Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most visible features of your account on the platform. It sits front and center on your profile and can be used to provide insight into your previous and current situations, or future aspirations of the account holder. While the vast majority of people are using LinkedIn to either find a job or network, there is also a somewhat hidden market on the platform. Marketers and salespeople are prioritizing LinkedIn to generate leads.
In fact, half of the B2B marketers considering making a purchase, consult LinkedIn. In essence; it’s a breeding ground for B2B sales, and is usually the first destination for elite salespeople.
While generating high-quality leads is not entirely based on having the best headline for LinkedIn, your headline should become a priority when starting to refine and optimize your own LinkedIn profile.
A good marketer will also consider tweaking their photo and summary to ensure their profile speaks to their target reader and will follow the best practices on best LinkedIn profiles. But we’re focusing on the headline as it’s something you can’t afford to get wrong. And as Anyleads is the leading software service for lead generation, we know a thing or two about optimizing your LinkedIn headline.
The Importance of Optimizing your LinkedIn Headline
Here’s the thing: 500 million people use LinkedIn worldwide. Approximately 10% of those are senior influencers within their respective workplaces. Ergo there are 50 million LinkedIn users with the power to buy your product or service for their business. Known to be high-value assets, these 50 million decision-makers initially look at three things before accepting your LinkedIn connection request:
Profile photo (check out our article on best LinkedIn photos)
Profile summary (read more about LinkedIn summary examples)
The headline is found right below your name on your LinkedIn profile, which means people pay attention to it. See below an example from Richard Branson, where you’ll see his headline reads: “Founder at Virgin Group”.
Image source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rbranson/
It stands out, acting as a beacon to those who you want to view your profile. Granted, Richard’s headline is very simple, but he likely isn’t using LinkedIn to generate leads for plane and train tickets in his business!
Image Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulthompson1/
The above image is a better LinkedIn headline example for sales. Paul states his niche, the problem his clients face, and the solution he provides. His profile viewers can instantly qualify themselves by either relating or separating themselves from the highlighted problem (in this case: financial advisors who struggle to attract clients). And that’s precisely why you should optimize your headline: it attracts your ideal client.
Furthermore, the LinkedIn headline appears in searches. For those who don’t take advantage of the search feature, you’d never guess how useful this is. If words within your headline match words searched by another user, your profile would appear as a suggested connection. Therefore, those with good LinkedIn headlines are more likely to be found by those looking to acquire their products or services.
The algorithm on LinkedIn works by promoting relevance over recency. This means that the algorithm values keywords, and will also substitute synonymous words when necessary. Similarly to search engine algorithms, keywords in certain profile sections will rank your profile higher in searches for those keywords. For those critical of the need to rank highly within a search environment, it might be worthwhile remembering that the top 4 ranked positions on every Google page receive almost 70% of all click-through traffic, which reflects equally on LinkedIn.
For example, look at the table below. Jane ranks higher than both John and Ben, even though each individual used the same keyword within their profile. This is because she used the keyword in her headline, whereas the other two used the same keyword in profile sections deemed ‘less relevant’ by LinkedIn’s algorithm for the search.
Keyword Location within Profile
‘About me’ summary
Further optimization of the headline feature would enable you to continue taking advantage of the algorithm to rank higher in searches. LinkedIn positively favors profile completeness. What this means is that any profile with the headline and all other sections filled out properly would be more likely to rank higher than profiles with missing sections. Lastly, an optimized LinkedIn profile can rank highly on Google searches too. Factor in the external sources who could find your LinkedIn profile on search engines, as well as the site itself, and you’d be foolish not to prioritize creating a good LinkedIn headline.
Amending your headline can bring many benefits to your account, including:
Increased account views and traffic
Increased personal credibility and reputation
Increased connection requests
For example, this account holder received a 300% increase in profile views after optimizing her account (including the headline).
How to optimize your headline to generate leads?
Your career focus
Your typical or objective clientele
The value you add
But remember, you only have 120 characters.
With that in mind, focus on these points to craft a good headline in LinkedIn:
Keywords for good LinkedIn headlines
As previously mentioned, keywords are used on LinkedIn through search capabilities. Just like search engine algorithms, such as Google, there are head keywords and long-tail keywords.
Head keywords are likely to be shorter and more popular. This means that they are likely to have a higher number of other users, which leads to more competition and a lower likelihood of ranking for that keyword. Plus, since they’re broader in focus, these head keywords may not attract your ideal client, even if you do rank highly.
Alternatively, longtail keywords are much more specific in focus, detailed, and generally longer. This means there is likely to be less competition to rank for this type of keyword, but also a potentially lower total search volume. However, when you use longtail keywords, the searchers are more likely to resonate with your profile (if you’ve chosen fitting keywords). What this means is that they are more likely to convert to leads and customers.
Either way, your headline should be geared towards attracting your ideal client. This means it should be user-focused: so try to imagine you are your customer and envision what your search terms would be.
