LinkedIn Outreach Message Strategies and Tips to Scale Your Business

Created On
June 1, 2023
LinkedIn Outreach Message Strategies

Cold outreach is an excellent way to acquire new customers irrespective of the channel you are using. Besides cold emails, LinkedIn InMail is the most efficient way to generate fresh leads. In  fact, InMail response rate is three times higher than cold emails. 

As the biggest social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn, can be a vast territory for your business to network, build authority, establish meaningful connections, and generate more customers. 

On that note, cold emails and LinkedIn outreach messages are not the same. Fret not; keep on reading to learn the differences between cold emails and LinkedIn InMail, how to write a linkedin outreach message, and the best practices to generate maximum sales. 

Let’s dive in. 

Difference between LinkedIn Messages and Cold Emails

LinkedIn messages (and/or InMail) and cold emails are two of the most effective mediums for professional outreach. While both these methods aim to connect with potential clients, partners, or job opportunities, they have distinct differences in their approach and effectiveness. 

1. LinkedIn Messages are More Like Texts

Cold emails can be lengthy, often comprising 50 - 125 words. This means, an email recipient might have to scroll a message to read it entirely. As an average email user receives around 120 emails per day, this gives them enough reason to ignore the cold outreach message and even mark them as spam. 

However, a LinkedIn message opens in a chat pop-up window and it is more convenient than cold emails. LinkedIn messages are more like text messages, so don’t send a text-heavy content at once. 

2. You Have to be Very Careful with Adding Links 

Links in cold emails are very common. In fact, they generate a steady click-through rate as well. However, adding links in LinkedIn messages is not the same as cold emails. Once you include a link in a LinkedIn message, it will show up as a big thumbnail, occupying the entire screen. This makes reading the message difficult and there’s a chance your message will be ignored. 

So, make sure you are adding links to your LinkedIn message only when it is absolutely necessary. 

Types of outreach Messaging in LinkedIn

You can send direct messages to your already existing connections on LinkedIn. However, you can’t send messages to a person who is not your connection. To send a message, you have to send a LinkedIn connection request and once they accept it, only then can you message them.  

Besides the direct messaging feature, you can reach out to your LinkedIn connections via LinkedIn Inmail. Here are the types of messages you can send to a prospect on LinkedIn. 

1. InMail Messaging

LinkedIn InMail messaging is a paid feature that allows you to message a LinkedIn user who is not your connection (1st degree connection). If you have a basic (free) account on LinkedIn, you can subscribe to the premium plan to access InMail messages. 

2. Sponsored Messaging

Sponsored messaging ads lets you send conversation ads and native message ads to your target audience. Unlike InMail or direct messaging, sponsored messaging ads are only shown to a prospect when they are active on LinkedIn. 

These ad campaigns are caged on a cost-per-send basis. And LinkedIn restricts the number of times an user receives sponsored ads. Sponsored messaging also helps you understand your audience better with demographic reporting.

3. Open Profile

Open profile premium allows you to contact any premium user for free, even if that person is not in your network. However, you have to subscribe to the premium plan to be an Open Profile member. 

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Maximum Outreach

Let’s face it: a brilliant LinkedIn message from a half baked profile won’t get you far. That’s why, before you start creating personalized messages on LinkedIn, it's important you optimize your profile. 

Here’s what to do: 

1. Profile Photo

This is the first thing that a profile visitor will notice. In fact, adding a profile picture in your LinkedIn profile 14x profile visibility. So, make sure your LinkedIn profile photo is professional and clear. 

2. The Background 

The background image is another thing your prospects notice in your profile. We’ve noticed many LinkedIn profiles with good profile pictures but little to no effort in the background image. 

The background can be a showcase for your skills or customer testimonials. We’d suggest you pay a freelance designer to create the perfect background picture for your profile. 

3. Tagline

Simply adding your job role in the profile tagline won’t suffice. Describe who you essentially are and what services you provide.

