Supercharge Your Outreach: How To Cold Message On LinkedIn

Want to kickstart conversations with prospects on LinkedIn but not sure where to start? You’re not alone.

A whopping 82% of B2B marketers say they achieve their greatest successes by using LinkedIn.

Knowing how to cold message on LinkedIn can be a game changer, helping you to build relationships and generate a steady flow of great leads.

But crafting that perfect message is tough. You need to grab attention, spark interest, and get the conversation flowing naturally.

This guide provides the dos and don’ts of how to cold message on LinkedIn.

We’re going to focus on B2B sales—but the techniques described in this article could just as easily be used to look for job candidates, find a new role, or partner on PR opportunities.

Keep reading for practical tips to help you blend conversational flair with professional finesse and make meaningful connections with other LinkedIn members.


What Is Cold Messaging, and How Does It Work?

Cold messaging is when you contact someone who doesn’t know you or your company and ask them to do something for you.

This could include buying something, attending an event, considering you for a job role, and more.

Sending a cold message on LinkedIn is usually done by using the platform’s built-in messenger system, InMail.

There are three levels of InMail message:

Basic account

With a basic account you can send messages to anyone who is a first contact—in other words, anyone you are connected with.

This means that should you want to send someone a cold message on LinkedIn, you need to send them a connection request.

Luckily, you can include a message in your connection request. So your cold pitch could be included here.

LinkedIn Premium

The other option is to get LinkedIn Premium. This enables you to message anyone on the platform, regardless of whether or not they are a connection.

What Are the Benefits of Cold Messaging on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a great channel for generating leads. 62% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for lead generation and its cost per lead is 28% lower than Google AdWords.

But there are several other reasons to use LinkedIn to generate leads:

It’s the right place

Your potential clients are likely using LinkedIn to do business themselves. Executives spend more time on LinkedIn than on other social media platforms. In fact, 97% of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn.

Also, LinkedIn is designed for professional engagement, so people expect to receive sales messages. This means prospects are more likely to respond to your outreach messages than they would on other channels.

For example, time tracking SaaS company Replicon achieved an 11x better response rate on LinkedIn than it did with email.

It’s perfect for networking

I always find it strange when clients connect with me on Facebook—I usually use it for friends and family.

But LinkedIn is different. Because it focuses on business, you can connect and build relationships with people from your industry.

For example, if you meet a potential prospect at a conference, you can stay in touch and build a relationship on LinkedIn.

You can deliver value

An important aspect of sales is to provide prospects with value. LinkedIn is a great place to do so. You can publish useful articles, share industry tips, and invite people to webinars and events. This builds trust and credibility with your network.

You can also join groups of people with shared interests. This allows you to contribute to discussions and provide advice to others.

Spam: The Cold Message Challenge

Cold messaging on LinkedIn faces the same problems as cold messaging on email or any other platform: spam.;

Spam is any cold message that is generic and sent out to huge numbers of people in the hope of gaining a response from anyone.

Here’s a good example of one which was sent to someone who doesn’t work in the software industry:

Some, like this message, tries to sell things, but others are more nefarious and try to trick you into giving money or personal details to criminals.

Either way, most people receive so much spam that they habitually delete 99% of cold outreach emails.

How to avoid your messages being treated as spam

The key to getting your LinkedIn cold messages read is personalization. Personalized InMail messages perform 15% better than generic ones.

Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Research each person you target and ensure they fit your ideal customer profile (ICP)
  • Research the prospect and their company
  • Use your research to create a hyper-personalized message (we’ll provide some examples later!)
  • Create hyper-personalized images that grab the prospect’s attention.

The next section explains step-by-step how to plan, personalize, and send cold emails on LinkedIn.

💡 What is an ideal customer profile?An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a detailed description of the type of customer or client that a business is most likely to serve successfully and profitably.

It encompasses various factors that characterize the perfect fit for the company’s products or services. This might include:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Behavioral attributes
  • Industry-specific factors

Creating an ICP helps businesses target their marketing, sales, and product development efforts more effectively by focusing on individuals or entities that align closely with the company’s value proposition. These people are more likely to engage, convert, and maintain a long-term relationship.

6 Steps for a Successful Cold LinkedIn Message Campaign

Here’s how to ensure your LinkedIn cold messages get responses.