Let’s say you’re a web developer with specific expertise in Squarespace and UI Development, and you’re not keen on Wix or Wordpress. Take a look at the examples below to determine which is better for your headline:
Web Developer (head)
Squarespace Website Designer and UI Developer (long tail)
By including the words: ‘Squarespace’ and ‘UI’ within your headline, you’re more likely to rank higher in searches by clients wanting those services. Although there will be a smaller volume of searchers within this more specific niche, they are more likely to be your ideal clients.
So how do you know which keywords to include in your LinkedIn headline to convert your ideal client into a lead?
You can do market research, surveying your optimal customers about the words they use, or you could explore one of these three areas:
The pattern interruption
Focus on your niche
There’s a typical ‘headline formula’ amongst lead generation experts on LinkedIn. It resembles “I help X (a specific group of people) with Y (problem) by doing Z (solution).” The ‘problem-solution’ headline has been hailed by a LinkedIn trainer, Helen Pritchard as the most effective method of attracting your ideal client on the platform.
This is where using the right keywords becomes effective. Let’s imagine you’re an investment advisor focused on helping lawyers in London, which would your ideal client be more likely to search?
The lawyer stressed with money management (problem-focused)
Need financial advisor for legal professionals (solution-focused)
They are more likely to focus their search on the solution rather than their issue. They want to find an expert who already has experience in solving their problem.
So your headline should reflect this, and use mirroring keywords:
I help legal professionals feel more confident with money by investing intelligently
Helping lawyers and paralegals with financial investments to plan for retirement
By decreasing your headline’s focus to a specific niche (in this case, legal professionals), you’re more likely to rank higher in searches by those who can relate (aka, your ideal legal professional clients). Therefore, this LinkedIn headline method is extremely useful in building your network with your desired clientele to generate leads.
Pattern interruption strategy for best headlines for LinkedIn
Have you heard of pattern interruption? It’s a psychological concept used to change a particular thought or behavior situation. Ordinarily, every person has 50,000 thoughts per day, and up to 95% of these are repeated within a daily cycle. Imagine your ideal client is searching for you but keeps seeing similar LinkedIn headlines over and over again:
Professional and Executive Consultant
Business Coach for Executives
The above examples, although simple and clear, are pretty similar and lack real spark. Granted, they all include keywords that the ideal client is likely searching for, “executive coach,” for example, but none of these LinkedIn headlines examples are particularly compelling. They don’t stand out from one another. All use similar language and don’t speak specifically to the searcher.
Leads are generated by attracting your ideal client - focus on the ‘attracting.’ A LinkedIn headline exists to grab the attention of the viewer, which is precisely why a pattern interrupt is necessary.
Pattern interruption shocks the reader into taking a whole new perspective and garners attention with ease. Another method of grabbing attention is by using humor because it invokes an emotional response, and in fact, many of the top marketers use humor to generate leads.
Believe it or not, the searchers looking for your profile are humans, not bots. So, where possible, including humor in your LinkedIn profile gives your personal brand more of an approachable feel. On the grounds that LinkedIn is a networking source for professionals, humor is somewhat contradictory and therefore unexpected, so works to interrupt the general pattern of sincerity and authority:
Basically the Beyonce of Executive Coaching
So good at Mentoring Business Execs that I could coach Mark Zuckerberg into actually protecting your data!
These pattern interrupts work because most individuals would never expect to find humor on LinkedIn, they shock and are memorable. However, you could also try visual pattern interruptions:
Business Developer | Exec Coach | Enterprise Consultant
Director / Best Selling Author ’Insert Book Title’ / Business Coach Extraordinaire
Using slashes enables your headline to become easily digestible and interrupts the reading sequence. Plus, this technique is pretty simple to master.
Past companies who have interrupted the general thought pattern in Facebook ads by using an unexpected image to accompany the copy have increased ROI generated by between 10 and 100 times. Since your LinkedIn headline is equivalent to your own personal, ad and with 98% of ads today being ignored, it might just be time to try out a pattern interruption.
Constructing the best LinkedIn headlines using social proof
Social proof is a “psychological phenomenon whereby people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are the correct behavior.” It’s a heavily adopted concept in marketing. Research has shown that over 83% of potential customers are more likely to make the decision to purchase based on the recommendations of trusted sources. Going hand-in-hand with FOMO (fear of missing out), social proof is one of the most effective methods of lead generation.
One of the best ways to gain social proof is by establishing yourself as the go-to expert within your industry. This can be achieved in three significant ways:
Being published in the press
Having a large following on social media
But how do you use social proof within your LinkedIn headline, where only 120 characters are available?
Social Proof Method
Headline Examples for LinkedIn
Pulitzer prize-winning author and Business Coach
Hairdresser | Expert Panelist with Garnier
App Developer with over 100,000 Downloads from Women Learning to Code
“Shout out to Anyleads for making lead generation 10 times easier and keeping my business alive”
Recently worked with Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson
Something to avoid when employing social proof in your LinkedIn headline is merely bragging. Self-professing your so-called ‘expert’ status without evidence paints you as arrogant and unapproachable. If you’re looking for more advice about doing social proof the right way, try out Anyleads’ Social Proof Widget. It uses the concept to display real-time stats about your website visitors, increasing your site’s credibility.
