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The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Cold Messages: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch

Don't throw spaghetti on the wall! Learn how to do cold outreach on LinkedIn like a pro with our in-depth guide. Check out the examples and best practices to boost your sales.

LinkedIn is a goldmine for lead generation!

Since more than 900 million professionals worldwide hang out there, there’s a high chance you’ll find your target customer or prospect on the platform. 

But here’s the catch—finding leads isn’t as strenuous as converting them!

If not approached right, your lead can ghost or block you on the platform, making cold outreach even more difficult.

This guide walks you through the right way of reaching out and pitching to your leads on LinkedIn. You’ll learn to form meaningful connections with them before pitching while reducing the awkwardness. 

Why Does LinkedIn Cold Outreach Matter?

Cold outreach can be terribly painful at times. You may follow the right approach and still hear crickets. 

While your approach might be right, if you’re not meeting your lead at their choice of platform, you’re still shooting arrows in the dark!

This is why omnichannel outreach is the best way to go about cold outreach, and LinkedIn is a significant part of it. When combining LinkedIn outreach with cold emailing, you’re never letting yourself out of your lead’s sight, making it more convenient for them to stay in touch with you.

For example, if you’ve sent a cold email to a lead today, you can send them a connection request with a personalized note as the next step. This way, if they’re more active on their LinkedIn than their emails, you’d never miss out on an opportunity to convert them.

Moreover, LinkedIn cold outreach is much more cost-effective than other means of sales outreach, which makes it an excellent platform for building profitable relationships

Different Ways To Do Cold Outreach On LinkedIn

There are two ways to start a private conversation with your leads on Linkedin: 

1. LinkedIn Messages

You can only send LinkedIn messages to people you’re already connected with. To send a message to anyone other than your 1st-degree connections, include a note with your connection request. 

This way, the lead will get a context about:

  • Who are you
  • Why you’re reaching out
  • Why should they accept your connection request

2. LinkedIn Inmails

Inmail, on the other hand, is a premium feature only available with the paid tier of LinkedIn. They can have higher open rates (57.5%) than emails. 

The best thing about Inmails is that you can send them directly to your lead without connecting with them first. 

Should You Use Messages or Inmail?

Both are effective ways of reaching your prospects. Use Inmails if you want to reach your leads without sending them a connection request and track the effectiveness of your LinkedIn messages. 

Use regular LinkedIn messages if you don’t have a budget to spend on the premium package. Besides, connecting with a lead with a personalized note has one huge benefit—you can add your leads to your network, nurture them with your LinkedIn content, and stay closely in touch with them. 

Best Ways To Approach LinkedIn Cold Outreach

LinkedIn cold messaging isn’t as simple as typing in the message and clicking ‘send.’ It cannot be a generic ‘copy-paste’ template you send to multiple leads at a time—believe us, LinkedIn users already got sick of those! 

You need to put in some groundwork to understand the lead you’re contacting and find the right angle to pitch

You need to understand your target market and their needs well and, more importantly, have an impressive presence on LinkedIn. 

Follow these 5 steps to prep for LinkedIn cold outreach:

1. Create An Awesome Profile

The first thing a lead is very likely to do after receiving an Inmail or a connection request—they check out the sender’s profile. They see who this person is, the kind of work they do, the companies they’ve worked with, etc. 

Make sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile in these areas:

  • Headline: Create a short, engaging LinkedIn headline with relevant keywords about your work and value proposition, and bring in a bit of your personality. 
  • Cover image: Upload a cover image representing your work or vision. 
  • Summary: Put good thought into writing a brief overview of your experiences, and include case studies to make your story more appealing
  • Profile photo: Do not leave it blank—put up a clear and professional headshot.

2. Find Your Leads

You must understand your target market well and have a clear customer persona in mind. Make a list of 1st-level, 2nd-level, and 3rd-level connections that fit your customer persona profile and qualify as a lead. 

Study your leads for a while:

  • Give them a follow and observe the kind of content they post or react to.
  • Screenshot any important activity or engagement you see them doing on LinkedIn—for example: leaving a valuable comment on a post.
  • Be aware of any significant event that might have happened in their organization—for example, bulk hiring or series B funding.
  • Scroll through their LinkedIn and see if you have a mutual connection that can introduce you to them.
  • Find out what their biggest challenge as a business is and how your offerings fit into it all. Try to tie in their challenges to your offer.

3. Get On Their Radar

Even when doing cold outreach, it’s always a good idea to warm up to a person and at least let them know you exist. This helps the person build trust in you and consider your proposition. 

omnichannel outreach example

You can follow this approach (as shown in the image), starting by engaging with their posts for a few days. And by engaging, we mean liking their posts and leaving valuable or insightful comments. The idea is to get noticed by your lead for your comment and stay in their sight until you make the first move, i.e., outreach (or connection request).

This way, your cold outreach will not be so cold, and it’ll help reduce all the awkwardness of pitching someone you haven’t spoken to before. 

4. Build Your Network

The more extensive your network is, the better your chances of impressing your lead. Why?

