Cold messaging on LinkedIn (outreach strategy & templates)

June 4, 2021

If you're wondering how to send cold messages on LinkedIn without being too spammy, this is the place for you. This article will act as your guide to cold messaging on LinkedIn.

You'll be able to send invite messages and InMails to anyone and create a connection...all while automating the process.

cold messaging on LinkedIn

LinkedIn outreach strategy: cold messaging on LinkedIn effectively

Before we jump into the nitty gritty, we have to cover the basics of cold messaging on LinkedIn.

This section breaks that down for you in a step-by-step process so you can get started right away!

Btw, this article is a part of our LinkedIn marketing strategy series.

How to message someone on LinkedIn (the basics)

First thing's first, we need to go over how to actually send the message on LinkedIn.

You have a few options: either you can go to the messaging page on LinkedIn, include a message with your connection request, send it from the prospect's LinkedIn profile, or use the messaging shortcut from any page.

You can go to the messaging page at any time by simply clicking on the "messaging" icon on the LinkedIn banner at the top of your screen.

cold messaging on LinkedIn

This page allows you to view all of your sent and received messages on a larger screen than the shortcut version. If you're going to be spending a while on messaging I suggest this screen as it's easier to manage with.

If you're looking to message someone in particular you can do it by going to their profile and selecting the message icon. Keep in mind that if you're already connected with this person you can simply search their name from your shortcut in the bottom right of the screen, or search in the messaging centre.

How to send message to unknown people on LinkedIn

I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that you can't message anyone and everyone on LinkedIn. The platform likes to keep out spammy messages, so they only encourage messaging between 1st connections, i.e. the people you know.

However, if you have LinkedIn premium, you have what's called InMail credits, or the ability to send messages to anyone. But of course these are limited, so be sure to check out your premium page to see how many credits are allotted to your account.

This will be based on your plan of choice: career, business, sales, or hiring.

Here's the part with the good news. You can still message on LinkedIn without premium, but you'll have fewer characters to do so. In this case, you can either send messages by using connection requests or simply send the request and wait for the prospect to accept it.

If you decide to send a message with an invite, it'll look something like this:

To get this page you should press the "connect button" then LinkedIn will prompt you to leave a message with your invite.

And an InMail looks like this:

InMails and regular messages allow for 2000 characters in the body of the text, whereas a connection request message can only contain a mere 300 characters.

If you want to send more messages or use InMails, you need to upgrade to LinkedIn premium. To do this just go to the "Me" icon at the top right of the banner and go to the account section to start your purchase.

10 important ​​​​FAQs & LinkedIn rules for outreach

Here you'll find answers to the most searched questions about LinkedIn. You'll also see info about the LinkedIn rules. These are really important to follow, otherwise your account could be blocked ❌

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Here's what we'll cover:

  • Can I start sending LinkedIn messages immediately?
  • How do I warm up my LinkedIn account?
  • How many LinkedIn invites can I send per day?
  • How to withdraw connection requests on LinkedIn?
  • How many LinkedIn messages can I send per day?
  • Can I use LinkedIn automation tools?
  • Can I send cold messages on LinkedIn?
  • How many searches can I do on LinkedIn?
  • Is it worth it to get LinkedIn premium?
  • What does premium LinkedIn get you?

Can I start sending LinkedIn messages immediately?

Yes and no. Yes, you do have the ability to start shooting off messages as soon as you create your account and are connecting with people. However, you shouldn't just hit the ground running, you need to warm up your account.

How do I warm up my LinkedIn account?

Start off slow around 10 connection requests/messages to new connections per day. I know you want to connect to your fav outreach tool and start sending 50 LinkedIn outreach messages per day. But, just like an email domain needs to be warmed, so does your LinkedIn account!

How many LinkedIn invites can I send per day?

It varies depending on your LinkedIn activity. We recommend not over 50 per day, and to play it safe our team does about 20/day. You should do a slow ramp-up to this to warm up your account. The number of your current connections also plays a factor and so does the number of your outstanding invitations.