1. Know your ICP

Before you begin, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched your ICP. In particular, you need to be clear on:

  • Who you want to target
  • What you can offer them
  • What you want them to do

If you understand the needs and desires of your ICP, it makes it easier to write personalized messages.

2. Create a sales list

Once you know the type of person you want to target, it’s time to go to LinkedIn and look for people that meet your criteria.

Sales Navigator has tools to help you do this, but there are still ways to create a sales list manually, even if you have a basic account.

Here’s how:

  • Go to the search bar at the top

  • Type in keywords that reflect your ICP. This could include job title, seniority, location, and industry.

  • Find suitable-looking prospects and add them to your list. Include a link to their profile so you can quickly find them again.

3. Research each prospect

The more targeted your campaign is, the more successful it will be. If you research each individual, it’s easier to write a hyper-personalized email.

Take the time to check out their profile, their role, and previous experience. Look at their company profile and check out its website.

It’s also worth searching for the individual and company online and making a note of any recent developments there. This will make a good talking point in your message. You might even spot an opportunity to offer them your services.

4. Write your message

It’s time to write your hyper-personalized message. Customize each message to the individual prospect and try to show that you understand their:

  • Industry
  • Company
  • Role
  • Products and services
  • Business challenges

You also need to give them a compelling reason to engage with you. This could include offering insights or new information, the opportunity to join a webinar, or the chance to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

And you need to do all of this in just a few short sentences!

Here are some other tips to write great cold LinkedIn messages:

Do not apologise

A mistake many people make when sending a cold LinkedIn message is to open with an apology.

This might seem polite, but LinkedIn is made for professional networking—reaching out to others is what it was made for and you don’t need to apologise. Plus, if you’re doing it right, then your message should provide the recipient with value—that’s not something to apologize for!

Avoid focusing on yourself too much

People want to work with people who understand their business and the challenges they face. It’s important to explain who you are, but don’t talk about yourself and your product too much. Instead, ask questions, provide useful insights, and highlight what you can help them achieve.

Build relationships

LinkedIn is designed for building relationships, so aim to do just that rather than going straight for the hard sell. This makes it easier to get a response to your message—after all, people are more likely to respond to a friendly offer to chat than a sales pitch.

This is especially true if you are using a basic LinkedIn account. In this case, the only way you can send a message to someone is if they are a connection or via a connection request.

It’s hard enough to get someone to accept a connection request from someone they don’t know—but if it’s a veiled sales pitch, then you’ve got no chance.

Provide a clear call to action

Make sure you know what you want your prospect to do once they have read your message and clearly ask them to do it.

You should also only ask the reader to take a single action to avoid overwhelming them. The button in the picture below exemplifies this.

Keep your message short

Nobody is going to read a long message from a stranger, so keep your outreach messages short. We recommend up to 100 words and 4–5 sentences.

Look for common ground or a connection

Mutual connections are a great way to encourage other LinkedIn members to connect with you. They help you build trust and credibility. Plus, speaking about your mutual connections can be a good icebreaker.

Hyper-personalize your message

Simply proving that you have researched a client or you know their industry might not be enough. Any salesperson worth their salt will be doing this.

To really stand out, it’s a good idea to add hyper-personalized elements to your message.

For example, Hyperise is a tool that can be used to add personalized images, GIFs, and videos to messages.

This not only shows the person that the message is meant for them, but it also interrupts their normal thought process and catches them off guard.

Psychologists call this a pattern interrupt and it has been proven to increase response rates to marketing messages 3x.

Here’s a good example of it being used to promote an event. If you opened a LinkedIn message and saw this, then you’d be intrigued, right?

5. Follow up

People are busy, so don’t be surprised if some don’t reply the first time. Send a polite follow-up message that reminds them that you’d like to hear from them. This boosts your response rate and shows them you care about their reply.

Only send one follow-up message. If you don’t hear from them after that, then assume they are not interested or too busy to respond.

6. Measure

Always collect analytics on the success of your LinkedIn cold message campaigns. If you have Sales Navigator then this easy—it does it for you.

But if you have a basic account, it’s more challenging. You’ll have to choose the metrics that matter to you and record them manually by using spreadsheet software like Excel.

The best metrics to track for your LinkedIn cold message campaigns are:

✔️ LinkedIn invitations sent

✔️ Invitations accepted

✔️ Overall response rate

✔️ Negative response rate

✔️ Positive response rate

✔️ Neutral response rate

✔️ Meetings booked/actions taken

5 LinkedIn Cold Message Examples to Boost Your Campaigns

Ideally, you’ll want to create your own LinkedIn messages, each tailored to an individual prospect. But sometimes, you need some inspiration.