Best practices for a good LinkedIn headline
There are several other approaches you could take towards optimizing your LinkedIn headline. For example, if you’re looking to generate leads for face-to-face services, a geographically-based approach might be more worthwhile:
Helping busy exec professionals keep good fitness to stay in shape in London
Grooming dogs in LA since 1998
By mentioning the specific location of your services, you’re both qualifying those who live nearby and simultaneously excluding those who are not within your catchment area. Furthermore, LinkedIn’s algorithm ranks those nearby higher on any search. This means that if your ideal customer lives in LA, as someone linked to the area, you’re likely to rank higher.
In the same way, it could be useful to provide your contact details within your headline. This is particularly useful for high-level senior’s within the business who either do not have time to consistently keep-up with LinkedIn lead generation or those who would like to create a funnel to their website. If you’re struggling with the lead generation process, Anyleads' prospecting tool delivers qualified names straight into your inbox.
Call me on [phone number] to learn how to [do this] in just 15 minutes
Sign up here [link] to download the Guide to Copyrighting your work (no charge)
In this regard, you’re providing links straight to your website, email address, or phone number. This is beneficial as people prefer the path of least resistance, so giving them the next step in the contact process for you will enable easier lead generation. Even if these don’t feature within your headline itself, it’s within the LinkedIn best practices to have these details somewhere on your profile to make it easy for people to take action.
Best LinkedIn headline examples for sales
A ‘bad’ version of Michelle’s headline could be: ‘Social Media and LinkedIn Coach and Speaker’
The above LinkedIn headline is a great example. Michelle mentions her niche (small businesses), and provides credibility by stating that her achievements are ‘international,’ and ‘award-winning.’ The highlighted words are all ‘keywords’ which her ideal clients would search for, and she’s covered a lot of ground, making use of all of those 120 characters!
Image Source: https://gettresults.com/6-best-linkedin-profiles/
A ‘bad’ version of Shama’s headline could be: ‘Founder at Zen Media’
Shama’s headline is brilliant. Not only does it state her current role, but it’s also laced with industry accolades from big-name brands including Forbes & INC. Furthermore, it states her interest in keynote speaking, which will attract leads looking for speakers at their events.
Image source: https://laceyabbacchi.com/linkedin-headline/
A ‘bad’ version of David’s headline could be: ‘Branding Expert and Author’
David’s profile allows him to show off his personality with the word ‘unleashed.’ Furthermore, he creates social proof by including that his best-selling book grossed $1 billion in sales. Lastly, his niche is clear and reflective of those searching for branding experts! It’s a perfect profile!
A ‘bad’ version of Lisa’s headline could be: ‘Resume Writer and CEO of Resume Cheat Sheet & Pretend You’re Fired Today’
Lisa’s profile is compelling as she includes the correct keywords while also embellishing her headline with social proof: ‘Recruiter-Endorsed Executive Resume Writer.’ The other clever aspect of Lisa’s headline is both links to her websites, which stick to the path of least resistance by quickly pointing viewers where to go to next to learn more about her and her businesses.
Another element to acknowledge is the consideration for mobile users, as more than half of all LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile. On a mobile browser (or the LinkedIn mobile app), the headline, along with other parts of every LinkedIn profile is cut shorter, meaning those 120 characters are suddenly down to around 80.
This means you should prioritize the most important information first: by using keywords, niche-focus, pattern interruption, or by generating social proof. This will allow you to grab the attention of your ideal client (or at least spark curiosity) and push them to follow your LinkedIn headline to land on your profile, connecting with you and starting the process of lead generation.
It’s also worth considering leaving out the tech/ scientific jargon within your headline. The majority of people don’t care about the process. They just want to know the result of your products or services. Also, they’re likely looking to outsource these technical services because they don’t feel confident in their knowledge. So where you’re trying to add credibility, they may experience total confusion.
Therefore, instead of (for example) stating all the coding languages you know, it would be better to simply state that you can create a website or app in 8 different coding languages depending on the aesthetic needs or your client.
Good headlines for LinkedIn are essential to any good business owner looking to generate leads.
It’s important to note that optimizing your LinkedIn headline should form as part of a more comprehensive marketing strategy on the social networking platform. This should include your profile picture, ‘about me’ summary and even your background picture. You can read our article on a good LinkedIn background for more information.
It’s also vital to stay consistent in offering value on the platform, whether that involves providing advice on others’ posts or sharing your own content. This is especially useful because of the 3 million people who share content on LinkedIn weekly. They receive 9 billion impressions!
If you think you’ve cracked the code to writing the perfect LinkedIn headline, try out this cool tool to find out just how engaging yours really is!