4. Summary

Besides the LinkedIn profile tagline, you should also fill out the summary section. Start with a concise description about the services you are offering. Do not forget to mention your past experiences and if possible, add a CTA so that prospects can reach out to you. 

Proven Strategies to Create the Best LinkedIn Outreach Messages 

The goal of a LinkedIn outreach message is to generate response from prospects. And to get a response, you need to write attention-grabbing messages so that they stick to the end of it. 

Here are some proven tips that will help you compose money-making LinkedIn outreach messages: 

1. Find Your Prospect’s Common Interests

Researching your prospect is the first thing you need to do before composing an outreach message. It is even easier with LinkedIn as you can gather information about your prospects (current role, career history, education, interests, etc.) instantly. 

An excellent way to reach out to a prospect is by finding a common interest. You may have studied in the same college or maybe both of you like to collect DC comics.  Whatever it is, a common interest will be an excellent icebreaker and you can personalize the message based on the findings. 

With this outreach strategy, you can offer tailor-made messages with personalized solution pain points to your prospects, thus improving response rate. 

2. Leverage Mutual Connections

Besides the mutual interests angle, you should also look for mutual connections. It works as a great conversation starter and also gives you some credibility. For example, if you and the prospect have a common colleague or a friend, you can even ask that person to introduce you to the prospect. Otherwise, you can mention the mutual connection in your LinkedIn outreach message. 

3. Keep It Short and Simple

We have already discussed how LinkedIn messages are more similar to text messages. It means, just like texts, your LinkedIn outreach message should be short, simple, and easily comprehensible so that your prospect can read it in one go. 

LinkedIn messages have a limit of up to 1900 characters and the ideal length of a LinkedIn message is within 500 characters or 100 words. Keep your message to the point and try to wrap it up within 3-4 sentences.

4. Offer Social Proof

Social proof in your LinkedIn message helps build trust among your prospects. It also helps generate more replies from prospects. So, don’t shy away from mentioning the big names you have worked with in the same industry. You can also share your success stories or customer testimonials in your LinkedIn outreach messages. 

5. Offer Free Value-Addition/Share Resources

When you offer a free resource with your LinkedIn prospects, it helps you increase your credibility among potential customers and shows that you are willing to help them scale their businesses. 

You can share eBooks, newsletters, case studies, white papers, blog posts, or even an informative guide. However, before sending any free resource, ask for your prospects’ permission in the initial message. 

6. Send Personalized LinkedIn Message

Be it cold emails or LinkedIn outreach messages, personalization is the key to our prospects' hearts. So, sending generic messages to your prospects can drastically reduce responses. 

You can send the first message from an automation tool, but as soon as you get a response, make sure you reach out with personalized messages.
Before composing your message, research your prospects and find out their pain points. If you offer personalized solutions to their pain points, the chances of getting responses get higher. 

7.  Send Your Portfolio

Sometimes it’s best to keep things no-nonsense. Describing your work in a conversation with your prospect can delay conversions and big-shot prospects might not give you the time you need to showcase yourself. 

In that case, once you get a connection, introduce yourself and ask if they want to see your portfolio. If they agree, send your portfolio. Even if your prospect is not interested in your service right now, it will help them get in touch with you whenever they need it. 

8. Leverage a CRM Tool to Track Your Qualified Leads

When you are doing LinkedIn outreach the chances are that you will communicate with multiple prospects at the same time. Besides maintaining communication, you have to keep track of the leads you are reaching out to. 

Manually tracking leads is not only daunting but also time consuming. In that case, a CRM tool comes in handy, as you can keep track of interactions with your potential buyers with all the necessary details. 

9. Follow-Up 

It's given that most of the prospects you will reach out to won’t reply to your initial message. However, most marketers or sales reps give up at this point. 

