearby you can have coffee with?

After establishing your personas, get around to searching for these individuals. Start by searching the industry keyword (i.e., fashion, sports, tech, food) on LinkedIn, and apply the appropriate filters. Look for companies and people, and identify CEOs, project managers, marketing leads, and other key personnel to whom you might want to send a proposal. 

2. Tap into LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups are no different from Facebook groups in terms of bringing together people of common interest. These groups bring people from a similar industry together. This makes LinkedIn groups a gold mine of prospects if you know how to find the right one.

There are two ways to find ideal groups:

  • Search for these groups using your desired industry as the keyword
  • See the groups your ideal clients have joined

Joining these groups brings you into a room filled with people similar to your ideal clients, allowing you to connect with more people. Once in the group, you may share your industry-related achievements to catch the eye of some quality prospects…

3. Personalize your connection requests and follow up

Now that you know how to find clients on LinkedIn, what’s just as important is knowing how to reach out to them.

Here’s one solid piece of advice: avoid copying and pasting your proposals. Even the little connect request notes you send must be unique and personalized. Here are ways you can personalize your proposals and connection requests:

  • Provide insight on an article published by the person
  • Comment on their bio
  • Comment on their portfolio
  • Comment on their business
  • Address a social media post with conversational banter
  • Ask an industry-related question

One important tip to consider is that your first message doesn’t even have to be a proposal. It could just be a conversation starter to set you up for a proposal down the road!

For Jordan Platten’s case, he started with a comment on Anna Silsby’s Instagram post. He followed by asking to meet her regarding her digital marketing strategy. This gives the impression that Jordan is genuinely looking forward to discussing Anna’s marketing strategy. Check out the video below to follow Jordan’s process, step-by-step.

It may take you a lot longer to personalize each proposal than if you were to copy-paste them. However, taking the long route not only increases your chance of getting a project but also ensures that a connection is formed with the person you’re reaching out to.

4. Stay in touch and be helpful

After you’ve succeeded in connecting with your ideal client, keep your lines open to the person. You’d want to be there for them as a consultant. Once you know how to find clients on LinkedIn, even more, important is knowing how to keep those clients.

Have them warm up to you. Occasionally give them discounts and be open to consultation calls. It’s one thing to acquire projects, but an even more beneficial thing if you forge close ties with the ideal company.

For instance, companies hire freelance writers to aid the company’s growth in terms of copy and content marketing. They’re hiring the freelancer to grow their company. So, it must be evident from the freelancers’ actions that they care for the company’s growth.

Here are some various ways you can nurture connections with your prospects:

  • Show them you care about their growth in the industry
  • Provide helpful suggestions to the project
  • Occasionally send them relevant articles and studies
  • Invite them for a call when you have concerns about the project’s trajectory
  • Invite them for an in-person discussion when possible
  • Don’t dictate. Instead, suggest.

Some ways may even cost you money and energy. But it will be worth it once you’ve sewn together your relationship with the client. This sets you up for more potential projects down the road, and possibly, a beautiful recommendation.

5. Create engaging content

The previous steps talked you through finding new clients on LinkedIn. Now, the following tips will show you how to attract potential clients.

Here are some of the possibilities for engaging LinkedIn content:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Life Insights
  • Industry Insights
  • Links to Content

A good idea would be to re-purpose previous projects from your previous clients (with their permission) to be made into engaging LinkedIn content. If you have YouTube videos, you may link to these as well.

You also have the option to turn on LinkedIn’s Creator Mode. Using Creator Mode lets you feature original content at the top of your profile and access creator tools, allowing you more followers. However, to maximize Creator Mode, you need at least 150 followers.

As a connections platform, LinkedIn is no different from Facebook when it comes to its practice – the more you post, the more people recognize you.

Regularly posting will also aid in conveying your personality and skill set. Your connections, including the clients you’ve formed close ties with, will be likely to remember you more even if you don’t message them regularly.

6. Optimize your LinkedIn profile 

You’ve learned about finding new clients on LinkedIn. Now, let the clients on LinkedIn find you.

If you’re passionate about getting new projects, your LinkedIn profile must reflect your professional life the same way your Facebook does your personal one. You need not commit four hours a day scrolling through LinkedIn, though.

Here are some of the critical ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

  • Have a profile photo – people like knowing that they’re talking to a real person, not a bot.
  • Your headline should show your primary skill and what industry you write for (i.e., Technology & Software Writer).
  • Add your location as this can help local clients find you easier.
  • Organize your achievements and life milestones per paragraph in your About section.
  • Put your online portfolio link in your ‘About’ section.
  • Add your previous job titles—even internships and schools.
  • Connect with people you know.
  • Request for recommendations.

You may look up how to write compelling headlines and ‘About’ sections. A general rule to follow with headlines is that people should immediately know what you do upon reading that short description.

For ‘About’ sections, a general rule is to organize awards and noteworthy projects into paragraphs. Instead of writing chronologically, it helps to put highlights in the early part of your ‘About’ section. This will help people see your capabilities immediately. 

LinkedIn will guide you through the recommended areas to fill in to boost your LinkedIn profile. Don’t just slog through it, considering that potential clients will assess every nook and cranny.

In Closing

As a professional business profile, a LinkedIn account is your ticket to the online business world.

While you can gain prospects on Facebook, Reddit, and even freelance marketplaces, it is critical if you have a LinkedIn that you can link people to. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to properly reflect your personality and capabilities.

You must identify your ideal clients. Choose the industry you want to work for, and tap startups and groups related to that industry. Don’t copy-paste your proposals. Research your potential clients and craft proposals unique to the needs of each one. Be as helpful as you can, providing consultations and showing commitment to the growth of the startups.

You’d also want to consistently create content for your LinkedIn page. Be an active LinkedIn user so that your connections are regularly reminded of your presence. This will also give them a better idea of who you are as a professional.

Follow these LinkedIn tips, and you’ll start not only finding new clients – but better quality ones.

Allie Decker

Allie is the Head of Content at Omniscient, a marketing agency that works with SaaS brands. Before working with Omniscient, she spent 5 years as a freelance writer and then joined the content team at HubSpot where she worked for nearly 3 years. She has contributed to more than 100 high-converting articles for HubSpot and collaborated with the folks at Entrepreneur, Hotjar, and Foundr. Her words are bookmarked by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and digital marketers worldwide.