How to Cold Message on LinkedIn

How to Cold Message on LinkedIn (With Examples)

Reed DanielsDigital Marketing, Sales

Cold messaging on LinkedIn refers to reaching out to connect with other users you don’t know personally to build relationships and generate business opportunities. It’s an extremely valuable tool for networking and lead generation on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn’s statistics, accepted connection requests between non-contacts on LinkedIn have increased over 80% year-over-year. With over 722 million users on the platform, cold messaging presents a huge opportunity to expand your professional network and grow your business.

The key to successful cold messaging is personalizing your outreach and providing value to start meaningful conversations. If done right, cold messaging enables you to connect with your ideal clients, even if you have no prior relationship. Compared to other cold outreach tactics like emailing, cold messaging on LinkedIn can be more effective since you already have visibility into someone’s profile, role, and interests before reaching out.

Wondering how to cold message on LinkedIn in 2024? We have you covered.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile First

Before starting any LinkedIn outreach, it’s crucial to optimize your own LinkedIn profile. A complete, professional profile establishes credibility and provides social proof to potential connections.

When customizing your profile, keep your target audience in mind. For example, if reaching out to hiring managers, highlight your experience and skills relevant to the roles you’re pursuing. If networking with entrepreneurs, emphasize achievements demonstrating business acumen.

Here are some tips for an effective LinkedIn profile:

  • Include a professional headshot and background photo that align with your brand.
  • Showcase your expertise in your headline and summary sections with key skills, accomplishments, and areas of specialty.
  • Provide detailed descriptions for all your experiences, focusing on contributions and impact.
  • Collect recommendations from managers, colleagues, clients to build social proof.
  • Share examples of your work via links, images, Slideshare presentations.
  • Follow and engage with people and companies you want to connect with.
  • Join relevant LinkedIn Groups to expand your reach and demonstrate interests.
  • Keep your profile up-to-date. Add new experiences, skills, education, certifications as they occur.

With a robust, targeted profile, you’ll strengthen every cold outreach and increase your odds of getting responses.

Understand Your Target Audience

Before you start sending cold messages on LinkedIn, it’s important to research who you want to reach with your outreach. Take some time to understand your target audience and identify the types of people you want to connect with.

Look at the LinkedIn profiles of your ideal prospects and customers. What are their job titles and roles? What industries do they work in? Look for commonalities in their backgrounds, interests, and goals.

Pay attention to the kinds of content they share and engage with on LinkedIn. This can provide insights into their needs, challenges, and pain points. Look for clues about issues they care about both professionally and personally.

You want your messages to provide value to the recipient. So do some research to understand what would resonate with your targets. Figure out how your offerings or expertise can help address their needs.

The more you know about who you want to reach and what matters to them, the better you can tailor and personalize your cold outreach. Sending generic messages is less likely to get a response. Show prospects you understand them and their interests.

Researching your audience takes some time upfront but sets you up for more successful cold messaging. You’ll be able to craft relevant messages that demonstrate you get who they are and what they care about. This personalized approach gets their attention and establishes common ground.

Crafting the Perfect LinkedIn Cold Message

When reaching out to someone you don’t know on LinkedIn, it’s important to craft an effective cold message that will capture their attention. Here are some tips:

  • Personalize the message: Avoid generic greetings like “Hi there!” and opt for something more personal like “Hi [first name],”. Mention something you noticed on their profile to show you took the time to get to know them.
  • Keep it concise: Get to the point within the first 1-2 sentences. People are busy and you want to be respectful of their time.
  • Demonstrate you can bring value: Explain how you can help them or why it would be mutually beneficial to connect. Offer something of interest like an article, introduction, or advice.
  • Ask a question: Give them something to respond to rather than making statements. Ask about their experience in their field or thoughts on a recent industry development.

Example message (Seeking advice or mentorship):

“Hi Amy,

Your 10+ years in digital marketing caught my eye. As a new marketing manager, I’d love to hear your advice as I develop my skills. Can I send you a few options for a 15-minute intro call next week or the following?

