How to Cold Message on LinkedIn

Cold messaging on LinkedIn adds leads to the funnel.
How to Cold Message on LinkedIn article cover
Living and working in the digital world means being comfortable with new ways of interacting with people. You're more in charge of your future than ever before, and the balls are fully in your court.

Making that first move is easier than ever. Gone are the days of mailing resumes and waiting for the phone call that often wouldn't come.

To succeed in business, you must take full advantage of all the tools and opportunities available to you. This includes social media.

And what's THE social media for business people?


Scrolling through social media and occasionally liking or commenting on something isn't enough anymore. Social media sites are designed for real interaction.

So if you want potential customers, co-workers, and bosses to know you exist, you must make yourself visible. Make them know you exist.

And if you do it right, cold messaging on LinkedIn is a great way to do that.

What is a LinkedIn Cold Message?

LinkedIn cold message is a message you send to a LinkedIn member you do not know and therefore isn't expecting a message from you.

Sounds simple, right?

But it takes some thought and strategy to pull it off successfully.

After all, your recipient has very little reason to open or respond to a message from someone they don't know.

Think of a cold message as someone knocking on your door. You don't know them, and you weren't expecting them. But you're expected to make a decision on the spot as to whether or not you want to entertain what it is that they have to say.

So you want to make sure you've crafted that first impression correctly. You want to generate interest and a sense of understanding, like when trying to make a new friend. Any new sale is, in fact, a partnership.

Understanding how to deliver a good cold message and considering the recipient's likely reaction will go a long way in you becoming an effective "cold messenger" and making yourself known positively to them.

You want it to be the best LinkedIn cold message your prospect has ever seen. For that, you need personalization, humor, and clear reasoning behind your reaching out to them specifically.

How Send a Cold Message on LinkedIn

So how does cold messaging work on a platform like LinkedIn? And how is it different from other sales touchpoints, such as a cold email?

Social media is quick-moving and fast-paced. People will look at it on the go through messages or posts. It's important to get the attention of those you're following and engaging with and those who follow you.

Since it's so quick-moving, the chance of getting any engagement is very low. With so much content out there, it's easy to understand why. 20 years ago, the average human attention span on one item was 12 seconds. Today? Eight seconds. For a goldfish, it's nine!

So you want to be concise, clear, and have the correct engagement points in your messaging to draw notice.

Previously, we said that sending a cold message on LinkedIn is an effective way to make the people and businesses you are interested in aware of you.

But remember, much of the time, the person opening your message doesn't know you. They have no obligation to reply or even read what you've sent them. And you don't have control over how they react to your message.

So how should you go about it? What are some best practices to follow?

Make sure you've done everything you can on the part of the process you do control. This means ensuring you've spent the time giving your messaging the best opportunity to be read.

In this instance, the first thing to know is that many prefer the LinkedIn cold messages they receive to be short: 50 to 75 words will do.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your message under 100 words, but the 50-75 word count is the sweet spot.

Try eliminating as many commas as possible and keeping your sentences short and to the point. A long, drawn-out message will turn them off immediately.

Another important thing to remember about your cold message is it has to look the part.

What do we mean by that?

Make your message appealing to the eye.
This doesn't always mean using colored text, wacky fonts, or inserting tons of emojis. All it means is that your message should be easy to read, with short paragraphs of two to three sentences max and line spacing that makes your words easy to see and read.

Yes, LinkedIn is still social media, but you need to know who you contact. Knowing your audience is key. And your audience on LinkedIn is quite a busy one.

For example, the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company does not have much time. Having to wade through several emojis to understand what exactly you're saying only detracts from the strength of your message.

Instead, be direct, concise, and confident when writing a cold message. This does not mean you should be unfriendly, but everyone is busy, and they will respect your message more if it's professional and to the point.

Let's say you're interested in connecting with someone on LinkedIn and have just read an article they've written and posted. Here's an example of an effective cold message to that person.
Hi {first_name}, I recently stumbled upon your (LinkedIn article/post/video) about (topic), and I couldn't agree more about your point on (topic).

I'd love to connect and keep up-to-date with your inspiring content.

Sincerely, (your name)"
What's great about that message is that it's short, direct, and doesn't ask for anything. Instead, you've offered them information about how their content is useful for you and drew you in.

You've shown that you've taken the time to read or watch what the person posted and wanted to let them know it positively impacted you. This cold message isn't intrusive, it's not the much-maligned sales pitch, and all you asked for is to connect, which is what the platform is all about.

On the other hand, if you're reaching out to a Marketing Director or Manager, they might enjoy a message with the right sprinkle of memes, emojis or GIFs if used correctly. Always know your audience, cater to them, and connect with them in a way that differentiates you from everyone else.