When people visit your profile either after your first outreach or after you’ve engaged with their post, they also see the kind of network you’ve managed to build. They look for any mutual connections you both have or the kind of people who engage with your posts, have endorsed your skills, or left you a recommendation. 

It’s a LinkedIn best practice to keep strengthening your network as you go, even when you’re not specifically doing cold outreach. After all, your network is indeed your net worth!

How To Write An Effective LinkedIn Cold Outreach Message 

Once you’ve done your homework, i.e., researching the lead and have followed all the prerequisites, writing the cold outreach message becomes a cakewalk. 

Writing Connection Notes That Get Replies

Including connection notes is considered a good practice to start relationships on a positive note

For starters, it helps the lead know you care enough to research them and send a personalized note. Moreover, it enables you to stand out among other connection requests they might have received. 

You can use a variety of conversation starters to break the ice in your connection note:

  • Mentioning a mutual connection to add a sense of familiarity to your message.
  • Expressing admiration for their recent work.
  • Congratulating them on achieving a milestone at their company.
  • Asking a specific question about their recent post and taking the discussion forward.
  • Offering them a solution to a problem they might have mentioned in a post or comment.

Example 1 of a Great LinkedIn Connection Note

linkedin connection request example

Key Takeaways

  • It says explicitly which blog post you’re talking about, which makes it highly personalized. 
  • Introducing yourself in the connection note helps add credibility.
  • The CTA isn’t forceful—it’s considerate, sweet, and doable for the recipient.

Example 2

linkedin connection request example

Key Takeaways

  • This connection note adds value to the recipient’s life, which is a nice gesture to offer to a stranger.
  • The note is short and to the point.
  • It explicitly explains how you found them on LinkedIn, which makes for a great conversation starter.

Example 3

linkedin connection request example

Key Takeaways

  • The note is humorous and helps lighten the reader’s mood
  • The pun is related to the lead’s field and cleverly ties in their pain points 

Writing LinkedIn Inmails

Inmails are an effective way of reaching your leads without worrying about connecting with them first. They appear on the regular message box of LinkedIn along with regular messages, and the recipient is always notified wherever they receive an Inmail.

Here are some things to keep in mind while sending Inmails:

  • Choose your prospects wisely: Since you only get a limited number of Inmails every month, you shouldn’t casually spend them on anyone. Always qualify a lead, create a spreadsheet of leads, and segment them by industry, priority, etc. 
  • Create compelling subject lines: Use pain points, personal connections, or exciting stories to generate curiosity in your subject lines. 
  • Keep the message short: Though Inmails allow up to 1900 characters in the message body, it’s better to keep your message concise and to the point. You can follow this structure in your Inmail:
linkedin cold outreach example
  • Don’t go into too much detail in the first mail, and avoid making unrealistic claims.
  • Make it convenient for them to book a meeting with you—provide a Calendly link.

Example 1 of a Great Cold Pitch LinkedIn Inmail

example of a cold message on linkedin

Key Takeaways

  • The message is honest and concise and only discusses what’s relevant to the lead. 
  • It doesn’t sound forceful or desperate to the recipient.
  • It shows that the offer has an abundance of value.

Example 2

example of a cold message on linkedin

This a great example of a sales Inmail message you can send after you’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn. 

Key Takeaways

  • The message is direct, asks specific questions, and showcases a USP of the product they’re pitching.
  • The solution clearly solves one of the biggest challenges for the lead, i.e., generating more leads for their business, and the message explains it well.
  • You can try other CTAs to make this message even more effective. Example: offering a free trial of your product or sharing a valuable resource with the lead, etc. 

Example 3

example of a cold message on linkedin

Key Takeaways

  • It shows the lead you’ve keenly observed them, listened to their points during the session and spent some time coming up with the solution. 
  • One thing to note while reaching out to someone after attending an event—do not wait too long to reach out. The minute details of the conversation will only get hazy the longer you wait.
  • Do not pitch in the first encounter—take some time to warm up to the lead.

Additional Tips To Level Up Your LinkedIn Outreach Game

  • Work on your copywriting skills—try to offer more value with fewer words.
  • Use an outreach tool to scale the process while maintaining the personal touch.
  • Focus on building a solid personal brand on LinkedIn. It only adds to your credibility and makes the outreach process more efficient. Use Inlytics to track your post analytics and schedule your posts without losing engagement!
  • Make sure to always have an agenda before contacting a lead. Without clarity, you’re just throwing spaghetti on the wall!
  • Always engage with the lead on their posts before reaching out—it helps them get familiar with you.

Master The Art Of LinkedIn Cold Messaging

LinkedIn cold outreach doesn’t have to be cold, provided you’re following the right protocols and sticking with them. 

If you think about it, it’s all just a matter of forming human connections on a platform managed and run by humans—use the ‘conversation starter-problem-solution’ approach while bringing your personality to the message, and you’re gold!

And remember, never do outreach with the aim of selling! Do it to provide immense value and build strong relationships.


Lana Rafaela

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