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How to Successfully Message People on LinkedIn Uncover best practices for connecting with clients, colleagues, job seekers, and virtually anyone on the social network for professionals.

By Melanie Goodman

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We all want our message to be the one that stands out, the one that engages and, most of all, the one that elicits a positive response. But what is a successful message?

Is it one written up in flowery language? Is it one that appeals to the reader's senses? These are times when we are bombarded with dozens of messages. Some of these messages matter while others are inconsequential.

On LinkedIn, a successful message would be defined as one that is opened, read from start to finish, and then acted on.

After extensive research and split testing within my own company and for clients, we have found the key elements to a return on investment with our organic messaging (no paid ads involved).

Here's a look at how to successfully message people on LinkedIn:

Understand that there are several types of messaging options on LinkedIn.

When it comes to messaging people on LinkedIn, you have several options, including:

InMail: Send private messages to people who are on LinkedIn but are not your connections – option available with premium paid accounts

Direct messaging: Reach out to your connections in real-time by directly messaging them.

Group messaging: Send unlimited private messages to anyone in a group of which you have been a member for more than five days. (Alternatively send a message to a group of contacts.)

How does the type of messaging affect what you say? Several recipients will read a message sent to a group. So, your message must be general but relevant to each of the recipients. Conversely, avoid sending personal messages via group messages.

If you send a direct message to someone you are closely associated with, make your message more personal and reference at least their company by name or a recent post they have put out.

When sending messages to people you are not connected with, you must consider being exceptionally professional. You might also need to introduce yourself and clearly state why you are reaching out to them.

With InMail messaging, capture your recipient's attention with a fantastic subject line.

Your recipients are busy people who don't have time to open a message unless there is something in it for them. They might consider opening a message if your subject invokes recognition or interest from them.

Here are ways to do that:

  • If you know your recipient personally, mention how and where you both have met.
  • Have a shared connection? Mention them in your subject line and keep the subject to six words or less.
  • Mention any shared interests you might have.

Keep your messages professional, short and to the point.

It's one thing to get your recipients to open your messages, but it's another to get them to read your entire message. Humans have a short attention span that seems to be dropping consistently (approximately eight seconds as of today). Keep your message short.

Use psychological tricks to get them to open your messages.

Here are some effective strategies to entice your recipients to read your messages:

Hold back a bit of vital information they require — information you provide in your message but not in the subject line. That can pique curiosity

Use trigger words, such as "avoid." This may seem negative to you but this word is incredibly powerful when you use it in a way that puts you in an advantage — you're telling your prospects about things they don't want to see happen to their company.

Here's an example in action:

"Avoid waiting months for a new potential client to call you by leveraging our cost-effective outbound implementation"

Use words such as support, save and open. All professionals can use these as who doesn't want to save time, money and increase productivity?

For example, "Save hours of time and the expense of hiring a marketing manager by outsourcing to a professional LinkedIn marketing company"

Sound human. Imagine there were standing in front of you, and you were speaking to them directly and tell them about how you can help them. Everyone appreciates the offer of help, especially if it is directed at fixing their pain points. Did I say fix? Absolutely – fix is another positive "trigger" word.

Add a smidgeon of flattery in your messages.

End with a call to action (CTA) to get the best response.

People need direction — and when you give it to them with a clear call to action, they are more likely to respond to your request.

Do you want them to introduce you to their connections? Would you like them to take a survey? Do you want them to refer your business to their contacts? Whatever your reason, state it out clearly, so they know what you expect of them and what they need to do.

Reach out with a follow-up schedule.

Don't expect the recipients of your messages to get back to you immediately. If you don't hear back from your recipients, you can reach out to them with a follow-up message. Courtesy demands that you wait a good five days before messaging them again.

LinkedIn is a powerful professional platform that can work exceptionally well for you and your business if you use it strategically. The key to an effective LinkedIn outreach campaign is to showcase your value and unique selling proposition in as few words as possible. Try, test, retest and above all, always send a response!

Melanie Goodman

Owner and Founder of Trevisan

Melanie Goodman is owner and founder of Trevisan. Melanie specialises in providing CPD-accredited LinkedIn marketing and LinkedIn training services to the professional services sector in Europe, drawing on her comprehensive knowledge of and experience in finance and law. Her company assists businesses to achieve their goals by providing bespoke LinkedIn growth and visibility strategies.


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