There's a small section of your LinkedIn profile that follows you everywhere you go on the platform.
Along with your photo, it's the instant calling card people use to size up who you are and what (if any) interest they should have in your profile, profession and content.
Get this piece of your profile right, and it lays the foundation for short-term and long-term lead generation and sales.
Get it wrong, and you might as well not even use LinkedIn … it's that important.
It's your professional headline, which appears right below your name at the top of your LinkedIn profile. (You can see what I’m talking about here.)
This is your 125 character chance to impress strangers that are sizing you up in a matter of mere seconds … so it's critical you make a great first impression.
What You Want To Convey with Your LinkedIn Professional Headline
Your LinkedIn headline needs to convey in 125 characters (or around 18-20 words):
- Who You Are
- What You Do
- Audiences You Serve
- Value/Benefit You Bring Customers
- Credibility/Social Proof
That's a lot to fit into such a short space, but it is possible to pull off.
The key is to get rid of the old, outdated way of thinking when it comes to your LinkedIn profile.
If you remember nothing else from this post, take this to heart: Your LinkedIn profile should NOT be about you … instead it should be focused on what you can do for your ideal audience and what makes you different/better when compared to your competitors.
Here's what I mean: Instead of having your LinkedIn profile read like a traditional résumé, where you list your job titles, employers, duties, etc., I want you to make your profile what I call “client-facing.”
The first (and most important) place to display this approach is with your LinkedIn professional headline.
So instead of listing your job title or role in your LinkedIn professional headline, I want you to tell me (as a potential client) what you can do to help me achieve my goals!
Steal This Approach!
Look at how one of my LinkedIn Riches students, Lisa Anderson, has run with this approach in her professional headline: “Strategic Business Advisor | Virtual CFO | Virtual CEO for Government Contractors, Accountants & Consulting Firms”
(Here's how it looks on her LinkedIn profile page.)
Lisa's headline makes it clear what she does (Strategic Business Advisor, Virtual CFO, Virtual CEO) and who her target audiences are (Government Contractors, Accountants and Consulting Firms.)
As an added credibility play, she list her name on LinkedIn as, “Lisa Anderson, CPA” to demonstrate her financial services credentials.
Nowhere in Lisa's LinkedIn professional headline is the name of her company, her role as CEO or her company, or anything like that.
See the power and clarity of this approach?
Lisa is 100 percent focused on quickly telling us who she serves and what services she provides to those audiences.
With LinkedIn, The Riches Are In The Niches!
Remember, the more niche you can get with your approach on the LinkedIn, the more successful you'll become.
I've talked in other places about how to appeal to multiple audiences or multiple niches on LinkedIn, so don't worry that you're somehow going to have to limit yourself in the process.
The key is making it clear, simple and fast for people to decipher who you are, who you serve and what you provide.
Think of your LinkedIn Professional Headline like the front door of your home or office. What does your welcome mat say? Who should enter? What type of place is this? Who hangs out in there?
There is where defining your key audience or audiences comes into play. You can't succeed on LinkedIn trying to be everything to everyone.
Instead, you must define a few target audiences to appeal to, and then build outward from there.
Your LinkedIn Professional Headline = Laser-Focus!
Consider another successful LinkedIn Riches student of mine, Karen Nierlich.
Karen does website design and optimization for small businesses all over the country. One of her most popular client types is contractors and homebuilders – many have hired her to do their websites.
Karen quickly realized that when it came to LinkedIn, her profile could work well appealing to that specific, niche audience.
Here's her LinkedIn Professional Headline: “✔ Helping Residential Contractors Attract Architects & Homeowners ✔ Contractor SEO WordPress Websites & Marketing”
(In case you’re curious, here's how it looks on her LinkedIn profile page.)
See how specific that is? Of course, Karen can do (and I'm sure does do) websites for any type of business. But when it comes to her presence on LinkedIn, she can use it to appeal to a targeted, niche audience … one that is eager to find a website vendor who understands them – their unique business challenges, time challenges, marketing needs, target audiences, etc.
Why This Approach Works So Well on LinkedIn
When you're able to approach one specific type of audience and say, “Hey, all I do is help people just like you achieve this specific type of outcome by providing this type of service,” it becomes a much easier sale.
People want to know you understand them and their industry, that you've had proven success with other professionals or businesses just like theirs, and that you can do the same thing for them as well.
That is where the idea of appealing to niche audiences comes in.
It starts with your LinkedIn professional headline, and then flows through the rest of your profile, with your Summary area, testimonials and so on.
So make it happen!
(FYI, I just released a new, free video training series that outlines every step of the process behind creating a killer LinkedIn profile. You can check it out here.)