How to withdraw connection requests on LinkedIn?

Go to the "My network" page, click "manage" at the top of the page next to your pending invitations, then select the sent tab. Here you can see the number of pending invitations you've sent and also withdraw them. Be sure to withdraw some when you see them passing 500.

How many LinkedIn messages can I send per day?

How many messages you can send will depend on the age, warming, and the type of your account. If you have a free and well-warmed account we recommend you never go above 70 messages/day to your 1st connections. If you have a premium it would be more like 100/day. Again for us we recommend you be conservative, and max it out around 30/day.

Can I use LinkedIn automation tools?

Absolutely! BUT you still need to follow the rules. LinkedIn is not a fan of people sending too many connection requests or messages, and this is an easy way to get your profile flagged. You also need to ensure the content is personalized enough for prospects to accept, otherwise this also looks fishy.

Can I send cold messages on LinkedIn?

You sure can, but like we said, keep the level of personalization in mind. If you are constantly sending messages with no response, or even worse are marked as spam, LinkedIn will ban your profile. To avoid this, keep the messages personalized to your prospects!

How many searches can I do on LinkedIn?

There aren't any set limits because it changes based on your activity, but these are the current estimations: 30 searches/month for a new account or any account that isn't warmed up, around 300/month for a fully warmed account, and unlimited searches with premium or sales navigator accounts.

Is it worth it to get LinkedIn premium?

Yes, if you'll be active and generating leads. My rule is if it makes you some money you can give some back. Especially in the case of LinkedIn where premium costs much less than the benefit you are getting for it.

What does premium LinkedIn get you?

You'll get access to InMail, the ability to search more profiles, see who is viewing your profile, and some more detailed profile metrics. Also, depending on the plan you choose you'll have more abilities if you're a recruiter or salesperson.

5 tips for getting a response from cold messaging on LinkedIn

Now that you know all of your limits and how to warm up your account, we can dive into how to cold message on LinkedIn. Sending a cold LinkedIn message that gets replies is really an artform, so we'll give you everything you need to create a beautiful piece.

And of course we'll show you how to make this process efficient so you aren't wasting time sending out individual messages.

Personalize your LinkedIn messaging

The absolute first thing you need to get down is how to personalize your messages. You should NEVER send the same automatic messages to customers. It's a waste of their time and yours.

What you can do is put your prospects into buckets. You can do this according to industry, domain, company size, companies that have raised a certain dollar amount, and many other factors.

Choose something that fits according to your needs. For example, when I'm reaching out to people on LinkedIn for networking my buckets are sorted according to the prospect's current role or previous experience. Then based on these buckets you can find some similar info to include.

Let’s say I'm going for a sales approach, so my buckets are companies that recently raised funds and companies that are hiring. My appeal would be either "Congrats on raising funds at XYZ Company!" or "I see that ABC Company is hiring, good luck with the recruitment process!".

These are going to be your first tier personalizations, but the more fitting your lead is, you should personalize it even more.

This would look something like "Hey Alex, I saw that XYZ Company recently raised $30M, congrats! As the Growth Manager you must be psyched. I watched your podcast with Nathan Latka about your growth strategy and your plans after funding and I think you had some great ideas, can't wait to see where it takes you guys."

At this point you might be wondering how it's possible to make this kind of personalized statement for each of your prospects, don't worry, I'll cover that soon.

Send valuable messages

If you had these two messages in your inbox, which would you reply to?

cold messaging on LinkedIn


cold messaging on LinkedIn

Most likely you prefer to answer the second one. Why? It appeals to you, it's not just about me and what I do.

On top of personalizing your message, you should try to pack it with as much value as possible for your lead. Instead of focusing on you, focus on what the prospect will find valuable. The end result will be the same, pinky promise.