Here are five templates you can use:

1. Show interest in their product

Hey [first name] great to connect.

I’ve just checked out [company/product/service] and I love it!

I’m especially excited because you can use it to [use case]. My team and I have to do a lot of [use case] so I think we’re going to find this very useful.

I’d be interested to know how you plan to grow from here/develop the product further?

Why this works

This message not only focuses on the prospect and their business, but also frames you as a potential prospect for them.

This means they’ll be keen to engage with you and talk about their future plans to improve their offering. At some point in this discussion, find a natural opportunity to mention your services and how you can help them.

For example, if you offer global marketing services and the company says it is expanding into a new region, you could offer to set them up with a social media launch campaign.

2. Mention a recent development

Hi [name], I’ve just read that you [recent company accomplishment/development]. Congratulations to your team!

Please could you explain how you came to this decision and the strategy behind it? 

We’re currently trying to [mention a similar strategy] and have found that [mention insight].

Were your experiences the same? 

Why this works

Mentioning a recent accomplishment or business development makes your message highly personalized.

Also, people are often happy to provide advice to others, so you’re likely to get a positive response.

It’s important to be clear about what you want. If you ask an open question, then having to respond to your question might seem overwhelming to the recipient as they might not know where to start.

However, when you explain your own experiences and ask them whether it matches theirs, it gives them a simple, specific question to answer. This means they will be more likely to respond.

3. Connect your experience with theirs

Hi [name],

I love your recent work with [client/customer name] especially the way you [specific project/development].

Can you tell me your secret to success with this client/project? 

If you [check out my profile/visit this case study] you’ll see I have a ton of experience in this field. 

Can we schedule a 15-minute chat and share some ideas?

Why this works

This message combines flattery and personalization to get the person’s attention.

Directing them to your profile or case study piques their curiosity. It allows them to find out for themselves who you are and what value you can offer them.

Offering to share ideas means you ask them to mutually gain from something, not take their time.

4. The shared connection

Hi [name],

I see you’re also a member of the RevGenius group – I’m reaching out to ask about your experiences in this field.

Many organizations I’ve spoken to have been struggling with high churn rates since the pandemic.

Is it the same for you?

I have a few ideas which might overcome this – can we arrange a 15-minute call so I can run them by you?

Why this works

If you open by highlighting a mutual connection, you build trust and credibility with the prospect. As before, if you present your experiences and ask them whether they’ve had similar ones, it gives them a simple question to respond to.

Telling them you have ideas encourages them to engage because it suggests that you have new ideas that their competitors might not have thought of. Obviously, for this to work, you need to have some genuinely innovative ideas.

5. Use stats

Hi [name],

Are you wasting hours each week on social media marketing and getting zero conversions? 

We recently helped a client boost their sales by 20% by making one simple change to their social media strategy.

If you’re curious, how about a 15-minute chat on Thursday?

Why this works

This message highlights the pain points that a client may be experiencing. It also uses stats to highlight the value you are offering them. Who wouldn’t want to increase their sales by 20%?

The message is a soft sell. It’s obvious that the person is pitching, but the ask is low-pressure. Most people have 15 minutes to spare, especially if there’s a chance to learn how to increase sales by one-fifth.

Final Words

In this article, we’ve explained what cold messaging on LinkedIn is, why it presents sales and marketing professionals with a critical opportunity, and how to write a killer message.

We’ve also explained that personalization is key to a successful campaign and that tools like Hyperise can help with this. Sign up for a free trial to find out more.

If you work in sales and marketing and don’t already use LinkedIn, then you are missing a huge opportunity.

Follow the steps in this article and you’ll start generating some highly qualified leads.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make sure that the reader responds to my cold message?

Just like with email, there is no way to make prospects read or respond to your messages.

However, the chances of getting a response increase if you hyper-personalize the message and add a clear call to action.

Is it okay to send someone a cold email on LinkedIn?

Yes. LinkedIn was designed to establish and develop professional networks among employers, employees, brands, and companies.

It is okay to send someone a cold LinkedIn message as long as it is relevant and straight to the point. Sending irrelevant messages to lots of people in the hope you’ll hit the right person will annoy a lot of people and damage your reputation.

lot of people and damage your reputation.