Thank you,
[Your name]”


Here are a few examples of effective LinkedIn cold messages and why they work:


Hi [Name],

I’ve been following your work at [Their Company] and really enjoying your recent LinkedIn content. Keep up the great work!

I lead biz dev efforts at [Your Company], where we help strategic marketers like you increase revenue through their digital presence.

Do you have 15 minutes this week or next for an intro call?


[Your Name]

Why it works:

  • Personalized with their name, company, and industry
  • Complimentary toward their company
  • Briefly explains your company and services
  • Specific ask for a short intro call
  • Polite closing


Good morning [Name],

I see we’re both members of the [Very Specific LinkedIn Group]. As a fellow [Member], I wanted to reach out and introduce myself.

I head up marketing over at [Your Company]. We work with companies like [Example Client 1 & 2] to generate more qualified leads through content marketing and social media.

Are you free for a 15 minute call Thursday or Friday @ 8:30am or 1:45pm?

[Your Name]

Why it works:

  • Warm intro mentioning a shared group
  • Explains your role and company offering
  • Name drops an impressive client
  • Direct ask for a 15 minute call

Pro Tip – LinkedIn Sales Navigator

You should be using and learning LinkedIn Sales Navigator if you want to take your outreach to the next level. With a basic account, you can only direct message those already in your network or people with open profiles. LinkedIn InMail credits allow you to send direct messages to profiles you’re not currently connected with on LinkedIn. Below are a few quick facts:

  • Sales Navigator Core (Professional) Subscription
    • $99/month
    • $79.99/month (billed annually)
    • InMail Credits: 50/month
  • Buildout custom lead and account searches (save and monitor them)
  • Subject Line Limit: 250 Characters
  • Body Word Count: 1900 Characters (Including spaces and punctuation)
  • **Bonus: Set a custom InMail Signature – follow the steps here.

Avoid Common Pitfalls in Cold Messaging

One of the biggest mistakes people make when sending cold messages on LinkedIn is coming across as too salesy or promotional. You want to avoid giving off the impression that you’re only reaching out to make a sale. Instead, focus on starting a conversation and making a connection.

Some things to avoid:

  • Sending canned messages – Personalize each message to the individual recipient. Mass blasting generic messages will likely be ignored.
  • Pitching your product/service right away – Take time to build rapport instead of jumping into a sales pitch. Ask questions to understand their needs first.
  • Using too many exclamation points or ALL CAPS – This can come across as aggressive. Write professionally.
  • Not following up – Don’t expect an instant response. If you don’t hear back within a week, follow up. But avoid pestering someone who hasn’t shown interest.
  • Typos and grammar errors – Proofread before sending! Sloppiness reflects poorly on you.

The key is to make your outreach about starting a mutually beneficial relationship, not just selling. Avoid common mistakes like these, and you’ll see better results from your LinkedIn cold messaging.

Follow Up Strategies

Following up is crucial when cold messaging on LinkedIn. But there’s a fine line between being persistent and being intrusive. Use these strategies to effectively follow up without crossing that line:

When/How Often to Follow Up

  • Send your initial message and wait 3-5 business days before following up. Avoid following up too soon or too frequently, as that can come across as aggressive.
  • If you don’t hear back after the first follow up, wait another week before reaching out again. Maximum 3 follow up attempts total.
  • Time follow ups based on patterns. For example, connect requests are often accepted on Fridays. Follow up on the next Monday or Tuesday.

Vary Your Message Wording

  • Don’t simply copy/paste the same message for follow ups. Update the wording and add new details.
  • Shorten follow up messages to be more concise. Get right to the point.
  • Change the call to action in each follow up. For example:
    • Initial message: “Would you be open to a quick call to discuss [topic]?”
    • Follow up: “I’m happy to provide more details over email if that’s easier.”
    • Final follow up: “I’d appreciate just 15 minutes of your time on a call.”

Consider Other Communication Channels

  • If you don’t receive any response on LinkedIn after 3 follow ups, try other channels like email or phone (if you have that contact info).
  • Let the prospect know you tried reaching them on LinkedIn. “I sent you a couple of messages on LinkedIn but wanted to follow up here as well.”
  • Varying the communication channel shows persistence without being overly aggressive on a single platform like LinkedIn.