You'll know if it's the right way by doing your research.
LinkedIn cold message how to infographic

What Do the Best Cold Messages on LinkedIn
Have in Common?

Business professionals and the entire world spend much time using social media. And LinkedIn is a social media network.

Yet that does not diminish its seriousness in the B2B sales world for salespeople.

As such, it's always in your best interest to be on top of how to use the platform and what are the best practices to follow to stand out.

Sending cold messages on LinkedIn can be difficult if you're unsure how to do it properly.

Below are some tips that will help you become an expert at sending these types of messages by giving examples of what the best cold messages on LinkedIn have in common.

Show Appreciation For Their Work

People love to hear how great they are, so don't be shy to tell them!

An effective way to get someone to read and respond to your cold message is to let them know you've seen their work, are impressed by it, and would like to know more about it.

Flattery goes a long way on social media and in real life, and LinkedIn is no exception.

Mention a Common Connection

There's a good chance that if you're interested in sending a cold message to someone, they're a leader in your field.

There is also a good chance other connections you have will likely be connected to them.

Top voices in their respective fields will draw the attention of others.

Making mention of these common connections is a good way to show you're interested in sharing ideas with like-minded people and will make it easier for the recipient to want to read your message.

Offer Value

LinkedIn is about business, and business is a two-way street.

Do not push your brand, product, or service on someone you don't know.

You're both aware that they have value to you, so tell them how you can provide value by making this connection.

Show that you're interested in giving them something to start this relationship, and things will be much smoother sailing after that.


We all get frustrated when our conversations revolve around someone wanting something from us. A cold message cannot be all about you and what you will gain from this relationship.

Position your message as a "networking" opportunity, not a sales call.

Many LinkedIn users view networking as a balanced way to share ideas, learn about opportunities, and make new connections. It's a much more relaxed way of introducing yourself to someone.

If you use these practices in your LinkedIn cold messaging strategies, you will be successful in connecting with the people you're trying to reach more often than not.

Remember, it's all about a smart approach to like-minded individuals who value their time.
LinkedIn outreach templates infographic

How Can an SDR Benefit from LinkedIn
Cold Messaging?

SDRs are in a key position for any sales team. The faces and voices of your company, they take your marketing and branding and apply it to sales strategy. That comes with a lot of responsibility.

People on LinkedIn, especially decision-makers, know others will target them to connect. That's okay, that's a large part of why the platform exists, and it is part of the networking aspect of the platform. More often than not, someone will request a connection to do business with you, hopefully.

As an SDR, you must stand out from the crowd and beat your competition to the connect button.

A good rule of thumb for SDRs is to request a connection to everyone you call or email. You can ensure you do this by adding LinkedIn action to your sales cadence.

It's that simple.

Too often, phone calls and emails can fall by the wayside. If you follow up with a request to connect with a prospect on LinkedIn, it gives that prospect a chance to view your profile and learn more about you. This is always a good thing.

A good SDR will always contact a qualified and relevant person for their business.
The person who won't pick up their phone or reply to your email may be the same person who will connect with you on LinkedIn. Maybe the email did not go through, or they thought they did not have a need for your services, but on LinkedIn, you can look more interesting.

People getting "pitched" all day from SDRs, and others may eventually see it all as white noise and tune everyone out. You do not want to be tuned out.

To avoid this particular reaction, it's time to get creative.

A cold message on LinkedIn can be very well crafted, the right length, oozing with praise, and still, sometimes, get lost in the shuffle.

That doesn't necessarily mean you did it wrong. It just means the person you're trying to connect with has seen too many similar messages.

To beat the crowd, every once in a while, you should substitute a written cold message with audio or video. LinkedIn has an audio message tool within their platform that you can use. For video, we like to use Loom for our outreach.

Just like your written version, keep it short and make it about them, not you. Personalize it with their name and an interesting fact you've learned from their LinkedIn. Oh yeah, and make sure to smile!

Cutting through everything an SDR must do on a given day is difficult.

Make your job easier and a lot more fun by getting creative and making sure your cold message turns into a warm connection by doing something most of your competition will not think of or do.


Getting the conversation started with people you do not know can be a daunting task. This is true whether you're out at a bar with friends or over social media.

There's never a guarantee that the first connection will take place.

That said, you will give yourself and your business a much greater chance of success if you follow the guidelines and strategies discussed here regarding cold messaging on LinkedIn.

Utilizing the tips provided for cold messaging on LinkedIn, if done correctly, will allow you to connect with more people than you thought you could before. They will get to know you and this will ultimately turn those connections into sales.

Read more from the SalePipe blog to learn more about various sales strategies and techniques.
Post by Rob Janicke.
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