Sending a well-timed and personalized Linkedin prospecting message can open doors for your business.

But if you’re still new to LinkedIn outreach, it can be difficult to craft a compelling prospecting message that gets busy decision-makers to reply.

That’s why we wrote this guide. We’ll show you how to write LinkedIn prospecting messages that get replies and ultimately, help you grow your business.

  1. LinkedIn Prospecting Messages vs. Cold Outreach

  2. How to Approach Prospects on LinkedIn

  3. 6 Ingredients in an Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Message

Let’s dive in.

Benefits of Using LinkedIn Prospecting Messages in Your Sales Outreach

LinkedIn prospecting messages have a few unique benefits as an outreach channel. Here are some of them:

1. Guaranteed Message Delivery to Their InMail Inbox

LinkedIn messages always get sent and received by your prospect. 

If you have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account, you can message any prospect on LinkedIn and there’s a guarantee that it will be sent to them.

With other channels, whether it’s paid advertising or email outreach, there’s always a risk that your prospects don’t see your sales pitch and it risks you losing opportunities.

A LinkedIn message gives you one of the best chances of getting your message seen by a qualified sales prospect.

2. Added Social Proof Due to Your Profile and Connections

A key challenge in sales outreach is proving to your recipient that you're trustworthy. If you're lucky, a prospect might recognize your company name, but in most cases, they won't.

Due to LinkedIn being a social media platform, there’s social proof built-in.

When you send someone a LinkedIn prospecting message, they can immediately see:

  • Mutual connections you both have

  • Your past experience to help them understand your area of expertise

  • A photo of you to show you’re a real person

  • Recommendations other people have given you

Your prospects can essentially run a casual background check on you before needing to reply. 

If you’ve optimized your profile, you’ll make a stellar first impression and increase the chances of your prospect replying.

3. Messages Can be Prioritized with InMail

If you’re running highly targeted campaigns, every reply matters. If a key prospect doesn’t reply, it’s a disappointment.

One helpful feature LinkedIn has to ensure your most important prospecting messages are sent to the top of your prospect’s LinkedIn inbox is Sponsored InMail.

These are effectively paid ads but in the form of a handwritten message to your key prospects.

They land at the top of your prospect’s inbox and according to LinkedIn’s data, over half of Sponsored InMails are opened by a prospect.

As well as landing in the inbox, LinkedIn notifies your prospect via email as well. Compared to other sales and marketing channels, this gives your message an excellent chance of being seen by high-value prospects.

How to Approach Prospects on Linkedin

Before sending any LinkedIn prospecting messages you need to set up your account.

This includes:

1. Optimizing your profile

The better your profile looks to your prospects, the higher the chance of a reply. 

Spend time going over every element in your profile, including:

  1. Your profile picture

  2. Your profile summary

  3. Your work experience

  4. Asking past clients or coworkers for references for recommendations

When you’re done, your profile will look professional and all of your information will be clear. 

For example, if you receive a message from someone with a profile like the below you’ll immediately trust that they’re a real person, and have a defined area of expertise.

Source: LinkedIn

When your prospect visits your profile they’ll trust you and reply, if your product/service is a good fit for their needs.

2. Use Sales Navigator on Your LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has two main benefits:

  1. It gives you access to more powerful features

  2. It protects your account from being restricted

When you’re running prospecting campaigns, LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives you access to more powerful search features and will accelerate the prospecting process. It also gives you access to InMail, which is a way for your prospecting messages to be sent to the top of your recipient’s LinkedIn inbox, and be notified via email, too.

You can even see if you have mutual connections or work experience in common with prospects before you reach out, as well as make notes on profiles that you save.

Source: LinkedIn

When you’re running LinkedIn prospecting or outreach campaigns you risk being put in LinkedIn jail – i.e. your account can be restricted if LinkedIn algorithms suspect you’re using automation. Sales Navigator greatly reduces that risk, as the platform is less inclined to restrict accounts that are generating revenue for them.

It’s a small price to pay for the features you’ll have access to and the protection it gives to your account.

3. Ensure Every Prospect is Highly Qualified 

A fundamental part of sending a LinkedIn prospecting message that gets a reply is whether or not your prospect is qualified.

For example, if you run an agency working with software development agencies, and you reach out to someone running an architecture firm, it won’t be a surprise if they don’t reply, no matter how good your message copy is.

On the other hand, if you write a prospecting message to someone that matches your ideal customer and pitch them a service that they know will drive ROI in their business, you’ll see far more replies.

4. Run Manual Test Campaigns Before Automating

The only way to test how effective your prospecting messages are is to send them to real prospects.

However, if you go all-in on a campaign to your highest-value prospects and the message doesn’t resonate, you won’t get a second chance.

Before running any high-volume prospecting campaign, make sure to test your messaging on a lower volume campaign.

For example, manually send 100 messages (and follow-ups if you don’t get a reply) and see what your response rate is.

When you start using LinkedIn outreach automation tools to increase the volume of your campaigns, you’ll have proven message templates that you know will get results.

6 Ingredients in an Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Message

Now, let’s look at how to write a LinkedIn prospecting message that gets replies.

1. Personalization is Vital

Your prospects receive multiple LinkedIn messages per day. To stand out, you need to put in the effort that your competitors aren’t.

That means completely personalizing every message you send.

The best way to do this is by ensuring each message can only be sent to that particular recipient.

That means:

  • Always use your prospect's first name

  • Mention their company name in reference to your pitch

  • Write out a personalized opening line for each message you send

When your recipient receives your message they’ll know you’ve put real effort into your message and it’ll stand out in the midst of the other generic pitches they receive on a regular basis.

