Imagine walking into a store. Not just any store, but an IT store. Let’s say that you are looking for a laptop. You are standing in front of it, but notice that there is barely any indication of a store. The lights outside are broken, and the store name is half-erased. Regardless, you decide to enter. As you go towards the cashier to ask for assistance, you see that the desk is empty. Hmm, are they having a lunch break right now, perhaps? 

You think that maybe you’re simply out of luck, and decide to wait. While you’re waiting for the salesman to come and assist you in choosing your next laptop, you stroll around the store. Maybe something will catch your eye. You couldn’t help but notice that there are no price tags on most of the electronics. Finally, a store clerk comes and asks if you need some help. Long story short, you probably won’t buy your laptop from there. That type of store doesn’t seem the right fit for you. You’ll probably spend hours pondering how the politics they apply bring them any profit. What is the problem with all of this?

Most of the people that hire me as their consultant forget one big thing. Visual appearance.

We often disregard it in business, especially when it comes to B2B outreach. But, my job is to speak up. In this article, I will talk about how to optimise your LinkedIn profile for B2B outreach, so you don’t end up like that unfortunate store. 😉

LinkedIn profile optimisation – outreach hotspots

Your personal profile should portray you and your business in the best possible way. We all know that the old saying goes – Don’t judge a book by its cover. But we are also aware that first impressions are based on just that – the cover, the facade. As you are probably guessing – the same is true with LinkedIn. Most of the people will decide whether to connect with you or not, based on how your profile looks.

LinkedIn is of tremendous importance, and we, as professionals, should be able to adapt as fast as possible. New trends, changes, marketing tactics, and the like emerge every day, so we need to keep up. And one of the most important things (and probably easiest to fix) that I repeatedly see is unoptimised LinkedIn profiles. This is very similar to the example with the store. The sellers invite you to their store, but the customer experience is poor and uninviting. It seems like they don’t even bother to make it better. 

Profile optimisation is not rocket science. Nowadays, you have plenty of guides online on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile, but rarely are they focused on B2B outreach. Another option is to simply pay someone to do the job for you. Whatever you do, make it right and by all standards. 🙂

Let’s get to work. Here is what you need to pay the most attention to while updating your LinkedIn profile:

Profile picture

Don’t even consider starting B2B outreach without having a profile picture. Take any statistics compiled for LinkedIn out there, regardless of the year, and you’ll see a well-known pattern. Profiles with a nice headshot receive far more engagement than others. A close-up shot is recommended, with your face taking 60% of the image. You should also make sure that it’s recent and reflect how you look on a daily bases. After all, the outreach end goal is a meeting, and you don’t want to have your potential clients confused. Opt for a natural smile and nice clothing. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit. Wear the same clothes you would wear at work. Avoid selfies or group pictures. Also, pay attention to the background. Concert pics are better suited for Instagram 😉 If you feel like you need more guidance, check this video.

How to optimise your LinkedIn profile picture
Example of a welcoming LinkedIn profile photo.

Background

Your background photo is the second visual element that people see once they open your profile. It’s easy to leave it blank, (it’s actually grayish), thinking it doesn’t play any role, but you’ll be wrong. This is one more place on your profile to show off your brand and your personality, so why miss it? Talking about B2B outreach, it’s best if you try to combine your personal and professional identity and try to highlight the message you want to convey to your target. But don’t get sloppy. And don’t use low-quality images. You don’t want to make the impression that your company still lives in the 90s.

Nowadays there are a bunch of online generators, or if you have some graphic design skills, even better – make your own banner. But, don’t despair if that is not the case. Simply ask your marketing department or hire a freelancer to make you a LinkedIn banner that is a mix of personality and branding. The recommended cover photo size is 1,584 x 396 pixels. If you need further guidance, check out this article.

How to optimise your LinkedIn profile banner
Your LinkedIn background is the perfect place to showcase your creativity and expertise.

Headline

The headline, in most cases, is even more important than the background photo. A headline is the text under your headshot, which showcases your role and potentially what you do. When it comes to B2B outreach – always position your headline towards your targeted audience. The goal is to show how you can help them. That one sentence needs to resonate with the people you want to collaborate with. And no, this doesn’t mean that it needs to be a value proposition. If you are a consultant and want to emphasise your credibility – you might consider highlighting your role and your company. Have in mind that stacking your headline with keywords is not advisable for outreach. It only improves SEO, so it is nicely pared with inbound marketing.

A good headline can help you attract the right attention, and increase your acceptance rate. But what is a good headline largely depends on the target. So as in almost every part of the outreach process, a lot of testing and experimenting is necessary.  Let me tell you one example from a client I recently worked with. After making one tiny tweak to his headline, trying to improve his acceptance rate, it increased 12% overall, and 35% on a daily basis. Worth noting, right?

Example of a great headline
Straight to the point headline which emphasises credibility.

