LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for finding new clients and building relationships with people who could potentially become future customers.
It’s also a great way to get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. But what about when you’re ready to take it up a notch? LinkedIn outreach can be tricky if you don’t have the knowledge or tools necessary.
So if you’re looking to use LinkedIn to build your network and reach out to potential leads, you’ll want to follow some simple steps to ensure you’re using LinkedIn effectively.
This easy-to-follow guide will walk you through all of the steps involved in a successful LinkedIn outreach strategy.
What is outreach on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn outreach is simply reaching out to someone — usually a prospective client — via LinkedIn to ask them something.
It might sound like common sense, but many business owners overlook outreach because they think their connections are enough. However, there’s no substitute for personal contact. You need to make sure that you know how to approach potential contacts before asking them to do anything.
People reach out to prospects for various reasons:
- To find leads/clients
- To sell products & services
- To promote themselves as experts
- To connect with other professionals
Regardless of your purpose for reaching out, you need to remember one thing: It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to sell yourself or your product; you should always start by building genuine interest in others.
This means being genuinely interested in the person you’re contacting.
Don’t just send generic messages without any real connection. Instead, try to engage with the person so that they feel comfortable sending a reply.
We will discuss this in more detail later. For now, let’s talk about how you can reach your prospects.
How do I reach a prospect on LinkedIn?
Finding a prospect on LinkedIn is not a complicated process. All you usually need to do is:
- Search for people in your target audience
- Send a connection request to candidates who fit your requirements
- Once they accept your connection request, send a message
It looks simple, right? And it is! However, there’s more to each step than meets the eye. Let’s look at these three steps in greater depth.
Step 1 – Searching for Prospects
When searching for prospects on LinkedIn, keep in mind that you won’t necessarily find everyone you’re targeting. This is why it’s essential to narrow down your search criteria first. For example, let’s say you’re selling software solutions. If you were going after salespeople, then you would probably focus on companies that offer IT support.
You may even consider focusing on specific industries such as healthcare or finance. The key here is to identify which industry best fits your needs. Once you’ve done that, you can begin searching for relevant profiles within those categories.
At this stage, some use automation to speed up the process. But when it comes to LinkedIn and using an automation tool, you need to be cautious. A Premium LinkedIn plan like Sales Navigator can help you do outreach very effectively. And Sales Navigator is a LinkedIn product, so you will not have issues. However, LinkedIn tries to dissuade users from using automation so any third-party tool can get your account banned.
Step 2 – Sending Connection Requests
After finding suitable targets, you have two options when it comes to connecting with them. You can either email them directly or send a connection request. Both methods work well, although direct emails tend to be more effective, especially when you send the right message at the right time.
Let’s take an example of a connection request message you might send. Let’s assume we want to get in touch with a CMO named John Smith. He has over ten years of experience working in marketing, and his current company offers web design services. Here’s what we might write if we wanted to send him a connection request:
The above approach shows that we’re interested in talking to John because we mentioned his job title and company.
Based on this reasoning, you might think this is a great way to do outreach, right?
This type of message is rife on the platform, and many people are tired.
The reality is, many people will accept your request regardless of a custom request message. And most times, using a connection request message like the above will get you rejected. It’s best to use LinkedIn’s default connection request message. Then test a custom message and see which one works best for you.
Step 3 – Following Up After Prospects Become Connections
After sending connection requests to several prospects, some will accept your request, and your connections will increase. The next step in the outreach campaign process is sending a message and following up on your new contacts.
This step is usually the most difficult.
There’s no magic formula to following up on LinkedIn effectively. There’s only trial-and-error. What might work effectively for one user can sometimes work poorly for you. So don’t worry too much about it. Just make sure you stay consistent and try different approaches until you find something that works.
Of course, there are some tips to increase the effectiveness of your outreach campaign. Let’s talk about that now.
How do I increase my outreach on LinkedIn?
Here are four things you should keep in mind as you start building relationships on LinkedIn:
- Take the time to do research
- Personalize your messages
- Be cautious with automation
- Focus on quality over quantity
Take the Time To Research Prospects Before Sending Messages
When sending out connection requests, always spend some time researching each prospect before reaching out. This means doing some basic background checks such as checking their profile information, reading their recent posts, viewing their newsfeed, etc. If they’ve been active recently, then the chances are good that they’ll respond positively to your initial contact. But even if they haven’t posted anything lately, it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate receiving a personal message from someone who seems to have done their research to know them on a personal level.
Prospects are looking to connect with people like you; they just can’t stand boring pitches.
Personalize Your Outreach Message Content
Once you’ve researched your target audience thoroughly, take the time to write a personalized message for every single person you reach out to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share stories about yourself when writing these messages. You want to show that you care enough about the other person to learn more about them.
If you’re not comfortable sharing details about yourself, consider asking an open question instead. Some of these questions may rub prospects the wrong way, though, so consider testing out different approaches and decide based on what works for you.
Be Cautious With Automation
LinkedIn is a social network. Thus, like all other social media platforms, it is a requirement that you be human. That means you need to interact with others by engaging directly with them rather than relying solely on automated tools. These tools can help speed up connecting with potential contacts but at the expense of losing touch with real humans.
Automated messages tend to come across as spammy and unprofessional. They also often fail because they lack context. For example, if you were trying to sell products or services, would you expect to receive responses from strangers without any prior knowledge of your business? Of course not!
Automating your connections will likely result in fewer actual conversations. And since most people aren’t interested in talking to sales reps anyway, this could hurt your marketing effort.
So while using automation tools can save time, it comes at the cost of missing opportunities to build meaningful relationships.
Quality vs. Quantity
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule regarding how many times you should send out connection requests, sticking to one per day is an excellent start unless you have concrete reasons why you think you might get better results by increasing frequency.
The best approach is to focus on quality over quantity. LinkedIn continues to reduce the number of connection requests you can send at a time. Some might think it’s a wrong move. However, it has something to do with making sure you only focus on high-quality leads. So don’t worry too much about hitting the limits. Just keep focusing on building solid relationships with those you have a mutual connection with by publishing great content regularly. And then only send connection requests to prospects you want on your list.
If you’re looking to grow your network and improve your outreach effort on LinkedIn, this guide has given you everything you need to succeed. Getting more connections is easy; getting them to engage with your content and buy from you is tricky. It takes work and patience. But as mentioned, the key here is to put in the necessary hours to develop genuine relationships with people you’d love to meet.