Don’t get disheartened. If you didn’t get a response after the initial message, you must follow-up at least 4-5 times to expect a response. Here’s a roadmap for your follow-up messages: 

  • 1st follow-up: When the prospects accept your message, send the first follow-up within the next 24 hours. Send a social proof in this message. 
  • 2nd follow-up: In case of no response for the first follow-up, send the second follow-up after 1-2 weeks. Offer a free value-addition in this message – send a success story, testimonials, etc. 
  • 3rd follow-up: Send the 3rd follow-up message after a month of no response to the 2nd follow-up. Add something specific – meeting link, demo call, etc. 
  • 4th follow-up/breakup message: If no response to the 3rd follow-up, send the last follow-up after 2 weeks. You can add an attention grabbing meme or a humorous message. 

With this tactic, you can guarantee maximum responses to your cold LinkedIn outreach messages, but don’t send messages one after another as LinkedIn might flag you as spam. 

10. Use a Sales Outreach Automation Tool

Sending messages to multiple leads, following-up, and keeping track of each of your prospects can be overwhelming. For smooth LinkedIn outreach, you can use a sales outreach tool like Smartlead to create sequences and keep track of the progress. 

How to Craft a Winning LinkedIn InMail? 

Most sales reps and marketers send hundreds of InMails only to see no response from the prospects. In most cases, the main culprit is ‘too generic’ messages. The secret to writing a winning InMail that will get opened and generate a reply depends on how skillfully personalized the InMail is. 

Here is a step-by-step breakdown and guidelines to create successful InMails: 

1. First, Check the Contact Preference

Before you start writing the message, check what kind of InMails they prefer to receive. If your prospect is not looking for business deals, it’s pretty pointless to pitch your business offer. 

So, open your prospect’s InMail and check the category from the drop down list. Take a close look at their preferences and if ‘business deals’ is one of them, you are in luck. 

2. Compose a Catchy Subject Line

Just like a cold email, the subject line is the first thing your prospect will read. Putting something catchy yet relatable in the headline is a smart way to grab your prospect's attention. Research your prospect and find a point for personalization and write a concise yet compelling subject line. Here are a few examples: 

If your prospect recently got promoted to a bigger role, you can make the heading “Congratulations on your new role @XXXX.” 

Suppose your prospect is a football fan. In that case, the headline can be “Who do you think will win tonight?” 

If you find out that your qualified prospect is a big time foodie, the headline can be “You must eat at the new burger place in town.” 

3. Introduce Yourself

Imagine you are at a party and a complete stranger comes up to you and starts a random conversation without any introduction. Weird, right? The same goes for InMails too.
As you are reaching out to strangers, introduce yourself briefly and be upfront about what you are offering. However, do not make it about yourself; relate your message back to your prospects and how your product/service can benefit them. 

4. Show Your Prospect that You’ve Done Your Homework

Perhaps the most important part of InMails is that the prospect should understand that you have done your groundwork before reaching out to them. It shows sincerity and helps build trust among prospects. 

Look at your prospects’ linkedIn profiles and recent activities critically. Gather insights and throw questions at them. If your prospect’s LinkedIn profile summary says that they have generated consistent growth rate of 25% through LinkedIn, you can reach out to them by saying “It’s amazing how you’ve grown your business through LinkedIn, I would like to speak to you briefly about how you are doing it.” 

5. Keep It Short and Simple

You are not writing a novel, so back off from writing long InMails with complex sentences. What do you do when you receive a message from a stranger? You skim through it, right? 

That’s what you need to do. Your InMail should be short and simple. Do not write lengthy paragraphs. If possible keep your message within 3-4 sentences. 

6. Add a Persuasive CTA

Being vague in your InMail benefits neither you nor your prospects. Instead of that, add a clear and persuasive CTA in your InMail. For example, “I would love to discuss more about it. Let me know when you are free next week.” or “Let’s get on a call and I will give you a quick demo.” 

Besides this, you can be more specific with your CTA with specific time and date. For example, “Are you free for a call on Monday at 2 PM IST? Let me know.” 

