Anyone who has ever made a cold call knows that feeling in the pit of their stomach. As the phone rings, you take a breath and wait for the answer on the other end. With each ring, your heart beats a bit faster. Your mind races with the exact words that you need to say.
While cold calling can be incredibly effective, it is difficult to do well. Phone calls can be awkward and uncomfortable. Calling at an inopportune moment could make an already arduous task even more difficult. If only there was a way to generate leads without picking up a phone!
Enter cold emailing.
Emailing eases some of the immediate pressure felt from cold calling. Craft an informative email, hit a button, and your lead can read all about what you have to offer at their leisure. Unless you have the wrong email address (in that case you’ll have to use a linkedin email finder to find the right one). Or they choose to ignore your email. Or worse, it’s marked as spam and they never receive it. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way for like-minded business professionals to network with one another and make new contacts?
Most business professionals are well aware of LinkedIn as it is the largest professional social media platform in the world and has been around for almost 19 years. It is an obvious tool for career development and professional networking, but it is also a powerful platform for business outreach.
What is LinkedIn Cold Outreach?
Simply put, LinkedIn cold outreach is like any other form of cold outreach: making contact with people who have no connection to you or your business. LinkedIn offers a unique and more modern way to do this that can be an extremely effective business practice for entrepreneurs.
What is the Goal of LinkedIn Cold Outreach?
As with other types of cold outreach, the goal of LinkedIn cold outreach is to capture the interest of potential contact. This contact may be a prospective investor, a customer, or simply someone who influences business decisions within their organization. LinkedIn’s mission is to, “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” The platform is all about networking and building business relationships. This is key, especially early on in the outreach process. Similar to email outreach campaigns, you are looking for engagement. While your ultimate goal might be to make a sale, the first step is simply to make contact and elicit a response.
What Makes LinkedIn the Perfect Platform for Cold Outreach?
Additionally, LinkedIn has a variety of features that make it uniquely effective for cold outreach including the ability to view a potential lead’s profile. The insight you can gain here is invaluable in allowing you to personalize and tailor messages to your prospective clients. Outreach on LinkedIn revolves around messaging. This one-on-one communication removes much of the guesswork of emailing. On LinkedIn, you know exactly who you are messaging, what their job title and position is, and what experience they have.
If you already have an established account with a number of connections, your initial cold outreach is actually pretty warm. Not only are some of your direct connections potential leads themselves, but you can also use these relationships to your advantage by having them introduce you to their connections. This is exactly how real-life networking works. These mutual acquaintances are your second-degree connections and don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction.
Another important element to keep in mind is LinkedIn groups. Look for groups that match up with your target audience. Once you join the group you can message any member of the group and your pool of potential leads has grown once again.
How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Outreach Message
To begin, it is important to understand how messaging works within LinkedIn. With a free account, you are able to send messages to anyone you are directly connected to, members of your own organization, and members of your groups. In order to message anyone else, you will either need to connect with them first or upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account that offers you InMail. To really take advantage of LinkedIn cold outreach, the LinkedIn Premium account is strongly recommended. Note, however, that some members choose to not receive InMail. This is an option in the message preference settings. In this case, you would need to connect with the person before sending any messages. More on the types of messaging later.
Writing the perfect message is not difficult, but it does take a little time and energy. Below are tips to make your cold outreach messages stand out.
This cannot be emphasized enough. If you want to make an impression, personalization is your best strategy. Think about what would make you want to open and respond to a message in your inbox. You would most likely delete or ignore any message that was too generic or spammy. Your potential customers will do the same thing.
Go further than just swapping out names and companies. Use LinkedIn features to your advantage. Get to know your prospective clients by viewing profiles. LinkedIn offers you insight into a person’s educational background, work history, job roles, and even personal interests.
Conducting research and writing a personalized message may seem daunting, especially if the person you are reaching out to has any following or fame, but building relationships online begin by taking the time to learn about your clients. The time and energy invested in this step will be worth the reward.
Also, keep in mind that LinkedIn has monitoring systems in place. If you send out the same message to too many people, your account will be flagged. The best practice is to focus on quality over quantity.
Keep it Short
You may have the most beautifully written, expertly crafted, personalized message out there, but if it is too long, no one will read it. People are busy, and a lengthy message from a stranger will likely end up in the trash. Keep your message short and to the point, and you will be much more likely to receive a response.
