While cold emails are typically hailed as the cornerstone of outbound sales, there is another strategy that is considered as – if not more – effective.
That is social selling; more specifically, social selling through the right platform for your business.
In the case of B2B companies, LinkedIn outreach or messages have been found to have 300% higher response rate compared to emails. Of course, the only catch is that your content has to be clear, concise and above all, effective.
It’s really no surprise that LinkedIn provides such great results. Think about it: the platform has over 706+ million users from over 200 countries. What makes this platform even more effective is the fact that users are more open to connecting with other professionals – that is one of the main reasons they sign up.
By its very nature, the platform is all about building relationships and making new connections. And so, with the right content sales reps can easily find and engage leads, and eventually turn them into customers.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the basics of writing effective LinkedIn outreach messages (if you want to go directly to the templates, skip to the last heading.
1. Don’t Treat LinkedIn Outreach Like Cold Emails
The first rule of succeeding with this strategy is not to treat it the same as cold email.
In simple words, you should never ever use the same content as your sales or marketing email sequence. There are a few reasons why doing this would not work:
- Prospects respond differently: While both social media and email can be combined to create a multi-channel strategy, it’s important to realize that people see and respond differently to emails and social messages.
- The display factor: the size of your chat window is pretty small compared to emails. This means that longer messages will not display properly. In fact, due to the size of the window, even relatively shorter content seems to be much lengthier than it actually is.
- Prospects time and attention: Remember that you’re competing for your prospect’s attention who in turn will only expand minimal effort to read your message.
- Last part of your message: Typically, prospects jump straight to the last part of your message to see what you actually want. Combine this with the points above and you’ll see that your content has to be written in such a way that the main ‘hook’ is immediately visible. A good idea is to write your outreach content as you would a text message and not an email.
LinkedIn Outreach Message – Notice in the image above, only the last part of the message is visible.
Another important factor is not to include links in your message, at least in the first touchpoint. While links in emails show up pretty much as is, on LinkedIn – or most social media platforms – they usually expand into a thumbnail that takes over the entire chat window.
2. Prioritize Contacts with Mutual Connections
Isn’t it easier to strike up a conversation with someone new if you’ve been introduced through a mutual friend?
The same principle applies for LinkedIn as well. Another benefit of this strategy is that it tends to create a certain level of trust within your prospect if you’ve been introduced through mutual connections like ex-colleagues, friends, etc.
There are two strategies you can follow here. The first is to include the name of your mutual connection in your message or you could also ask your connection to create a group message. Keep in mind though that the former is easier to do when targeting a larger prospect base while the latter should be applied in the case of enterprise clients.
This does not mean that you should only target prospects whom you have a mutual connection with. The idea is to prioritize these contacts since they are more likely to respond to you compared to complete strangers.
3. Much Like Cold Emails, Brevity Is Key
Although your LinkedIn outreach messages should be specifically drafted and not lifted off of a cold email sequence, there is one rule that is common for both: brevity.
Remember that your goal here is to merely get the prospect interested in what you want to say. This means that the connection request message should be well within LinkedIn’s restrictions – ideally, try to keep the content around 100 to 110 characters (including spaces).
The same goes for your first message after the contact has accepted your connection request. This too should be brief and to the point – include what your company does, the results they can expect and a call to action within 3 to 4 sentences.
4. Include Social Proof
The fastest way to boost your credibility and inspire trust is to use social proof in your content.
It’s pretty simple – all you have to do is name drop a couple of big customers you have worked with/are currently working with who are from the same space as your prospect. If you don’t have this information, you can also offer to send across a case study that shows your value proposition and the context of your product.
5. Ensure That Your Data Is Accurate
If you’re working off a list that’s been compiled from LinkedIn, there’s a good chance that the job titles might include redundant information.
From the images above, you can see that the title has been lifted as it is from the LinkedIn profile whereas it should have been edited to only ‘co-founder.’ While this is a likely consequence of using automation, it can even happen if you’re sending messages manually.
As such, it is important that you review and cleanse your data list to avoid such mistakes. Additionally, you can also include data points in your list such as your prospects’ hobbies, recent achievements, etc. for added personalization.
Bonus Tip – Create a Sequence for LinkedIn
It’s no secret that the ‘once and done’ approach only increases the number of lost opportunities in your pipeline.
To gain the maximum ROI (connection acceptances and replies) from your LinkedIn outreach, you should create a sequence of at least 3-5 touchpoints spread over a period of 2 months. Here’s what we mean:
- Send a connection request paired with a brief message
- A personalized message that includes the name of a mutual connection
- If you don’t receive a response, send another message in 15 or 20 days – this time round, include a different ‘hook’ – this can be anything from a case study to an exclusive trial
LinkedIn Outreach Templates
Now that you’ve learned some of the basic rules of writing compelling LinkedIn outreach messages, here are 5 templates that can help you get started.
Note: these are templates for the first – or second – touchpoint, not messages that should be sent with connection requests.
1. The Mutual Connection Template
Hey [First Name],
Thanks for connecting!
I see we have a mutual connection in [Mutual Connection’s Name] and wanted to reach out since you’re in the same space. I also believe you might be interested in the work we’re doing at [Your Company’s Name] which revolves around [Your Hook].
Would this be of interest to you at this point?
2. The Mutual Interest Template
Hey [First Name],
I see that you also closely follow and post about [Topic Of Interest]. Your last post/comment was pretty interesting – consequently, my company is in the [Your Industry] space and we consistently get [Some Results From Your Service/Product].
Would you like to see a case study with [Competitor’s Company] where we applied [Your Service/Product]? Would love your opinions!
3. The Upfront Message + Name Drop
Hi [First Name],
I see that you’re also a fan of [Interest]. Me too! Really hope that the [team scores well this season].
Pleasantries aside, I wanted to quickly reach out to see if you’re currently looking for [Your Company’s Solution]. Thing is, we’ve applied the same strategy for [Competitors Names/Enterprise Companies] and gotten some truly amazing results.
Is [Pain Point] also a problem for you? If yes, would you be up for a quick call this week?
4. Brevity Message
Hey [First Name],
Hope you’re well!
I’m working with [Name Of Your Company] and we’ve developed a [Your Product/Service + brief benefit] that I think would fit in really well with what you’re doing at [Prospect’s Company].
Does this sound something of interest?
5. A Little Bit of Flattery
Hey [First Name],
Great to see you [recent achievement – personal/work]. That’s pretty awesome!
I’ve worked with companies like [Prospect’s Company] on similar pain points, and if you’re open, would love to discuss how we can also help you.
Are you available for a quick call sometime this week?
The Bottom Line
If approached the right way, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for networking with B2B professionals and generating leads. Follow the tips given above to get started and remember to personalize your content as per your target market and product!
About the Author
Zobia, Co-founder and Marketing Strategist at Cloudlead, is passionate about all things marketing, content and data. She firmly believes that targeted data lies at the heart of any successful marketing or sales campaign.