Summary

Out of all LinkedIn sections, this is the most intimidating one. The reason is simple. People find it hard to write about themselves and how it all started. We can’t all be excellent copywriters, but that shouldn’t be an obstacle. You can always hire someone to write or even edit your content, so it’s ready to be published. The important thing is to share your story and make it memorable. You don’t have to enumerate all the skills or projects you have here, there is another section for that. Here you can try and express your personality and present your brand. Make your text engaging and valuable. Invest some time in it, believe me, it’s worth it. You can use up to 2,000 characters in this section, but that doesn’t mean you have to use all of them.

Don’t write your summary like it is a CV or even a motivation letter. You are doing this for sales and marketing reasons and not for jobhunting. We found that the best way to optimise your LinkedIn profile summary for B2B outreach, is to have the following structure: hook – story – offer – CTA (call to action). But writing this, I can see that it would take me a whole new blog post, so I can further explain each of the elements 😉

Other outreach credibility boosters

Skills & Endorsements

Whatever skills you might have, you might want to list them on your profile. But it’s wise to update the skills regularly and rearrange them often, so they match your clients’ needs. To make a great first impression as a trusted contact, you should consider getting some endorsements. You can also play it smart in this area. Identify your most prominent skills, and ask your friends or colleagues to endorse you for those skills. Doing so boosts your credibility in the skills that can easily catch your potential clients’ attention. If you and your competitor had the same skills, but he has double the endorsements, who would have the advantage? Exactly. That’s why you should optimise your LinkedIn profile wisely.

Of course, it’s best to receive endorsements as a result of your knowledge and hard work alone, but you can always ask nicely. 🙂

Skills and endorsements on optimised LinkedIn profile
Showcase your skillset and allow people to endorse you.

Experience

This section is the biggest credibility booster, alongside education. So make sure you update it regularly. And that it is tidy and organised, preferably bullet-pointed. Your prospects should be able to tell precisely what you can bring to the table just by scrolling down this section. 

That’s why your experience section needs to be crafted in that way that will feel relevant to your targeted clientele. You should also ensure that your current company (the one that you are doing the outreach for) has the spotlight. Don’t make the mistake of not connecting it to the official company LinkedIn page. You don’t want it looking fake, right?

Licences & Certifications

Always add your latest licences and certifications, especially if they happen to be professional specialisations in the field you work in right now. For example, I am a certified management consultant (CMC), issued by ICMCI, so if everyone searches me on LinkedIn using those keywords, my profile will pop up. Some certifications have a due date, so be fair and type that in. Having these types of written documents ensures your credibility as a professional specialised in your respective field.

Licenses and certifications on a optimised LinkedIn profile
Professional specialisations boost credibility and yield trust.

Recommendations

Recommendations are similar to endorsements, with a slight difference. While endorsements are used to back up your work or skills with one simple click, recommendations are written statements (like a reference letter), with which you praise someone for their abilities. This type of text is much more meaningful because other members set some of their time aside to write a recommendation for you. Generally speaking, both endorsements and recommendations usually need to be requested, but that doesn’t mean they are any less true.

Accomplishments

Do you have some outstanding projects and awards worth mentioning? Write them down. Perhaps you’ve published a book or a recent article. Or you’ve participated in an important event. The accomplishment section is there for that reason. Wondering where it is? That’s not a surprise since it’s near the bottom of the profile, and people don’t have the time or nerves to reach it. If there is something important that you want to emphasise you should consider incorporating it in the About/Summary section.

Other LinkedIn profile optimisation things worth considering

Activity

The Activity section appears once you start sharing content, liking or commenting on other pages. This is important because it adds value to your profile and alerts others that your page is actively engaging with its audience. For some content tips on how often you should like, comment or share, I recommend this article.

If this looks like a lot of work, you should consider liking a couple of relevant posts for starters. The next step is resharing others’ content, and as you get more and more comfortable, you should consider posting.

Another thing you should have in mind is your company’s activity. Having an active company profile is always a significant advantage.

Activity section
The activity section shows your prospects that you are actively engaging with your audience.

Services

LinkedIn has now added a new feature that helps consultants, freelancers and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. You can find this section right above the About section. Filling this section out can help you not only in your outreach but also to increase your visibility on LinkedIn. Somebody somewhere might search for the exact keywords you wrote on your profile. If you need any further help with this, I believe this LinkedIn article will be of help.

Customise your URL

If someone were to type in your URL into the address bar on their internet browser, they would be directed right to your LinkedIn profile page. Now, first, why should you create a custom LinkedIn URL? Well, it makes your profile easier to find. This is important if you have a common name. When you first sign in on LinkedIn, you will be automatically assigned with an URL that contains your name and some dashes and numbers. You don’t have to keep it that way. Edit it, so it’s easier to remember. It also looks better and neater.

Create your own voice

So that’s how you should optimise your LinkedIn profile for B2B outreach. Make sure you fill in all the blank places, customise where it can be customised, and most importantly, find your voice. There will be a bunch of profiles out there similar to yours, offering similar services, having equal education, experiences… So how to stand out? 

Be confident, but always be authentic and empathetic. Doing LinkedIn outreach and inbound LinkedIn lead generation is different and requires different activities.  But these activities are not total opposites, but if done right and in synergy, can tremendously help each other.

I hope this guide helps you optimise your profile, and I wish you a successful outreach! 🙂