Cold Messaging on Linkedin: Best Practices & Pitfalls in 2024

Cold Messaging

Cold messaging is a powerful way for businesses to reach out to potential customers. But, with so much competition on LinkedIn, it can be hard to stand out and get noticed.

That’s why I’ve gathered my learnings and put together this quick guide to everything you need to get started with LinkedIn cold messaging.

I’ll cover tips for finding the right leads, best practices and writing great cold messages that will get results, and more. So let’s dive in! 

What is Cold Messaging? 

Cold messaging is essentially sending messages to people who aren’t already part of your professional network or don’t already know who you are.

This could be potential customers or even potential partners and collaborators.

The goal of cold messaging on LinkedIn is not to make a sale right away but rather just to start a conversation with someone who might be interested in what you have to offer. 

Why should you start cold messaging on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social networking site, with over 900 million users in over 200 countries. This makes it an ideal platform for networking and lead generation.

If this hasn’t been convincing enough, there are several other advantages to starting prospecting on Linkedin:

  • LinkedIn users are generally more receptive to receiving a cold message from strangers, especially if they are relevant to their interests or industry.
  • LinkedIn’s search capabilities make it easy to find the right people to connect with based on specific job titles, companies, or industries. In this way, you can find new leads at a very low cost and in a very short time
  • LinkedIn’s messaging platform generaly allows you to send unlimited messages directly to a specific person, making it easier to connect with decision-makers and key stakeholders in a company. 

How to find the people you want to target with LinkedIn?

The basic approach

Use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature

  • LinkedIn’s advanced search feature allows you to narrow down your search to specific job titles, companies, industries, locations, and more. Use this feature to create a list of potential leads that meet your target criteria.
Using the advanced search feature on linkedin
Take advantage of the advanced search feature. It’s structured lead data for free.

Join LinkedIn Groups

  • Joining LinkedIn groups related to your industry or target audience can help you find potential leads more easily. By engaging in discussions and sharing relevant content, you can build relationships with group members and identify potential leads for your business.
Leveraging Linkedingroup for finding new leads
Filter out the members that best fit your target group

The advanced approach

Identify professionals/prospects that follow specific people

  • If you are looking for prospects based on a specific role or industry AND/OR interest, you can leverage the advanced search to find people who follow influencers and industry leaders who talk about topics relevant to what you offer.
Using the search feature on LinkedIn to find people with similar interests
Want to sell content creation services? Search for C-level professionals that follow people educating about LinkedIn content creation.

Leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful tool for lead generation and sales professionals. With Sales Navigator, you have over 30 search filters to help you identify the best-fit prospects for your outreach, and CRM integrations to create new records for prospects automatically
Using LinkedIn sales navigator to find the right leads for your cold messaging
Linkedin Sales Navigator: Offering advanced features to narrow down your target group.

How to write effective LinkedIn cold messages?

1. Prepare

Make sure your profile is professional and compelling

It all begins with the basics: An up-to-date Linkedin profile that accurately reflects you and your experiences. Potential clients should have no doubt about who you are and what you bring to the table.

Ensure everything looks professional (work experiences, profile photo, profile headline, certificates etc.). Your profile needs to be visually appealing to ensure that it catches the first glance of whoever is viewing it.

Do your research and look for personalization points

Once you’ve identified your target prospects, take the time to research who they are and what their needs might be. This can help you craft a personalized cold message that stands out from others.

Look for anything that could give an opening line, such as common acquaintances, mutual professional experiences, or any other factors that could make them more receptive to your message.

Jan’s Tip: You don’t need to overcomplicate your research to write a personalized cold message: Screen every person for the following personalization points: Job Changes, Education, Awards, Communities & Groups, Influencer He/She Follows, Linkedin Posts, Company Funding Round, Recent Company News, Company Case Study, Blog Posts.

Pick one of them and reference it in your opening line.

