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 ball's 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 be successful in business you must take full advantage of all of 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 need to 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?

Simply put, a LinkedIn cold message is a message you send to someone 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 you would when trying to make a new friend. Any new sale is in fact, a partnership.

Understanding how to deliver a good cold message, as well as taking into consideration 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 why you are reaching out to them specifically.

How to Cold Message Someone 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, be it messages or posts. It's important to get the attention of those you're following and engaging with, as well as those who follow you.

Since it's so quick-moving, the chance to get 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 making sure you've spent the time to give your messaging the best opportunity to be read.

At this instance, the first thing to know is that many prefer for the LinkedIn cold messages that 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 to get rid of as many commas as you can and keep 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 be aware of who you are contacting. 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, when writing a cold message, be direct, concise, and confident. 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 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 had a positive impact on you. This is the type of cold message that 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 emojis or GIFs if used correctly. Always know your audience and 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?

The entire world, business professionals included, spend a lot of time using social medial. And LinkedIn is a social media network.

Yet that does not diminish its seriousness in the B2B 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 in order to stand out.

Sending cold messages on LinkedIn can be difficult if you're unsure of how to do it properly. Below are some tips that will help you become an expert at sending these types of messages by giving you 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 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, it's because they're a leader in your field.

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

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 make sure you let them know how you can provide value to them 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.

Networking Is Where It's At

We all get frustrated when all of 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 and 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 make use of 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.

SDRs need to make use of all the tools at their disposal to become as successful in their efforts as possible, and one of the best tools is leveraging their LinkedIn with cold messaging.

Now that we know how to write an effective LinkedIn cold message, let's talk about why it is important for an SDR to master their LinkedIn outreach.

People on LinkedIn, especially decision-makers, know they're going to be targeted by others 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 in order to hopefully do business with you.

As an SDR, you need to 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 very well be the same person who will connect with you on LinkedIn. Maybe the email did not go through or they thought they do not have a need for your services, but on LinkedIn, you can look more interesting.

People who are getting "pitched" all day long 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, be 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 at SalesPipe.

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!

It's difficult to cut through everything an SDR must do on a given day.

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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