The key is to be persistent but also flexible. Follow up consistently but change your approach. And know when to move on if you don’t get any response.

Measure Effectiveness

It’s important to track and measure the effectiveness of your LinkedIn cold messaging efforts. Here are some key metrics to monitor:

  • Open rate – The percentage of recipients who open your message. Aim for at least a 20-30% open rate.
  • Response rate – The percentage who respond to your message. A 10% response rate is considered good.
  • Connection rate – The percentage who accept your connection request. This depends on your goals, but aim for at least 30%.
  • Meeting rate – The percentage who agree to a meeting or call. For cold outreach, 5% is a reasonable target.

Analyze these metrics over time to see which messages and techniques work best. Break it down by factors like job title, industry, message content, etc.

Also track which messages convert into valuable connections and meetings. Note any patterns in the messages that led to meetings to refine your outreach.

Review your metrics regularly and continuously test new methods to improve your LinkedIn cold messaging results. With an analytical, data-driven approach, you can optimize your campaigns.

Automation Tools

Automation tools can be a major asset when it comes to managing LinkedIn outreach at scale. By automating certain parts of the messaging process, you can reach more prospects in less time. However, it’s crucial to use automation judiciously and ethically.

When leveraged properly, automation can help you:

  • Send more customized messages at scale
  • Schedule messages to be sent at optimal times
  • Quickly segment and organize your outreach lists
  • Track opens, clicks, and replies
  • Automate follow-up sequences

The key is finding LinkedIn automation tools that allow for personalization while staying compliant with LinkedIn’s terms of service. Avoid any tools that fully automate messaging without customization or human oversight. Focus instead on tools that help streamline personal outreach while still allowing you to customize your approach.

For example, tools like Hubspot allow you to create templates that pull in dynamic personalization for each prospect based on their profile data. You can customize messaging while automating some of the busywork parts of outreach.

The most important thing is ensuring your automation enhances rather than replaces real relationship-building. Use automation thoughtfully to facilitate more meaningful conversations at scale. With the right balance, you can dramatically expand your cold messaging reach on LinkedIn.


What are the best times to send LinkedIn messages?

The best time to send LinkedIn messages is Tuesday-Thursday between 10-11am or 2-4pm. Avoid first thing Monday morning or Friday afternoons when people are more likely to be catching up on email.

How can I personalize messages at scale?

  • Reference their work history, education, skills, or interests listed on their profile.
  • Mention if you have any shared connections or groups in common.
  • Personalize the opening and closing of each message, even if you use templates.

How many messages should I send per day/week?

Aim for no more than 30-50 outbound messages per day to avoid getting flagged by LinkedIn. Space out your messages throughout the day/week rather than blasting a large volume all at once.

What response rate can I expect from LinkedIn cold messaging?

On average, expect a 10% response rate from LinkedIn cold messaging. This varies based on factors like your industry, target audience, and message quality. Track response rates over time and tweak your approach as needed.

How can I avoid coming across as salesy or spammy?

Focus on being helpful, not salesy. Ask questions about their challenges and tailor your message to their needs. Establish common ground and explain how you can add value. Keep messages concise yet personalized. Follow up politely but don’t harass prospects who don’t respond.

How to Cold Message on LinkedIn: Explained by the Pros

Now, you know how to cold message on LinkedIn like a pro! Cold messaging on LinkedIn is a nuanced art that offers a direct path to expanding professional networks and unlocking new business opportunities. By personalizing your approach and genuinely engaging with your target audience, you can transform cold contacts into meaningful connections and potential partnerships.

If optimizing your LinkedIn strategy to enhance your agency’s outreach and sales process sounds daunting, we’re here to help. At Rail Trip Strategies, we specialize in refining outreach strategies to ensure your messages not only reach the right people but resonate with them.

 Let’s talk about your sales process and explore how we can elevate your LinkedIn outreach strategy together. Visit us at Rail Trip Strategies to begin transforming your network into your net worth.