Look for a mutual connection before reaching out

Leverage your mutual connections to build relationships and create lasting value. Request for a personal introduction.

It might feel more uncomfortable than just mentioning it in the message, but it’s a much more effective way to establish a connection with someone new. Don’t let shyness stand between you and that next connection!

2. Write

Craft a short and direct message

The goal is to create a brief message to keep the person’s attention without taking up too much of their time. A good rule of thumb is that your message should not be longer than a tweet (240 characters). That means keeping it short and to the point.

  • Don’t use fluffy openers such as “hope you are well”; “just following up; I’ll be bunt”
  • Don’t introduce yourself, as people can find out on your profile

Personalize every message

You can customize your opening line based on the data points I mentioned in the info box above. This will show them that you took the time to research and connect with them.

However, to really grab your recipient’s attention, make sure you state a relevant reason for reaching out. If you have done your research, you might have also developed a point of view on their business or industry-specific challenges that you can mention to start a conversation.

Ask for one thing only

Make sure to have a call to action and ask for one thing only. Don’t clutter your cold message with too many requests, as this will distract from the main point of your outreach.

example cold email on linkedin

3. Review

Analyse and adjust

Once you have sent a bunch of Linkedin cold messages, analyse the responses and adjust your messaging accordingly. Consider what worked and didn’t work and tinker with language, tone, personalization points, etc. to get the best response rate.

4. Winning Principles

Be a servant and use reciprocity

When reaching out to prospects, focusing on what you can offer them rather than just pushing your product or service is important.

By providing something of value upfront, such as a helpful resource or an interesting point of view, you demonstrate your expertise and build trust with the prospect.

By having a servant’s mindset, you will also fully benefit from the principle of reciprocity. People will naturally feel inclined to answer when you offer something of value only to start a conversation.

Be Interested, Not Interesting

When writing a cold message, it’s easy to focus more on making a good impression than on starting a meaningful conversation.

Instead, focus on being genuinely interested in the person you are contacting and show interest in their thoughts and challenges.

Focus your message on starting a conversation about their challenges and position yourself as a qualified person who can help them with it.

How to automate Linkedin cold messaging with AI

The most cost-effective way to improve efficiency is to use templates or frameworks for your messages.

However, if you want to really level up your cold messaging process, you should consider using automation tools.

The following setup has proven to be invaluable when doing cold outreach myself. It saves me about four hours per week of time while still being able to send targeted and effective messages to prospects.

  • Linkedin Sales Navigator: This will enable you to quickly find relevant leads for your cold outreach.
  • AI Email Assistants: There are several emerging tools that enable you to automatically create personalized messages and pitches based on publicly available data such as LinkedIn profiles, company websites, blogs, podcasts, and more.

    Check out: 5 Best AI Email Assistants To Scale Your Sales Outreach In 2023
  • Sales Automation Tool: These tools will automate the contact process across different channels, manage follow-ups, and keep track of the progress of your outreach campaigns.

What are common pitfalls when doing cold messaging on LinkedIn?

It’s difficult to craft a perfect cold message, but I’ve found that avoiding these three pitfalls has helped me prevent the most potentially damaging errors.

No follow-up or follow-up too quickly

One common mistake people make when cold messaging on LinkedIn is not sending a follow-up message as most of the replies will not come from your first message.

The key to successful Linkedin cold messages is to follow up and keep the conversation going, but not so often that it becomes annoying.

Timing your follow-up emails carefully will ensure you don’t come across as pushy and get you more responses

Lack of research

A common pitfall when cold messaging on LinkedIn is a lack of research. You might have done some superficial screening but it’s important to understand what’s top of mind for the person you’re reaching out to.

Take the time to research their business and industry, approach them with a unique point of view and provide value in your message for better results.

No or unreasonable call to action

When creating your LinkedIn cold message, make sure you have a clear call to action. If you don’t have a specific ask, there won’t be any incentive for the person to reply.

On the other hand: If your call to action is unreasonable or too much of an ask right away, it will most likely get ignored as well.

