As a freelancer or business owner, I’m sure you appreciate the importance of making new connections. Finding the right people to speak to and then engaging their interest is absolutely essential.
Of course, there are many different ways you can go about this.
Personally I favour in-person networking, supported by a range of inbound marketing communications. Recently though, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the power of LinkedIn.
If you haven’t already, I’d advise working LinkedIn into your ‘new business’ activities. Here are just four (of the many) reasons why…
If you want to go prospecting, you need to know who you’re looking for. So begin by building a clear profile of your ideal client. Then find them on LinkedIn. This could be a company you’ve already worked with or one you’d like to work with in the future. Go to their company page and scroll down to the bottom-right corner… voila! The ‘People also viewed’ section will show you other, similar companies.
You’ll still need to take some time to learn about each company before making contact. So while you shouldn’t rely on LinkedIn’s matchmaking skills alone, it can help to speed up the research process.
In my experience, reaching out to new contacts through social media is often more successful than via email. I don’t know why this is. It might be that an email gets lost amongst the inbox spam. It could be that social media’s ‘new message’ notification is still seductive and exciting enough to get people’s attention.
Whatever the reason, I’ve experienced more (and also faster) responses when I contact people through LinkedIn, vs. emailing.
Note: This obviously isn’t the case for everyone. If LinkedIn brings you no joy, follow up with a polite email.
Email is like telling someone your story, whilst standing in a locked, soundproofed room. In order for anyone else to learn about you, that person would have to pass the message on. LinkedIn is like telling someone your story in a crowded room, through a megaphone.
In other words…
If you engage with people publically, other people will see it. I recently answered a public request for a copywriter on LinkedIn. By doing so, I caught the eye of two other people who were also looking for copywriters. Voila once more! Three new conversations, for the price of one.
If you want someone to take an interest in you, your service or your product, make it easy. Suggesting someone visits your website requires effort from them. They’d have to stop what they’re doing and look you up.
With LinkedIn all your key credentials are right there. If they’re interested in something you’ve shared, they only have to click on your name to see what you’re about. Even better- you’ll get a notification when they do.