2. Show the Benefits of Your Product/Service

In order to win over your prospect, you’ll need to offer value to them.

It’s not enough just to offer a product/service. You need to show the benefits of it to their business. 

The catch? You only have 1 or 2 sentences to prove why talking to you will be worth their time.

The main benefit you should focus on is the return on investment (ROI) you can offer them. For example, if your lead generation agency helps your clients book an extra 15 meetings per month with leads, mention that figure. Depending on your business, you’d switch this to fit the results you can offer.

Here’s what it would look like in practice:

  • For a lead generation agency: “We help businesses like {{}} book 15 meetings per month with qualified leads.”

  • For a paid ads agency: “Our agency has helped companies like [example client] generate 3x return on ad spend with our unique targeting strategies.”

  • For a general digital agency: “We recently helped [example client #1] and [example client #2] improve their website conversion rates by over 155%.”

You could expand into a longer sentence, or into two sentences if needed. However, the purpose of your first prospecting message isn’t to tell your prospect all about your business, it’s simply to start a conversation.

You’ll also notice each of the examples above includes stats and figures. The more specific you can be about these, the more believable they will be. Your prospects will imagine what those results could do for their business and be curious.

3. Add Social Proof to Build Trust

Even though a LinkedIn profile has an element of social proof built-in, you can’t expect your prospect to visit your profile before replying. Your message needs to do the talking.

We’ve already seen above how you can name drop previous clients that you’ve worked with, which is an excellent way to build credibility and showcase your product/service with results.

Another way to drop social proof is to add a custom ‘P.S.’ at the end of your message, mentioning something you have in common with your prospect or dropping an extra value proposition.

  • “P.S. Shame I missed you at [conference], did you enjoy the day?”

  • “P.S. Awesome that you opened an office in [city], we love it here.”

  • “P.S.  Want to see the case study of how we helped [client] generate 5x more leads?”

As an example, check out this message from RepurposeHouse. They namedrop a few key clients, and it instantly builds trust.

Another benefit to LinkedIn messaging is that you can use attachments

In a cold email, that would hurt your deliverability. On LinkedIn, it won't affect the deliverability of LinkedIn prospecting messages, so it’s free real estate in your messages.

In general, you won’t need to do these, but if you have an extremely compelling case study or report that’s relevant to your prospect, you can include it.

4. A Call to Action Will Guide the Next Interaction

After a prospect reads your prospecting message, they’re ready to take action. But they won’t know what to do if you don’t tell them the next steps.

Your call to action (CTA) guides the next step in your sales process. For example, you might want to share more information and learn more about your prospect to qualify them. Or, you might want to get them on a call with you and have a real conversation.

Regardless of your aim, it’s vital that you include a call to action at the end of your message.

Here are some examples of call to actions that can help you get a response.

  • “Does this sound useful for {{}}?”

  • Do you have time for a quick 30 min call next {{=day}} at 4 pm [TIMEZONE] to discuss more?

  • Does that sound like something of interest to you?

  • What’s the best way for us to connect?

Want more CTA examples? Check out our Ultimate Call to Action Swipe File here.

If your CTA is successful, it will make it easy for your prospects to reply, and increase the number of conversations you have every week.

Even though it’s only a short sentence at the end of your message, it’s a critical part of the whole package.

5. Keep Your Message Brief and Simple

No one has ever opened their LinkedIn inbox and wanted to receive a lengthy five-paragraph message from someone they don’t know.

It’s vital that you keep every prospecting message you send brief, and to the point.

While there isn’t a word limit you need to adhere to, it needs to be something your prospect can read in 30 seconds. If it requires more time than that, there’s a high chance that you’re asking too much of your prospect. 

If you stick to using the structure we’ve looked at in this guide, including:

  • A one-sentence custom opening line,

  • A one to two sentence pitch,

  • Social proof integrated into your pitch,

  • And a clear call to action

You won’t need to worry about your message length.

Here’s an example of a cold prospecting message from AppSumo that we like:

In a few sentences, you fully understand the benefits of replying to them, and the call to action means it’s easy to respond. If your outreach messages are similar, there’s a strong chance you’ll get results.

As we mentioned above, make sure to test your messages before using them in a large prospecting message campaign. You need to know if they’re effective before sending them to every prospect you want to have a conversation with.

6. A Friendly Follow-Up to Get More Replies

No matter how compelling your opening prospecting message is, there’s still a strong chance that you don’t receive a reply. 

The reason is simple: your prospects are busy and don’t always have time to read or reply to their LinkedIn messages.

55% of replies to cold outreach come from a follow-up message, so it’s a vital step.

In your follow-up message, you need to reiterate the reason you’re reaching out and highlight another benefit to them replying. 

In the example below, the follow-up message call to action is low commitment and easy to reply to.

It’s also worth sending multiple follow-up messages if someone doesn’t reply to your first InMail. You’ll have more conversations, and in the end, close more deals.

Wrapping Up

Writing a LinkedIn prospecting message that starts a conversation takes work. You need to personalize it to every prospect, but keep it brief and focus on getting a clear message across.

But, if your message is compelling, you’ll see a high reply rate and it won’t be long before you’re having demo calls with prospects interested in your product or service.

There are no shortcuts to writing good prospecting messages, so you’re going to need to spend time refining and optimizing them.

When you’re confident your messages are ready to send, you’ll need to start testing them in action and reaching out to real prospects.

If you want to combine LinkedIn outreach with cold email for the best results, start your free trial of QuickMail here.