Make sure that you ask for something reasonable and achievable to start the conversation.

My Favourite Examples

There are many different types of LinkedIn cold message examples that you can use as inspiration. Here are a few of my real-life favorites:

1. Hyper-Relevant Conversation Starter

Hey X,

Noticed you are in the SaaS Sales Leaders Community. I hope you’re finding it as helpful as I do.

Also saw you’ve been leading the SMB segment for {business name}. You may know first-hand how difficult it is to hit daunting headcount targets without a bunch of revenue mis-hires that attrit in the first year.

It’s a lose-lose: You either hire fast, hit your targets, but have high early-tenure attrition that you’ll have to backfill later on. Or hire slow, bring on STRONG reps that perform, but fall short of your headcount (and revenue) targets.

Curious if you’re up for a chat about solving this?

(Linkedin cold message example 1)

What I liked about it:

  • Personalization in the first sentence
  • Great problem statement
  • Very precise
  • CTA to start a conversation

2. Sales Pitch By Showing Credibility

Hi X,
Love what you’re doing at (business name) and I am stunned by your portfolio.

I specialize in running ads for businesses like yours to book qualified appointments every single month without any headache. Recently we helped a client to book 37 qualified appointments for his {business name} with $7/lead, which let him add an extra $630k to his business

Want the same system for your {business name}? Let me know and I can send over a few times for a quick 15-min zoom call.

(Linkedin cold message example 2)

What I liked about it:

  • Relevant case study, mentioning measurable results
  • Clear call to action


Cold messaging through LinkedIn is an effective way for businesses of all sizes and industries to increase their customer base by connecting with potential leads worldwide.

However, businesses must approach their strategy thoughtfully — researching leads, crafting personalized messages, testing different approaches, and automating processes where possible.

Following the advice outlined above, businesses will set a foundation for success with their unique LinkedIn cold messaging campaigns!


Is Sending A Linkedin Cold Message more effective than cold emailing?

Yes, it can be. The average reply rate for cold emails is 1-10%. The average outreach message on LinkedIn gets more replies, with an average reply rate of 5-20%.

Based on the stats, Linkedin outreach can be more effective than cold emailing. However, there are many nuances and it all depends on how well you craft your message and if it resonates with the recipient.

Can I send cold messages on LinkedIn?

Yes, you can send cold messages on LinkedIn. However, it’s important to be mindful and respectful of others when sending your LinkedIn message.

Make sure that you do your research about the person or company you are messaging and craft a personalized message that is relevant to them. Doing this will help increase the likelihood of getting a response from the recipient.

How many LinkedIn messages can I send per day?

While there is no specific limit on the number of direct messages you can send per day on LinkedIn, it’s important to be aware of certain red flags.

For instance, if you send messages to 100 different people in a short period of time, LinkedIn may flag your account for suspicious activity.

Similarly, repeatedly sending messages or connection requests to different people in quick succession can also attract the attention of LinkedIn’s surveillance team. To avoid these issues, it’s best to pace your messaging and avoid any behaviors that could be seen as spammy or suspicious.

Is it worth it to get LinkedIn premium?

It depends on your individual needs and goals. If you are looking to reach a more targeted audience and increase visibility, then LinkedIn Premium may be worth it.

With premium features like InMail, advanced search filters, and analytics, you can find and engage with potential leads more effectively.

Additionally, LinkedIn Premium offers various other benefits such as exclusive content and discounts on job postings. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether the cost is worth the additional features LinkedIn Premium provides.

Does cold messaging on Facebook also work?

Yes, cold messaging on Facebook can also be effective for connecting with potential leads. However, the approach will be different compared to LinkedIn messages as the network operates differently.

Be sure to consider the context of each platform when crafting your message and learn how to target a specific audience on both platforms.

Additionally, you may want to look into Facebook Ads and other ad-targeting techniques that can help you reach the right people more quickly.

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