I’ve talked at length about how obsessed I am with LinkedIn. LinkedIn optimization has helped me show up higher in search results to the people who matter. Boolean searches on LinkedIn allow me to perform laser-focused queries. And my LinkedIn hashtag strategy has brought me a greater reach and higher engagement. Cold messaging on LinkedIn has been another game-changer for me, and that’s going to be the focus of this blog.
Hold Up — What Do You Mean by Cold Messaging on LinkedIn?
Great question. Anytime you do “cold” outreach (including cold email outreach!), we mean that the recipient, the lead, doesn’t know you. You’re strangers, and you have no prior relationship. You’re cold. Brrr!
If the lead is warm, it would mean you’ve nurtured them a little bit already, and then we have hot leads.
When my students in Revenue Spark and I reach out to our leads on LinkedIn, it’s our first time interacting, so it’s cold outreach. When we take the conversation to email, we are not cold emailing. We are warm emailing.
Let’s keep going.
How Can You Master Cold Messaging on LinkedIn Like a Total Pro?
There is definitely an art to cold messaging on LinkedIn. You don’t want to just start dishing out messages to strangers all willy-nilly. Let’s break down some really important rules, guidelines, and (very strong) suggestions.
Tip #1: Send Your Messages to People in Your Department
I have a content agency. I’m selling our SEO and blogging services. I’m not going to DM the IT director. They have nothing to do with blogging and have no reason to care about helping me.
Instead, I want to message someone who ideally works with content in some capacity. If I can’t find that person, I go for someone in the marketing department next.
Cold message someone who is going to understand you and the value of the services that you offer.
Tip #2: Personalize Every Single Message
Yes! Every. Single. One. This is non-negotiable. Don’t be that person who copies and pastes the same exact message, verbatim, to all of their leads.
What I do is I give my students in Revenue Spark templates that they can use as a starting point, and then they personalize the details so that the message is unique to the lead. Does this take a few extra seconds? Yes. But I do mean seconds. This is not a big ask.
Furthermore, it’s going to make a huge difference. People know when you’re being disingenuous. They know when they’re receiving the same message as everyone else. But if you can invest a few extra seconds in giving them a little more attention, it’s going to go a long way. Don’t treat your leads like a number. Treat them like human beings.
Tip #3: Keep Your LinkedIn Message Short
Do not say any more than you absolutely have to. I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus here, so I’m going to blur out the details, but here’s a cold message I recently received on LinkedIn from a total stranger.
This screenshot alone makes me tired. Too much. Way too much. (I do get his intentions, though, and they were in the right place!) And he’s not the only one. I get cold messages on LinkedIn like this every single day. You know what I do with them?
Not read them.
I respond with, “Thank you but I’m not interested,” and I move on with my life.
Now, imagine this had been a service I was actually interested in! This person would’ve lost out on my business before the conversation could even start because their cold message to me was roughly the length of an epic novel.
When you’re cold messaging on LinkedIn, these people don’t know you, and they know you’re reaching out to sell them something. Respect their time and energy by not requesting more than you need.
More than likely, all you need to do is quickly introduce yourself and tell them why you’re reaching out. (More on this in a moment.) That’s it. Don’t worry — you’ll have a chance to tell them more later!
Tip #4: Be Transparent
I said that you can tell them why you’re reaching out, and this is about being truthful and not trying to “trick” them. This is also a type of message I receive regularly and I do not take kindly to it.
Just the other day, I had a woman send me an invite and then a DM. And she started chatting me up, super casual. But she was trying too hard, and I smelled it on her. I knew she was going to try to sell me something.
But I was like, “Meh, give her the benefit of the doubt.” So, we kept talking about very random, useless stuff.
Sure enough, two days later, she messages me again like we’re old friends and tries to sell me her book.
Every coach, every YouTuber, every “guru” is going to tell you to nurture your leads, but that doesn’t mean misleading them. People can and will see right through this. It’s really obvious. Don’t let the conversation drag on and on in an attempt to “nurture” them just to ultimately pitch them.
Now, I’m not telling you to hard sell. That also doesn’t work. Hard selling is pitching your services in the very first message. That’s hard selling. Don’t do that.
You spend one message telling your lead why you’re reaching out, and then let the conversation unfold from there. But you should always gently be moving it forward. Do not waste their time or disrespect them like that. Be better.
Tip #5: Follow Up
I follow up once every few days, twice in total. People get busy. They forget about you. Maybe your message gets buried. Your leads might need a gentle reminder.
Like the initial message, keep this one short. All you’re doing is bumping the message back up to the top of their inbox. Following up is very normal and very important — do it!
Tip #6: Always End with a Call-to-Action
Sometimes I’ll get messages from people trying to sell me something, and they’ll end it with, “Thanks!” Okay? You’re welcome?
You have to give your leads a reason to respond. After telling them why I’m reaching out, I’ll ask my leads if they’d be open to discussing a partnership more. Or I’ll ask for their email address. Or I’ll check if they’re the right person to even talk to.
But give them a reason to engage back with you. Tell them what to do or what you need, or the conversation will just stall. It won’t go anywhere.
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for sourcing leads and connecting with potential clients — if you leverage it properly. Follow these tips for cold messaging on LinkedIn and let me know how it goes!
If you need help finding clients, check out my guide on how to source leads. And if you want to work with me to land new clients and earn more money as a freelancer, check out my program — Revenue Spark — and book a call to speak with me.