How to create a LinkedIn cold email template

No matter which type of message you are sending, you want to create your template around the personalization tactics you're using. For example, if we use the examples above, we can transform them into templates using custom tags.

Check it out:

  • "Congrats on raising funds at {{companyName}}!" or "I see that {{companyName}} is hiring, good luck with the recruitment process!"
  • "Hey {{firstName}}, I saw that {{companyName}} recently raised {{fundingAmount}}, congrats! As the {{jobPosition}} you must be psyched. {{icebreaker}}."

And don't worry, it's incredibly easy to add these to your LinkedIn automation tool, just put this info in a CSV and you're ready to go.

See how that might look:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Now, some people reading this might be rolling their eyes thinking about all the spammy messages currently sitting in their LinkedIn inbox.

This is not what a LinkedIn automation tool is for. It's up to you, as a user, to use the tools correctly and follow LinkedIn's messaging limits. I can assure you that sending out the same mass message to all of your connections is not the way to do it.

Don't worry if you're still not seeing the whole picture, we'll give you more examples of some ready-to-use templates in the next section.

Include your LinkedIn message in a multichannel sequence

The last thing you can do to improve LinkedIn lead generation and keep that response rate high is to turn your message into part of a multichannel sequence.

This essentially means adding other channels of communication into your routine, like cold calling and cold emailing.

By doing this you are helping your prospecting efforts by really ensuring you've covered all of your bases.

So what does this look like? You can use any mix of these channels, but my favorite setup is:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

I will usually play with the order of cold calls and cold emails, but I like leaving the LinkedIn steps in the beginning to express my interest in the prospect.

Some people also prefer to make the funnel much longer, and spend some time on personal branding and engaging with prospect's content.

cold messaging on LinkedIn

I personally like using cold email right after the LinkedIn steps because I can say "I sent you a message on LinkedIn, but I wanted to also reach out through email in case you prefer communicating this way".

Plus, when you build a connection, the following cold email doesn't really feel "cold". :)

And you can simplify this process by using a multichannel tool that ties all the platforms together and centralizes the results 💪

cold messaging on LinkedIn

5 sample LinkedIn message templates

Alright so we've covered how to message, LinkedIn messaging rules and FAQs, and also our tips for stellar messages that get responses. Essentially everything you need to make kick ass messages.

But just in case you want some encouragement, we've got templates for you! Note that these templates are not to be used to send the same message to 100 different prospects.

cold messaging on LinkedIn

You should use these templates to get a better idea of what to talk about, and add personalized info for each of your prospects.

Whether that's a high level of personalization or not is up to you, but don't just send a generic message to everyone.

Hyper-personalized sales template

When reaching out to a prospect to make a sale, the sell should not be the key point in your message. In fact, it shouldn't be in the message at all.

The goal is to build a relationship with your prospect so you can offer the best offer possible to them.

When it comes to sales on LinkedIn, you need to be hyper-personalized to get results, which often times translates to creating ice breakers for each of your leads.

For example, Nadja (our Head of Sales) uses a formula like this:

First Name, personalized message according to lead's profile and/or company information.

To give you an example of how this would look, here is a message Nadja sent:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

I know about now you're thinking... you don't have time for this. Yes, it does take a bit more work but honestly not much.

And, this is the response you get:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Personalized sales template

If you aren't reaching out to your top-tier prospects and can easily put your leads into buckets, you can create more general messages that will still apply to your leads.

So instead of personalizing the icebreaker to each prospect, it will be to whatever bucket you put them in. Similar to the bucket examples I showed you previously!

Here is another template you can use:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

So following the structure above, it was:

FirstName, personalized sentence based on profile and/or company info + questions related to this.

The key to this message is you aren't being too sales-y, but you are still being professional.

Like the other examples we've shown you in this article, the point is to highlight the lead and add value for them. By doing this you are building trust and creating relationships, aka the key to sales in 2021.

And this works like a charm. Check out the type of responses we get:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Prospecting tip: Before sending messages like this, make sure you are reaching out the right prospects. You need to really filter your searches so you know the person receiving the message fits it 100%.