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of messaging: connection messages and InMail. Connection messages have a 300 character limit, so they will be short regardless. InMail has a little more flexibility when it comes to length. InMail has a 200 character limit for the subject line and a 2000 character limit for the body. InMail is a premium feature that is on a tiered subscription plan beginning with 5 messages per month and topping out at 30.
Note that it can be tricky to keep a message succinct and to the point while still conveying warmth and authenticity. This is one more reason to consider upgrading to the premium features where you do have more characters to work with. Keep it short, but not to the point where you come off as abrasive or blunt.
The goal at this point is not to make a sale. The goal is to make a contact. Start a conversation. Get a response. Selling your product or service in your very first communication is offputting and may come across as desperate. Don’t do it.
What you can do is find common ground. This goes hand-in-hand with personalization. While doing your research, take note of what interests you on their profile. Do you have a similar hobby or interest? Did you go to the same school? Do you work in the same niche? Do you have any contacts in common? Making these types of personal connections shows that you’re in earnest and increases your chance of piquing their interest.
Give a Reason to Reply
Again, the initial goal is to strike up a conversation, so you want to leave the connection with a reason to reply. The easiest way to do this is by simply asking a relevant question in your message. Here is where personalization and the LinkedIn platform can aid you. Ask follow-up questions that you have about their profile – this can be about their experiences, interests, or even a mutual contact. While a general question can work, a more specific, tailored question may make a person more inclined to reply. You may even request a follow-up conversation via phone or video chat.
It is important to keep track of who you are reaching out to, and it is okay to follow up if
they don’t reply immediately. In the interim, engage in the areas where they are active. You may interact with content that they post or comment on posts where they have commented. This will bring you into their sphere and can foster an awareness of you.
LinkedIn Cold Outreach Message Examples
Not sure of exactly how to start crafting your messages? Below are some templates to get you on the right path. Remember, personalization is key so make them relevant, and make them your own.
Example #1: 2nd Degree Connections
A great place to go is to your second-degree connections. These are people with whom you have a mutual acquaintance. If you have time, you can ask your connection for an introduction, but if you don’t, you can always reach out on your own.
Hello [name], I see that we are both connected to [name of connection]. How do you know them? I noticed on your profile that you [insert pertinent information and explain how it offers common ground]. I’m curious about your position at [name of company]. You might also be interested in the work I’m doing with [name of company]. Let me know if you’d like to read [an article or post you’ve written, or something similar]. Best, [your name]
Example #2: Common Ground
Again, personalization is imperative. A fantastic way to personalize is finding authentic common ground. Mutual groups are a great resource for finding commonalities. One benefit here is that there is no need to purchase InMail credits to message people in your groups. Other key commonalities could be finding people with similar business backgrounds or experiences. You can even reach out to people who have gone to the same school as you.
Hi [name], I found your profile through [common ground – either connection, group, or school] I would love to know more about your experience in [their field or industry]. I am working on [share information about yourself.] Would you be open to a phone call or email conversation? Hope to talk soon, [your name]
Example #3: Admiration
Finally, some amount of flattery can get you anywhere, if it’s genuine. If you’re following someone who has done something noteworthy, go ahead and mention their accomplishment and how it has impacted you. People love to share what they know, especially when their knowledge is valued.
Hey [name], I would love to connect with you! I see you’ve done some impressive things with [name of the company – be specific and mention a detail about what they have done]. I’m hoping to learn more about [something they have experience with] and could really use some suggestions. Let me know if we could talk sometime. Thanks, [your name]
If you are not yet using LinkedIn for outreach, you are not reaping the full benefits of what LinkedIn can offer. As you hone your cold outreach message-writing skills, make sure you compile data. Figure out which types of messaging get the most responses. Tweak and re-write your messages. Make them genuine, pay attention to details, and don’t just make it about the sale. Remember that your initial goal is simply a response, so give them a reason to reply. And of course, don’t forget to follow up.
There are literally millions of leads out there, and there is no need to hold your breath waiting for them to answer.
Georgi Todorov is the founder of ThriveMyWay, a website dedicated to teaching successful digital marketing strategies. Georgi is regularly called upon by companies seeking to develop and enhance their SEO and Content Marketing strategies in order to achieve hockey stick growth. When Georgi isn’t working, you can find him getting close to nature, learning online, or traveling.