Successful LinkedIn Outreach Message Templates 

Here are some customizable cold message templates for InMail outreach. Feel free to customize as per your prospect’s needs. 

1. Generic Initial InMail Template

Hi {{prospect name}}, 

Glad we connected! 

My company {{company name}} just launched {{product name}} that can solve {{specific pain point}}. Does it interest you? If not, could you please connect me to your colleague who might benefit from it? 


{{sender name}} 

2. Job Seeker’s InMail Template for Recruiters

Good morning {{recruiter name}}, 

I hope you are having a fantastic day. My name is {{sender name}}, and I am an experienced content writer specializing in {{industry}}. 

I am reaching out to you because I can see you are a recruiter for {{company name}}, and I’d love to see if you have any open positions that might fit my skills. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you,

{{sender name}} 

3. ‘Leveraging Mutual Connection’ InMail Template

Hi {{prospect name}},

I’m glad we connected! Our mutual connection, {{connection name}}, and I were talking about {{pain point}}. They said you were also looking for a solution to {{pain point}}.  

I have recently launched {{product name}} that you can use to solve {{pain point}}. If it’s something that interests you, we can hop on a call for a demo. Thoughts?


{{sender name}}

4.  Freelancer Outreach InMail Template

Hey {{prospect name}}, 

I just finished watching a couple of vlogs on your channel and loved all of them, especially {{specific vlog}}. 

I am a freelance content writer, working in the entertainment industry for the past 5 years and I want to introduce myself. Can I send you my portfolio of video scripts? 

Let me know. 


{{sender name}} 

5. ‘Competitor Comparison’ InMail Template

Hey {{prospect name}}, 

I came to know you are using {{competitor name}}. I am {{sender name}}, the founder of {{company name}}, and we have launched {{product name}} recently. 

It is very similar to {{competitor name}} but offers better functionality. 

Here’s what it offers: 


Does it interest you? We are offering a 14-day free trial to esteemed professionals like you. Let me know if you want to try it out by yourself. 


{{sender name}} 

Wrapping Up: Key Takeaways for Increasing InMail Response Rates

Now that you have learned how to craft a LinkedIn outreach message, get on composing personalized messages to scale your business. Remember that timing is a key factor for generating response from your prospects. The ideal time to send InMails is between 9-10 am on weekdays. 

The two golden rules to succeed is to personalize your InMail messages and reach out to prospects who are connected to you or your company. Here are the key takeaways for you:

  • Timing is key: send InMails abetween 9-10 am on weekdays. Do not send messages on weekends. 
  • Write compelling subject lines that evoke curiosity.
  • Keep your messages short, simple, and to the point. It's better to keep it within 3-4 sentences. 
  • Use social proof and mutual connection (colleague, company, etc.) to your advantage. 
  • A/B test your messages before sending out to find the best performing one. 
  • Make your message about your prospect; offer value addition. 
  • Follow up at least 4-5 times. 

Also, research about the prospect using LinkedIn private mode to send a more targeted outreach message. That’s all. This article will help you compose money-making LinkedIn outreach messages to scale your business. See you soon, goodbye! 


1. What is an outreach message? 

An outreach message (cold message) is an email or a LinkedIn InMail message that is sent to B2B or B2C cold contacts in order to communicate and convert them into paying customers or network. 

2. Is LinkedIn outreach better than cold email? 

LinkedIn outreach shows better stats (for response rates) than cold emails. LinkedIn InMail response rate is three times higher than cold emails. The average response rate for LinkedIn InMail is 10-12%. 

3. How do I outreach clients on LinkedIn?

  • Optimize your linkedIn profile for better visibility
  • Find out relevant prospects with LinkedIn boolean search (advanced search filters) 
  • Personalize your message based on each prospect’s needs
  • Follow up at least 4-5 times

4. What is a good first message on LinkedIn?

A good first message on LinkedIn should start by thanking for the connection, followed by a short introduction. Mention why you are reaching out and keep the message short and simple. 

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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