Check out this video for tips on how to filter your LinkedIn searches!

Networking connection request template

This one is similar to the previous one, with a tiny difference. The difference is that you want to show the benefits to both parties by creating the relationship.

This is an absolute essential in networking invitations so the opposite party sees the advantage!

For example, here is a basic message I'd send to Lucille if I wanted to network with her:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

You can see this message uses a bit of indirect flattery to encourage the recipient to approve the request.

By mentioning you want to improve these skills it implies they have the content to help you do that! This message also appeals to their human side, because who doesn't want to help someone improve themselves?

Networking message template

Once they accept your connection request you can reach out to start networking.

Here's what that message would look like:

You can see the follow up message bounces off the first message by adding to the admiration, and establishes a mutual connection.

This can be something really strong like going to the same university in the same year, or as simple as both liking a certain page. But establishing this mutual connection will automatically add trust and humanize you a bit more.

The final aspect of this message that you can add to get you some more replies is a P.S. that further establishes a win-win scenario.

For example, I could say:

P.S. I'm not just reaching out without sharing something in return, I'd be happy to share all of my marketing experience working with international companies!

Not only are they helping you out to develop professionally but they will also learn some things in the process, it's the perfect win-win.

Check out the results I got using these tactics for my networking campaign:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Job seeking template

If you're on the hunt for a job, LinkedIn is the place for you! You can get much better results by reaching out to hiring managers and decision makers there than by sending your CV to

So, how do you start the communication?

Here's an idea for you:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

You can tell this message isn't just any message that you can take and copy, and frankly it shouldn't be! You are applying for a job, spray and pray is not the way to go.

Try to include real pieces of information about the company the prove you did your research, and showcase why you love the company.

Then go in with why they should want you back, but don't write a novel. Just include a couple key points to get them hooked and message you back, then you can go in with more info.

Vuk recently got a message like this, just check out his response:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Recruitment template

On the reverse side, if you are a recruiter looking for applicants, LinkedIn is also a great place for you! And sending messages is a great way to show express your interest.

These ones are pretty easy, but be sure to personalize the message so your potential candidate knows you mean business.

Check out this message I received:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

Why did this template make me want to respond? They pretty much complemented me the entire time, told me they thought I would fit in that specific role, and gave a casual offer to chat.

Here was my response:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

So she didn't get the answer she was looking for, but she did create a relationship with me and got another potential candidate out of it.

What could you improve in this template? Well, this one was clearly created for an entire list of potential applicants, but you can add a bit more personalization to make it a more attractive offer.

Instead of saying "someone with your skill set" you could replace this with skills they have actually listed on their LinkedIn profile, or adding information about their previous experience, proof of success, etc.

See, it doesn't take much to create that perfect recruiting message.

LinkedIn Group member template

You can also use LinkedIn messages to connect with people in the same group as you. This one is a great option because you already have a mutual connection to mention.

Check out our example:

cold messaging on LinkedIn

This message establishes your connection and opens up the conversation. This is really just a base to work from, but you can adjust it according to your needs and sector.

This message makes the tone much more friendly and points out a topic I know members of this group are really interested in at the moment. It might take some practice, but with trial and error you'll find your go-to group messages.

Key takeaways

LinkedIn messaging takes some work, but with this guide you'll be well on your way to creating cold messages that get replies.

Keep in mind that the phrase "if it aint broke don't fix it" absolutely does not apply to messaging. You need to try different things constantly so you can figure out what works the best.

Once you find your go-to message be sure to shoot it over to me by email or, of course, LinkedIn message!

If you're looking for more help on your LinkedIn strategy, check out our articles about the 2021 guide to LinkedIn and LinkedIn lead generation.

If you're looking for more help for your LinkedIn, check out our articles about LinkedIn lead generation or move on to the final one in this series, called LinkedIn content strategy.

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